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Thursday
Dec132007

Yet Another Reason A Playoff Is Just Stupid

t1_ultimatechamp.jpg

Ugh.

Lose to Stanford and Oregon?  No soup for you, at least in my book.

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Reader Comments (29)

No give no reason for your opinion that a "playoff is stupid" much less "another reason." I suspect the first reason you think it "stupid" is an over-riding dislike for a playoff system. "Another reason" would have to be a distain for USC, If we postulate a playoff, based on end-of-the year performance and available players (the "world wide leader" today listed five significant players at USC that missed time), concluding USC would win does not seem "stupid." Care to explain ?
December 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWest Coaster
West Coaster, welcome to the internet's best source of humor.

The regular season is its own playoff system (giggle). As the season moves toward the end, the cream rises to the top (snicker). College football is the only sport with a meaningful regular season (chuckle). So to recap:

Record in Last 2 games of the regular season:
LSU 1-1
tOSU 1-1
Oklahoma 2-0
USC 2-0

Yes, the regular season is its own playoff. Thus, the mythical national championship game will feature two teams that are .500 in the FINAL TWO GAMES OF THE REGULAR SEASON.

Now, stop laughing so damn hard.
December 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbevo
Notre Dame has a longer winning streak than either of the teams in the championship game.
December 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWest Coaster
No reason?

Um, start here:

http://www.collegefootballresource.com/blog/2006/11/9/le-playoffs.html

Then read a lot of this:

http://www.collegefootballresource.com/display/ShowJournal?moduleId=109089&categoryId=101607

Distain? What's that. Do you mean disdain? If so now that's just untrue. I greatly admire USC's recent success. But it's obvious when they don't have the best team in the country. The fact that they could very well win a title in a playoff despite not being the best team in the country is horrifying though.
December 13, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
Your two links are not convincing. The first is to your opinion of early November, before USC finished the year with impressive wins will the other "contenders" were racking up losses. The second adds nothing of substance.

Your response conludes "The fact that they could very well win a title in a playoff despite not being the best team in the country..."

So back to the original point, Your first reason why a "playoff is stupid" -- an over-riding dislike for a playoff system -- remains.

So as to "another reason" -- now you have conceded that USC "could very well win" -- what is it that makes that very result reached so "stupid"?

Thus, it appears your "another reason" is that, in your opinion, USC is not now the best team in the country, Well the, who is, and why? And how do you explain away its late season loss?

December 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWest Coaster
"The first is to your opinion of early November"

That opinion has long been held, and was published in early November ... of last year! Not this year. It doesn't sway to the motions of this team or that team's performance.

"USC finished the year with impressive wins"

LOL over who?

By 7 points over the Cal team that lost 5 of its last 6 games?

By 17 against a UCLA team with absolutely no offense? USC only scored 24 in that game and looked incredibly sloppy itself.

Oh, you mean that ASU win? One nice win, the others were just your standard conference wins over middling conference teams on the decline. UCLA just fired its coach, that wasn't an impressive win.

"So back to the original point, Your first reason why a "playoff is stupid" -- an over-riding dislike for a playoff system -- remains."

I have an over-riding dislike for disorganized playoff systems that don't realistically settle who is the best team in the game, which happens to be almost every playoff outside of the NBA playoffs. To get a truly representative playoff you need a series of games between teams to accurately determine between the two who is the best team and then repeat the same process in a later round and another round etc.

That simply CANNOT be done in football. To say the team that wins a football playoff at the end of the year is the nation's best team is at best a rough guess and more likely a fallacy. Nothing is really settled on the field with so much variance involved in one game setups like that. At least in the current system we can admit as much and not pretend it's a realistic championship.

"So as to "another reason" -- now you have conceded that USC "could very well win" -- what is it that makes that very result reached so "stupid"?"

Anyone in any bracket could very well win. Only losing actually eliminates a team, duh.

Such a result would be stupid because USC clearly isn't the nation's best team. They're incredibly error-prone as far as penalties and turnovers, their offense struggles to get to 20 points in most games, their bend but dont break defense is great but is not infallible particularly when the offense is as pedestrian as it is.

And, lest we just talk about the team itself, there is its performance. USC lost at home to Stanford and its backup quarterback. Think long and hard about that. Watch USC's games this year, does anything they've done all year scream "championship football"?

Right after everyone thought they'd turned it around with that win over ASU, USC goes and puts up a pretty average outing against hapless rival UCLA. They simply didn't take care of business all year. You don't get to the title game by having just 3 or 4 truly decent games (WSU, ASU, Nebraska) against about as easy a schedule as USC has seen in the last decade.

This team is so far from what USC fielded in recent years it's not even funny.

Who is the best team?

It's been about as tough as can be this year to figure that out, but a good starting point is Georgia or Oklahoma or Ohio State. I can make a case for each of them, and obviously you're going to shoot back with this or that but this year is such an outlier you have to remember that literally every team has several marks against them both with losses and questionable games. This is the first time it's been this way in many years --- if ever.

Nobody really deserves the championship in my mind, but so long as we have to do this performance of having a "championship" game, the great part is that we as fans, media etc. get to figure it out amongst ourselves who best fits everyone's criteria.

Was LSU/Ohio State the right choice? I don't think so, but I'm not exactly offended all things considered since everyone completely messed up at least once this season. That's the cost of everyone collectively deciding to screw up like that, of USC not putting together the season they should have put together, of even LSU not having the season they should have.

When the teams capable of being great never met that potential, the process was opened up to everyone. Shame on Kansas, etc. for missing their opportunities. I don't have qualms with this system for spitting out the results we have, I blame the teams that didn't take care of business. USC is atop that list of teams with great opportunities royally screwing up week after week. At some point you gotta make a case and USC never really did anything on the field the last half of the season outside of a singular win over ASU that looks suspiciously like an extreme outlier to the rest of their season's performance.

That's the great part about the way college football is organized. Great things are there for those who take care of business. In most years it takes care of itself to where we get legitimate championship quality teams like Texas in 2005, USC the year before that, USC and LSU the year before that, etc. etc. etc.

This year it just never happened. Oh well. Don't take it out on the system that creates such competitive regular seasons by demanding a playoff because everything didn't come out squeaky clean. That's asinine and counter-productive.
December 13, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
"That's the great part about the way college football is organized. Great things are there for those who take care of business."

Once again, tell that to Auburn from 2004, or Penn State from 1994, etc. Those teams and others have been screwed by the system, plain and simple. You're okay with that, I'm not.
December 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMarty
"Record in Last 2 games of the regular season:
LSU 1-1
tOSU 1-1
Oklahoma 2-0
USC 2-0"

Funny, I thought the regular season was longer than 2 games.
December 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSenator Blutarsky
The system we have sucks. There is no defense of it. The BCS and the Bowls are all about padding the pockets of the powerful. We the fans are stuck with a MNC game that may or may not be the best two teams. The rest are placed in games that are not the best matchups because no bowl can upstage the MNC game.

CFR is against a playoff simply because it creates controversy which fuels his pitiful little blog. His main argument is that a playoof would ruin regular season games. I contend that it would do exactly the opposite.

December 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy
Hey, I've got an idea - since there's nearly universal disdain for the BCS, let's just admit our mistake and go back to the old bowl system. Problem solved.
December 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEd Gunther
Ed said, Hey, I've got an idea - since there's nearly universal disdain for the BCS, let's just admit our mistake and go back to the old bowl system. Problem solved.

The bowl games were much more interesting in those days. For example, this year you might have USC/tOSU, LSU/W.Vir, Oklahoma/UGA, etc.
December 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy
<i>"Yet Another Reason A Playoff Is Just Stupid"</i>

Right. OK, so every other sport in America has it wrong. Let's just get rid of all of them.

By the way--the "reason" you specified is a canard--it's a figment of ESPN's imagination. Pointless blather.
December 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTom Blogical
'SC losing to Stanford hurts. Losing to Oregon with a backup quarterback, by 7, at Oregon? (a healthy Oregon, with Dennis Dixon, the likely Heisman winner had he not been injured)

How is that any more damning than losing to Arkansas and Kentucky? For all the accolades given to Woodson, Kentucky only finished 7-5, and Arkansas only 8-4.

I hate the notion of a playoff CFR, but every single candidate, INCLUDING tOSU can be logically disqualified, either on the basis of schedule, losses, lack of wins, lack of division/conference championships, or what have you.

And frankly, this season, its bull that an LSU team whose average margin of victory against SEC opponents was 14 (8.8, if you ignore the huge outlier that was the MSU game), is playing while Oklahoma, and 'SC are sitting are home.


Drawing names out of a hat is not an effective method for picking a champion. Your main argument is, "I blame the teams that didn't take care of business." LSU didn't take care of business. Squeaking by a Tennesee team that got blown out by Cal isn't taking care of business. Losing two games isn't taking care of business.
December 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterUSCLink
"Right. OK, so every other sport in America has it wrong. Let's just get rid of all of them"

Don't be so dramatic.

Let THOSE sports do what they want. But one of the reasons everyone points to college football needing a playoff is that "every other major sport does it"

Well, so what ?!

Every other major sport, at least in my mind, isn't anywhere near as enjoyable and compelling as college football. Part of that rests in the reality that teams have to put together worthwhile seasons to be viewed among the best of their peers. You don't have this situation like with baseball where a barely .500 team wins the World Series. There are no do-overs, no recreation of the previous events that rewards whoever is healthy and hot instead of the truly best team as determined by performance in an incredibly meaningful regular season.

No need to get rid of the other sports, just quit placing demands on college football that it be just like the rest of them.
December 14, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
Link,

I agree with much of what you say about LSU and they shouldn't have been voted into the championship game.

But that's something that we can work with within the game, voter/poll reform, having discussions about how teams are included and shaming the voters when needed. We can get better results out of the system.

But the wrong conclusion most people make is to abandon the entire system and try to go down this fanciful playoff road that won't even really solve the same issues but at the same time will deeply alter the physical and psychological profile of the sport. I don't want the game changed over some misplaced notion that we can get it right with a playoff.

Just get it right within the current framework, it can be done, just takes some talking and a little more consensus from everyone about things. The voters got it right last year in picking Florida over Michigan. They just flubbed it up this time around.

Regardless it's sort of not worth the agony this year in my mind, which is I guess the frustrating part for someone like yourself. Yeh there's a good case against LSU. But every imaginable candidate can have similar bad stuff held up against them.

This year was just a really weird, flukey, FUBAR series of events that made for an incredibly entertaining regular season (which I LOVE) but left us with some strange choices late in the year.

To me that doesn't ruin a season at all. It's a head-scratcher but not a reason for revolution.

This is where the old system may have been useful, as voters could have crowned Georgia or Oklahoma or whoever the champion instead of this questionable LSU/Ohio State game.

Was it really so bad that Michigan and Nebraska shared that title in '97? We could use a split national championship again this time around.
December 14, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
Can't really disagree, Ed.

Obviously I'll still take the BCS over a playoff though.
December 14, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
<i>"Don't be so dramatic."</i>

It's not being dramatic. It's called being grounded in reality. College Football constantly tweaks its crappy system to determine a National Champion because it's <i>crappy</i>. Deal with it.

A playoff system is the most perfected system out there, and wouldn't diminish the sport at all, just like the rest. It would improve it dramatically.

Is a playoff system absolutely perfect? No. But it sure as hell beats the stupid Figure Skating Judging System College Football uses to determine a National Champion.
December 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTom Blogical
So much for italics...
December 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTom Blogical
Furthermore:

"Let THOSE sports do what they want." You mean, let EVERY OTHER sport do what they want.

"You don't have this situation like with baseball where a barely .500 team wins the World Series." That happens what, once every blue moon? Talk about being dramatic.

I don't want opinions determining the best team. I want it determined on the field. If a .500 club does that once every 50-100 years, so be it.
December 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTom Blogical
But it is determined on the field. Or did you miss the regular season with all those games played on the field?
December 16, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR

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