For some reason, it struck me the other day that it had been a while since I’d seen a post at one of my favorite blogs, The National Championship Issue. It turns out that Ed Gunther hadn’t retired from the fray, but instead was working on his magnum opus, an eight part (!) post entitled The Arguments For & Against a DI-A College Football Playoff.
Nothing like being a little ambitious.
But give credit where credit’s due here – Ed does one helluva job laying out all the arguments on both sides of the fray. In fact, I’d say that his post ought to be required reading for anyone who wants to engage in the debate.
If I had to nitpick – and since this is a blog, nitpicking comes with the territory – there are a few things I’d question in what he wrote.
- “If there’s one thing in this playoff issue that the vast majority of fans on both sides agree on, it’s that the BCS sucks.” I think that’s an overstatement to some extent. I’m sure that many who favor a playoff feel passionately about replacing the BCS, but as Michael Elkon pointed out the other day, in one area at least, the BCS has been a raging success in that it’s prevented a 1984 BYU – MNC scenario from occurring again. Are there flaws in the BCS that could stand fixing? Sure. But it’s still the best thing college football’s come up with to determine a #1 at the end of the year that we’ve seen.
- “We’ve mentioned this before, that getting rid of the rankings aren’t an option, even if a playoff is instituted.” I’m a little surprised that Ed completely dismisses a purely objective playoff comprised solely of conference champs. To me, that’s the strongest position the pro-playoff folks can take. It’s what I’d like to see happen. And with all of the antitrust threats being tossed around these days, the possibility that D-1 fractures into a power conferences arrangement seems more likely than it did a couple of seasons ago.
- “But nobody on the pro-playoff side is saying that we need a 64 team tournament. The most they claim is a 16-team, which would take four weekends, or maybe an 8-team, which would take three weekends.” Not true. Mike Leach argued for just that the other day. And if you want to dismiss that because it’s Mike Leach, fine – but go check out some of the comments made at the Congressional hearings about the BCS last week. The fact is that for those who see a playoff as a means of addressing economic fairness (whatever the hell that is) in D-1 athletics, an extended playoff is a virtual necessity to spread the wealth.
But like I said, that’s nitpicking. There’s a lot of good stuff there. Take some time and go through it.