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Thread: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

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    Member improbus's Avatar
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    A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    1) It would decimate some of the late season rivalry games. Remember the 2006 OSU vs. Michigan? 1 vs. 2? That would have been a tournament seeding game and would have meant nothing. The reason OSU vs. Mich. is a better rivalry than any other is because the stakes are almost always high.
    2) Are fans going to travel to up to three bowl games, with two of them on less than one weeks notice? As it is now, fans have a month to finalize their plans to the bowl game. But, as good as OSU's fans are, can they travel 45,000 three times to different sites around the country? And, if you make the first round game a home game you eliminate on of the BCS bowls, which will never happen.
    3) Look back through the BCS champs, how many can you dispute? How often does the NCAA Hoops tourney crown the BEST team?
    4) In 2002, OSU and Miami were the CLEAR #1 and #2. No one else even deserved a sniff of the title game. But, with a playoff, you would have had four two loss teams competing for a national title. This isn't basketball were there are ebbs and flows during the season. CFB has a finality to it that no other sport does. When OSU lost to USC in September, they were eliminated. That was it. In 2002, no other team deserved a shot.
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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    I think your point #2 is a big, big factor. The NCAA, as well as the promoters of each bowl, depend heavily on teams that 'travel well'. But, let's be honest here. How many people can afford both the cost and flexibility in their daily lives to travel three weeks in a row? It almost becomes a question of: do you go to the first game in case they lose or do you go to the last game and hope they win out?

    Rem

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    College basketball fans travel to three sites around the country on three consecutive weekends. I'm not sure I see the difference.

    And no, the basketball tournament often does not crown the best team, but at least the matter is decided on the court and not by a collection of opinion polls. For every 2002, when the top two teams were seemingly obvious, there are more seasons where the picture is very muddled.

    As far as a playoff diminishing season-ending rivalries, I don't think it will matter. The entire basketball season is played just to seed a tournament, and that hasn't diminished any fan's desire to see their team win those games.

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Quote Originally Posted by improbus View Post
    1) It would decimate some of the late season rivalry games. Remember the 2006 OSU vs. Michigan? 1 vs. 2? That would have been a tournament seeding game and would have meant nothing. The reason OSU vs. Mich. is a better rivalry than any other is because the stakes are almost always high.
    2) Are fans going to travel to up to three bowl games, with two of them on less than one weeks notice? As it is now, fans have a month to finalize their plans to the bowl game. But, as good as OSU's fans are, can they travel 45,000 three times to different sites around the country? And, if you make the first round game a home game you eliminate on of the BCS bowls, which will never happen.
    3) Look back through the BCS champs, how many can you dispute? How often does the NCAA Hoops tourney crown the BEST team?
    4) In 2002, OSU and Miami were the CLEAR #1 and #2. No one else even deserved a sniff of the title game. But, with a playoff, you would have had four two loss teams competing for a national title. This isn't basketball were there are ebbs and flows during the season. CFB has a finality to it that no other sport does. When OSU lost to USC in September, they were eliminated. That was it. In 2002, no other team deserved a shot.

    If you are worried about late season rivalries, just limit the playoffs to conference champions. That ought to make those games a lot more meaningful.

    tOSU fans would go to Timbuktu at the drop of a hat if the Bucks were playing Timbuktu State that weekend. I think other teams would travel just as well. Or you could just do away with neutral site games.

    There are no garantees ever. Stuff happens. If Kenyon Martin doesn't break his leg in the 1st round, maybe UC wins the national championship. The BCS doesn't necessarily crown the best team, it just gets the 1st and 2nd ranked teams to face each other. And the BCS has had controversy of it's own when other teams have laid claim to the #1 ranking.

    The problem with relying on polls is something that tOSU fans should take to heart. With their lackluster showings in the last two BCS championship game, no matter how good tOSU is, there are going to be skeptics out there that won't vote them high enough so they can play in the BCS championship again. Oklahoma's going to have the same problem. I have no love for tOSU but they are going to get hosed in the future because of what players who are no longer there could not accomplish. Let's say next year, USC, Alabama and tOSU are all undefeated and Bama wins the SEC chanpionship. tOSU fans are going to cry bloody murder if they are ranked 3rd. Wouldn't it be better to prove it on the field rather than rely on sportswriters and other coaches?

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    I would completely restructure Div 1a football in order to facilitate a playoff. Have 12 conferences with 10 teams each with conferences distributed by geography. Sorry Notre Dame, you are going to have to pick a team. A team would play each team in its conference. Conference champs would be decided by regular season conference record with no championship games.

    Playoffs would be a 16 team affair. The 12 conference champs would each get a birth with the 4 wild card slots going to the highest rated non-champs in a BCS type poll.

    The first round games would pit overlapping geographical conference champs. For instance, the Big 10 champ would play the MAC champ, SEC vs. Sun Belt, etc. The 4 wild card teams would be matched up by geographical proximity.

    Second round games would also be regionalized as best as possible. The Big 10/MAC winner would play the Big East/??? winner.

    Semi-finals and Finals would be at major bowl sites.

    By limiting it to 4 at-large bids and making those teams play each other in the first round rather than a smaller conference champ, you keep the regular season important. By allowing every conference champ in the playoffs, every team in the country starts the season with a chance to play for the national championship.

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Quote Originally Posted by improbus View Post
    1) It would decimate some of the late season rivalry games. Remember the 2006 OSU vs. Michigan? 1 vs. 2? That would have been a tournament seeding game and would have meant nothing. The reason OSU vs. Mich. is a better rivalry than any other is because the stakes are almost always high.
    2) Are fans going to travel to up to three bowl games, with two of them on less than one weeks notice? As it is now, fans have a month to finalize their plans to the bowl game. But, as good as OSU's fans are, can they travel 45,000 three times to different sites around the country? And, if you make the first round game a home game you eliminate on of the BCS bowls, which will never happen.
    3) Look back through the BCS champs, how many can you dispute? How often does the NCAA Hoops tourney crown the BEST team?
    4) In 2002, OSU and Miami were the CLEAR #1 and #2. No one else even deserved a sniff of the title game. But, with a playoff, you would have had four two loss teams competing for a national title. This isn't basketball were there are ebbs and flows during the season. CFB has a finality to it that no other sport does. When OSU lost to USC in September, they were eliminated. That was it. In 2002, no other team deserved a shot.

    Well it all depends on how it's set up. I can give you a thumbnail's sketch of a way to do it that would alleviate most of your concerns. This of course can be tweaked but let's just start with a "scenario".

    We start with the 6 conference champions and two at large bids. You seed them and give home games to the top four and play them off in December. The dead time in December is one of the screwy things about the current system. You then play the "semi-finals" in bowl games on New Year's Day. Then you set the finals for some Saturday night in January that does not directly conflict with an NFL playoff game. As far as I'm concerned the losers in the December playoff can also go to a bowl game on New Years or otherwise.

    This would preserve the bowl system and would give plenty of travel time for teams. I'd be happy to set up the details of a plan but I'd demand a cut of the increased revenue my plan would generate over the current system...

    I think under this system USC would likely win but under our current system they won't get a chance.
    Last edited by Sea Ray; 11-30-2008 at 10:35 AM.

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Here's an anti-BCS column that makes a lot of sense.

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/footbal...yhoo&type=lgns

    In college football, it’s politics over playoffs
    By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
    Nov 26, 10:54 pm EST

    When she first uttered the phrase that would help Louisiana State win last season’s BCS championship, Kathy Miles was just trying to get her husband to look at the bright side.

    Les Miles’ Tigers had just blown the inside track to the BCS title game, losing on the day after Thanksgiving in triple overtime to Arkansas. LSU’s only other loss had also come in triple overtime, at Kentucky back in October.

    “You know, Les,” she said that night, “you’re undefeated in regulation.”

    Miles’ ears perked up. To a coach a win is a win and a loss is a loss, but this was a different way of looking at it.

    He knew that with the confounding way college football crowns its champion, nothing is as it appears. The Bowl Championship Series, with its heavy reliance on opinion polls, has turned the sport into a game of perception and publicity as much as tackles and touchdowns.

    The BCS is a farce. To win it, you need to treat it as a farce. So LSU immediately began using athletic department brains, not simply student-athlete brawn, to figure out how to become the first two-loss team to ever reach the title game.

    Because the BCS sets no criteria for voter consideration in either of the polls that make up two-thirds of the rankings, the Tigers simply needed to redefine the parameters of the debate.

    “We had to argue to people, ‘Yeah, we’ve got two losses, but look how they came,’ ” said Michael Bonnette, LSU’s associate athletic director in charge of media relations.

    He had to make a loss (or two) not seem like a loss.

    Miles had shared his wife’s line to Bonnette, who was immediately impressed by the simplicity of the argument.

    LSU knew it was about to drop from No. 1 in the BCS standings to No. 7, but both coach and publicity man understood anything could happen in the final weekend of the season.

    While apologists often hype the BCS as a weekly playoff, LSU knew that isn’t the case. Every week is, however, a chance to spread a political message.

    Despite the losses, LSU (10-2 at the time) had the best team in the country. But unless it could convince voters of that, it wouldn’t matter. With a game against Tennessee in the SEC title game upcoming, the Tigers decided to set up their argument just in case the dominoes fell right.

    Kathy Miles’ marketing line began getting pitched to the media. Les himself mentioned it at his weekly media conference.

    “[LSU] hasn’t lost a game in regulation,” he said. “There has not been a team that has beaten us in 60 minutes.”

    Later LSU tried to get the argument used by CBS, a sympathetic broadcast partner, which would telecast the SEC title game.

    (Just a year before the network repeatedly made the case for Florida being more deserving of a BCS title berth than Michigan. One of the broadcasters, Gary Danielson, later said in an interview with a Detroit radio station that CBS only campaigned for the SEC because ESPN/ABC does the same for the Big Ten.)

    When LSU won the SEC title and then the top two teams in the BCS rankings, Missouri and West Virginia, both lost, LSU tried to saturate the debate with Kathy Miles’ slogan.

    On the team’s charter flight home Bonnette worked the phones to key media and got Miles a live interview on that night’s SportsCenter.

    Once back in Baton Rouge, Bonnette and his staff put together a brief fact sheet for the coaches who vote. While LSU had a mountain of statistical information and comparative charts, they saved most of that for the media.

    Bonnette felt the busy coaches wouldn’t read all of that and suspected other schools had already drowned them in numbers. “We didn’t want to overload them,” he said.

    Instead he put together a simple email with four bullet points, the key being a central, emotional plea based on the now oft-repeated campaign slogan – “LSU is undefeated in regulation.”

    “We sold it,” Bonnette said. “We did the best we could to get it out there.”

    Sunday, on the strength of jumping a stunning five spots in the coaches’ vote and finishing No. 2 in each poll, the Tigers were given a berth in the BCS title game. A month later they handily beat Ohio State for the championship.

    It was a masterful PR campaign.

    “I know this,” Bonnette said, “I wish I could take credit for the line.”

    This is what the BCS has wrought, an American Idol-style political contest where victory and defeat are not always determined on the actual field of play.

    Just last week Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops used circular logic to claim his team should be ranked higher than Texas even though Texas beat OU last month by 10 points.

    He essentially claimed that if everyone has a loss, then the loss no longer matters. Or, as LSU had once essentially proven, a loss isn’t a loss.

    “If it’s logical for one, then it’s logical for the other,” Stoops said.

    It worked. Oklahoma moved ahead of Texas in both human polls and, should it defeat Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Sooners are expected to make up enough ground in the computers to beat out the Longhorns for a berth in the Big 12 title game.

    Stoops, with his argument already paying dividends, said this week he would now take the high road and no longer lobby voters – which itself might be a shrewd campaign tactic.

    One thing was for certain: Texas might be able to beat Oklahoma in football, but in a marketing contest the Sooners routed them.

    The silly Longhorns thought the BCS actually cared about football.

    This was just the first battle in a two-week political brawl where previously anonymous media relations directors become as valuable as All-American quarterbacks.

    Right now there are seven programs that can make a legitimate claim to play in the BCS title game – Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Penn State, Southern California, Texas and Utah.

    Whoever sets the terms of the debate will make it.

    Consider long-shot Utah, 12-0. If it could somehow convince voters that it shouldn’t be considered the undefeated champion of a non-“Big Six” conference but rather the undefeated champion of the fourth-best conference (superior to the Pac-10, Big East and ACC) who also defeated the probable Pac-10 champ (Oregon State), then it’s quite possible even the Utes could be playing for the title.

    It’s the same for the others; each has an advantage if it can get a voter to consider the right question before voting.

    Is this about whom you beat or who you lost to or whether you didn’t lose at all? Is it how you’re playing now or is your body of work for the season the key? What’s a conference’s overall strength worth? Do you even have to win your conference, let alone your division?

    Is non-conference play important or margin of victory or margin of defeat or statistical rankings or anything else you can dream up?

    Does it matter if you never lost in regulation?

    Naturally the BCS offers no guidelines on the single most important thing it is supposed to do. Thus the voters are open to being swayed.

    That means seven publicity departments are trying to reach 114 Harris Poll voters of various levels of commitment (two weeks ago one guy forgot to even cast a ballot) and 61 college coaches who are often unapologetically biased.

    History shows just about anything can work. A year ago, after appearing dead in the water in the season finale, Kathy Miles struck marketing gold, her husband won the title and LSU proved that in college football, the game isn’t really about the game.
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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Quote Originally Posted by improbus View Post
    4) In 2002, OSU and Miami were the CLEAR #1 and #2. No one else even deserved a sniff of the title game. But, with a playoff, you would have had four two loss teams competing for a national title. This isn't basketball were there are ebbs and flows during the season. CFB has a finality to it that no other sport does. When OSU lost to USC in September, they were eliminated. That was it. In 2002, no other team deserved a shot.

    But what about the year Auburn went undefeated? And how about all the one and two loss teams that were left out in favor of LSU last year? Not saying LSU didn't have an argument to be there, but a team that lost to Kentucky and Arkansas in the title game?

    Hell, what about Ball State, Boise State and Utah this year? We're all 99% sure they're not the best, but at least in every other college, professional and high school sport and division we'd get to find out on the field.

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    The regular season of college football is arguably the most exciting and significant than any other sport. Every week, starting in August and ending in November, is critical. I think a college football playoff messes that up. College basketball is really only relevant for a month and a half, half of the teams in the NBA make the playoffs making its regular season irrelevent, etc. I don't know if it would happen in an OSU/Mich game but I could see teams resting starters late in the season to gear up for the playoffs.

    One of the most intriguing proposals to me is this "plus-one" thing. Keep your conference bowl tie-ins (Big 10 v. Pac 10 in the Rose Bowl i.e.). And after the bowls have been played then re-rank the teams and the top two play for the national title. This doesn't add any extra bowl games and surely fans would travel another week to a national title game. Sure, you're still going to have controversy (which will happen regardless of how it works) but a lot of teams show their true colors at a tough bowl game.
    "In our sundown perambulations of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing 'base', a certain game of ball. Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms, the game of ball is glorious"
    -Walt Whitman

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Look back through the BCS champs, how many can you dispute? How often does the NCAA Hoops tourney crown the BEST team?
    2007 LSU Tigers.
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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    2007 LSU Tigers.
    If not LSU, who? Even with a playoff, you could have argued for or against 5-6 teams.
    Variatio delectat - Cicero

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Quote Originally Posted by improbus View Post
    If not LSU, who? Even with a playoff, you could have argued for or against 5-6 teams.
    That's why we need an eight team playoff. LSU lost their last regular season game last season to a decent Arkansas team in addition to a loss at Kentucky. They didn't deserve to be there.
    Last edited by OnBaseMachine; 11-30-2008 at 12:13 PM.
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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    The only reason tOSU fans like the status quo is that they might be able to sneak in the BCS Championship game again and possibly win whereas with a playoff, they would get eliminated before the championship game.
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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The only reason tOSU fans like the status quo is that they might be able to sneak in the BCS Championship game again and possibly win whereas with a playoff, they would get eliminated before the championship game.
    While its more likely that they can make it to another BCS championship game I think its a little crazy to think that they couldn't get to one in a playoff. This year, probably not... but lets not get crazy and make assumptions that year in and year out Ohio State isn't one of the best 10 football teams in the country.

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    Re: A few arguments against a CFB playoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The only reason tOSU fans like the status quo is that they might be able to sneak in the BCS Championship game again and possibly win whereas with a playoff, they would get eliminated before the championship game.
    I abhor the status quo - bring on the playoffs.

    As a Buckeyes fan I think they Bucks would have a better chance of winning a NC than a less of one as they'd qualify for the playoffs much more often than for the NC game as it currently works. As a fan (or if I was a player) I'd rather have the entire deal be in your hands than up to voters.

    GL


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