We keep saying it. You just won’t listen.

From Michael Elkon today:

… One argument in favor of the way that championships are awarded in college football: the two best teams of the past decade were the ’01 Rams and the ’07 Patriots and neither team won the Super Bowl. In both instances, those teams lost the Super Bowl to opponents with demonstrably inferior records whom the ’01 Rams and ’07 Pats had beaten on the road during the regular season. It strains the meaning of “champion” to assign that title to the ’01 Patriots and ’07 Giants. I remain in favor of a small college football playoff; four teams would be good, six teams would be very good, and eight teams would be OK. However, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the absence of the playoff reset button in college football is a good thing in a significant way.

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17 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

17 responses to “We keep saying it. You just won’t listen.

  1. hodgie

    I do not agree that the Super Bowls didn’t mean the ones who one were not the champs. They won when they had to. Those were the rules and they won the championship. However, I do like the 6 team playoff idea. Top 2 get byes I like that idea.

    • Irwin Fletcher

      I think I mentioned this before. Determining a champion and deciding who is best aren’t the same thing. The problem with the current system is that there isn’t any objective standard to either.

      “the fact that the absence of the playoff reset button in college football”….I’d challenge that statement is a fact. In fact, I think it is false. Conference championship games are in fact reset buttons resulting in a two team playoff. Side note- I’m not sure that either Auburn-South Carolina game lost its luster b/c there was the possibility of the teams playing twice.

      “It strains the meaning of “champion” to assign that title to the ’01 Patriots and ’07 Giants.” It doesn’t just ‘strain’ the meaning, it would fall outside of the meaning. Champion, in the NFL, means the team who qualifies for the playoffs and then goes undefeated in the playoffs based upon a set of rules and tiebreakers set forth before the season starts. That is the key difference that the author is recognizing. In the NFL there is an objective definition of a champion. In college, there isn’t a definition…there is the hope that on the day after the championship tournaments, the voters use their subjective criteria to some how get it right.

      • In college, there isn’t a definition…

        I must have missed something. The BCS title game is billed as just that. Just because the NCAA doesn’t bestow a trophy doesn’t change that.

        You may not like the definition, but that’s not the same thing as saying there isn’t one.

        • Macallanlover

          I think Irwin Fletcher has it just right, there is not a national champion, just a BCS Champion, the winner of a contrived totally subjective system. Sometimes known as a “MNC”, but never a NC of the NCAA. Small point to some, but the heart of the issue to those of us who want to have the NCAA conduct a true National Championship as they do in other sports. People do not assume the winner of March Madness is the best, just the winner and champion of that playoff.

          He is also correct in this: there is no way to determine who is the best team, not just in football, but all NCAA sports. That will always be subjective, the best team doesn’t always win, and it certainly doesn’t always survive playoff tournaments.

          • You’re saying that all playoffs are subjective, just like college football’s, and that the only thing football’s lacks to be legit is the NCAA’s imprimatur?

            I hate to tell you, but even if we get a full-blown playoff, it’ll never have the NCAA’s blessing, because the big boys won’t share the wealth.

            • Macallanlover

              I actually said all discussions about who is “the best” team is always subjective. The winner of the playoffs is definitive, makes them the undisputed champion of whatever that playoff stands for (BCS, NCAA, NFL, etc.)

              Not so sure about your last statement, there is a lot of potential money available depending on the structure of the playoffs, like number of games, time slot available. etc. Look what NBC pays for Olympics that are tape delayed, and involve sports many people care nothing about. Not arguing about it, too many unknowns that neither of us know about. I do think the SuperConference proposal would remove many of the restrictions, and creat a new subclass for the mid-majors.

              • Hackerdog

                The winner of playoffs is objective. But the participants in the playoffs is subjective. In the NFL, we’ve seen 8-win teams included while 11-win teams were excluded. You may not mind that, but you can’t pretend that it’s nothing but objective.

                • Macallanlover

                  I understand, there does has to be some subjectivity with any CFB playoff (except a four team, SuperConference playoff) as you would either have to select which conference champions participate, or which teams get invited to a play-in, and/or receive a wild card invite. To that degree, a subjective poll or selection committee would be involved. Not sure that would undermine the credibility of the eventual winner, but no proposal will be 100% effective.

                  While I don’t care for their playoff, and feel it has too many teams included, I do think the NFL system is objective. The rules for determining the qualified teams are set in advance and all rules are adhered to. Similar situation to the SECCG process to determine the division winners (although in the SEC tie-breaker the last option is the BCS ranking which is subjective…this is not so in the NFL where all tie-breakers involve actions/performance on the field.)

  2. DawgPhan

    You see Senator the playoff push isnt about finding the best team, it is about getting the NCAA seal of approval on the trophy.

  3. Go Dawgs!

    Prove in a non-subjective way that the 01 Rams and 07 Pats were the best teams. Keep in mind that stats aren’t necessarily bulletproof because NFL teams don’t play every other NFL team and get the opportunity to play division opponents (which may be weak) twice. Perhaps those teams merely seemed best, and got all of the hype (like that USC team that was the best ever and could even beat the Detroit Lions before they couldn’t even beat Vince Young)? All I know is that when it counted, those teams did not win. Is it really unjust that ESPN’s annual darling didn’t get a ring? Then let’s do away with the bowls, too. It isn’t enough just to assure that the consensus 1 and 2 in a beauty contest play for the title. 2 sometimes wins it… let’s just call 1 the champ and be done with it.

    • mdr

      In all fairness, that USC team probably still could have beaten the Lions.

    • DawgPhan

      It isnt subjective when they already beat the teams that eventually beat them. And there isnt much subjectivity in unbeaten in 18 games for the 07 pats.

  4. keith

    Those regular season games you speak of don’t matter when it comes to a comparasion of winning when it matters. When the playoffs start and you know you have to win every game and then you go out and do it, that’s called championship football.

    • Those regular season games you speak of don’t matter when it comes to a comparasion of winning when it matters.

      That’s about as succinct a definition of “devaluing the regular season” as anyone could come up with.

      Thanks for making my point.

      • Toom

        Wait a minute. When the bar for getting in the playoffs is set appropriately high (winning a conference championship or going something like 11-1) where is the devalue?
        Counterpoint: the Falcons can win both regular season games against the Saints but should the Saints best them in a PLAYOFF game, the Saints will universally (if not unanimously) be accepted as the better team because they would’ve won when it MOST counted.

        • When the bar for getting in the playoffs is set appropriately high (winning a conference championship or going something like 11-1) where is the devalue?

          Never said I disagree with that. My bone to pick is with extended playoffs.

          Do you guys ever read what I write? ;)

        • Hackerdog

          If the Saints go 1-2 against the Falcons, I will be eager to hear the argument that they are the better team.