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Friday
Nov102006

One More Opinion Against a Playoff

Not exactly the most revered messenger, but the argument is sound: Jason Whitlock.

He got a little distracted in his efforts to tear down Louisville, but the playoff points are important.

Two weeks in a row, college football produced must-see TV on a Thursday night and the announcers fell into the cliché trap of pretending the current setup of the game didn’t help create the tension, anticipation and hype.

Wake me the next time college basketball produces one regular-season game as anticipated as Ohio State-Texas, Michigan-Notre Dame, Rutgers-Louisville, West Virginia-Louisville, or damn near any SEC game. Wake me when college basketball produces stars as big as Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Vince Young.

The biggest lie in sports is that college basketball is in better shape than college football. College hoops is great for three weeks in March. College football is king for five months.

On consecutive Thursdays we were treated to three-hour playoff games. And the games were action packed. Rather than beat up the game, why can’t we celebrate what’s right about it?

And this point about voting/the polls:

There are people who believe that voters should throw common sense out the window and just vote based on the won-loss record and where a team was slotted in the preseason poll.

That’s why Arkansas is behind Auburn in the polls -- even though they both have one loss and the Razorbacks slaughtered the Tigers at Auburn. That’s why Oklahoma is ranked 17th when it’s suffered just one legitimate loss.  The alleged college football experts continue to talk about the wrong thing -- a need for a playoff system. They need to talk about shutting up about their petty complaints, voters unwilling to vote what they truly believe and celebrating the only sport with a compelling, start-to-finish regular season.

I disagree about the Auburn/Arkansas thing (for the time being), but then, I do vote what I believe when I publish my rankings every Monday.  That's the point, whether we agree or disagree we vote based on how we see things and not this crazy formulaic slotting by losses/if you're going to lose, lose early/etc. stuff that we see in the polls.

Whitlock continues with a necessary slam on Dick Vitale for his unsolicited criticism of college football during the Rutgers/Louisville broadcast:

What do you think Dick Vitale would do if, during a phone interview in the middle of Duke-North Carolina, Lee Corso went off about how point-less and boring the college basketball regular season has become and how the sport hasn’t produced any big-time superstars since the days of Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon?

Vitale’s head would explode.

Vitale, Billy Packer, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps and Bill Raftery don’t waste time or energy tearing down a sport that has been on a downward spiral since Larry and Magic met for the title.

Vitale's a great guy, I've met him before and he cares deeply about things, but he's wrong about college football.

And the clincher:

Meanwhile, college football keeps getting kicked for producing Texas-USC in the Rose Bowl and must-see TV on Thursday nights.

A playoff would be the worst thing that could happen to college football. I’m sure that sounds crazy to those of you who have been brainwashed into believing that three weeks in March trumps four months in the Fall.

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Reader Comments (1)

There's no way anyone can tell me that a four (plus-one anybody?) or six-team playoff would do that much -- if any -- damage to the much-ballyhooed importance of the regular season. Especially in a year like this one where several teams are pushing towards the top, the importance of the games would still be there without severely punishing a team with one loss the way it is now. (I also have a problem with the media pumping up undefeated teams just because they're undefeated, regardless of their schedule.)

Even a 16-team playoff (which I think *is* too much but would still be cool to see unfold), that invites all 11 conference champs and five at-large teams keeps the importance of the conference season for obvious reasons, and even the non-conference schedule to a degree for the strength of schedule and/or seeding argument for the last five slots.

Whether it's the BCS rankings, a bunch of old guys in a conference room, or whatever, pick a handful of teams and at the very least push the 'why isn't [insert team here] playing for the NC?' question down from the 3rd-ranked team to the 5th or 7th and settle most/all of this currently pointless bickering (that is supposedly good for the game according to some) on the field.

The current system *is* better than the old bowl-n-poll system, but it's still relies too much on off-the-field forces for my liking when only two teams are chosen and there are others deserving a shot.
November 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

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