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Thursday
Nov092006

Le Playoffs

Le pew.  Oui!

LePew.jpg 

So college football has this problem where people are unsatisfied with how its championship is decided.

Guesssss what?  We don't have a championship.  That's why people always write MNC -- mythical national champion.  We play a bunch of games in the regular season, some teams end up going to bowl games, then afterwards we vote for an honorary champion and start again eight months later.

The beauty of this game, and what distinguishes it from all other celebrated American sports is its regular season.  Add a playoff and poof! there she goes.

Think about college basketball for a moment.  Can many of you honestly remember much from say, any of the Duke/North Carolina games?    How about Kansas and Texas?  Or UCLA and Arizona?  I can't.  But I remember many moments of that Penn State/Northwestern football game last year.  I remember Boston College playing Florida State and I remember Wisconsin and Minnesota.

All were far more obscure, far less important than the basketball games, yet they were memorable. 

Why?

Because the regular season counts for something in college football.  In fact, it's everything.

Our 'championship' is window dressing.  It's important to people, but it's not the force that drives the game.

After 100+ years of play, college football has managed to be a popular sport despite not having its own title quest, no holy grail such as the Stanley Cup.  Don't you think the sport would have done something by now to create a more legitimate and recognized championship other than crowning by polls or BCS if it was really going to help the game?  Shouldn't college football have collapsed by now if its antiquated ways were such bad medicine for its fans?

What we in fact have is a sport with probably the greatest fan loyalty and participation outside of soccer.  We only play 11-14 games a year, with every game of some importance (sans those cynically devised creampuff games).  If you're an Auburn fan, you want to see Ole Miss when they're in town, dammit.  The game's just as much of an event as when you're playing Tennessee or Florida.

The same simply isn't true for the sports some of us seek to model this great game after.  Is there really that much difference for a Minnesota Twins fan to attend a game if the Chicago White Sox are in town for a series or if the Oakland Athletics are in town?  Most of those games will be quickly forgotten.  Same for say, a Chicago Bulls fan.  What's so powerful about a weekday visit from the Atlanta Hawks?  Nothing, really.  It's a casual experience, often at the end of a workday, to be enjoyed like going to the movies.  The vast majority of those games aren't interesting or memorable until the playoffs, rendering the regular season a joke.

Not so for college football.  And the reason is because these games matter.  They matter because there is no playoff, because there are so few games played, because what happens on the field is important and interesting and the players fight so hard for it.

People complain about baseball and basketball players being rich, not caring, mailing it in.  You don't have that in college football.  If guys aren't playing hard, no matter how talented you are, your season is going to be a mess because it's a guarantee your opponent will care and will crush you for your indifference.  It's not simply because the players aren't (allegedly) getting paid.  It's because the sport's status quo makes the regular season worthwhile.

A playoff is an enticement to take it easy, particularly for the very good teams who can afford to not fight back on a bad day knowing one loss won't necessarily kill them.  Imagine if USC had simply given up a few weekends ago against Oregon State, down 33-10.  Imagine their staff simply said eff-it, let's get the starters out, prevent injuries, get out of Dodge.  We would have been robbed of simply one of the finest quarters of football seen from any team all year.  It was a stirring comeback made all the more dramatic as Oregon State stonewalled the Trojans' two-point conversion attempt that would have sent the game into overtime.

We need those games.

They're what set college football apart from the pack and why it draws a lot of fans who have tired of the NBA, of the NHL, of Major League Baseball and yes, even the NFL.  We're different, it's the wedge that makes this game unique and powerful and has helped build its audience.  Why would we fathom such a change that breaks with tradition, that removes some of the incentive for good teams to play hard every minute of every game?  It's insanity and worst of all, it doesn't really solve the 'championship' problem.

A few days ago I brought up the World Series victory by the St. Louis Cardinals.  They were barely a .500 baseball team that snuck into the playoffs, yet caught fire at just the right time and won themselves a title.  It was an embarrassment to baseball's playoff apparatus.  This despite having a best-of-five first round and then best-of-seven subsequent series.  How can college football legitimately crown a champion with just a series of one-and-done games that leave so much up to chance?

College football's way of determining a champion, while imperfect, does a lot better job of crowning a TRUE CHAMPION based on the regular season. Billy Beane in Moneyball talks about the MLB playoffs being a true crapshoot in who wins because there is so much extra noise in the data that suggest that the playoffs are decided more by luck than a superior team blowing out an inferior team.

The 2006 World Series is a good example of this. It's impossible to think that luck had nothing to do with the Tigers playing defense about as well as a last place Little League team. If they would have played like that all season, then there is no way Detroit wins 95-games and beats down New York and Oakland in the process. However, because it happens during 4-games that they lose at the end of the season, somehow erases the other 171 games they played.

Insanity!

Sample size!  You can't possibly project the national mood on any particular issue by asking a handful of people what they think about the war or taxes.  You have to ask hudreds of them, making sure to correct for bias in your question(s) and control for all kinds of variables such as gender, race, income, residence, awareness of the issues etc.

Just the same you cannot reasonably determine the game's best through one game samples.

As I've argued before, most "playoffs" are poorly structured.  They're not designed well enough to ensure the passage of superior ball clubs, instead rewarding whoever is playing the best at that time, whoever is luckiest, etc.  That's all fine and dandy, but it's not much for a championship.  Please don't confuse me with being anti-playoff.  I enjoy the MLB playoffs, the NFL playoffs are fun, so is the NCAA basketball tournament.  However, I don't necessarily see them as championships but rather postseason tournaments.

Because this is college athletics, because it is the game of football (best played only once a week), a well-designed playoff is impossible.  The NFL playoffs are severely flawed despite the league not having the burdens of academic limitations to travel, etc.  It would be insanity to attempt a playoff in a game with far less freedoms and flexibility than the NFL.

Any college football playoff would be a condensed version of the NFL playoffs or NCAA basketball tournament: seeding and one-and-done games until one team is left standing.  Exciting? absolutely.  Conclusive?  Far from.  In other words a playoff won't help us sleep any more soundly at night than the current situation.  Sorry.

"B..b..b.. but we must do something!" you say, "The BCS is a mess".

Absolutely.  The BCS was designed as a compromise, a win-lose, if you will.  It creates a title game of sorts, but it has no real authority beyond the control of the involved parties: the Harris Poll, the USA Today/Coaches poll and the average of several computers.  Look no further than 2003 to see how well that worked out.

We're in this strange era in the game's history where we've got this added... thing... on top of the game.  It's like that fetus attached to the school nurse's head from the TV show South Park.  It's part of us, but it's not really part of us.  I think down the road we'll look back at this time and realize how frivolous (if $$$ lucrative!) the BCS was, and surgically remove it.

What we can do is try to bring the game back to its historic roots, its traditions.  We can seek the gradual elimination of a great many of the more frivolous postseason bowl games.  Let the postseason be a celebration, a reward for particularly strong play instead of something gained with six wins (particularly woeful when three of them are against out-of-conference nobodies).

We can also shelve the BCS and any other postseason construction.

The game used to be about conference titles and a January bowl game, to play in some new, sun-soaked place as a juicy reward for a season of accomplishment.  We can have that again.

And afterwards, when the party's over, we can take an honorary vote, celebrate a remarkable team or two and turn out the lights again until August.

***
Update: more discussion here 

***

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Reader Comments (89)

Sorry, but as a college football fan I do have the game's best interest in mind just like every other level of football does which for some strange reason you continue to ignore?

Why is that? You keep ignoring all other levels that operate quite well with playoffs. Why do they not complain about their playoffs not being legitimate? or is that just your opinion?

You point to basketball and Baseball but totally ignore all other levels of football from Pee wee up to all other levels of the sport.


All sports with playoffs aren't legitimate?? Oh Please!!


Please tell me again how FSU 2002 or Nebraska 2001, or Oklahoma 2003 were legitimate participants and not there arbitrarily?


Prior to the BCS, why is Tenn chosen over FSU in 1997 or UF gets a rematch in 1996? ND is still grousing over 1993.


Don't ever use the word "legitimate" and BCS in the same sentence as it is an indefensible position and makes no sense logically.


Unfortunately, the "Whims" are more about you and the current situation with its annual ambiguity and misuse of a fraudulent system in place filled with its bias's and agenda's. Opinions should not determine participation. It should not be about the "eye of the beholder" but about "actual results" earned on the field of play. There is very little legitimate "Out of Conference" play in which to make any real logical deductions.


Football is about resolvement not opinion. Every season Division one allows "opinon" to decide its sport and that simply is a flawed process.


I prefer "opinions" and "beauty contests" be held in other contests NOT FOOTBALL!!


Division One College football becomes a joke only in its post season where attendance is more important than accomplishment. It also remains a joke in its selection process for the bowls.


That needs to change.

1.A playoff would be a start.

2.Raise the standards for participation in many bowls.

3 Get rid of the newly established 12th game.

4.Rescind the horrible clock rule passed this year.
November 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
One thing that I think is rarely considered is that why should college football go to the playoff mold? Why does every football league have to have a playoff? Clearly some people don't like playoffs. The people that life playoffs can watch the NFL and the people that dislike them can watch NCAA. I mean, what is wrong with something a little different. Who is really hurt by the college system? My quality of education is no better or worse here at Ohio State than it was before 2002 and it won't be any different in 2007 either.
November 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLainey
Well Lainey,

I like all levels of football and they all have playoffs but division one. I just don't like the fact that football which is all about resolvement is solved by a vote, whim, and opinion over deciding its champion on the field of play.

Why not have all sports go the way of Division One?? Lets just vote on who is best and forget about playing any games at all!!

I suggest Division One choose its champions by color combinations. How about mascots? Makes as much sense!!


That would certainly be different!! Heck lets vote for them based on which section of the country they play in? Oh thats right!! we already do that!! LOL
November 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
Football is all about resolvement?

Why in the hell is NFL's overtime fate pretty much decided by the winner of a coin toss? The premise is nonsense.

Football is football, it isn't about resolvement any more than it's about toughness or any of a million other things. It's a game.
November 28, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
Just for clarification are you stating that all NCAA championships are not legitimate? You do realize that the only sport that the NCAA does not recognize as a legitimate champion is Division One football? That is why they award the Sears trophy or Circuit city or whatever it is called now.

It is not an official NCAA championship.


Overtime is a problem for both Division one and the NFL.

Both have merits and flaws in the way they resolve tie games.

That being said what is your point?


November 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
Yes I'm stating that all NCAA football championships lack legitimacy.

They are tournaments, yes. They are postseason, yes. But they are not legitimate championships.

Just because the NCAA doesn't recognize D-I as legitimate doesn't mean all its other divisions somehow hold a legitimate championship. Re-read my full entry above, you cannot have a meaningful championship with a series of one and done's. That's a joke.

My whole point about overtime is to let you know that your beacon of "resolve", the NFL, is itself far from the king of resolve if you look no further than its coin toss overtime. Your argument about the game being about resolve is complete bunk.

I make no assertion about college football being about resolve. It's a game whose traditions are rooted in the emminence of the regular season. Why in the world would we change that, ESPECIALLY when the postseason alternatives don't really clarify anything? It's a waste and would shell a great game.

If you want to watch playoffs etc. fine, just stick to the NFL and non D-IA football. Leave D-IA alone. That's not what it's about and in fact would do great damage to the game.
November 29, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
As far as your argument about the popularity of the NFL because it has a playoff system, why is it that D-IA football, without a playoff, is far more popular than the other levels of college football, that do?

It's a flawed argument that playoffs=popularity.

The product on the field determines popularity, not whether there's a playoff or not.

I think the NFL product itself is junk and that most people watch it out of ignorance and/or loyalty to their big city teams and also to keep up with their fantasy football players.

But I'm also in the minority and I understand that.

However, I do know having talked to many NCAA football fans they're here because they appreciate the quality of the game being played, that the regular season matters, that there isn't this strict order of parity between all the teams. That is what makes this game popular, but also differentiates it from the NFL and siphons off alienated NFL fans.
November 29, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
CFR:

For the record, I love the bowl system, I love the fact that teams that have good seasons get rewarded without necessarily having to lose to the best teams in the first round of a playoff (like the SWAC champion does to a #1 seed in basketball every year).

That being said, by your argument, no championship can possibly be legitimate.

Non-division 1 tournaments don't crown a legit champion because they're one-and-done.

Baseball playoffs don't crown a legit champion because the team that gets hot at the right time wins based on a small sample size.

Et cetera.

And if, as you concluded, division 1 can't have a legitimate championship playoff, then why not say the hell with it and throw the best 4 or 8 teams into a tournament and let the best team win.

That wouldn't be any less legitimate than disallowing USC (for example) to partake in the chance for a national title because they lost a fluke game to Oregon State, or Michigan because they lost to the acknowledged best team in the country.

Sure, upsets happen in sports. But as long as we've got the best of the best (and in a fair playoff system, the St. Louis Cardinals wouldn't have sniffed the playoffs), what's the harm in saying "first team to win 3 games is our champion?"
November 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKevin
Good points Kevin,

I just don't get several fallacies perpetrated by CFR

1.The regular season is only important until the very first loss after that point fans begin to lose interest due their chance at #1 essentially over.

2. The too many games excuse was blown out by the addition of the 12th game which is nothing more than a filler for all Division One teams. Can't afford to play anyone formidible.

3. The whole poll, computer, and SOS stuff is putrid filled with agenda's and bias.

4. While CFB fans fill certain stadiums week after week that is by no means the majority of Division One. Only a select 30 or so actually bring more than 70,000.00 to the games.

Face it a good portion of attendance in CFB is due a captive audience and Alumni that like to tailgate just like the NFL.


5. The TV ratings for Division One are not that impressive compared the NFL. Look at the National TV regular season ratings for the NFL compared to CFB. I do believe you have an erroneous assumption on the overall popularity of the sport on TV.


6. When the bowl games were truly a reward for a great season they indeed were fun, but today it is more about attendance than accomplishment.


You will get no argument from me as far as "THE GAME" itself but that has absolutely nothing to do with its highly conflicted way it chooses its MNC each year. Having playoffs or not will not effect the least bit negatively. All playoffs will do is enhance the regular season more. Teams will be fighting right up to the last game with a playoff in place.

Again, it is a totally erroneous assumption on your part to insinuate that the MNC game has much in the way of ratings. The game and its participants are fraudulently put there by a popularity contest and that is NOT GOOD!


I suggest you check the Nielson ratings for all the bowl games. I do believe you will be shocked at how low they are.
Playoffs will bring those ratings up because of INTEREST!!
December 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
I favor an 8 team playoff. The 6 conf champs of the BCS conferences, and the top two rated teams as wild cards. You could put in something for a midlevel conf champ who is rated highly if you want.

This would preserve the integrity of the regular season and encourage people to schedule tough games to get those 2 at large bids.

What do you think.
December 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBob
That idea is perfect and the least disruptive to the whole game.

The idea that Ohio State will have a layoff of over 50 days before the MNC is just patently wrong.

The only thing holding that idea back would be to get rid of the newly added 12th game. It also might be a good idea to make the PAC 10 Big 11 and Big East 12 team conferences with championships so that no one gets an advantage on the 8 team initial playoff.

Bowl games remain intact with little change other than allowing for better and more meaningful matchups. Teams playing for the opportunity of a bowl or championship right up to the final game.. Whats not to like??
December 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
No system can ever determine what team is truly the best. Back in 2001(?) a 2-loss USC team was clearly the best team at the end of the year but didn't get a chance to play in the national championship game. I'm fine with that.

What I'm not fine with, is people abusing the "well, you'll never find the *true* champion anyways" to defend the mess known as the BCS.

A four team playoff done correctly would do the follows:
-Keep the importance and drama of the regular season
-Reduce controversy (although I think that the BCS is really designed to maximize controversy, therefore increase interest)
-Give only 1 more game for the national champs to prove themselves - not too much to ask
-Give better chances for teams coming out of very strong conferences with one loss to prove themselves - a *major* flaw in the current system.
-Let the players decide it on the field - wanna bet how many players would love the chance to do that?
-Give 2 semifinal games with tremendous drama to finish off the bowl games, followed by the national championship game a week later, for the fans to enjoy
-Put the seedings in the hands of a selection committee instead of being a popularity contest (the *biggest* flaw in the BCS, IMO)
-Crown a deserving champion: anyone finishing in the top four teams in Div I, then winning two more games against top competition, deserves to be called national champion. Are they the best team? Close enough.

Are there weaknesses in this system. Heck yeah! No system is perfect. But the BCS has enough major flaws that we should not hesitate to move away from it.

PS The absurd number of bowl games is a *direct consequence* of the money-grubbing bowl-loving scheme the college presidents have chosen to embrace. You can't have the good without the bad. (I actually don't mind the extra bowls, it gives small schools the chance to play an extra game too)
December 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew W
Certainly agree with your points Andrew.


Even a 4 team playoff would be an improvement over what is now in place.

Again this whole "lack of drama" the BCS advocates claim just doesn't hold any water for me. Drama improves with "hope" and diminishes with the lack of. Division One is all about diminishing returns today and it shouldn't be.

Not that there is any relevence to Basketball, but 2 of the most exciting moments for me were the NC St win over Houston and the Villanova win over Georgetown.

What is so wrong with a possible 8th seed winning it all?


I think it is beyond foolish to believe anyone can pick the top 2 teams every season as Division One attempts.
December 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
Thank you and "The Coalition" for the very informative articles against a college football playoff. There are three elements that seem to get completely lost in the argument, especially among bull-headed playoff pushers.

The first thing playoff pushers need to get into their thick skulls is that college football is a business. It always has been a business, and it always will be a business. That's why the Oklahoma Board of Regents took the NCAA all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States over ownership rights, and won. And that's why schools and conferences will always do what is in their financial best interest. This isn't a democracy. It's a for-profit business.

Show me how one playoff game, win or lose, will generate $17 million for each participant (shared among its conference) like this year's BCS games do. The fact is, playoff pushers can provide absolutely no evidence of that.

Show me how the sport suddenly needs to increase its appeal through a playoff. Heck, there were more than 90,000 fans at the Ohio State-Michigan game... in 1926, nine years before the Heisman trophy even existed!

It doesn't matter if any of us think the current system is right or wrong, fair or unfair, sound logic or fallacious. It's business.

Get over it.

Second, while there is plenty of greed in the sport, playoff pushing fans should acknowledge they are among the greediest. Mark Richt said it best, "But if your only goal is to name a champion, then a playoff system would be the best way to go about it."

Naming a champion is the ONLY goal for playoff pushers. Meanwhile, the BCS (for all its ills) tries to spread the money around to schools like Vanderbilt and Illinois, who haven't stood a chance in hell of qualifying for any playoff scenario in the past decade.

Third, and most importantly, what about the athletes in all of this? The NCAA has already drawn the ire of the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee for accepting a six BILLION dollar contract from CBS, causing the Committee chair to threaten the NCAA with loss of its tax-exempt status. It wonders aloud in the halls of Congress why college sports looks more and more like professional sports, yet the NCAA receives federal funds with taxpayer money without paying the players.

Signing another multi-billion dollar deal to broadcast playoffs while the athletes receive a $50 per month stipend is nothing short of exploitation. Wal-Mart would look like Ghandi by comparison to the way it treats its workers.

The best way to shine the light of greed on the playoff pushers is to put this scenario in front of them:

Imagine you are Adrian Peterson's father. You have very good reason to believe your son will sign a $40 or $50 million contract within the next year. You have always advised your son not to take unnecessary risks with his future.

With this in mind, would you advise him to play in three or four high intensity playoff games as his broken collarbone is just healed? Or would you intervene, sign an agent for your son, and declare him ineligible to protect his future earning potential?

If you would do the latter, I applaud you for looking out for your son's best interest. If you would do the former- just because you're curious to know who an undisputed national champion is this year- then you deserve all the criticism coming to you.



December 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMJ
"Show me how one playoff game, win or lose, will generate $17 million for each participant (shared among its conference) like this year's BCS games do. The fact is, playoff pushers can provide absolutely no evidence of that."

I keep asking the same thing. I haven't heard a convincing response yet.

And I really don't see how the financial math for an eight-team playoff works out:

http://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2006/12/20/bowl-economics-101/
December 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSenator Blutarsky
Dear Senator,

Glad to see you survived the Germans attack on Pearl Harbor...

You're right. If the financial math worked out for an 8- or 16-team playoff, and if the university presidents could do it without public backlash accusing them of exploitation, it would already be a done deal. Many of the playoff pushers act like their ideas are new to the university presidents.

None of these ideas are news to anybody. Any 12-year old can draw up a bracket without figuring the projected profit/loss, or consulting the legal department to avoid getting sued by the Bowl games with whom they have contractual agreements. Yet they persist, claiming, "Well, if you just did it my way..."

My contention is this: the playoff push is mostly fan-driven, and it is derived from heightened expectations when the BCS mistakenly promised something it couldn't deliver 100% of the time. Here's why I say that.

I've been lucky enough to see every Ohio State-Michigan game since 1973. During a four year span in the John Cooper era, my beloved Buckeyes were undefeated three times going into the game against the school up north. They lost each game.

As disappointing as those losses were, there was no demand for a playoff, no cry of "do-over", no "second chance escape clause" that playoffs could provide. In fact, those losses were heartbreaking precisely because Buckeye players and fans knew that you get one chance each year to get it done.

This, in my mind, is what makes D-1A football the last sport in America that is truly reflective of life. If you blow an important business deal or a relationship, you're done until the next good opportunity comes along. That's not to say you will be excluded from lesser opportunities. However, there are no second chances to qualify for the big one, nor a concocted tournament against your competitors that you hope to suddenly "get hot at the right time" and prevail.

That's why all the other sports with conconcocted post-season tournaments frequently have "Cinderella stories". They prefer fairy tales over real life.

December 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMJ
Great last three posts, thanks MJ/Blutarsky.
December 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
As a counterpoint:

Was Adrian Peterson hurt in a playoff game??? I am certain it was in a regular season game!! Your Point???

That is as fallacious as stating that having a playoff will be a money loser???

Also, Senator Bularsky, Don't you think you should actually read what some have actually posted on this thread before making such statements???


There are many posts in this thread that state emphatically that NO BOWL GAMES WILL BE ELIMINATED!!! Please explain how adding playoffs without removing bowl games at all would be less revenue producing than having no Playoffs at all??


Fact is by starting a round of 8 by the 2nd weekend of December you are making that 12 th game actually mean something along with those conference championships to get there. You also are creating more bowl games that would mean something, and have more attractive matchups. Most surely that would increase the revenue of those games as well.


That CFR thinks your posts are GREAT?? is his opinion. I just see a couple of posts that haven't read the thread with much comprehension.


Again:


1. Eliminate the useless 12th game against the "our lady of the poor" and substitute a REAL 1st round PLAYOFF ( 8 teams)
2nd weekend of December. Why? eliminate all those injuries that occur because of the long layoff!


2. Utilize 2 of the Prime New Years Bowl games as Semi final matchups for the 4 remaining playoff winners. The Losers of first round could actually still play in a great bowl game.


3. All the Bowls remain intact.


4. This year already we are having the designated MNC game being played a week later.


5. No disruption of the bowls which become more interesting than they ever have been.


6. EVERY LEVEL OF FOOTBALL HAS PLAYOFFS BUT DIVISION ONE, why aren't they clamorring for the Division One way??


Oh and the writer concerned with "BIG BUSINESS" exactly right. but don't you think it is about time for a bit more sharing for all in Division One not just a select few!!
December 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
"EVERY LEVEL OF FOOTBALL HAS PLAYOFFS BUT DIVISION ONE, why aren't they clamorring for the Division One way??"

Simply put, Bill, because there isn't a market for it. Can D-1AA (or whatever it calls itself now) put on 5 Major Bowls games, and guarantee $17 million apiece for each participant, win or lose, like the BCS games can this year? Can D-III command $30 million per game from ABC for the Amos Alonzo Stagg bowl like those Rose Bowl does?

No. Not in a million years.

Again, you're arguing "fallacy". I'm not saying it's right or wrong, fair or unfair, sound logic or fallacious. It's a business deal. It's about the money.

Any playoff of more than 4 teams runs into an immediate problem of ownership. For example, one of the proposals of playoff pushers is to have an 8- or 16- team playoff with the 1st (or 2nd) round games to be played with "home field advantage".

Who owns those 1st round games? Who can sell the broadcast rights?

The home conferences won't. It's not a conference game. That would be patently unfair to the visiting schools. The Bowl games won't own them either because it's not a bowl game. The NCAA definitely won't own them. That's what Oklahoma Board of Regents v. NCAA was all about. You don't win a lawsuit accusing a party of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, win the lawsuit, and hand your legal victory right back to the party you sued.

All other intercollegiate sports, except D-1A football, forfeit the rights they earned in the Supreme Court and hand the authority back to the NCAA for one simple reason: the NCAA can help make them more money in all the other sports. Not so in D-1A football.

The only way to approach the ownership issue, even with a playoff, is to form some kind of alliance among each other to establish ownership of the games so that broadcast rights can be sold well in advance. For example, the Rose Bowl sold broadcast rights all the way through the year 2014. In a playoff, you can't hastily form a partnership between the two schools a week before the game and expect to generate nearly the kind of money you want from the game.

I began to understand things much better when I went to the Equity in Athletics web site. Let's use the Univ. of Florida as an example.

The men's basketball team, despite having won the NCAA Tournament, accounted for only $1 million profit. Conversely, the football team, despite having NOT played in a BCS game last year, made more than $32 million in profit. The entire Athletic Dept. made a profit of $4.2 million.

Excluding the football team, Florida athletics LOST almost $28 million dollars! Women's athletics lost almost $9.5 million by themselves! You'll see example after example of this nonsense when you look up individual schools on this web site. As I did, you'll see example after example of the football program funding all the other athletic programs.

Arguing, "Logic!" in the face of a guaranteed payout of $17 million for appearing in a BCS game is futile. If I'm a university president trying to fund all the other programs, the only thing I'm pissed about is that I have to share the money with the rest of the conference.

I damn sure don't want to share any of my football money with the NCAA by concocting some type of "official" tournament.

So I ask you and every other playoff pusher again... show me how my school can play one game in a playoff system and, win or lose, receive a guaranteed payout of $17 million.

The "fairness" and "logic" arguments simply do not apply. It's business. Those arguments remind me of an old saying in business...

"Some people like to study the roots. Others just like to pick the fruit."

Guess which group the university presidents are.

Regarding the Adrian Peterson thing... you're right. He was hurt in the regular season. They say he'll be ready to play for the January game. Yet, as you propose, would he be completely healthy for your playoffs which start the 2nd week of December?

Would you run him out there to play two or three games for the Sooners so he can collect his $50 December stipend from the NCAA?

Peterson has nothing left to prove to the NFL. He is a certain Top Five pick. Hell, he could probably skip the NFL Combine and make the Top Ten. He has a $40 to $50 million contract waiting for him in about six months. Approximately half of that money will be GUARANTEED.

As his father, would you advise him to continuing playing for fifty bucks a month when he may or may not be completely healed? Or would you protect his future and tell him, "Son, you are about to make more money by signing your name to a contract than I ever dreamed of, even though I have worked my entire life. You are about to be in a position that many people don't get to do. That is, you will be doing exactly what you've always dreamed of with your life. You and your future kids and grand kids may never have to worry about money like the overwhelming majority of people in this country do. As your father, I can tell you this. These playoffs are not that important."?

If you would advise him to play your playoffs, then Mark Richt is exactly right. Naming a champion is indeed your ONLY goal.


December 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMJ
"That is as fallacious as stating that having a playoff will be a money loser???"

BTW, Bill. I never said that. You did.

All I said was that you have to show me how playing one game in a playoff guarantees a payout of $17 million whether I win or lose..

If you can show me it makes my conference, say, $8 million, then that's fine. But given the choice between $8 million and $17 million, take a guess which one I'll choose.
December 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

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