Mark Richt has had a real change of heart on the subject of a D-1 college football playoff.
Mark Richt has become an outspoken advocate for a college football playoff. Listen to him from a couple of days ago:
“For the longest, I was like, ‘I like it the way it is. I’m fine with it.’ I’m not that way any more.
“I’m ready. I’m ready for a playoff. I’m ready for a four- or eight-team playoff…”
On one level, I think I understand why he’s done an about face on the postseason. It sounds like he found the BCS politicking he felt forced to do at the end of last season distasteful.
“Having to live through last year and feeling like you’ve got to have this big filibuster or whatever you want to call it to go out there and try to convince people to vote for your team – I mean, it shouldn’t be that way in sports, especially in major-college football…”
But here’s the thing: why would any of that necessarily stop with a playoff? As long as there’s a subjective element to selection, there are going to be teams arguing why they shouldn’t be left on the outside looking in. The only playoff format that would avoid this problem would be one that was limited to conference champions (a format that, with a little judicious tweaking, I would be in favor of). But I suspect that adoption of such a playoff format would have little chance of succeeding in the real world.
One reason for that is that subjective standards mean that it’s easier for programs in tough conferences – or tough conference divisions – to gain access to a playoff than it would be if only conference champs need apply. And playoffs with subjective criteria for admission are easier to expand, which makes more coaches look good.
Of course, that would lead to hearing more coaches whine on ESPN about why their teams deserve to be in, but that’s a small price to pay for progress.