What they said (about playoffs).

Kyle King weighs in eloquently on the subject of playoffs for D-1 football.

IAR is more succinct on the topic, but no less compelling.

To me, this is a classic “better the Devil you know” situation.

For those of you who want college football to be more like the NFL, why?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The Blogosphere

11 responses to “What they said (about playoffs).

  1. I don’t think it’s a matter of wanting college football to be more like the NFL, but don’t you find it odd that NCAA football is just about the only sport on the entire planet where you can go undefeated and not have a chance to play a championship?


  2. Honestly, I don’t think that’s any odder than watching a team win the World Series after finishing the regular season with only 83 wins.

    I am not an absolutist about a playoff for D-1 college football. I wish there was some flexibility built in to the system to account for years when there are more than two undefeated teams in BCS conferences. But what would a playoff have added to the 2005-6 season? We got the matchup that everyone wanted – and the greatest title game ever.

    If I had confidence that the powers that be would do everything they could to minimize the impact a playoff would have on the regular season, I’d be happy to jump on board. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to be the final result, once we go down that road. And if that’s the case, I’d rather not start the journey.


  3. What about D-1AA and D-II and D-III? Isn’t that college football (well, you know, technically speaking)? Are they like the NFL?

    Again, diggin’ the blog.


  4. I think that an 83-win team capturing the World Series is a product of the good in playoff systems, while an undefeated team not having a chance to compete for a championship is a travesty.

    Life is rarely perfect, but to say you’d rather not head down that road because you’re fearful of the first or second iteration is kind of interesting. I doubt that the NCAA would nail it at first as well, but the basketball tournament has a nice history to back up its evolution. A history that includes expansion, ’82 Villanova and other great stories.

    I agree with you about the 2005-06 season. But, recent history has proven that we’ll see that “dream matchup” about 25% of the time.

    I could be way off-base here, but perhaps if Georgia were consistently stronger in hoops, then perhaps you and Kyle would be more inclinded to consider a playoff system. It would be interesting to poll fans of schools to see if fans of schools that consistently qualify for the NCAA basketball tournament would be more in favor of a football playoff.


  5. Baseball playoffs are an abomination. The regular season is a 162 game marathon that’s capped by a post season sprint. I can’t think of a bigger disconnect between the two segments of the season in any other sport.

    As for your last point, I bet a majority of Georgia fans would probably welcome a D-1 football playoff – the Dawgs certainly would have been a participant in the ’02 and ’05 seasons. I can’t speak for Kyle, but from my selfish standpoint, I remember how special the college basketball regular season (which I would define as everything prior to the NCAA tourney) was in the ’60s and ’70s. It’s a shadow of its former self today, all because of March Madness. I don’t want that to happen to college football.

    If you do the economics, it’s difficult to see how we don’t wind up with at least a 32 team playoff, and most likely a 64 team playoff, in the end. I can’t tell you how much I would dislike what that would do to the only truly meaningful regular season in American sport we have left.


  6. “What about D-1AA and D-II and D-III? Isn’t that college football (well, you know, technically speaking)? Are they like the NFL?”

    Bulldawgy, the pros have playoffs for the revenue stream.

    The lower college divisions have playoffs to get some attention. The regular season games have, by and large, a very small following.

    How much do you really remember about regular season NFL games or lower division college games – even with teams you follow – a year or three after the fact? I bet you can recall more about D-1 football games, even ones that don’t involve Georgia, than that.


  7. Senator, you make a fine point.

    I would hate to think that the Dawgs’ regular season games would become less memorable with a playoff system. But that is certainly a possibility.

    As for revenue streams, why do you think there is such opposition to a playoff system? It ain’t the NCAA that will lose the revenue stream…. it’s Shreveport, and Boise, and Nashville, and Detroit, and, well, you get the picture.


  8. The fight over the revenue stream is between the conference commissioners and the NCAA.

    The bowls and networks currently pay the conferences. The conferences distribute the proceeds according to formulas the member schools have put in place.

    Notre Dame, of course, shares with no other school.

    If we go to a NCAA playoff, the revenues are split among all D-1 teams and controlled by the NCAA.

    The problem isn’t with those who give; it’s with those who receive. I think there would have to be a whole lot more money put in the pot if you went to a NCAA playoff set up to keep the big conferences happy. Otherwise, why would they agree to give up a portion of the revenue stream?


  9. You’re preaching to the choir about baseball. Easily my least favorite sport. I was merely pointing out that a team with the worst record of all entrants winning the playoffs good thing.

    I only started watching college hoops in the early 80s, so I don’t remember an era before March Madness. There’s no question that the NCAA hoops regular season isn’t as important as it may have once been, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. You still have to win 20 games or so to qualify for the tourney. There are still great regular season games and important rivalries. Conference titles are still celebrated.

    And then you have the mother of all tournaments.

    I don’t do economics, but foresee the progression going from 4 to 8 and finally to 16 teams for a football playoff. Each of those scenarios would earn gobs of money.

    I do agree with your statement on the significance of the regular season. It’s truly special. But, I’d still trade it for a slightly less dramatic regular season packaged with a playoff that would dwarf March Madness in terms of revenue and cultural significance.


  10. Jason, this is the best article I’ve read on the economics of post-season college football:

    ABC walking away from the BCS should have been a wake up call to everyone who’s sure that a playoff would raise bigger bucks.

    I think you see a 32 or 64 team tourney for the same reason you see so many bowl games now – $$$.


  11. That was an exellent read. I had no idea that ESPN owned bowls or that they were losing money on the BCS games, but given the rights fees, it makes sense.