Talk about the passion.

You know, it’s really getting tiresome hearing Pete Carroll whine about how the BCS done him wrong.  He’s in a conference where his team is clearly the dominant kid on the block year after year, he doesn’t have to face the risk that schools in the Big XII and SEC do in having to win a championship game even if the best teams survive a grueling regular season, and it’s still not enough.  He wants a playoff so that Southern Cal can have a mulligan when it plays its one game a year where it fails to show up against a lesser opponent and loses.

That ought to bring the edge back to the Southern Cal program.  Hell, Pete will probably figure that a two-loss USC is still good enough for an eight team tourney.

And this again brings us back to what’s bad about a college football playoff with more than just a very few teams in it.  I don’t always agree with HeismanPundit, but he’s dead on when he posts this:

–Ya know, I’m getting tired of the endless clamor for a playoff, especially from coaches, pundits and President-elects who have no problem with making college football more like the NFL.  Does anyone really think that going to an 8-team playoff would make everyone happy?  It’s a fantasy.  There would still be teams left out and still be coaches and fans bellyaching about how unfair it was.  And all we would have to show for it would be a regular season that would no longer be the most meaningful in sports.  Furthermore, it would tilt the power in college football away from parity and back to the elite teams, who have the depth and talent to gut their way through an extended season.  That means teams like USC and Oklahoma could lose two games with regularity and still win titles.  Is that what you want?

Not me.

… I think that people who want a playoff don’t really understand college football in the first place.  The sport is all about passion and the arguments that arise from that passion…

Think about that when you watch this clip of the last few seconds of the Penn State-Iowa game.

Does anyone really want to argue that this game would have had as much impact on the fans and the players in the context of an extended playoff?

I like to think that I really could live with a four team playoff – and I could, if that were locked in stone – but isn’t it likely that four won’t be enough to satisfy everyone?  Is it worth giving up the last six seconds of Iowa-Penn State to make Pete Carroll happy every year?

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29 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The Blogosphere

29 responses to “Talk about the passion.

  1. Greg

    The current system flat out sucks. We’ll have a bunch of horrible matchups in the BCS bowl games again this year. So what if a two loss USC, Oklahoma or UGA wins the title after a playoff? If they are the best team at the end of the year and they prove it on the field, that’s the way it should be. What the hell is this about “having the depth and talent to make it through an extended season”? Uhh, yeah, that’s what it’s all about. Seems the Utah’s and Boise State’s would still be okay in terms of “gutting it out” considering they are playing the Utah State’s and Idaho’s of the world most weeks during the regular season.

    It’s hilarious to me to see Pete Carroll whining about the BCS when the Big Ten and the Pac 10 are two of it’s biggest proponents. That said, why leave it up to humans and computers to guess who the best team is when it can be decided on a field. An 8 team playoff, even a 4 team playoff, would include the teams that could make legitimate claim to the title. Ridiculous to say that doesn’t make sense or that someone “does not understand college football” for wanting it.

    If there is a 4 or 8 team playoff, you don’t think that Iowa game would mean a lot to Penn State? It could still make the difference in them making it or not making it.

  2. We’ll have a bunch of horrible matchups in the BCS bowl games again this year.

    You know, I’m always curious about this sort of reasoning. How would the first round matchups in an eight or sixteen team tourney be better? In fact, they’d probably be worse in many respects, because of seeding.

    What’s going to be bad with the BCS matchups this season is that the Big East and ACC conference champs automatically qualify for BCS games. But unless you’re going to advocate a playoff without automatic conference champ qualifiers – yeah, that’ll fly – you’re still going to have that element of mediocrity to deal with.

  3. JasonC

    Wetzl managed to do a decent article about USC’s predicament. By getting all the top recruits out of Cali, they are head and shoulders above everyone else in the area. Thus, their cause is weakened by their lesser conference mates.

  4. Macallanlover

    I am always amazed to see people who really love CFB, like you Senator, find ways to justify opposition to a playoff. I truly respect the right to differ, but I am completely baffled by those who prefer the current system to proposals which would, at the very least, provide some way to make sure the survivor has been tested, and that another Auburn 2004 doesn’t happen.

    I wonder what the actual percentages of fans are for supporting/opposing a playoff system. I realize there are many versions of this, but would suppose 80+% would prefer some sort of change in the number of teams given a chance to play for the title. While I would support a +1 format, I feel the 8 team is the right way to do it, and would have trouble supporting anything above 8. With six automatic spots, there may be a clunker or two in certain years for the mid-December first round but we have that now, and what comes with this proposal more than offsets that argument.

    I will give credit to the framing of this issue against the backdrop of USC whining, and Penn State’s joyful fall from the unbeaten ranks as a very effective way to say “all is well” with the current system. It is hard to not to enjoy the misery in any Big 10/PAC 10 teams’ efforts falling short, but to package this together with support for maintaining the status quo is spin worthy in a Bama-esque sort of way.

  5. ArchDawg

    No playoffs for me. In fact, I wouldn’t mind going back to the old bowl system with tie-ins (and some reductions or ten…), because the BCS hasn’t been giving us the best games over the past few years. Make the bowls mean something, AND make the national title mythical as it should be–passion and arguments are what make this sport so unique.

  6. … but I am completely baffled by those who prefer the current system to proposals which would, at the very least, provide some way to make sure the survivor has been tested, and that another Auburn 2004 doesn’t happen.

    (1) Which MNC contender this season hasn’t been tested in your opinion?
    (2) Why do you need an eight team playoff to avoid another Auburn 2004 scenario?

  7. Hobnail_Boot

    Greg-

    The point of the BCS isn’t to have 5 awesome matchups, it’s to have a true #1 vs. #2. Anything after that is gravy.

  8. Senator, the fundamental problem is that most fans do NOT understand what a playoff would actually look like.

    It would not be the Top 8 or “Best 8″ teams in College Football meeting at the end of the season.

    That’s the single most important thing that fans and even most of the talking heads don’t get. And until you understand that, you can’t appreciate why the rest of us are against it.

    It would be the 6 conference champs, a HUGE caveat for a non-BCS Champ, a huge caveat for Notre Dame and at BEST one at-large team in it from a BCS Conference.

    This year’s seedings would be:

    #1 Alabama vs. #8 Cincy (ranked #22)
    #2 Texas Tech vs. #7 UNC (ranked #16)
    #3 Texas (or UF) vs. #6 PSU (ranked #8)
    #4 USC (ranked #7) vs. #5 Utah (ranked 8th)

    The numbers 4 and 5 teams in the nation wouldn’t be in the playoff.

    How is that a better system than we have today? It isn’t. So…the only solution to that problem would be to expand the playoffs to 12 and then later 16 teams.

    Which isn’t a solution at all.

  9. Macallanlover

    Senator, perhaps a better way to say it should have been “tested adequately”, but the point is the same. USC would fit that definition to me this year as they are still in the race, and Penn State was within a minute of that. Should any Big 10, or Big East team get in most years, there is no “check and balance” most years, and that would apply to PAC 10 teams in recent years. It isn’t just a one year observation, I don’t feel Ohio State was adequately tested last season.

    The reason I feel the 8 team plan is the “perfect fix” is it accommodates a spot for every BCS champion and eliminates the futile arguments about schedule strength (which can never be resolved, imo, and puts everyone of those teams in control their own destiny.) That eliminates 95%+ of arguments that someone got screwed by the system. Add the two spots for the next highest rated teams, and you move even closer to total satisfaction, which will never be achieved, but it accomplishes what basketball’s March Madness does for CFB. Eight is also the maximum that can be handled within the timeframe available without totally disrupting the bowl system, or making the regular season less exciting. Move it to eight, never increase it beyond that, and there will be little whining from any credible critic. It doesn’t insure the best team will win it all, but they will have gotten their chance and that is all you can ask.

    As I have stated before, sex would not be so popular if there was no climax. Fans should demand a conclusion/closure for all they invest financially and emotionally. I am not saying folks don’t have a right to feel differently, just stating I have never understood those who are satisfied (except Big 10 Godfather, Jim Delaney….I get his viewpoint but feel it is totally selfish and has no consideration for anyone outside his member schools.)

  10. That eliminates 95%+ of arguments that someone got screwed by the system. Add the two spots for the next highest rated teams, and you move even closer to total satisfaction, which will never be achieved, but it accomplishes what basketball’s March Madness does for CFB.

    Seriously, if you’re a playoff advocate, why stop there? Why settle for 95% with eight when you can get to 98-99% with, say, thirty-two?

    I appreciate the fact that you don’t want to grow the playoff beyond an eight team format, but it’s wishful thinking. There’s no historical precedent for playoff expansion to stop at the first step and I expect that coaches and ADs will become powerful advocates of expansion beyond eight schools.

    And that’s what I don’t understand from folks on your side of the debate – how it’s just a given that the playoffs will never expand beyond the initial number.

  11. bulldoginexile

    To further bridge PWD’s point, of further concern is WHO will determine the at large teams, whether it be in a eight team or 16 team playoff? If the BCS isn’t good enough now for fans, how will it be good enough in a playoff system?

    A worse scenario: a group of ADs, conference commissioners and the NCAA could make the decision, like the basketball tourney. In picking 34 teams, there are always some pretty tough cuts, but you can point to key losses or a weak schedule to get the final 3-6 teams separated. Still, there is always hue and cry over a deserving team missing out. How would that work with 6-10 teams for one to five slots? Would there be a two teams per conference rule (you bet your sweet tukus there would be)? Then UConn (or Pitt or Cincinnati) and Oregon State are guaranteed slots over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Georgia, LSU, and Michigan State.

    A playoff wouldn’t fix the ‘fans’ issues about the BCS any more than the BCS fixed the ‘who is the real national champion’ question.

  12. “#1 Alabama vs. #8 Cincy (ranked #22)
    #2 Texas Tech vs. #7 UNC (ranked #16)
    #3 Texas (or UF) vs. #6 PSU (ranked #8)
    #4 USC (ranked #7) vs. #5 Utah (ranked 8th)”

    Actually, it would be even worse than that. You see if we go by where everything stands right now, USC would still not be in that scenario…because Oregon State is winning the Pac-10 right now. So, I think it would look more like this:

    #1 Alabama vs. #8 Oregon State (unranked)
    #2 Texas Tech vs. #7 Cincy (ranked 22nd)
    #3 Texas/UF/USC vs. #6 UNC(ranked 16th)
    #4 Utah vs. #5 Penn State (ranked 8th)

    Funny enough, I doubt USC gets the push to make it through even in this scenario!

  13. Carruthers

    Love the R.E.M. reference

  14. Greg

    If the job of the BCS is to pit the #1 and #2 teams and the rest is gravy at this point, we know that hasn’t worked out very well.

    Now, if you’re going to have an 8 team playoff, the matchup’s you guys are proposing “based on the current BCS” would have to be thrown out the window because it would then be a true playoff with the idea of actually having the best teams facing off against one another.

    I guess this is the real problem when push comes to shove. It’s not about preserving the bowl games or losing the importance of mid-week games. It’s the fear of many conferences that they will have minimal representation or none at all based on a true seeding format based on rankings(which should be indicative of the actual strength of the teams).

    At this point in the year, the Big East and ACC would be eliminated, the PAC 10 and Big Ten would likely only have one representative. The SEC and Big 12 would represent half, if not more, of the field.

  15. Greg, if you think there’s ever going to be a D-1 football playoff format instituted that doesn’t have automatic slots going to the BCS conference winners… well, I’ve got some beachfront property in Hahira I’d like to sell you.

    As Dana Carvey channeling George Bush might say, “not gonna happen.” ;)

  16. NM

    Two points from the amazingly awesome basketball tournament “everyone” wants to see football replicate:

    -We argue every year about teams not making it in that “should have”… there are 65 slots… but somehow in football — which has fewer regular season games and thus fewer opportunities for teams to separate themselves — we’re somehow going to agree on 4, wait 8, wait… however many? Right.

    -Re: The Senator’s last point: March Madness gives auto-bids to every conference, not just a few. If the Atlantic Sun gets a team in the dance, then expect a football playoff will (eventually if not right away) have to take not just Utah, not just the Big East winner, but teams from the Sun Belt and MAC too. You think the quality of the bowls sucks now? (Side note: Not every crop of BCS games is that bad — look at 2005, for one example.)

  17. Macallanlover

    Senator, the eight team is the max we can have without major disruptions. I don’t think anyone is going to vote to take games away from the current season (which would be required), and I don’t think you can throw the communities out that want the current bowls out (also required with 16 teams.) I guess I don’t see why everyone has to acccept it will grow to sixteen. There is no historical precedent in CFB, only other sports like basketball, baseball, etc., which do not have the deal with the logistics of moving the large volume of fans, nor the time in between games. These factors represent obstacles that will protect the 8 team playoff.

    As to those who don’t understand the need for six automatic bids, that is how you keep the grumbling down. Each of the six BCS conferences have to have a ticket, and the two at-large will help the two most deserving non-conference teams get a bid. You will see teams like Boise, Utah, Hawaii, etc., begin to schedule better BCS teams to give them credibility. Will someone bitch about not making the cut? Sure, but their voice will be a wimpy cry in the sea of enthusiastic cheers. Notre Dame, better get in a conference, or place yourself at the mercy of the selection committee.

    The 5% dissatisfied will be almost entirely made of people who are never satisfied, or those who feel we should not keep score any longer so everyone can be happy about never losing. They will also want 120 Crystal Footballs so every team can sit around and sing Kum Bayah (SP?) and congratulate each other.

  18. keith

    Senator,

    Please tell me why that Iowa game wouldn’t mean anything to their fans if there was a playoff. I guarantee you they would still storm the field and celebrate, they just defeated the #1 team in the land and Iowa isn’t very good.

  19. ArchDawg

    Any playoff would inevitably lead to an expansion that would therefore dilute the regular season. For those of you who thought LSU winning the MNC last year with 2-losses was weird, wait until a ‘just hot at the right time’ 7-5 ACC champ runs through a tournament and becomes champion. That would be a travesty. “Unlikely”, some of you scoff, but a strong possibility. And I’m not just knocking the ACC here–it’s just that they had a champion recently who had that very record! (FSU in ’05).

    Another thing a tournament would do is focus the entire season on the title game. (Major) College football is great because for its 119 teams it is about so much more than who is the national champion: there are rivalry games (some with trophies) to win, conference championships (the true goal of a season) to behold, bowl games as a reward for a great season*…a multi-team playoff (which is inevitable) will make most of that irrelevant, because success/failure for 119 teams will be based on reaching that one game.

    *There should, however, be less bowl games, and you should have a winning record to go to them.

  20. Coastal dawg

    Amen Archdawg.

    Consider this: When the playoff comes (and it is coming) it has to be a given that conferences would have to re-align. You have 6 power conferences with a championship game for each. No independents, no BCS busters. Can you say legal fees?

    The alternative is to expand the Super conferences to 14 teams or more. How is everyone going to like splitting the revenue and all that goes with that.

  21. Macallanlover

    And that is why I am so sold on the need for a playoff Arch, people are already enamored with “the game” without a legitimate way to get there. I am sure you have read the UGA message boards, and the national boards, and see the same hysteria I do. Even UGA fans don’t feel CMR is as good as other coaches who have a BCS title, I see this all the time. The poll ratings at the end of last season, and earlier this year drove many to make fools of themselves. My point is, the BCS scam has already gotten people obsessed with a title game but is seriously flawed.

    My desire is to drop the pretense, which I don’t believe will happen, or make it legit. I am actually closer to your position than you might think, I don’t recognize anyone’s national title claims. I feel the highest honor in CFB, at this time is the SEC Championship. That is earned on the field, and no one can say they didn’t get their shot. Best of the Best, and no politics or polls influence it. Let’s either get a legit playoff, or stop calling people National Champs until they have been through a test of major conference champs.

  22. #1 Alabama vs. #8 Cincy (ranked #22)
    #2 Texas Tech vs. #7 UNC (ranked #16)
    #3 Texas (or UF) vs. #6 PSU (ranked #8)
    #4 USC (ranked #7) vs. #5 Utah (ranked 8th)

    The numbers 4 and 5 teams in the nation wouldn’t be in the playoff.

    How is that a better system than we have today? It isn’t.
    ===================================================================

    First of all, it *IS* better than the system we have today, because the national champion gets decided through playing FOOTBALL rather than by lobbying coaches (*cough Mack Brown*) or bogus voting (*lol Mumme*).

    Second of all, Florida (my pick over Texas) v. PSU and USC v. Utah are both very interesting games. The down years for Big East and ACC are the only things hurting those other two, and FSU might still win the ACC.

    Third of all, look at round two (assuming seeds win out):

    #1 Alabama vs. #4 USC
    #2 Texas Tech vs. #3 Florida

    WOW! Two amazing games. And then you get:

    #1 Alabama v. #2 Texas Tech

    Sorry, the playoff system crushes the garbage we have now.

  23. WOW! Two amazing games. And then you get:

    #1 Alabama v. #2 Texas Tech

    Umm… isn’t that the matchup the BCS would give us anyway?

  24. You’re right on, Senator. You as well, Arch.

    For those of you wondering why those of us against a playoff view further expansion of a playoff as such a concern is because it is inevitable. It will be for the same reason you see it in other sports, opportunities for additional revenue and griping by teams, coaches, schools, owners for the need of it. We have a 65 team college basketball tournament, and many are pushing for further expansion.

    I don’t understand how you can advocate for an 8 team playoff, say you would not favor an expansion beyond that, and then think it won’t happen.

    In addition, there is a precedent in college football for an expansion of playoffs. Div 1-AA started off as a 4 team, then an 8, then a 12, and now a 16 team playoff.

    In 2010, theie playoff will be expanded to 20 teams.

    This is why playoff expansion will be inevitable.

  25. Macallanlover

    No offense Josh, but the reason I can say that is I am strong-minded. I don’t accept not doing what is best because someone may use that as a reason to do something stupid later. (Do you fear taking two Aspirin/Tylenol for fear you will gobble the whold bottle next time?) Eight teams is an adequate number to include all credible teams, and is the most that can work within the timeframew available. The experience with 1AA is NOT a precedent for big boy football. You are talking teams where 500-2000 fans MAY travel to away games versus the logistics of moving upwards of 30,000 fans large distances on short notice.

    I acknowledged there will be fools who want to include everyone and “spread the wealth”, but there are natural barriers to prohibit this. I would also say, I have NO financial incentive to teams who play in this “tournament” except the four who host the first round games in mid-December.

    I feel dividing the lucrative TV contract dollars equally among all schools is the way to get this passed. It could be worth $2MM+ to all 120 schools which would be a windfall for everyone beyond the Top 60. Only travel costs would be deducted from the pot. It is not inevitable, imo, and I am not naive.

  26. I feel dividing the lucrative TV contract dollars equally among all schools is the way to get this passed. It could be worth $2MM+ to all 120 schools which would be a windfall for everyone beyond the Top 60.

    Why on earth would the haves share with the have nots like that?

  27. You’re not offending me, I just dont understand the logic of the stance because you won’t be accomplishing the end result you’re seeking because of playoff expansion.

    You said 8 teams is enough to include all “credible teams”, but when expansion would happen, you would be creating more barriers for those “credible teams” to reach a national championship by forcing them to play additional games against teams that you deemed as not being “credible.”

  28. Macallanlover

    (First of all, let me adamantly preface this with a statement that I am no “spread the wealth” type, not even close!) The reason for dividing the money equally is: 1) primarily to enlist the support/vote of the vast majority of the schools who have no real chance of making it to the Final 8 and would not want to see the “rich get richer” but need the cash badly to put a competitive product on the field, and 2) to get the “hos” like Jim Delaney away from trying to rig a way for two Big 11 teams to get a way into the playoff…deserved or not. Also, the championship should be about the integrity of crowning a champion rather than a money grab, which is what the BCS has become to some at this point as with last year’s Rose Bowl.

    Teams like Hawaii (remember their $50K recruiting budget last year?), New Mexico, Middle Tennessee, UAB, etc., would never get that kind of money annually but UGA, USC, Texas, Ohio State, etc. do not really need the extra money or have that as an incentive. A playoff cannot occur without a majority vote of the 120 schools, I just bought a sizable chunk of much-needed votes. Add that number to the SEC and Big 12 schools who want a playoff and you will out vote the Big 11 and a few other holdouts.

  29. ArchDawg

    First guys, like the Senator said there is NO WAY any playoff is going to occur without giving the current BCS conference champs an automatic bid–it will not go to top 8 in the BCS rankings, if those would even exist at such a time.

    That’s six of your eight teams right there, and two at-larges, which will almost certainly always go to a BCS-conference team. You want to know the teams that will be crying about being left out of this? Teams like Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Southern Cal, and the list goes on and on. Pressure from big, powerful schools like these will inevitably lead to more at-large spots in a winner-takes-all playoff.

    And then what about the non-BCS schools? After enough pressure, their conferences will get automatic bids to a playoff as well, because they will argue, at least we won our conference. It doesn’ t matter how weak the Sun Belt is, it will happen to appease those conferences and to prevent anti-trust infractions and other legal infraction against the NCAA, largely due to the money these games will generate. And that will cause even MORE schools from the tougher, BCS conferences to want increased at-large bids because their schedules are on the aggregate are much tougher than anything the non-BCS schools must face.

    So at the least, you’d be looking at a 16-team playoff with 11 automatic conference bids and 5 at-larges after just a few years…and that will increase drastically–I’m talking as much as 32 teams–as those teams being left out (go down that list of powerful teams above), whine about being left out of the real dance as the bowl games become entirely irrelevant–there will be less money in them, lesser TV exposure (you think ESPN or the broadcast networks are going to give prime time to an irrelevant bowl game?). Guys, look at the NIT compared to March Madness to see what will happen to bowl games if/when a playoff starts.

    And college basketball is an apt way to end this post, because an inevitable multi-team playoff will destroy the sanctity of the regular season as college football now knows it.