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Friday
Oct272006

Playoffs

Explain to me, again, why some of you clamor for one in college football?

Baseball just concluded its playoff, and the World Series winner is... St. Louis, a team that snuck into the dance by the narrowest of margins after hemorrhaging much of the year and despite clearly not being anywhere near the best team in baseball over its incredibly lengthy 162 game season.

And they did it in just five games to the Tigers, a team from baseball's vastly superior American League. 

But they're the 'World Champs'.

If you want a meaningless postseason tournament for college football, this is what you will get.  Just don't call it a championship.

Imagine if someone had clipped USC or Texas last year in an abbreviated playoff?  What good is the title at that point when you have either of the two clear best teams hypothetically falling thanks to a bad day or a magical afternoon against an undermanned foe?

True legitimate tournaments need several games between competitors to legitimately settle their differences, something which is impossible to conduct in either the NFL or college football.  Even in baseball with all the games played, we get flukey champions.  A panacea it ain't, so as long as we're going to be imperfect I'd rather stick to tradition and enjoy the variety that the bowls offer instead of the incessant and misguided bellyaching.

Just Say NO To Playoffs.

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Reader Comments (18)

See this is what I expected. People not giving St. Louis credit for winning. If Detriot was such a good team they would have strapped it on and play. They did not play like World Champions when it mattered most. Did they at stints during the REGULAR SEASON. Yes. Did they when it mattered NO. Not World Champions on paper better team? In a 7 game series that decides the Champ, No. I'm not arguing anything about Football, but your saying St. Louis isn't a good team when they beat Detroit 4 times. Who's better? St. Louis.
October 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdave
If baseball used the same stupid rules that CFB uses to determine a champion, then the Yankees would be put in the championship game (or series) every year just because most people assume they are the best team. Many predicted the Yankees to win the WS once the playoffs started.

The good thing about baseball (and every other sport) is that opinions on how good a team is hypothetically and on paper has no bearing on determining the champion. Turns out the Yankees were not the best team.

By your line of thinking, is it invalid that Texas won the title last year? USC was considered the best team all season, USC was the favorite going into the game, and a clear majority of the pundits thought USC would beat Texas. Remember ESPN's best team of all time garbage? Isn't it wrong, according to your logic, that the better team in most people's opinion did not win the game? Shouldn't USC have just been given the title?
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMarty
No! In before the flood, you aren't alone.
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLtrain
CFR,

Most people don't see the distinction between naming a champion and finding the best team. Tournaments/ playoffs name champions, but don't always find the best team. Take the NCAA basketball tournament for example, Florida was not the best team last year, they just played the best in that tournament.
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCornFromAJar
College football has a MYTHICAL championship. We know our title isn't clear-cut.

The NCAA basketball tournament is ridiculous, and I've written about that several timse on here. You're right, Florida wasn't the best team, but played the best tournament which is why they should not be recognized as NATIONAL CHAMPIONS but rather the NCAA postseason tournament champion. Its a silly title.

If college football had a tournament its title would be just as flimsy as the NCAA basketball tournament. That's the point, we can gerrymander a plus one, eight team tournament, whatever we want and the title is STILL bogus, but in the process we'd have destroyed tradition and stripped much of the meaning away from the regular season.

No thanks.
October 28, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
Destroy tradition? If a tradition is so flimsy that it's destroyed by a playoff (a few extra games for a few teams), it's not much of a tradition.

In my opinion, you've never come close to making convincing argument that determining a champion via opinion polls is better than determining it by playing a few more games.
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMarty
My argument isn't that one way is better, it's that they're both incredibly imperfect.

But the way we're doing things is the tradition of the game and any change to it will weaken the impact of the regular season.

We're not the NFL, we're not the NCAA basketball tournament etc. we're college football, this is how it's done, how it's always been done and what most of the game's fans desire.

Playoffs are NOT a panacea, they're only a new way to get the same imperfect result while in the meantime destroying a portion of the game's tradition.
October 28, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
So we can't take say the top 8 teams and have a playoff? No team would be in that game that had anymore than 2 losses. I don't understand how that would tarnish Ncaa football
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdave
CFR, I've never agreed with you more than now.
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterQuaker
You said the current system is what most of the game's fans desire. I completely disagree -- I believe that most fans want a 4 or 8-team playoff that works within the bowl system. I still don't see how this would destroy any type of tradition. What part of the current bowl system tradition do you believe is going to be destoyed?
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMarty
Its not just about the bowl system, this time of year everybody wants a 4 or 8 team playoff, they forget that the early September OSU/TX game would then be rendered meaningless....be careful what you ask for...
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLtrain
Say YES to a Playoff! Do not be taken in by GREED! That is all the BCS is about. PLAYOFF PLAYOFF PLAYOFF

*Vote Colt McCoy for Texas Gov.
a plus one playoff system is what we need. Check out this article: http://www.ncsports.com/articles/determiningthena.html

This would have not left out any truly deserving teams, all the way back to the year before the BCS began.
October 29, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermmortal03
CFR wrote: True legitimate tournaments need several games between competitors to legitimately settle their differences, something which is impossible to conduct in either the NFL or college football.

How many rounds would be necessary in a college football playoff?

CFR wrote: The NCAA basketball tournament is ridiculous, and I've written about that several timse on here. You're right, Florida wasn't the best team, but played the best tournament which is why they should not be recognized as NATIONAL CHAMPIONS but rather the NCAA postseason tournament champion. Its a silly title.

Is six games not enough in basketball? If we weren't the best team, then who was? What would be the best way to determine a champion? Let me guess: Put Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, and UConn into a hat and let Dick Vitale draw one out. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. But good luck with your campaign to keep us from being recognized as national champions. I'll be watching the news feeds to see when the NCAA vacates our title. And the titles we're talking about here are CHAMPIONSHIPS, not "best team as determined by some bozo with a blog." Your wanting to draw a distinction between winning a championship and being the best team smacks of sour grapes. *cough* Matt Leinart *cough*

Championships must be determined in the arena; otherwise, we could just hold a preseason poll and not play any games at all. The Yankees would hold the World Series trophy in perpetuity, and Duke or North Carolina would always be the NCAA champion. You have to play things out in the regular season, then hold a tournament as an equalizer between teams with varying schedule strengths.

CFR wrote: What good is the title at that point when you have either of the two clear best teams hypothetically falling thanks to a bad day or a magical afternoon against an undermanned foe?

If they're one of the "best," then why would they "have a bad day" or be vulnerable to a "magical afternoon against an undermanned foe" when their "bestness" (for lack of a better word) is on the line?

I look forward to your response.
October 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGrandin Gator
if given the choice between a handful of teams <i>playing</i> for the right to be called whatever # in the nation or a bunch of hacks who physically cannot have seen much less even read statistics in the less than 24 hours that occurs between the Saturday games and the release of the polls on Sunday..

i'll take the playoff every day of the week(end), there is nothing better than when the realities of two teams destroy the myths perpetrated in the sports media in a head-to-head playoff, if you don't agree, come to Texas and watch some 5A HS Football playoffs in November & December, it'll change your mind..and your life.
October 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
I like the English soccer model of determining a champion. You have a league where everybody plays everybody else and the winner is determined by the one who wins the most games. Then you have a single elimination tournament to get the excitement that produces. Usually the year ends up with two winners that way and a truely great team is one that takes a double.

Another strength of the soccer system is that teams are fluid in their placement in divisons. The top teams in the lower divisons move up and the bottom teams in the upper divisons move down each year. This kind of thing would destroy the conference system and would never happen in the NCAA but it might be an improvement if say the winner of the Mountain West Conference and the last place team in the Big XII were to switch places at the end of the year (as well as Pac-10/WAC, Big 10/MAC etc.). And then I'd have teams moving up and down from Division 1A to 1AA to 2 and 3 as well.
October 30, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterphil
How many rounds?

Try how many head-to-head games.

And that's the problem, football just isn't a sport where you can play five times in seven days or seven times in nine.

Chances are if teams play that many games the superior team will win out, although Baseball has shown that to not always be the case.

The NCAA tournament is a joke because each game is one and done.

If you've ever read MoneyBall there's a section about Billy Beane's view of playoffs and that statistically they're just a mess, too much luck and outside noise bothering what should be a smooth and predictable process.

Look, all I'm saying is that ANY postseason tournament is equally flawed as the polls. It's a false hope, it's not a panacea, and it won't make any of us feel any better after we see it in action.

Just call it what it is, a postseason tournament, not a CHAMPIONSHIP. Championships require a little more planning and care which is impossible given the nature of football and the minimum number of weeks the NCAA allows teams to play.

There is no fix.

I'm not a fan of the BCS just so everyone knows, but it's much less of a drag on the game's tradition than a playoff. I'll take the BCS over a playoff every day. I'd take the old system of less bowls, two polls over the BCS. Etc. etc.
October 31, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
16-team Playoff Format: Bracket-Style Tournament

Round 1 December 18 through 23
BCS #1 v BCS #16 at BCS #1's HOME FIELD
BCS #2 v BCS #15 at BCS #2's HOME FILED
Etc.

ROUND 2 New Year's Day January 1
Winners of Round 1 match-ups (according to brackets) at 4 major bowls (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, Orange)

Location based on match-ups and higher seeds regional/conference tie-ins

ROUND 3
Bowl Winners at two pre-determined bowls

ROUND 4
Last two teams standing at pre-determined bowl


All other traditional bowl games played in December and January, from bowl-eligible teams from those who did not make or are eliminated from playoff tournament.



32-team Playoff Format: Bracket-Style Tournament

Round 1 November 30 through December 3
BCS #1 v BCS #32 at BCS #1's HOME FIELD
BCS #2 v BCS #31 at BCS #2's HOME FILED
Etc.

Round 2 December 18 through 23
Winners of Round 2 match-ups (according to brackets) played at HOME FIELD of higher ranked team


ROUND 3 New Year's Day January 1
Winners of Round 2 match-ups (according to brackets) at 4 major bowls (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, Orange)

Location based on match-ups and higher seeds regional/conference tie-ins

ROUND 4
Bowl Winners at two pre-determined bowls

ROUND 5
Last two teams standing at pre-determined bowl


All other traditional bowl games played in December and January, from bowl-eligible teams from those who did not make or are eliminated from playoff tournament.
November 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

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