Bad cases make bad law.

I’m beginning to wonder if one day we’re going to look back on this year’s BCS title game, aka The Rematch, as sort of college football’s Bush v. Gore equivalent.  Check out this comment from Andy Staples:

This season’s Alabama-LSU national title game was the tipping point for the anti-playoff crowd. Several leagues were already leaning in the direction of a four-team playoff — strategically called a “plus-one” so dim bulbs won’t realize it’s actually a playoff — but when voters passed over Oklahoma State for an all-SEC rematch, the momentum finally swung in the direction of a bracketed tournament, even if it is a small one…  [Emphasis added.]

If there is some form of SEC backlash involved in the playoff movement – and I’m not saying Staples is wrong to suggest there is – boy, are some people going to be disappointed when the SEC puts three schools in a plus-one tourney.  (Unless, of course, they limit the number of schools one conference can place in a plus-one, which would speak volumes about Andy’s point.)

Then there’s this from playoff proponent Matt Hinton.

… For the sake of argument, let’s say Alabama beats LSU in another generally competitive game, by a margin of anywhere from one point to two touchdowns. In that case, the Crimson Tide will finish the year 12-1 with two or three wins over teams ranked in the final polls (give or take Penn State). LSU will finish 13-1 with four or five wins over teams ranked in the final polls (give or take West Virginia). They’d be be 1-1 against one another, with LSU’s win coming at Alabama. LSU will still be the SEC champion.

Under the circumstances, that’s a formula for a split championship, at worst. (The Coaches’ Poll is contractually obligated to vote the winner of the BCS title game No. 1; as LSU fans are well aware, the Associated Press poll is not.) That wouldn’t be the case if the rematch came as a result of the Tigers and Tide eliminating the competition head-to-head, on the field, leaving no questions and no alternatives. If there happens to be a rematch at the end of a playoff, it’s between two teams who have decisively earned it in a way that Alabama, in the current system, has not.  [Emphasis added.]

Don’t you just love that?  It’s not the rematch that’s bad; it’s the system which delivered it that’s bad.  Nifty bit of circular reasoning there.

Of course the real problem this season isn’t that there’s a rematch in the title game.  As Matt backhandedly acknowledges, the real problem is that there’s a debate over which team is the second best.

… That’s not to suggest that Oklahoma State or anyone else has earned a stronger claim on a second chance, either. But as long as that opportunity exists for some teams at the expense of others, the current system belongs in the scrapheap.

And because we can’t decide that issue (and because, let’s not forget, the schools want that TV/BCS money), the solution is to make the clear number one team in the country play more games so that we can all feel better about which school is the runner-up.  We’re supposed to take an illogical situation and make it even more illogical.

You can see the slippery slope coming a mile away once this rationale is sanctioned, can’t you?  This time it’s about #2 vs. #3.  With the plus-one, the next debate will come when the argument is over which team is the nation’s fourth-best and the pressure will return to expand again to solve that debate (even if, say, it comes in a season à la 2005, when there was a clear consensus on the top two teams in the country).  In other words, a playoff won’t  solve this particular concern any better than what we’ve got now.

My point here isn’t to argue against a plus-one format (even though I expect most to question me on that).  I’m okay with one that’s constructed with an eye towards being resistant to further expansion.  There’s a convincing case to be made that there should be a better way to deal with the way the 2003 and 2004 seasons played out.  But those were situations where the debate centered on more than two teams with a legitimate claim to being considered the best going into the postseason.  Now we’re being urged to replace that standard with one that merely asks which teams deserve to show up in a postseason tourney, and that’s a very different animal.

Which means that if this season truly and finally provides the impetus for a D-1 playoff, either the movers and shakers embrace a new, flawed metric for inclusion, or (what I suspect) give it to us with a nudge and a wink that while it’s about what happened in 2011, the facts are unique and they promise with all their hearts that it will never, ever be a factor again.  We can believe them, right?

Hey, if you can’t trust the folks who were pushing to expand the basketball tourney to 96 schools until they couldn’t find a broadcast partner willing to pay for the privilege, whom can you trust?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

126 responses to “Bad cases make bad law.

  1. If we are now pushing to go from a two-team playoff to a four-team playoff without changing how the entrants are determined, then what is to stop an 8, 16, 20-team playoff in the next decade?

    • Btw, I’ve been pushing for a “conference champs only” rule for the two-team playoff since 2001.

    • Castleberry

      Exactly. The larger the field, the more teams get left out too. A couple of teams can argue for the two spot, but there are probably eight teams tht would get left out of a sixteen team bracket. Few will admit that college comes closest to getting it right.

      • Jordan

        I disagree with this sentiment. “Oh, we shouldn’t have a playoff, because while we’ll definitely get teams #1 – #10, people might be unhappy with our selection of teams #11-#16. And because of that, we shouldn’t have a playoff.”

        The reason few will admit that college comes closest to getting it right is because they don’t. That would be like me saying, “Hey, few will admit it that Hitler came closest to getting it right.”

    • The Lone Stranger

      That’s my opinion on the issue and ought to be Topic #1 — a prerequisite for a national champ should be a regional championship. Sort of a football pyramid, of sorts.

  2. Jordan

    I read this blog a lot and generally agree with what you have to say, but your anti-playoff stance is becoming increasingly dated. Hinton, who I read and respect, makes great points and I imagine 90% of the people out there would agree with him.

    Alabama did not win their league, Alabama had a less impressive resume of wins than OSU, Alabama already lost to LSU at home, and the only thing Alabama had in favor over OSU was their loss was more respectable, but its hard to consider that when their loss is to the very team we’re deciding who Alabama or OSU would play.

    The people freaking out about having a 4 or 8 team playoff turning into a NCAA style tournament come off to me as the same people who were scared to give women the right to vote, because whats next, the blacks?! (this is made in jest, but the point remains is you come off as outdated and paranoid).

    As Hinton points out had Alabama gone through a playoff and ended up matched with LSU, it is what it is, but that would have left other teams (such as OSU) with good claims to that coveted #2 spot the opportunity to play for it. I’ve increasingly lost interest in the bowls as 8-4 teams, with coaching staffs having been fired, go through the motions. I’d rather see playoff football.

    • I’d rather see playoff football.

      I can respect that. But it means the rest of your comment is irrelevant.

      • Jordan

        How so?

        – I like your blog (how is this irrelevant?)
        – I think your anti-playoff stance is outdated (how is this irrelevant?)
        – Alabama does not deserve to be in national title game, though should be in a playoff with OSU (this relates directly to what I said)
        – Not wanting a playoff because you’re afraid of playoff creep is paranoia (this is relevant)

        I’m not sure what is not relevant.

        • You state a personal preference for playoff football. That’s cool. It’s also purely subjective. So turning around and telling me that my fear of playoff expansion is mere paranoia is an opinion on your part, not a factual subject for debate.

          It’s pretty much the same for the rest of your commentary. For example, I don’t have an anti-playoff stance, but if I did, it’s outdated only in the sense that you prefer something else. After all, there is no playoff now (unless you consider the BCS title game a one-game playoff).

          Though I’ll admit your blog praise isn’t irrelevant.😉

          • Jordan

            No, I love your blog. #1 Fan.

            I just wish you fell in line with my opinion on this issues.

            • Dave

              Jordan – you’re simply blinded by preference. Every argument you make can probably be similarly turned around on you. For example, team A is 13-6, team B is 18-1 and they are 1-1 against each other. Team A is the champion. This is obviously absurd if the question is “Who had the better season”. But in a playoff, Team A is the champ. End of story. And like the Senator says, that’s cool if you prefer that.

              But to sit here an call people who prefer the current format over a larger playoff out of date is pretty lame. Simply say “I’m a bracket buy” and you’ll find a lot more respect. Logically, both sides of the argument are reasonably compelling. I personally find the 2 team playoff more compelling simply because it places so much importance on almost every game in the regular season, which I personally favor. Those two last second pass plays broke Wisconsin’s heart this year. And the fans will still talk about it 20 years from now. I like that. This is an odd year where we really don’t need a playoff because LSU is the best team. A playoff wouldn’t change that if LSU and Bama met in the finals. One bit. Of course, playoffs seem to have a lot of odd years lately in the NFL with the wild cards winning it all. Might explain why I skip most of the regular season in the NFL and watch the playoffs.

              I believe anything more than a 4 team playoff would severely dampen regular season importance of almost every game. I’ll never know for sure since I haven’t figured out the whole alternate universe thing yet, but looking at almost every other sport, it’s hard for me to argue otherwise.

              Again, note I simply state personal preference.

              • Cojones

                That’s good. So was Jordan. His comments were to the point and no more inflammatory than the Senator’s. For all the reasons you seem to think a playoff has so many holes, I can rip off a littany of reasons why the present BCS system is straight BS, embraced by those who simply want to play a game of who can outbitch the other.

                When you lay all the pros and cons end to end, a playoff seems more reasonable than preferential treatment to decide the top two teams to play for a championship out of 120 teams (which is absurd). If we can all get over ourselves, we should proceed as fans who give a shit, to embark on playoff planning.

          • If it’s just a “+1” or 4 team playoff, it definitely expands. And it also will assuredly not allow 3 SEC teams out of the 4. It may not even allow 2 and be restricted to just conference champs. At most, I’d see it requiring 3 conference champs with 1 “at large” selection, but no more than 1.

    • Bob

      I could absolutely agree with up to an 8 team playoff. I think that is a bit much because I can’t think of anytime in the history of CFB that 8 teams have “deserved” to be in consideration.

      My concern is that 8 will become 12 or 16 because playoff addicts are just like alcoholics. Their motto is MORE IS BETTER. It never stops. MLB going down that path now. It is a mere matter of time before the NCAA Basketball Tourney goes to 90 plus teams. The NHL and NBA are a joke…the regular season is nothing more than extended Spring Training for both.

      If we take the step on the playoff, I would want the absolute strictest rules in place to prevent this type of mindless expansion.

      • Jordan


        Thank you for the reply.

        I don’t think a concern that an 8 team playoff would turn into a 12 or 16 playoff is adequate reason for adopting a better (in many people’s opinion) system. Sure, it could happen, and if it does, its because the market (the people) demanding it. Would we not be stoked at playing Michigan State right now for the right to move onto the next round of the playoffs? I would love that. I would be there. As of now, while I want UGA to win, I’m apathetic to the game. Its just a bowl game, a glorified scrimmage.

        And lets not compare NCAA Basketball to NCAA Football. NCAA basketball has 350+ teams, football has what, 120? Also, NCAA basketball also does not have a lot of disparity. A school like Butler or Gonzaga can compete with schools like Duke or Kentucky, unlike football where there are maybe 2-10 teams that could win the national title each year.

        Also, the ADs and conferences have a lot of say in what goes on in college football it appears, whereas the NCAA controls college basketball. It appears the ADs and conference officials all have the same fears as you Bob (and the Senator) and they would most likely check your fears with those rules and regulations to prevent mindless expansion.

        But I reiterate, to not move towards a better system that would allow the best 4-8 teams to play for the national title on the field, simply because you’re afraid of what might happen is unjustifiable. Progress can’t be stopped because of fear.

        • Patrick

          As a card-carrying member of the anti-playoff crowd, I’m willing to listen to the other side.

          But I will tune out any argument made by someone who is apathetic
          about a UGA football game.

          That proves a fundamental difference in the way we view college football, and it’s a gap that won’t be
          bridged by any postseason system.

          • Jordan

            So how should I feel?

            You’re telling me you wouldn’t have more invested in a game in which if we win we would move onto the next round to play another game for the opportunity to play for the national title? I’m sorry, but as you said, if you prefer a post season scrimmage than you’re right, there is a fundamental difference in the way we view college football.

            • Patrick

              I see no reason to set up college football in a way that attempts to crown a national champion. That’s what the NFL is for. Same reason I don’t get worked up when Walton High doesn’t
              get to play Mater Dei for a national championship.
              That’s the fundamental difference.

              • Cojones

                And the only good one I’ve seen in this now-volatile discussion.

                Jordan has good points and is not trying to be overwhelming in his preferential statement. Others come from an opposite standpoint. We all should be able to subscribe one way or the other and reason past unsubstantiated points. It’s all good. When we have to examine our reasoning, most often we learn.

        • Careful Brad

          In an 8 team playoff UGA-Michigan State would still be a “glorified scrimmage” because we would not be in the top 8. Do you really think that the number 8 team in the country, Kansas State, has a legitimate claim to the national championship? If not then including them in a playoff makes it just as much of an exhibition as a bowl game.

          • The Lone Stranger


          • Jordan

            Careful Brad,

            I understand, I’m just trying to address a UGA crowd by using relevant examples. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be in the playoffs this year.

            And Brad, that’s the great thing about a playoff. If Kansas State made the playoffs they don’t need a “claim” to the national championship. They just have to play well and win their games and they’ll be given the national championship. No one needs to make “claims”, they just need to get into the playoffs (by whatever measures are set in place) and then win.

            And no, including them in the playoffs is not as much an exhibition as a bowl game. The MSU / UGA game is a post season exhibition game. The Kansas State versus whomever game is a playoff game in which the winner would go on to play another team for the right to play in the national title.

            • Careful Brad

              So Kansas State beats LSU and now Kansas State has the opportunity to move on and LSU stays home? After the season that both of those teams have had I don’t see how that seems logical. LSU beat Oregon, Bama, WVU at Morgantown, UGA, and Arkansas while K-State lost a game 56-17. If you think that makes sense then I hope you have no complaints about our home schedule next year. If I’m an AD I am not putting a team on my OOC schedule that does not start with either Eastern, Western, Northern, or Southern, it does me no good. I can beat cupcakes and get at least a number 8 seed, then I’m in!

              • Jordan

                Careful Brad,

                I appreciate your response.

                Yes, if Kansas State beats LSU, they deserve to move on. How could they not? Kansas State is a good team and having beat LSU in a game clearly, and irrefutably, they deserve to move on.

                I have no complaints about our schedule this year. I would like to see a marquee out of conference game, but we can’t help what Georgia Tech has become😉.

                If you’re an AD you can schedule how you’d like out of conference, but you’d still (most likely) have to win your conference and in Georgia’s case beat teams like South Carolina, Florida, Auburn, etc. If UGA finished #8 I’m sure they would’ve deserved it, regardless of who they played.

                • Careful Brad

                  Thanks for the civil debate Jordan. I don’t think either one of us will change the other’s opinion but it’s good to hear some different opinions. The college football regular season is the best and most important of any sport and a playoff would cheapen that. The great thing about college football is you have to be good throughout a four month regular season, not a three week tournament in the post season.

                  • Bob

                    +1, +1

                    There is the truth. A playoff of too many teams will definitely dilute the CFB season. CBB used to be great. And it still is…in March for 16 days. From December to early March it is a snorefest of utterly unimportant games. #1 plays #2 and no one pays any attention at all. Believe me, it did not used to be that way before every team with a pulse made the tourney.

                    Be very careful for what we wish for. The CFB season is by far the best regular season going. The ending is like a whimper some times, but we have 3 plus months of great drama in MOST years. There is absolutely none of that in basketball.

                  • Dave

                    +2 – see Bob’s reply above as well. Jordan wants killer post season matchups that he believes will “irrefutably” crown a champion. I still think the Patriots were better than the Giants in 07, but I guess that’s just me. The rest of us like the fact Vandy can ruin someone’s season. It’s really that simple.

                    • Cojones

                      Jordan’s case is better than the BCS, no matter the word differences. A playoff champions the best team at that end of the season. Isn’t that what we are discussing? If LSU loses it before the season is over, then they no longer are the best team. Pretty simple with a playoff. When we were relegated to playing Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl instead of playing for the NC at that time, can you honestly not feel we were the best in the country at that time? And wouldn’t you have given anything for the chance for that team to prove it? The BCS rooked us and as long as snarky insinuations by ESPN are taken into consideration, the BCS will remain an indeterminate method of crowning a “NC”. I personally don’t like my alma mater playing in that shitty pool. A playoff deprives the sobs of exercising decisions and provides them with only a minimum amount of power over our great University.

            • Connor

              I’m probably being pedantic, but this:

              “No one needs to make “claims”, they just need to get into the playoffs (by whatever measures are set in place) and then win.”

              Could be describing the BCS. Minus the ‘s’ at the end of playoffs, it’s the entirety of the argument for the creation of the BCS championship game in the first place 13 years ago. You’re just arguing that it should be 4 teams, or 6 or 8 instead of 2. Count me in the camp that doesn’t want that, and that would be fine with scrapping the whole thing. Make the SEC championship and a trip to New Orleans the ultimate goal of Georgia and every team in the SEC. The game I grew up watching and came to love can’t support a huge playoff.

          • DarrrenRovelll

            So if Butler had won the national title in basketball the last two seasons then they would not have had a legitimate claim to the NCAA title?

            They were not seeded in the top 8 in either tournament.

            • Careful Brad

              Are you really making a basketball-football comparison as if it is apples to apples? Are you advocating a 65 team football playoff? Are you going to put the Horizon League champion in your playoff?

              • DarrrenRovelll

                No but your argument is flawed. Are you saying that no team below the 8th seed has any hope of beating a team ranked 8 or higher?

    • Macallanlover

      You nailed it Jordan. The anti’s arguments are not just dated and tiring, they are flawed with the “you can’t do what is right to fix it because we would then screw it up”, as if that has ever been a reason for man not striving to make things better. We would never have had cars or planes because someone might use them unsafely. A plus one is a half-assed solution that says we know we don’t have enough entrants with two teams yet doesn’t allow just one more round, to insure the major conferences have representation. It is destined to fail because a plus one would cry out for immediate expansion because it doesn’t solve the problem of legitimate inclusion. 8 teams would do that for all but the weird.

      The Senator summarily dismisses Hinton’s point about the rematch, but Hinton’s comments are irrefutable. If Bama could earn their way back to a rematch, more power to them, but to just be awarded another shot is pitiful. We have 120 teams scattered through all geographies, most all of which have not interacted,so it is pretty myopic to think the best way to determine the top team in 2011 is to replay a game we have already seen. Even worse, should Alabama win, they would still have a lesser pedigree than the vanquished LSU. How hollow will that title, or ring, be? I doubt it would bother the Tide fans at all, but who else would recognize them? They are the butt of many jokes about this already.

      But this isn’t about the lack of cred of Tide fans, this is about how CFB has gone a century without finding an adequate way to have one team earn it’s way to a title bigger than a regional one. No sport, at any level, does that. But if we are going to ignore that need/desire for a true champion, let’s win it on the field and stop pretending we have a true method of identifying a champ. Let’s just stop at conference titles, they are the highest earned achievements in CFB. As silly as I think that is, I could support that ahead of the disastrous system we currently have in post season play.

      Has America gone completely to preferring handouts to actually earning something?

      • Mac, needless to say I think your argument is overwrought, but one thing in particular stands out:

        … it is pretty myopic to think the best way to determine the top team in 2011 is to replay a game we have already seen. Even worse, should Alabama win, they would still have a lesser pedigree than the vanquished LSU. How hollow will that title, or ring, be?

        Isn’t that an argument that we don’t need a playoff at all?

        • Macallanlover

          As I have said many times before, I would rather have no claims of having a champion than this phony process we now have. I am cool with everyone having their conference champion and nothing beyond…certainly nothing as contrived as what we have now. It is the falseness of it that bothers me most.

        • Jordan

          How so? In what way does his quote argue that we don’t need a playoff?

          He clearly states:

          “If Bama could earn their way back to a rematch, more power to them, but to just be awarded another shot is pitiful. We have 120 teams scattered through all geographies, most all of which have not interacted…”

          At this point the anti-playoff crowd is like the old man resistant to change, not because of actual, sound reasoning, but because he’s afraid of change itself.

          I know you’re an educated man Senator, but I can’t help but feel you’re anti-playoff stance is simply a rabble-rousing maneuver to draw page views. Fess up.

          • If LSU is the best team, regardless, what’s the point of a playoff?

            Also, I’ve got better things to do than write merely to draw page views. That’s Mark Bradley territory, thanks.

            • Dawgaholic

              In reality, this is a year where LSU deserves the pre-1995 system. The best system for college football is a variable system that is flexible according to the state of things after the regular season. For this year, the pre-bowl alliance system would work as we have one clear top team. For years like 2005, 2006, or 2010, the current regular season plus BCS model is great. For years like 2003, 2004, or 2007, a 4, 6, or 8 team playoff may be needed – though I’ve never seen a season where 8 teams had a legitimate argument that they were number one.

              Any playoff should be limited to teams that have a legitimate argument that they are number one. If it’s just one team, nothing is needed. If five teams, then the 4 and 5 play and the winner advances to a 4 team playoff. To determine what is needed, you would need a set metric that qualified all teams within a certain point ranking or score of the number one ranked team. Ideally, this system would contain record, strength of schedule, and a component that gave additional credit to schools from conferences that had won recent national championships.

              Although this would only result in at most 3 additional games, I doubt such a system would ever be accepted due to the uncertainty at the end of each year- despite the fact it may be the best way to determine a true national champion and still keep emphasis on the regular season.

              • Dawgaholic;

                I think you may B forgetting about the inclement weather we have at ‘Bowl Playing Time’. If all wining teams playing in Bowls could play in Domed Stadiums, then that would be grand; but reckon that could B the case? Hardly..

          • HK

            Note that the title is ambiguous as to what the subject matter of the post might be, thus negating any chance of increased page views from people who might be “roused” enough to click through to it simply because they disagree with it.

        • WVMtnDawg

          I think its supports the argument that there are too many FBS programs out there. 120 is too many, we should have less, and let conference champs settle it on the field against each other.

          • Macallanlover

            It really is that simple WV, If we can just get those mid-majors to step back. That was close to what the BCS founders tried to do but they left the door ajar. The 4 Super Conferences could accomplish this in the next few years but it would be cleaner if there were different divisions established for the have and have-nots.

      • Patrick

        “No sport, at any level, does that.”

        Not true. High school football.

        I understand that the money and the stadiums and the TV contracts of CFB resemble the NFL, and that’s great, because it puts UGA on my TV every Saturday. I just don’t want it to copy the NFL on the field, because I find the NFL very boring.

      • Cojones

        Don’t think Mac’s argument is “overwrought” at all. That would make yours “overbought”, Senator.

        The words “National Champion” should be dissected. Some of us put different meanings to the words than do others.

        • Has America gone completely to preferring handouts to actually earning something?

          Yeah, I see exactly what you mean.

          • Macallanlover

            It may be a leap (but not overwrought) to compare Bammers with the entitlement mentality spreading from the Leftist movement, but the whining and begging for another shot is annoying for similar reasons. Of course, there are those who don’t see a problem with either.

            And , as sharp as your vision is with all matters football, I really don’t think you “see exactly” much at all when it comes to what is going on outside the game. JMO.

        • Dave

          From Jordan:

          The people freaking out about having a 4 or 8 team playoff turning into a NCAA style tournament come off to me as the same people who were scared to give women the right to vote, because whats next, the blacks?! (this is made in jest, but the point remains is you come off as outdated and paranoid).

          Yeah – not overwrought at all…totally logical – after all this isn’t an opinion it is FACT that a playoff will be better for every single person!

      • Connor

        I’m a Saints fan, and I hate that the Saints are probably going to have to play the Falcon’s in the first round of the playoffs, for the 3rd time in 8 games. Talk about watering dwon the regular season.The worst the Saints can be this season against the Falcons is 2-1, but if that’s the case, the Falcon’s will have had a better playoff run than the Saints. Nobody has ever complained about the fact that teams that already played in the regular season play again in various playoff formats until the BCS did it.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “The people freaking out about having a 4 or 8 team playoff turning into a NCAA style tournament come off to me as the same people who were scared to give women the right to vote, because whats next, the blacks?! (this is made in jest, but the point remains is you come off as outdated and paranoid).”
      That’s just a bit over the top. Where do you get off attaching some nasty label on someone who doesn’t agree with you and then ask for a pardon for rude statements because it was supposedly done “Tongue in Cheek”. “One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, or so says former Vice President Al Gore.

      Read more:
      Now this from the guy who invented the internet and you both concern me.

      I may be outdated but I do enjoy the long standing traditions of college football. The bowls are one of those traditions and I would like to think the athletes enjoyed playing in them as much as I enjoy watching them. It was something we always looked forward to and they do too!

      “The BCS was not designed to award the national title to the most deserving team; it was designed to make money for the top-20 or so programs in Division 1.

      Football programs need cost certainty; the business model of D1 athletics depends on it. The “revenue” sports (men’s football and basketball) generate millions of dollars in profits that are re-invested into “non-revenue” (Olympic and women’s) sports, as well as various facilities to enhance/solidify recruiting.

      Why exactly are poor inner city kids sacrificing their bodies to subsidize suburban kids playing country club sports in college anyway? **

      So it doesn’t matter that a playoff system will bring in more money to college athletics. That’s money the NCAA would get its hands on; money that would be spread much more equally around the 100+ Division 1 programs. The big-time programs would rather have bigger cuts of a smaller pie than smaller cuts of a larger one.
      That’s the fundamental problem with playoff proponents’ – they think they are talking to a business when they are actually negotiating with a monopoly.

      And like all monopolies, the six BCS conferences aren’t looking to give up their power.

      The way the system is set up now, if you go undefeated in a BCS conference, you will play for a national title. Except in a rare occasion like 2004, when USC, Auburn and OU all finished undefeated.”

      Now unless you are a racist, sexist, Nazi homophobe wife beater…. I’m sure we can agree. (Just’s all good!)….right?

  3. Bob

    I am all for a plus one as long as the College Administrators fix it as a long term contract to stem the voracious appetite that exists for playoff addicts. And make it a requirement that you must win your conference. We know Alabama is inferior to LSU. I would like to KNOW that Oklahoma State was.

    And yeah, I am hoping against hope that LSU beats the ever living hell out of Bama just so I can see Herby tell us how this was the right match up. That alone would be worth it.

    • The Lone Stranger

      I like the cut of your jib, Bob … and in a football way. ‘Special interests’ have that certain special habit of nibbling at the edges of issues and exploiting the idea of a utopian solution to common inconvenience. Once the lid is off the ‘playoffs bottle’ the result will be a stampede for profit. And, I think, the inherent unpredictability of semi-amateur football will be gone down the drain.

      • Jordan

        As opposed to the current state of football where conferences and broadcasting companies ink billion dollar deals and we have 30+ bowls simply because they rake in profit. Yea, playoffs are really going to ruin college football and cause a stampede for profit.

        To be a playoff opponent simply because the bowls have existed and that’s “how we’ve always done it” is absurd. Doing something wrong, even if you’ve been doing it wrong all along, is still wrong.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Well, that’s just like your opinion, Man…If and when there is a movement toward a playoff it will only be about one thing —- DOLLARS (or yuan)! Profit is what has proliferated these Belk/Meineke/San Diego Credit Union(?) Bowls and should sponsors be presented with a business plan that increases revenues faster they’ll jump on it like Chuck Berry on a honky girl.

          I think you may be confusing what is best for a marketplace of jackal advertisers vs. the maintenance of the most meaningful regular season on the American sports landscape.

          • Jordan

            I’m not confusing anything. A playoff might be best for the marketplace, but that’s irrelevant, its whats best for college football. The regular season would still be meaningful and please spare me that line when Alabama, who did not win the SEC and lost to LSU at home during the regular season, was selected to rematch LSU for the title game.

            Again, I don’t understand why the regular season would all the sudden lose its meaning. Look at this year. In an 8 team playoff, there would only be 8 coveted spots. A single loss could knock you out of the running, just like now. The regular season would maintain its importance. The whole “the regular season would lose its importance” argument is old and holds no water.

            • The Lone Stranger

              I don’t like the prospect that Bama gets another crack at LSU, but sell those goods to the voters. Those Harris Poll grandpas and the Coaches Poll sycophants are the responsible agents for elevating Alabama above OSU.

              Strength of schedule, in some form agreeable to every conference, must be sprinkled into this BCS formula or else all manner of subjective bias can creep in.

            • fetch

              We think it’s hard deciding who the second best team in America is, wait til we have to decide who the 8th or 16th best is.

        • DarrrenRovelll

          But they rake in the profit because the large BCS schools also control the power too.

          If they opt for a football in the FBS division, we will see a major shakeup in the NCAA. There will be a big fight and it will be bloody. Non-BCS schools have reasonable representation and revenue sharing from the basketball and they will demand the same from a football playoff.

          This probably why the BCS conferences floating the “plus one” are calling it such. Labeling it a playoff will open the Pandora’s box with the potential to completely destroy the NCAA as it is currently structured.

    • Ty Webb

      By your reasoning, we KNOW UGA is inferior to South Carolina. Why did UGA make the SECCG? Because of how the rest of the season played out for those two teams and others. Same reason Bama was able to slide into the NCG.

  4. Puffdawg

    If Bama beats LSU an LSU is voted #1 in the AP, will they claim a national championship? Anybody remember 2003? That would be fun to follow on the LSU boards!

    • Russ

      Yeah, I just thought about that. I would really enjoy hearing them debate themselves. I might just start cataloging some of their arguments from 2003 for fun.

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    Dear Bob,

    Having seen both Bama and Okie State play several times this season, I can tell you I don’t need to watch LSU play Okie State to KNOW LSU is better.

    I don’t even need to spend the night at a mid priced motel to know it.

    If you don’t KNOW LSU is better, well…maybe you should find some other sport to be interested in.

    • Bob


      I think I have been around long enough to know something about this sport. Do you really know that LSU is better? For fact? I think they are better. Hell, I THINK Alabama is better that OSU. But I do not know that they are not better than Alabama. Don’t need to see that show again.

      And no matter how smart you think you are, you don’t know either. Did you assume Utah was better than Alabama? Oh, I thought so. 😉

      • Bob;

        I think we “ALL” should wait until 1/09/12 to see who wins “THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES”;
        Alabama OR
        LSU ?

        If Bama comes up and wins!! Well stranger things have happened.
        Wasn’t it not 2 many years ago when LSU was undefeated and came time to play (was it Kentucky, or someone else) whomever? And that whomever beat them handidly. I say “Don’t count your ‘Chicks’ B4 they hatch”. If LSU goes into that game “OverConfident”; well don’t B suprised if BAMA pulls out a win; I Said; “Stranger Things Have Happened”..

  6. Russ

    The only reason I’d like to see Okie State play LSU is to watch LSU destroy them. Alabama is the only team that has a chance (and a good chance) to beat LSU if they’re both on their games. Ok State, not so much.

  7. As long as the number of SEC teams are not limited in a playoff system and just based it on rankings of some sort. I still can see the SEC dominating and other conferences unhappy.

  8. David

    You can already see the dilemma coming for UGA next year (yes, that’s premature I know but we do have a very easy SOS, i’ve heard…)

    Undefeated UGA wins East
    Undefeated LSU wins West, beating one-loss Alabama (or vice versa)

    West winner beats East winner in SECGC.

    Two 1-loss SEC teams remain, both losing only to #1 ranked LSU.
    who goes to the BCS CG? The divisional winner? But we just demonstrated that isn’t a criteria this year. Is it the one with the higher ranking? that will likely be the one that lost earlier in the year.

    I think this year’s rematch sets bad precedent, and sort of upturns previous precedent from 2007 when some Eastern division team didn’t deserve to go to the Championship because they didn’t win thier division. I forget who that was…

  9. reipar

    Did I actually see a slippery slope argument?! When I was in school it was not against the conduct code to punch someone for making a slippery slope argument in crim pro.

  10. Derek

    The bcs is designed to get the two best/most deserving teams in. You can’t make the argument that Osu is better or more deserving than Alabama. Moreover, you can’t justify LSU having go win 2 games to claim the national title when they shouldn’t have to play one. This is ahead in which the old system of choosing a national champ before the bowls makes the most sense. Instead, you have a system where the most accomplished regular season team has to beat a team it beat on the raid to claim a trophy. Rather than acknowledge the stupidity of that process most want to aggravate it by making LSU beat two undeserving opponents. I just can’t make any sense out of that.

    • 81Dog

      so much of this season’s anti-BCS argument seems to be summed up in the following sentence: “We dont like seeing LSU play Alabama again.”

      Well, I dont like it either, but anyone who thinks these arent the two best teams this year just hasnt been paying attention. If your point is “Alabama shouldnt be in this game because they already had their shot at home and lost,” I can’t argue against that; however, the BCS rules dont prohibit it. Does anyone really think OK St’s O would do much against the Bama D? Does anyone think a mediocre OK St D would do much to slow down Bama’s O? Substitute Stanford or Oregon for OK St, same conclusion.

      I can see the argument that a second place team in its division shouldnt play for the title. Fair enough. But if your goal is to put the two best teams in the title game, this year is your dream game. Makes no sense to me to make LSU play MORE games to get to the title game.

      • UGLYDAWG

        If the BCS title game is to determine which is the best team in the country, everything such as conference titles, affiliations, schedules, who Corso is in love with, who Herbstreet is trying to screw, great traditions, and so on and so on need to be put aside. Let a computer program decide who’s stongest. If it’s two teams from the same conference who have already played….so be it. BUT if it’s about making every region and conference feel needed and building the biggest national audience, figure out a playoff system. Pandora can help arrange it. It will give a lot of people the warm fuzzies to think that their team is “going to the big dance”, or is “on the bubble” (just to use the more boring sports’ tourny lingo).
        Just think of the possibilities. If you think the a-holes at espn (just for instance, not to be picking on that wonderful cast) are sickining in their partiality now…just wait until you have a playoff system. Game day will have to start at midnight on Thursdays just so they can get their politicing in….
        Keeping it like it is sucks.The subjective, human element has to be removed and this is the time in history where, thanks to technology (computers) it can actually be done. Just don’t let GT write the program.

        But even if we finally got it all perfect….with computers or playoffs or whatever, one bad call by a biased referee could sink the whole thing….again. And it WOULD happen…again. Or someone would sue that the computer program wasn’t written perfectly and some quirk left their team out.
        Oh, well. It never hurts to try.
        Bottom line here…this year the two best teams are playing for it.Next year maybe not…one of them might get stuck playing Hawaii becase Corso says so.
        What if you had three polls at the end. If they disagreed, any of the teams could challenge one of the others to a playoff game. They would have to be willing to put up one million dollars and forfeit it and every cent they made on the extra game to charity if they lost. They’d have to be pretty confident, as would the opposing team to accept the challenge. You think OSU would do this against LSU? KSt against Bama?
        Yes…I’m crazy. Just fun.

  11. Rebar

    I think you would have the same problems with a play off system that you do now. Somebody’ s going to be left out and will start whining about the unfairness of it all. What if 4 of the top ranked 8 teams are from the SEC? You would again hear how the system is rigged to favor the SEC from all those other conferences that don’t know how to play defence.

    • Cojones

      Yeah, but the differences in selecting the 16th team (I just used that number because it will piss someone off) are so close that you may settle for a raffle system. Now there we go! Select the top 8-12 teams and throw 8-16 in a pile to raffle off the next placements. These would be called The Future Incoming National Games Raffle and by acronym would be known as the FING Raffle, shortened by some to FING R. By having this Fing Raffle, we can stipulate we are giving the BCS the FING R.

      I’ll have to check with corporate to determine the use of the FING R logo since that conflicts with the next model name for Fing Scooters.

  12. AusDawg85

    Dear 4 Team Playoff Advocates,

    Please explain how the argument of Bama vs. OSU is not the same, if perhaps not even more intense, between #4 Stanford and #5 Oregon?

    Oregon beat Stanford, Oregon is the Pac (whatever) Champion. Oregon lost to LSU. Stanford has arguable a weaker schedule. Stanford beat USC in triple OT, Oregon lost to USC by 3.

    And if you want conference champs only, Bama’s out and Whisky is in (as well as Oregon, so you’ve got #5 and #8 in the playoffs, while #’s 2, 4 , 6, and 7 are out)?

    I’m not sure what that would be, but it’s not “progress”.

    • Cojones

      It’s a clarion call for 8-16 teams in a playoff! Outstanding, AusDawg.

    • Connor

      Every year, without fail, a four team playoff is messier than the two team BCS. Every year. The argument I get is that people won’t care about who is 4 or 5 as long as they ‘know’ that the best teams are in the playoff. But you won’t know that. Look at this year. No one is arguing that LSU shouldn’t be in there. And no one is arguing that Bama or OSU are better than LSU. The quest is whether or not Bama is better than OSU. Move it back, is Stanford Better than Oregon? Move it back, is Kansas State better than South Carolina? Is Michigan State better than UGA? I guess we’ll find that one out, but I assure you if we just got the spot and they were left out (they’re currently 17th in the BCS to our 16th) they’d be screaming mad.

    • Dave

      I doubt anyone will be able to give a serious answer to this. Any takers?

  13. The lone voice in the wilderness. I am against the BCS as it now stands.
    I am against any team playing in more than 2 bowl games.
    I like the bowl system in place now EXCEPT: I am a proponent of a PLUS ONE (4 TEAM PLAYOFF).
    That would settle the National Championship issue for me every year.

  14. all great points made by the senator….

    I find the most irritating element whenever someone attempts to examine the DI FBS “Champion” is that they do so in a vacuum, completely isolated from causation and rationale. We have a current system in place for post-season play that by-and-large is irrespective of the polls (save the BCS bowls) and is settled by conference ranking. We have large scale exhibition games geared at pitting equal conference opponents against each other.

    If we introduce a “+1” system of a 4-team playoff scenario, it would be honest for us also to actually address how the rest of the bowls will be impacted. No, it won’t be “just an extra game”. It will essentially become two post-season seasons; the “haves” and the “have nots”. I think what gets lost in all of this is what bowl games represent to college football. These really aren’t “just games”, they are winter vacations for both the schools and fan bases that travel. Its a big deal and an event (even when teams lose the bowl game). The perspective of the spectator that actually takes part and attends the game is missing from this discussion. The “playoffs or bust” is mainly coming from people who are just casually watching on the tube.

    What is ‘broken’ in the current bowl series? Is it JUST determining the National Champion? If thats all it is…then I suppose we have to ask if something could help weight these teams to create a consensus of a team’s ability. We already have it – its the BCS score combing several polls and computer formulas. The “National Champion” isn’t endorsed by the NCAA (it is completely a concoction of the ‘BCS’ collective), so whatever we’re attempting to do here is simply for TV and sponsor revenue.

    It would be nice the next time some sportswriter brings up this argument, that he does his homework and actually illustrates what would happen from all perspectives. Is the current bowl system profitable for the bowl, for the hosting city, do the teams actually profit, what impact does being a bowl winner (no matter how trivial the bowl) have on a program – instead of just how making a change to satiate ESPN ratings?

  15. Macallanlover

    Hilarious to see all the “regular season is so sacred” crowd defend a system that completely ignores the November 5 game between LSU and Alabama. No requirement to earn it, let’s just hand them a do-over. I understand that some prefer no playoff at all, but at least be consistent. If you aren’t gagging about this, then you weren’t sincere about the sanctity of the regular season. This is the worst of all scenarios. It knocks out the “regular season” argument in a way a playoff never could.

    And I am a “regular season is sacred” guy who supports a limited playoff because it would enhance the regular season.

    • Biggus Rickus

      This again? It doesn’t ignore the November 5 game. LSU is 1 and Alabama 2 because of that game. The nice thing about the system is that it also factors in the other 11 weeks of the season in arriving at the matchup. In those other 11 weeks Alabama didn’t play a game closer than 16 points. They were also the only team to stay within 13 of LSU. I don’t like the rematch, and I’ve always thought they should have a conference championship requirement for participation (with exemptions for independents). However, Alabama has no embarrassing losses and pretty clearly looks like the second best, if not the best, team in the country by any metric you want to use.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Beyond my other argument, even if I concede that in this one particular instance the regular season is somewhat diminished by this rematch, why in God’s name would I want to switch to a system that would ensure multiple instances of regular season matchups between top teams being only determiners of seeding?

    • Patrick


      If LSU beat Bama 27-3 on Nov 5, I guarantee you OSU is in the title game.

      Bama rightly gets credit for playing LSU very close.
      The regular season matters.

      • UGLYDAWG

        Patrick..very important point. The closeness of that game begs for the rematch.

      • Biggus Rickus

        Also, I came away thinking that Alabama was a little better overall. That may no longer be the case with Jefferson playing QB. He certainly gave the LSU offense a spark when he entered that game.

        • Macallanlover

          Guys, having a playoff whether it is 2,4 8, 16, or 32 teams does not guarantee you will identify the best team…ever. Each match-up is unique and results are for that day only. We can all make extrapolations based on interwoven five-off game results, but you never really know who is the best…that will always be argumentative. Only the intensity of the argument will vary. You can have a NC though, if you have a representative playoff.

          If anyone using the “regular season” stuff isn’t disgusted by what the rematch says about the importance of the regular season results Biggus, I don’t guess we are discussing the same thing. It couldn’t be a more direct assault the foundation of the regular season’s significance.

          • Biggus Rickus

            And a playoff is not an even more fierce assault on the regular season? Seriously, if LSU having to play Bama is a travesty, what is LSU having to play Stanford and then Bama, or K State, Stanford, then Bama? You can’t make an argument that the BCS harms the regular season’s sanctity and argue for a playoff at the same time.

          • Dave

            Dude – rematches happen ALL the time in the pros. Giants/Pats anyone? Yes – smaller population granted. We’ve had 2 (that I can remember) maybe 3 rematches in the BCS history. Guarantee playoffs it happens as well. This is a tired argument. A playoff won’t prevent rematches. A 2 team playoff (which the BCS really is when you get down to it) won’t as well. Your first paragraph, with the exception of the last sentence, is the most coherent thing you’ve written on this post. You “can” have a NC either way. But it means different things to different people.

            But the regular season will get diminished the larger the playoff gets. Go look at revenue distribution of most (if not all) playoff sports and then look at what we have. Not too difficult to figure that one out, but it’s not something the playoff advocates tend to address.

            • Macallanlover

              Dave, first of all I am not a “dude”, nor have I ever been referred to as one unless I traveled from the East to the Old West in another life. Just cannot recall that far back.

              Secondly, if you honestly don’t see how a playoff of 8 teams from a group of 120 differs with what the NFL does (or the NBA, NHL, NCAA Basketball, etc) there is simply no way to have a conversation with you on this subject. You seriously don’t think they are relevant do you? I have always said I opposed the 12, 16, 32, or more playoff proposals for many reasons. And, a well designed playoff of 8 would most definitely enhance the regular reason by making each game precious and a step to something very significant, something earned, something never accomplished before (beyond the Conference title, of course, which is actually earned.)

          • If anyone using the “regular season” stuff isn’t disgusted by what the rematch says about the importance of the regular season results Biggus, I don’t guess we are discussing the same thing. It couldn’t be a more direct assault the foundation of the regular season’s significance.

            If Oklahoma State had lost twice in the regular season, would you still exclude ‘Bama from the title game?

            • Macallanlover

              Yes, if presented with the current “vote them in” option, I would have taken the next best team from a different region of the country….Stanford probably. Let’s face it, Bama is really only in because of a small plane crash involving OSU coaches.

              • Connor

                Stanford didn’t win their Conference, or even Division, either. You’d have to take Oregon, right? Wait… they already lost to LSU too.

              • Oregon 53, Stanford 30. ‘Course, that would be a rematch, too.😉

                • Macallanlover

                  That is why I wouldn’t take Oregon. Keep in mind, I am not in favor of a 2, or 4 team playoff…was just answering what I thought would be the best choice if OSU were not available with the resume they have.. I would choose to not pretend that would be a NC at all until we really have a playoff.

  16. Cojones

    While respecting all opinions on a college fotball playoff, have to say we begin to take on fake expertise when we argue points we have conjured up from media info. It just creeps into all our arguments. It all begs for a study of playoffs that are already set in college football transposing over to study such a large number of interests that reside in college ball.

    I confess that most of my interest in a playoff comes from negative aspects of the BCS and all the self-serving interests from afar who try to and sometimes impact my alma mater negatively and in a poor spirit of competition. And sometimes what I write as attempted humor somehow begins to look more and more plausible.

    It’s time to up the FING R plan for the BCS.