Taking a playoff pulse

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but GTP’s second poll is all about the D-1 football postseason and which format you’d prefer to see.  For the purpose of this exercise, don’t worry about the horsetrading it would take to get where you want to go.  I simply want to see what everyone likes the best.

Here are some details on your choices:

  1. Blutarsky’s eight-team, conference champs only playoff:  reduce D-1 to eight ten-team power conferences, with some judicious rejiggering to balance out conference strength.
  2. Eight-team, current conference champs only playoff:  Troy would be in, Florida would be out.  So would the polls and computers, though.
  3. BCS Guru’s “plus one”.
  4. Mike Slive’s “plus one”.
  5. Eight-team playoff, based on top eight teams in BCS rankings.
  6. Sixteen-team playoff, based on conference champs plus eight other highest-ranked teams in BCS standings.
  7. 1-AA sized playoff (20-24 teams)
  8. The BCS
  9. Your father’s postseason:  bowls without BCS.  Ahhh, the way we were.  JoePa’s favorite.
  10. Other (describe in comments)

Alrighty then – let’s see what we’ve got.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

30 responses to “Taking a playoff pulse

  1. Tough decision. Breaking conferences into 8 schools would probably eliminate the championships games. Also, not a fan of changing conferences.

    But your plan does level the playing field a bit if all conferences are going round-robin style. So I will give it a vote.

    Anything to get rid of voters and computers!


    • The Realist

      It would be 10-team conferences, but it would still eliminate the championship game with a round robin regular season.


  2. A playoff is never going to happen The plus one is better than the current BCS and would be a compromise that would work for me. I have not had much faith in the NC since 1966. Check it out.


  3. Are we talkin’ realistic and feasible here, or “if you had your way”? If it’s the former, I’m partial to the BCS Guru plan; if it’s the latter, I like “other”, specifically eliminating cupcake games, forcing the top teams to schedule each other during the regular season, and leaving it up to the rankings…


    • The latter.

      I agree with your point about the BCS Guru format.


    • Phocion

      For the “If I Had My Way” category…

      ESPN mocked up what I think may be a better solution (The re-jiggered 8 conferences leave much to be desired in balance of power) that involved a draft of the Top 40 programs. If memory serves they then divided them up geographically to come up with 4 conferences. After each year they introduced an EPL-like relegation for the bottom team in each conference. The promoted teams were added to the conferences based on geography.

      If you hook this to a playoffs you can take the top 2 teams from each and then seed them assuring the #1 & #2 from each conference end up in opposite sides of the brackets.

      To account for shifts in power, the conferences could be ‘re-aligned’ at some regularly scheduled time (every 5 years…10..whatever). Keep the 9 game play everyone schedule…add the traditional rivalies that could end up on the other side of new conference lines…then add NCAA assigned games…to get your 12 game schedule…no conference championship games.


  4. I’d like to see a hybrid of the old-school system and the plus-1. Play all the bowl games just like we used to, with the traditional tie-ins and cross-conference rivalries. Then, take one final poll and pair up the top 2 teams AFTER all the bowls are finished for the championship game…


    • NRBQ

      That doesn’t seem to settle anything, Cale. With the final match-up completely subjective, we’re still stuck with the politicking and homerism when they choose two from all the bowl winners (and possibly some losers).

      You’d still be open to a undefeated team with a weak-sister schedule and a GT-like bowl opponent getting the nod over a one-loss squad who played a top 3 or 5 schedule with a close, tough bowl loss.


  5. Brandon

    8 or 9 and if forced to accept a playoff, only conference champs


  6. Justus

    Long-time lurker here.

    I would propose the following:

    1) Conference Championship weekend would be considered a playoff weekend.

    2) The existing BCS conferences with conference championship games (ACC, Big 12, SEC) would choose their match-up as they already do or however they wish. The other BCS conferences (Pac10, Big East, Big 10) would have the option to add conference championship games.

    3) There would be a total of 8 games played this weekend. Currently that would be 3 conference championship, and 5 additional neutral-site games played between the 10 highest ranked teams (according to BCS) not already playing in a conference championship game. The match-ups would be according to seeding, with the highest BCS ranked team playing the lowest, and so on.

    4) Should current BCS conferences who do not currently have conference championships (Pac10, Big East, Big 10) choose to add one, there would remain 8 total games, with a minimum of 2 games for 4 “at large” selections.

    4) After this “playoff” weekend, new BCS rankings would be released, with the top 8 teams in the BCS rankings determining the BCS bowls.

    5) After the BCS bowls, final BCS rankings of the 4 BCS bowl winners would determine #1 vs #2 BCS Championship Games.

    The biggest thing this would do is incentivize BCS conferences to keep or add conference championship games, which I think is a very good thing. Still, even if all BCS conference go to a championship games, a minimum of 4 at-large teams could play their way into consideration, whether they came from a non-BCS conference, or from a particularly strong conference/division (a la Georgia 2007).

    As for scheduling, I would have all pre-scheduled games end the weekend of Thanksgiving, the conference championships and “playoff” games on the second week of December, the BCS bowls done by the Jan 3rd or 4th, and then the championship game 10-14 days later.

    Would it fully address every possible scenario and question? No. But it would at-least partially solve most problems.

    Just my $0.02.


  7. Lee

    I’d be in favor of the top 8 BCS playoff. However, I’d like to keep the bowls for “everyone else”. There are typically plenty of fans of both schools at bowl games where both teams are unranked (well except maybe for ACC teams). I don’t see any reason to stop that. The top 8 teams would have the option to decline their playoff bid and play in a bowl instead (with no chance for a title.) That way if Ohio State decides they are going to be seeded against a top ranked SEC team, they can decline and go play in the Rose Bowl for, um, “traditional” reasons 😉


  8. OTHER ! ! (now with more hoo-hah)

    first, despite being a silk wearin’, lilly huggin’ liberal, i am absurdly conservative when it comes to sports. designated hitters? dante has a special ring in hell for them. and don’t screw with the uniforms. so frankly, we could go back to pre bcs and i’m happy. i hath no metaphysical angst about the legitimacy of the champ game. i wanna see the dawgs whip the teams that sully themselves by wearing orange. i want to have a beverage on north campus on my way to the stadium. i want the sec champ game, and to have a shot at the big bowl, and soon – i hope – the Magic Year. i am low maintenance.

    that being said, i would be okay with the “whoa, nelly!” approach of keith jackson. take the top four, 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, and then the winners play the champ game. i hear no arguments about whether the final rankings of the number 5 or 6 teams are accurate. no one cares about that in the offseason. not once have i mocked nerds, gators, or toothless hillbillies about how we were ranked 5. i mock them for our dawgies whuppin’ them head to head (see this year’s gt game). so, if it’s the #1 ranking at issue, the top four should be able to sort things out.

    confession: throughout the mumme poll, until my final ballot, i did not include boise st in my top 15. their academic standards would make jim harrick blush. and they could not hang in the big ten, twelve, much less the sec without two to three losses per anum. hell, maryland or wake my even whup ’em on a good day. i have no heartburn about leaving them out if they come in #5.

    rant: playoffs are about money. money money. the wwl couldn’t give a damn about equity (read = benefits to players). for that matter, there are far too many coaches that don’t care. question; if the players were lawyered up in this, do you think for a second that the benefit players receive hasn’t changed since the invention of academic scholarships?

    rant, part two: do not screw with the glory that is the regular season. evah.


  9. Sam

    10 team playoff. Essentially an 8 team playoff with two play-in games. I think 8 is too few – you can have a very good team ranked #9 – but there’s no reason to expand to a 16 team playoff as I can’t ever see a 16 seed winning the national championship. Here are some guidelines.

    – Automatic bids go to the champions of conferences to win the last 3 national championships and the other 7 or more bids are at-large. Automatic bids are exempted from play-in games. This rewards recent success in the conferences; in this case, everyone but the SEC has to get an at-large bid. Want your conference to have an automatic bid? Want your conference champ to have an exemption from the play-in games? Earn it. And there are no limits to this. If TCU ran the table under this system, the Mountain West champ would get an automatic bid and exemption from a play-in game the next two years.

    – No conference is allowed more than two of the top 6 slots but a third may be assigned a play-in spot. This covers those rare years like last year’s Big 12 where there are 3 very deserving teams, but it doesn’t allow one conference to soak up half of the byes.

    – No two teams from the same conference plays each other in play-in games. It’s doubtful that you’d get 3 teams from the same conference in the #7-#10 slots, but if you had two – as you would this year with Ohio State and Iowa – the conference shouldn’t be penalized by having them play each other in the play-in round.

    – Re-seed after the play-in games. If a 3rd team from a major conference or a “BCS buster” unexpectedly blasts someone by 40 points, it should move up.

    – Higher seeds get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Seeds are assigned independently of automatic bids; in other words, if you’d had a 2-loss SEC champ coming in this year, it would get an automatic bid but would not be seeded #1. It would, however, be exempt from a play-in game.

    Here’s how it plays out with this year’s teams.

    Automatic bids:

    Alabama (SEC has won the last 3 national championships)

    Texas, Cincinnati, TCU, Florida, Boise State, Oregon, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Iowa

    Play-in participants:
    Oregon, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Iowa

    Assign seeds as follows:

    1 Alabama
    2 Texas
    3 Cincinnati
    4 TCU
    5 Florida
    6 Boise State
    7 Oregon
    8 Ohio State
    9 Georgia Tech
    10 Iowa

    Play in (wild-card) round:
    #10 Iowa at #7 Oregon
    #9 Georgia Tech at #8 Ohio State

    Under normal circumstances, it would have been #10 vs #8 and #7 vs #9 but as per the rules, the two Big 10 teams don’t play each other in the play-in game. Let’s say Oregon and Georgia Tech win and get 7 and 8 seeds, respectively (sorry, Big 10 fans, this is just how I think it’d play out). Re-seed the teams after the games (I think the seeds would stay the same in this case). Then the matchups are:

    #8 Georgia Tech at #1 Alabama
    #7 Oregon at #2 Texas
    #6 Boise State at #3 Cincinnati
    #5 Florida at #4 TCU

    You can’t tell me THIS wouldn’t be one hell of an exciting playoff. Think of the game scripts! Georgia Tech’s option vs. Alabama’s defense. Oregon brings the West Coast offense to Texas. Cincinnati hosts a deadly BCS buster. And it’s Texas Christian University vs. Tebow Christian Eyeblack.

    Final game to be held at a neutral site (cities could bid on this or perhaps it could be rotated between the four big bowl sites).

    This model makes regular season games VERY important for seeding and the resultant home field advantage. Use the BCS system to seed the teams. Add the AP poll to the BCS formula. Given a playoff, there’s no split championship for the AP to provide.

    Notice: the two “BCS busters” got a bye under my system, and one of them even got home field advantage.

    Look how things would have been done in 2008.

    Automatic bids:

    Florida, Oklahoma

    Texas, Alabama, Southern Cal, Utah, Texas Tech, Boise State, Penn State, Ohio State

    Play-in participants:
    Texas Tech, Penn State, Boise State, Ohio State

    Assign seeds as follows:

    1 Oklahoma
    2 Florida
    3 Texas
    4 Alabama
    5 USC
    6 Utah
    7 Texas Tech
    8 Penn State
    9 Boise State
    10 Ohio State

    Play in round:
    #10 Ohio State at #7 Texas Tech
    #9 Boise State at #8 Penn State

    Let’s say Boise State and Texas Tech win and get 8 and 7 seeds, respectively. Then the matchups are:

    #8 Boise State at #1 Oklahoma
    #7 Texas Tech at #2 Florida
    #6 Utah at #3 Texas
    #5 USC at #4 Alabama

    That would have been a great playoff, too. Think of the scripts there: Oklahoma gets a shot at revenge on Boise State. Texas Tech’s high-flying offense comes into the Swamp. Utah’s spread offense comes to Austin. And two very traditional powers meet when the Trojans come into Tuscaloosa.


  10. keith

    Tony B.

    Never is a mighty long time. I hate to tell you, a playoff is coming soon in some shape or form and you can take it to the bank, (which is exactly why there will be one).


  11. reipar

    Two things jump out to me:

    1) almost 300 votes is pretty good for a blog.

    2) I am surprised by how many peope who read this blog want a playoff and how the majority thus far want a 16 team playoff.

    Guess it just goes to show you it is not about what the talking heads say, but about what the average fan on the steet wants and will not get.



    • Macallanlover

      I am surprised at how many do not want a playoff. But I am also very surprised at how many want a 16 team playoff. I believe in preserving the regular season, enhancing it actually; I don’t think there is any way you can have a 16 team playoff and accomplish that. Inclusive, but exclusive, should be the driver, imo.

      I think eight is the right number, how we get there is where the argument comes in. Play-in games for a couple of spots seem to offer the best way to a solution without changing the landscape too dramatically.


      • Phocion

        There are other options than just 8 or 16 team playoffs. This poll just didn’t give them as an option.

        The 8-team only-conference-winners isn’t a good idea because of the lack of balance between the conferences as they stand today.

        Why not…Let’s forget this idea of 6 or 8 equal conferences. There is a definite gap between the SEC, BigXII, Pac10 and Big10 as conferences and the ACC and Big East. Award the top four spots in a playoff to those conference champs. Give them a first round bye as well. Open the rest of the spots to the next 8 highest ranked teams. If that means a conference like the SEC gets 3 teams in the playoffs; so be it. Add in a stipulation that does it’s best to have teams from the same conference avoid each other as possible. Re-seed after every round… and voila, you have another option that is neither as few as 8 nor as large as 16.


        • Macallanlover

          I understand your conference imbalance point, and agree with it, but there is no way to resolve that without affording at least six of them a representative, plus two more conferences more via a play-in. To do less, leaves us only slightly better than where we are now with bickering about SOS. I just cannot go beyond that as it gives credence to the “diminshed regular season” crowd.


  12. 3rdDegree

    quick thought –

    Although the outcome of the 2005 regular season now seems to be the exception, a year with only two undefeated teams remaining is perfect for the current BCS setting. USC and Texas both earned to play in the BCSCG and that’s the match-up fans wanted to see. Watering down the post season with plus-1s or additional semi-final games would have been a huge mistake in that year. Obviously I’m aware what happens when multiple undefeated or equally worthy teams are left out of the big game, but I feel there will always be unforeseen situations (like 2005) that will draw complaints from fans when alternative formats would have worked more effectively and convincingly. Including more games after the regular season will most likely increase the skepticism of who is crowned NC.


  13. ugafish

    Other: 8 team playoff using recent BCS rules, 6 auto bids for BCS conference, 2 at-large (win your damn conference if you dont want to be left up to this device)


    • Macallanlover

      That is where I am too. I agree you lose your right to whine if you don’t win your conference, but of the two at-large spots, I feel one could go to a highly rated runner-up. The play-in game concept would be for mid-major conferences to get the other spot. Regardless of how that is decided, less than 8 doesn’t solve the current problem, more than 8 is both unnecessary, and too disruptive.


  14. The Realist

    1) Communists. Pure and simple: 16 teams? Really? Why are you trying to destroy college football?

    2) Morning, rambling rant: I was listening to Mike & Mike this morning, and they were talking about the NFL Colts’s place in history. They were saying that, despite being one of the most consistently excellent teams over the past decade, that they weren’t even in the discussion of dynasties because they’ve only won one championship. Their regular season dominance is completely moot because they couldn’t win the tournament enough times. This, despite the fact that championship tournaments are inherently fluky: it’s a one game, win-or-go-home format in which a series of minor events could drastically change the outcome one way or the other. Yet, continued dominance over your peers, which, I would assume, most would decide is an appropriate measure of excellence, is overshadowed by the results of this tournament format.

    This got me thinking about Ed Gunther’s question about whether you want a champion that arguably passes the eye test of being the best over the course of a given season or if you want a definite champion whose “bestness” is questionable. Is the definiteness of the end of the tournament more important than being great?

    Over the last five games of the season(!), New Orleans was barely above mediocre. They went to overtime with 4-12 Washington. They won by 3 in Atlanta… against Chris Redman, not Matt Ryan. In week 15, the Saints were dismantled by Dallas at home (it was 24-3 going into the 4th quarter). Then, the following week… still playing for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, they lose at home to 3-13 Tampa Bay. They follow that up with a ho-hum loss to Carolina in a meaningless game. They destroyed Arizona, but in the game that got them to the Super Bowl, they needed unflagged, illegal hits (NFL’s commentary, not mine) on the quarterback and five opponent turnovers to win in overtime… at home.

    I’m not saying New Orleans doesn’t deserve this or that. I don’t really care one way or the other. I just wonder about the fascination with definiteness in determining a champion. Is it human nature to want something indisputable? A black-and-white scenario, with a clearly defined winner and group of losers? It seems like a deep-rooted need to 100% know who can be touted as the champion for the year regardless of what happened to get there. The real kicker: we start placing teams in the pantheon of “greatness” (an obviously disputable term) based on the number of times a team won an indisputable championship. Take the 2000’s in the NFL. Who was the greatest team? Most will say the Patriots. They won 3 titles, after all. But, the Colts won more games this decade than any team in any decade… ever. But, they don’t qualify for the “greatest” team even of this decade?

    Does that make sense? Am I wrong here?


    • I am sure Ohio State fans agree with you completely! ACC fans will probably get on board, as well.


      • The Realist

        See, I think the opposite. It isn’t really a good correlation between the NFL’s 32 teams and the FBS’s 120, but the NFL playoffs give us a definitive champion that is not necessarily the best. The BCS gives us a game between the two teams at the end of the year that are considered the best… whatever that criteria may be… with the winner being considered the best team for that year. Not indisputable, but the better team generally wins those games because each team has so long to prepare, and both are usually at full strength.

        An Ohio State would be better off playing in a 16-team playoff. I think they are muuuch more likely to knock off a team like Florida if Florida had to play a team like Texas or USC the week before.

        Another question entirely: can you have an indisputable champion in a league with 120 teams and only a 12 game regular season? The NFL plays 16 games, has 32 teams, and still has 12 teams in its postseason tournament. How big would a college football tournament need to be to really provide us with an indisputable champion?


        • Not the way the regular season schedule is set up now.

          But if the top teams all had to play each other in their non-conference games…


        • Phocion

          Argue as you will about a 16 team playoff but consider this…

          Georgia Tech finsihed the season ranked #13..they were the ACC champs. They get in to teh tourney in most variations. Did they really deserve to be there?

          Nebraska had a mediocre season but came within 0.1 seconds of winning their conference. They finished the season ranked #14. Should they have been in? Had the McCoy’s pass floated another 5 yards would you be satisfied with Nebraska being in the 8 team playoff and Texas being on the outside?

          Pittsburgh came within a minute or so of beating Cincinnati. One late dropped pass and Cincy is out and Pittsburgh is in. Fair as conference champs? Better season than Cincy? Pittsburgh finished #15

          Go beyond the top 16 and I don’t think that anyone will make a case that those teams deserved a chance…or that their exclusion from a playoff delegitimizes the champion.


    • Phocion

      “Most Consistent” does not equal “Greatest” Never has, never will.


      • The Realist

        True, you could be consistently average, or consistently mediocre. But, what about a team that is consistently at the top of its class. Like USC this past decade?


  15. crazy guy

    Doug Gillett’s “old school plus one” format.