Oh, them.

I find it hard to believe that the NCAA hasn’t faced this problem yet (h/t Smart Football):

The N.F.L. is so intent on preventing teams from resting their starters in late-season games that it plans to schedule only division games in Week 17, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.

And Week 16 could largely consist of division games. That may not stop teams that have secured their playoff position from resting their starters, but it may keep the games interesting for fans. [Emphasis added.]

B-b-b-b-b-b-but, playoffs!

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25 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

25 responses to “Oh, them.

  1. B-b-b-b-b-b-but you can’t compare different sports and how playoffs affect them…. Oh, wait. This is the same sport we’re speaking of? Who would have ever guessed that playoffs could possibly devalue the regular season?

    Now that I’ve exhausted the argument that the pro-playoff crowd has used ad nauseum when you compare the NCAA tourney to college football, I’m with you, Senator. I’m currently looking out for all the pro-playoff hand grenades that we’re about to be bombarded with.

    B-b-b-b-but a playoff is the only fair and equitable way to settle the great question of who’s the best team. Damn the unintended consequences, I say! [Sarcasm heavily added, of course]

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    • Phocion

      Are you serious?

      UGa vs GT wasn’t of interest to you guys last year even though it had absolutley zero affect on GT playing in the ACCCG or UGa watching Florida? Did bad Auburn and Texas A&M teams give Alabama and Texas everything they could handle or did they pack it in because they were destined for a down schedule bowl game (Outback Bowl chicanery not withstanding?

      Give me a break. The universities that don’t have rivalry games scheduled for the last game of the season usually have divisional games. Rare in bigtime programs is it any other way (Proby trips to Hawaii aside)

      In otherwords, NCAA DivI aready does this…it is the NFL that is now rectifying a flaw in their scheduling. Adding a playoffs doesn’t have to change the SOP of the Universities.

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      • Macallanlover

        Exactly, but why recognize the indisputable math involved here, much less the tradition? NFL puts 12 of 32 teams in the playoffs versus 8 of 120 for CFB means it is 5 times easier to make the NFL playoffs before you factor in 25% fewer games.

        UGA played in 3 SECCGs this past decade, I don’t recall any change in strategy or intensity for the “meaningless” GT game (although, the tie-breaker one of those years did make the GT game “meaningful” for UGA. I am as dedicated to protecting the value of the regular season as any of the anti-playoff crowd so it is just a difference of opinion, not an undisputable fact they continually bring up. When that doesn’t work, they fall back on NCAA basketball and the absolute certainty football will mirror that. I accept their “fear factor” concerns as being well-placed, I just don’t think it is inevitable it has to be screwed up. CFB hasn’t ever shown itself to be the “flavor of the month” crowd with dynamic changes every year or two, why would they now? Yes the regular season is great/wonderful, so why not make the post season meaningful as opposed to a heaping- helping of meaningless exhibition games that determines nothing at all?

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        • Macallanlover

          Correction, “well intended”, not well placed”. Sorry, don’t want to go overboard on conceding the obstructionists’ right to continually block unemployment benefits….oops, I mean progress. 🙂

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          • Phocion

            Aww man, you had to go and screw it up…I liked everything you said until you defended the rights of Commodores to suckle of the teets of hard working Bulldogs, Elephants, et cetera for as long as possible before actually contributing something of value on a regular basis.

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  2. Kevin

    Listen, at least the NFL is acknowledging the problem.

    Don’t you think that NCAA playoff proponents (no matter how flawed their theories seem sometimes) will take this into account as the sport moves forward. I mean, they can’t be that blind/incompetent/stubborn/spiteful….. can they?

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  3. Reptillicide

    The NFL playoffs don’t devalue the regular season. Only games that involve teams that are so far ahead in the standings that how they play in the last 2 weeks doesn’t matter. And honestly, how much different is that from a team like Florida being #1 and playing teams like FIU? At least with the NFL games that nobody cares about, both teams are on a level playing field.

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  4. Bad

    I know…Let’s just vote on the superbowl winner at the end of the season.

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  5. stick jackson

    I’m not sure how you square your dumping on the college basketball regular season with this. Nothing in sports matches the interest the NFL regular season generates. Nothing. The NFL may think the late season dumping looks bad — and it does — but it’s impossible to argue that the NFL regular season is an afterthought in terms of fan interest.

    I think the point may be that really popular sports are really popular, and that sports that are less popular, are, you know, less popular.

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    • The NFL may think the late season dumping looks bad — and it does — but it’s impossible to argue that the NFL regular season is an afterthought in terms of fan interest.

      I’m not arguing that it is. But obviously the NFL is concerned about something here, else it wouldn’t be pondering the scheduling change.

      I think it’s best to look at this in relative terms. I would expect that even in the wake of an extended playoff, college football’s regular season would remain more popular than college basketball. I just don’t think it would remain as popular as it is now, because the postseason would draw away attention.

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      • Phocion

        Because why? Tennessee is a disaster this offseason and will surely be one next year. You think UT, Alabama, Florida, or Georgia are going to look lightly upon those game dates?

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        • You keep looking at this through the eyes of a partisan following a given school. Try looking at it from a more generalized perspective.

          Hell, man, I go to as many Georgia basketball games a year as I do football games. That doesn’t mean my passion for both sports is the same. How many regular season SEC football games do you remember from 2007? How many SEC basketball games from that same year?

          Fan interest in the regular season is much, much higher for football than it is for basketball. And I don’t mean that in the general sense that more people like football than basketball. I mean it in the relative sense that there’s excitement for the football regular season in comparison to the postseason that is lacking in basketball.

          I honestly don’t see how you can not observe that.

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          • Phocion

            I wasn’t challenging the belief that that NCAA football games…any NCAA football games…carry more interest than any basketball game. I was merely stating that it is my belief that a football playoff will not diminish the fan interest in any of the preceding regular season games.

            Last year, after Georgia lost to LSU and Tennessee on consecutive weekends did your enthusiasm for the Florida or Georgia Tech games diminish? At that point in the season you knew UGa was in a fight just to make an Outback or Cap One Bowl. They didn’t have a chance of getting to Pasadena, but I’m sure you cared about the outcomes of those games. So why would that be any different if there were a playoff? Fans aren’t going to toss away their interest for the rest of their season even if they know they aren’t making a 16 team field.

            Conversely, Alabama, Florida, Texas, et cetera, aren’t mailing it in for the last few games on their schedules just because they know they are getting an invite.

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  6. The problem with this argument is the assumption that once a playoff is instituted fans will just decide they no longer care about winning rivalry games (Auburn and Tech fall in that time frame for us). I don’t know about you, but I know VERY few Georgia fans that would lose interest in those games. How long would College coaches truly last if they rested starters and gave up in rivalry games?

    Not long at all. In the NFL, nobody cares about division titles or bragging rights, but in the SEC and I’d imagine most conferences, people want that over their close rivals. It’s a completely different situation, and you know it.

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    • Hackerdog

      You’re begging the question. I’m not taking anything for granted. If there were an extended playoff for football with conference winners invited, then I’m not sure Evans would even continue scheduling the GA Tech game. Auburn would continue to be a big deal because it’s a conference game.

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    • Phocion

      Not necessarily…ask a Pats fan what they think about the Colts or the Jets. Redskins/Cowboys…Steelers/Ravens…Packers/Bears/Vikes…Chargers/Raiders…

      There’s plenty of hate in the NFL

      You can see it in other sportsas well when you look at the regional rivalries. New York/Boston…LA/San Fran…Chicago/Saint Louis

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  7. B-b-b-b-b-b-but the NFL is the most successful pro sport out there, so clearly they are doing something right.

    And even when 1 or 2 teams rest starters, those last couple weeks of the NFL season – with teams desperately jockeying for playoff spots/positioning – are awesome.

    This is a solution looking for a problem.

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  8. The only reason the NFL cares about this is because attendance is down and they want to keep charging people $200 face value for seats.

    The “problem”, if there is one since the NFL is making billions, is most people have realized that the at-home viewing experience is better than the stadium experience.

    NFL games are fun and all, but they are NOTHING compared to a live college game.

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  9. keith

    When the NFL had a 14 game season, the resting players avenue happened rarely. A 16 game season makes for someone clinching earlier.
    In college with a 12 game season, it will very rarely happen and then the seeding will come into play. Like I have said a million times before. An opening home playoff game or opening on the road against teams like USC, Boise St, Texas, Florida, should keep all the starters in that last game.

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    • A 16 game season makes for someone clinching earlier.

      Say what?

      Last season’s SEC 12-game regular season race was a real nail biter over the last three weeks.

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      • keith

        And I didn’t see Alabama resting a soul against Auburn or UF resting anyone against FSU either. Heck Timmy was still throwing passes in the 3rd quarter of a 62-3 romp over FIU. The starters also played the entire game against South Carolina the week before.
        You are going against your own argument here.

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