November 27, 2007

Replacing the BCS with a 16 team playoff.: Drew Wetzel discusses how this should be done.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia to football at 03:21 PM - 41 comments

year after year, the BCS has proven that it is a joke. big time college football is long overdue for a chanpionship tournament. its the only NCAA sponsored sport without one. the system set forth in this article sounds like the most logical way to go about it, and adresses the most common reason for not instituting a playoff, interfering with semester exams. it makes you wonder what excuse the "powers that be" will come up with now.

posted by shaggyhooch at 03:53 PM on November 27, 2007

The playoff system is probably the way to go, however some provision must be made for the number of games by each conference. Some teams play more than others and that make it inequitable for a playoff scheme. If some compromise could be reached....saying 10 games to be played with no conference championship. This could possibly work. Getting all the teams to give up conference playoffs is going to be tough. If some system for the conferences could be worked out, like the playoff contenders in the NFL when identical records are posted. Also, you are still going to need a seed postioner that is acceptable to all conferences. I see this as the hardest hurdle to overcome due to the weaker conferences. Since I'm a Missouri fan, I say this with tongue in cheek.

posted by smdragon at 03:59 PM on November 27, 2007

A winner-takes-all tournament might be fun, but I personally don't feel it's necessary. I feel as if this has been one of the more entertaining college football seasons in recent memory, even in a context of teams not playing towards playoff berths. I will admit that the current system isn't particularly "fair," but I don't think it's intended to be fair and I don't really care that it's not fair. It's entertaining week in and week out, and that's good enough for me. For me, college football is more about the week to week match-ups and in-season rivalries than about deciding which team is best based on a playoff. That said, I'm not so sure that the arguments (interfering with exams, devaluing the in-season games, wiping out the bowls, etc.) for keeping the bowl system as it is really carry the day for the other side. I just don't see a compelling need for a playoff.

posted by holden at 04:54 PM on November 27, 2007

The idea is great and one that I have been advocating for some time. I agree with playing at least the first round on campus. but to mollify some of the major bowl games that otherwise would be cut out of the picture, why not play the semifinals, and maybe the quarterfinals as bowl games. This could be done on a rotating basis as is the case for the so-called national championship game now.

posted by Howard_T at 05:02 PM on November 27, 2007

It is truly amazing that with all the Academic wizzards that rule the football world of the NCAA, they can't see the insane system that is in place already. I find it hard to believe that Ohio State can actually end up back in the title game after losing so late in the season (in what is a farily weak conference this year). By the way, no hating, I like the Buckeyes. But, to think they are better than Missouri, OU, LSU, USC, or West Virginia is laughable. I wish they would get their heads out and figure a logical playoff like the article posts. It is long overdo, and they wait for over a month before the games. Yeah, there is finals week and all, but all students and sports can accomodate that.

posted by Mickster at 06:15 PM on November 27, 2007

I cannot wait to go to the first college title game in my flying hybrid car.

posted by Adept at 07:00 PM on November 27, 2007

Adept....I'll be using the transporter. It's better, no parking space and I could beam right to my seat.

posted by budman13 at 08:49 PM on November 27, 2007

I am all for a 16 team playoff system. My modifications would be to require that each team participating come from a conference that has a conference title game. One beauty of NCAA basketball is watching and tracking the conference tournaments as teams in each conference fight it out to make the NCAA field, that action is pure enjoyment to watch. I like Howard_T's idea of playing the first round on the campus of the higher seeded team then playing the quarter-finals, Semis and Final in bowls on a rotating basis. The Sun Bowl will become significant and draw huge fan traffic, corporate money and press coverage if it was hosting, say a second round head butting feast between Ohio State and Florida - the interest and money focused on such a game would be massive. Bowls have been good to college football, to have a playoff system which does not give them a meaningful role will insure that a Division I playoff system never happens. Plus, opposite to what Drew Wetzel states, I am sure that including bowls will elevate money made well past 5 million dollars per game. I would make even one more change. I agree with having the 11 conference champions in automatically, but I would force 10 at large selections to fight it out, for two quarters only (not four), to determine the five at large tournament spots - doing that will end disputes and claims that good teams were shunned during the at large selection process. The five pre-tournament at large games will take place at the campuses of the higher rated teams in polls. Imagine the strategy that would be employed if 10 strong teams knew that each had only two quarters to prove that it is a worthy NCAA tournament participant?

posted by Cave_Man at 09:01 PM on November 27, 2007

First of all, Adept and Budman, why go to the game when the holographic simulator can bring the game right into your living room? I totally agree with the article, bring on the playoffs! I would comprimise and offer to go with a 8 team playoff. That would mean only two teams would play three games. Less interference with finals (not that I think that is really an issue). By the time you get down to the 9th team in the polls, I don't think you're being unfair if you don't give them a shot at the title. Caveman, no offense, but your ten-team two-quarter idea seems unlikely. First, just the fact that you would have 10 at large selections doesn't end the claims of good teams being shunned. In fact, it probably increases it. How do you really determine number 21 in the nation as opposed to number 22? Lastly, "half a game"?, I don't see anyone wanting that. I'm not buying a ticket for half a game!

posted by dviking at 09:21 PM on November 27, 2007

dviking; I was building on Drew Wetzel's system of giving 11 automatic spots to conference champions - I did not disagree with his solution. Giving the 11 slots will mean that a number of powerful and highly ranked teams will end up getting left out of having a spot in the field sans a 10 team elimination round involving them and other strong teams. There are currently only about 3 (SEC, Big Twelve and PAC-10) power conferences in football, conferences that have several excellent teams other than the conference champion. Take the SEC for example, in Wetzel's system, Georgia and Florida get in at large, but Tennessee, a powerful team, has no place in the field. A strong Big Twelve conference team may get left out, I watched the Kansas-Missouri game, MISU won, but did not appear dominantly stronger than Kansas. Should Kansas not get a right to prove itself against a team like Florida or USC for an at large berth? Let's not hash too much over the format and what it means. One thing that both us appear to agree fully on is that a playoff system is far superior to what we have now. No disrepect to the fans of the teams, but I have no intention of watching a National Championship game between a MISU and a West Virginia, or even one between an Ohio State and a MISU, I am not sure that any of the three would stand up to a resurgent USC Trojan team, or an LSU, or Georgia, or Florida, or even Tennessee.

posted by Cave_Man at 10:04 PM on November 27, 2007

I'm not sure Cave-Man why you would not watch the teams that are in contention for chamionship bowl. Is it that Missouri or W. Virginia are not deserving if they win their remaining games? Is Florida, USC or LSU more deserving with the losses they incurred this season? USC and LSU both loss to unranked teams and Florida had 3 losses. I'm not sure if your logic is reasonable as many Missouri fans would watch whoever is in the national championship b/c they enjoy college football. I'm sure Stanford was not suppose to beat USC or LSU losing to Arkansas and Kentucky. However they did, and to take away from the teams in contention because you think the other conferences are in weaker division is shortsighted to say the least. All the Polls I see say otherwise, and they say #1 and 2 are Missouri and W. Virginia.

posted by smdragon at 10:28 PM on November 27, 2007

BCS system or playoffs, either way we will discuss who was left out. You are all too young too remember before the BCS, two polls were voted on, no science, only opinion. We will always discuss the short-comings of ANY system, for God's sake, we pick 65 team for the NCAA Basketball Tourney and still spend the first few days discussing who was on the bubble and left out. The NCAA has us right where they want us, discussing the system, watching their games.

posted by SAVANX at 10:53 PM on November 27, 2007

Savanx; In the NCAA basketball tournament, the most deserving team stands atop at the end because it either beat every other good team or beat the lesser teams that beat powerful teams. When a Cinderella team wins the NCAA basketball tournament, then I will say that you are right in your assumptions, I expect both of us to be ossified corpses before that happens (in that case I won't be able to say you're right :-)).

posted by Cave_Man at 11:15 PM on November 27, 2007

smdragon; I watched MISU and WV play, neither will hang with a LSU, or USC, or Georgia, or Florida with a big prize on the line. But you are right, in the current system, they are #1 and #2 and if they stay that way have earned the right to play for the National championship. I have no intention of watching the game, because I firmly feel that a competitive tournament field would produce two other team competing for the championship.

posted by Cave_Man at 11:21 PM on November 27, 2007

It's all about money. Various companies spend millions of dollars to be able to have their names on games. It wouldn't make sense to sponsor one of many games.

posted by DetTigerS_09 at 04:29 AM on November 28, 2007

Caveman, you're high if you don't think WVU can hang with any of those other frauds!!! (And I'm not even a WVU fan!!!)

posted by LeftyPower at 05:18 AM on November 28, 2007

And another thing: There's one word for anbody, NCAA included, who doesn't think a playoff system is not only warranted, but overdue: SHORTSIGHTED.

posted by LeftyPower at 05:23 AM on November 28, 2007

I watched MISU and WV play, neither will hang with a LSU, or USC, or Georgia, or Florida with a big prize on the line. As much as I love UGA, the Sugar Bowl from 2006 (2005 season) begs to differ.

posted by jmd82 at 09:12 AM on November 28, 2007

The problem with a playoff is that there are to many traditions in college football. Take the Rose Bowl for intstance. The B10 and the Pac10 make up a ton of television market. It is likely that Missouri will join the B10 in the next 2-3 years, if Norte Dame shuns them again, which will significantly broaden that market. The SEC, the B12 and the MAC would have no need for a championship game with a playoff system. Plainly, there is to mush $ to be lost with a playoff system at this time. The BCS is not that great but at this point there is not much alternative.

posted by B10 at 09:47 AM on November 28, 2007

It is likely that Missouri will join the B10 in the next 2-3 years What?

posted by bender at 10:19 AM on November 28, 2007

anbody.. who doesn't think a playoff system is not only warranted, but overdue: SHORTSIGHTED. Dumb statement. In fact, the opposite is true. A playoff system would change college football into what college basketball has become: a one month a year sport. We want the system set up for the long haul, decades are our concern, not year to year manipulations of the system to insure maximum profits for ESPN, CBS, and ABC. The loss by Michigan at home in week one would be meaningless in a playoff system. OSU v UM in November would have no impact on the league whatsoever. A team could effectively lose 3, 4, 5 games in a season and still become Nat'l Champs. The only purpose of the regular season would be to amass just enough wins to make the playoffs. Scheduling cupcakes is already a problem, imagine what it would be like if coaches are only looking for enough quality opponents to get them to the #16 spot in the polls. People like myself (and I think I can include Holden) who do not want a playoff system are just trying to preserve the traditions of college football because we love it. The greatest thing about Div 1 football is the absolute value of winning on Saturday. Not some Saturdays. Not just Saturdays when the College Game Day crew is in town, or when you are playing the cross-State rivals; but every single Saturday. If you do that, it doesn't matter if you are Missouri, Michigan, or Mop Bucket University, you will get to a big-bouy bowl game, against big-bouy opposition, and have your shot at the title. This season is a great example of the beauty of the system. Lil ole Missouri gets one game to go out and show the world they are giant killers. 60 minutes to change their lives. Some here say they couldn't beat UF, OSU, or LSU in a single game, that may or may not be, we shall soon find out. But does anyone really think that Missouri could win a playoff series facing these three opponents on consecutive weeks? **No Way** Of course every so often the system in place produces controversy. Some tean and some group of fans feel at the end of the 200X season so-and-so was better than whatchamacallit. That is OK. Remember this is armature sport. Imagine a world without the Auburn T-shirts with a scrambled TV screen saying, "The championship no one saw", or if the animosity between LSU and USC over their split no longer existed. Our world would be lesser because of it. The only change I would be willing to accept is a "plus 1" game, for charity, on the rare occasion that a clear #1 and #2 --both undefeated-- don't get to settle the season on the field.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 10:31 AM on November 28, 2007

r8rh8r27 is right on the money! That was probably the best argument I've heard!

posted by B10 at 10:34 AM on November 28, 2007

Bender, have you not read anything about the B10 expansion? It's even on Wikopedia. LOL Missouri, Pitt, Rutgers, Notre Dame are the top candidates. Notre Dame won't come because of their TV contract w/NBC. Missouri is the next logical choice. When Penn State was added in 94 or 95 Missouri was in talks w/the B10 then. Don't be suprised if in 2 or 3 years they are a big ten team.

posted by B10 at 10:39 AM on November 28, 2007

first: B10 WHY IN THE WORLD would an original member of the Big 8 want to switch to the weak and boring Big 10. I mean they can't even count to eleven! second: the solution to r8rh8r27's supposition that teams would play just to make the playoffs could be solved by requiring that teams have at least 9-10 wins. third: the current system of ranking is RIDDLED with bias. I mean you have ESPN who has a love affair going on the with the SEC for the past 20 years at least. Then you have the constant dogging of the Big 12 since it's inception 12 years ago. You have long-standing hatreds of specific teams and long-standing loyalties to specific conferences. There is NO unbiased way of ranking the teams. Why is 10-2 Georgia #4? Their strength of schedule is only touted b/c they play in the SEC. So if you don't play in the SEC you automatically suck? It's rediculous! Therefore, even if you had a playoff system you could never have an unbiased ranking system to choose the top teams that would play for the title. At least the conferences with conference titles make some sense as offering an automatic bid for the playoffs. bottom line: THERE'S TOO MUCH MONEY being mad with the current system to change it. It's like our current administration. You don't veto what your party wants but you veto what the American people want.

posted by chuybakah at 11:00 AM on November 28, 2007

chuybakah I have no idea why Missouri would go to the B10. Your right, the B10 is a boring conference to watch. I would propose that Missouri would want to go to the B10 for T.V. exposure. The B10 and the SEC get most of the national or regional exposure. The B10 on the ESPN networks and ABC, the SEC on CBS. More exposure means better recruiting. Bigger games mean more $. In that respect if they had the chance they'd be stupid not to go.

posted by B10 at 11:07 AM on November 28, 2007

But does anybody think that Missouri could win a playoff series facing these three opponents on consecutive week? **NO WAY** I find it hard for any team to beat these teams on consecutive weeks. Plus, a playoff system would be designed where these teams would not have to played on consecutive weeks. That being said, Lil O' Missouri would make a game of it against these teams and isn't that what college sports is all about.

posted by smdragon at 11:12 AM on November 28, 2007

I was actually reading Wetzel's article this morning and I can say it is exactly the way that I would do it (if I had any authority at all) with one exception. I would only guarantee the smaller conferences a seat at the table if they were either undefeated or ranked higher than one of the Big 6 champions. This year that would mean Hawaii as a guaranteed invite but in some years you could have a 1-loss Boise St type possibly as an at-large. Or guaranteed if a weaker UConn or Tennesee slipped in to a major conference title. I do not need to see a 3-loss Troy team in the playoffs. I also like the higher seed at home through at least the first two rounds. Why give all of that revenue to someone else? Now I'll just sit back and wait for the next 80 years or so for the NCAA to agree with me.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 11:17 AM on November 28, 2007

I have read the arguments against a playoff system, they are elegant, but sorry. When the NCAA selects at large teams for the basketball tournament, strenght of schedule and the quality of the team's opponents are the factors that determine whether a team makes the field, teams that schedule a bunch of cupcakes do not make it, even with impressive records. I would expect that the NCAA would manage a Division 1 football playoff selection process the same way. Ambitious U, that schedules a lot of cupcakes, beats them soundly and is undefeated will not get in over Hardnosed U that played top 10 or top 20 teams week after week and has 3 losses because of that. As far as tradition is concerned, new traditions form all the time. The NIT was once tradition bound, but the NCAA basketball tournament came along and has established another cherished tradition.

posted by Cave_Man at 11:26 AM on November 28, 2007

I've heard talk from time to time of Big 10 expansion, but it almost always includes Notre Dame and I don't really see them or anyone else joining. This is the first I have ever heard Mizzou thrown out there, and I don't understand how their joining the Big 10 would benefit them. On edit: I see you addressed that a little in your response to chuybakah, but I'd still be surprised to see anyone join. the Big 10 doesn't need another team to have a conference championship game; they already have one.

posted by bender at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2007

I mean they can't even count to eleven! Those who go to Ohio State can count to 11 simply by unzipping their fly. (Oops, that only gets them to 10 1/2.) Ok, Ok, my kid goes to Penn State. I just couldn't resist the shot. Pitt in the Big 10 (soon to be the extra large dozen) would make some sense in that it would restore the in-state rivalry with Penn State. Then again, Missouri has a pretty good rivalry with Iowa, and Illinois is not far away either. Perhaps moving Missouri, Pitt and West Virginia into the Huge 14 would work out well. Then again, we'd all have to take off our shoes and socks to keep track of it.

posted by Howard_T at 12:29 PM on November 28, 2007

Howard_T, I think the point of Missouri possibly coming in is to expand the footprint of the B10. Meaning, to add another state to the conference spreads the conference out even more, adding more revunue to T.V., merchadising, etc. Also it would significantly cut into B12 territory. Pitt would not be a logical choice because there is already a footbprint in PA. Actually Missouri would fit perfectly into the B10 in a lot of ways. Don't know if it would happen but out of the teams mentioned they make the most sense.

posted by B10 at 02:24 PM on November 28, 2007

We could all argue this until we're blue in the frigging face. I don't think such a large tourney is possible, but we all know the Bullshit Championship Scam is a joke. This is why college football is the greatest, most competitive sport in the world. Everyone can piss and moan all they want, it's never going to change, because WHY??? There is money to be made from the big time bowl games. There won't be any kind of playoff system that will make A: The fans happy, and 2: the schools happy, and Next: the bigwig corporate whore bowl game sponsors happy. But what really matters most is, Z: THE PLAYERS OF THE TEAMS THAT ARE PLAYING IN THE FUCKING GAMES ALL SEASON BUSTING THEIR ASSES FOR THE TOP SPOT IN THE NATION......

posted by Marko2020 at 05:04 PM on November 28, 2007

I believe everyone is also overlooking one small detail in the debate of whether or not Missouri gets to be a "Real Champion" or if they are going to the Big 10 in 2-3 years. The have to first win the Big 12 Championship!!! Let's not crown them until they have done that. They have lost the last 2 to OU and neither was as close as the score indicated. They might cry "We beat ourselves" to the nation, but OU outplayed them. OU went to Missouri last year and handed them their first loss of the year 27-10, and then beat them this year in Norman. I hear that they had the lead going into the fourth quarter 24-23, but OU had the ball and went on to score on that drive that gave them the lead in the fourth quarter - before the turnovers. The did fumble at their own 10 yard line, which the OU defender gladly picked up and ran the 10 yards to paydirt. But, they had good coverage on the interception. How about congratulating the stellar play of the defense instead of acting like they bumbled and fumbled the game away. I also don't want to see the stats again as close as they are. The MU team scored a meaningless TD (or two) and plenty of yards after the game was well in hand and the Sooners had their second, and third string players in. As for the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12, they are all worthy of recognition. I see the polls now have three of the Big 12 teams still in the top 10. I do hate it that you have a 9-2 Georgia team and !0-1 Kansas team in there that don't have to play a Conference Championship game. Same with Ohio State. But, the system will NOT change. Like the others have said, it is the Tostito Fiesta Bowl, or SBC Cotton Bowl, Sponsor Bowl games with too many dollars to loose to ever do the right thing. I believe the best we can hope for is at least an, and one game. I have no problem if Missouri wins and West Virginia wins that they should be playing for the championship. I hate the whiners like Wes Miles that says they are undefeated in regular games "of 60 minutes". He pointed out that it took overtime both times to get beat. The key word their is beat. Own up to it, you lost two games, period. Face it like a man and get the moving van ready for Michigan.

posted by Mickster at 05:48 PM on November 28, 2007

I meant Les Miles....

posted by Mickster at 06:07 PM on November 28, 2007

I do hate it that you have a 9-2 Georgia team and !0-1 Kansas team in there that don't have to play a Conference Championship game. Same with Ohio State. Why does not playing a conference championship game disqualify them from their ranking? Consider Ohio State in particular as their situation is quite different than that of Georgia and Kansas. Ohio State is the Big Ten champion. There does not have to be a championship game to establish that fact. The Michigan-Ohio State game is very much on the level of the championship games of other conferences as the conference title was at stake. Essentially Ohio State earned their title just as much as the SEC or Big 12 champion will earn theirs.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:10 PM on November 28, 2007

Cave_Man-Your not going to watch the game if a SEC team is not playing. Sounds like if one of the your teams (which you consider superior) were playing for championship, your more than willing to abide by the current system. But, since they are not, your bitter because of the current status quo. I may be wrong in my assumptions, but it sounds like taking your marbles home if not getting your way. I'm curious if you watched the championship game last year when Florida played against Ohio State under the BCS poll system. If you did not, please excuse me for the assumptions.

posted by smdragon at 06:11 PM on November 28, 2007

"Cave_Man-Your not going to watch the game if a SEC team is not playing. Sounds like if one of the your teams (which you consider superior) were playing for championship, your more than willing to abide by the current system. But, since they are not, your bitter because of the current status quo. I may be wrong in my assumptions, but it sounds like taking your marbles home if not getting your way. I'm curious if you watched the championship game last year when Florida played against Ohio State under the BCS poll system. If you did not, please excuse me for the assumptions. posted by smdragon at 6:11 PM CST on November 28" smdragon; I used the SEC as an example because it is the premiere college football conference now, if the PAC-10, Big 10 or Big 12 fit that bill, I would have used them as the example. I did not watch the game between Florida and Ohio State last year because another of my pet peeves is that the game started late, plus there was the hanging question about whether USC and Michigan did not get shunned in favor of Florida (in retrospect, Florida was the best choice). My biggest issue with this year is that if one of the top four teams is crowned National Champion, it will not be the best team, last year a one loss Florida was the best team in the country, their only loss coming in a close game on the home field of an intense rival. When PRO teams go into the playoffs I follow all of the games, I would like to do the same for college games, I would even stay up late to watch. A playoff system provides the only route where the best team in the country will stand last. The team that wins the tournament will need depth at all positions and have players that use their heads at all times and play under control.

posted by Cave_Man at 06:46 PM on November 28, 2007

"Ying Yang Mafia", to say that Ohio State playing Michigan (after the conference games are all over) is the same as the #1 ranked team in the country playing against the #9 ranked team in the country is not realistic. OU has already played MU and they won. It would be like OSU / Michigan playing during the year and again for the conference championship after the season. Plus, they played a team that was way inferior to them and that was a week after loosing at home to an unranked team - Illinois. Plus a LSU / Tennessee matchup is more than OSU-Michigan this year. Now maybe in years past I could agree. But, I do agree that they are big 10 champs and with only 1 loss this year. I believe they could easily say they are deserving, but that isn't how I really feel. I am from OHIO and love the Buckeyes. But, week conference this year.

posted by Mickster at 08:29 PM on November 28, 2007

Weak conference.... oops

posted by Mickster at 09:00 PM on November 28, 2007

well i think it should be between a 8 and 12 team playoff. twelve seems a round number since the season is pratically over you can have it srt the week after thast week and go for about a month or moth and half. with every game being a bowl game.

posted by rockstar2001 at 09:15 PM on November 28, 2007

Weak conference argument aside, on any given Saturday with the right prep work, a few lucky ball bounces, and tough play, any team (even a Division-II team) can beat any other. That's why the playoff system is exciting in every other college sport and why college football should have one too. Any body who claims their conference is too good for the 'weaker' conferences is just chicken-shit to play them.

posted by indigoskye at 01:33 PM on December 01, 2007

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