25 November 2007

NCAA Football Playoffs--I Wish

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I had a really nice week, alot of good work on my big picture that I'll update Monday or Tuesday.

I had a big rant last year about why on Earth we need a playoff system in college football for Division I-A (or whatever it is called now). I-AA's sixteen team playoff started this weekend, with Wofford upsetting top ranked Montana and Appalachian State sneaking out a victory.

I've taken the BCS rankings and propose a sixteen-team playoff using this as the end of the season. I suggest this as the conference championships are not a consistent feature of college football (e.g., Big Ten, Pac-Ten, and Big East without a playoff). I simply made one tweak to the set-up for the tourney, with a rule that teams could not meet another team from their own conference in the first round. With that, here is the first round.

1 Missouri v 16 Clemson
8 USC v 9 Oklahoma

5 Kansas v 12 Hawaii
4 Georgia v 13 Arizona State

3 Ohio State v 14 Tennessee
6 Virginia Tech v 10 Florida

7 LSU v 11 Boston College
2 West Virginia v 15 Illinois

In a playoff, injuries will play a part, and this would be no exception. Florida's Tim Tebow has a broken right hand, which would either keep him out of the first round game with Virginia Tech or would surely affect his play. I've become tired of all the rhetoric about the sanctity of the bowls, as if there were hundreds of thousands of orphans who would be sent to sleep on the streets if the Fiesta Bowl or the Carquest Bowl disappeared. If you want the bowls to pick up in the second round, I'm fine with that. We'll say the first round is hosted by the higher seed. USC-Oklahoma jumps out as the top first round game, but I really like Boston College to hang with LSU as well. And if the games went to form, it's hard to argue that these second round games wouldn't be terrific ones to watch:

1 Missouri v 8 USC
4 Georgia v 5 Kansas
3 Ohio State v 6 Virginia Tech
2 West Virginia v 7 LSU

Instead, we're going to have two teams in the title game that will be difficult to get excited about regardless of who gets there. Missouri-West Virginia will be a letdown, West Virginia-Ohio State will be an outrage, and Ohio State-Georgia? Ridiculous. Yet if any of these teams met after a tournament was completed, we would all be on board, we would be pulling for one or the other, we would have the context of the games before. Two would rise from the ashes and meet for a title game that arguably rival the Super Bowl for ratings and interest (read wagers).

Want to expand it to 24 or 32 teams? No problem. Reduce it to eight? I don't see the point. Have automatic bids? Unnecessary. Why select the playoffs now? I'd prefer to have more consistency in college football if the sport wants to level the playing field. Require ten conference games (if you don't have eleven or twelve teams, then add one or two in your conference), or require nine conference games. Eliminate play against I-AA teams. Have a thirteen game regular season (have everyone play the same exact number of games). Independents? I'm not sure. Bowls? Let the bowls play a part in this or not, whatever. Let the bowls participate outside of the playoffs for the other teams (17-x).

Good night, and chime in if interested.


Blogger Gnome said...

I really dislike the playoff idea. The bowl system is fun, makes every regular season game count and generates insane fan interest. I would prefer keeping the current system, but have No. 1 play No. 4 in one BCS bowl game and No. 2 play No. 3 in another of the BCS bowls. Then have a true national championship between the winners.
My only worry about this system is that it could be expanded to some kind of 16-team playoff atrocity someday. Just adding one more game eliminates the controversy over who's No. 1 while preserving everything great about the bowl system.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

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11:52 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

I think somewhere between what you think and what gnome thinks is an answer. If a playoff were implemented, you would probably need to eliminate the conference championship games that some end up having to play (ex: missouri next week).

They have a month off between bowl games, so what would be the big deal with adding one more game to the schedule as gnome mentions.

I don't know, I love a playoff idea, but I think there needs to be some serious thought on it. I don't think anything changes anytime soon.

What bugs me equally is the NFL's OT rule of flipping a freakin' coin to decided who gets the ball firt. You play your heart out, go to overtime and the team who gets the best chance to score first is decided by the flip of a coin. Ridiculous.

Nice post...

1:32 PM  
Blogger Francase said...

I'd be fine with a 16team playoff - 11 conference champions (so the Hawaii's get their chance) and 5 at-large teams - maybe the 5 highest-ranked BCS teams that don't win their conference.

Start it the week after finals which would be the same time the New Orleans Bowl kicks things off. You'd only go a week later anyway, and still be done by the time most schools start classes.

It's still better than a system with 27 meaningless bowls and 1 game with two teams that may not necessarily be the best.

2:22 PM  
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