Good copping, bad copping the new playoff format

Hey, for a guy who until recently couldn’t stand the idea of a four-team D-1 football postseason, Jim Delany sure is full of ideas all of a sudden.  Here’s his latest brainstorm:

Delany, who met with and other reporters on Wednesday in Chicago, said one proposal being considered is the conference champion only model, but that the conference champion would have to be ranked among the top six teams in the country to qualify.

If a conference champion was among the top six in the rankings, it would automatically qualify for the four-team playoff. The top four ranked conference champions among the top six would qualify and if less than four conference champions were among the top six teams then the remaining spots would be filled by the highest ranked non-conference champions or an independent (Notre Dame, BYU, Army or Navy).

It’s a slightly less rigid approach than Larry Scott’s conference champs-only proposal (“because it increases the importance and value of winning their conference” – yeah, there’s a lot of value in winning Conference USA, Larry), but it’s still designed with the same primary goal in mind:  keeping two SEC teams out of a four-team playoff as often as possible.

Oh well, as long as they’re settling it on the field.


UPDATE:  Major swing and whiff by this dude.

… Delaney’s preferred method is clearly just a way of making sure his increasingly irrelevant conference has a team that qualifies for the playoff, while minimizing the number of SEC teams that can make it each year.

Then there’s Delaney’s fellow Rose Bowl mate, Pac-12 conference commissioner Larry Scott, who prefers something even dumber: ONLY conference champions be considered in a four-team playoff.

Like the outdated bowl system, giving conference champions preference or exclusivity in a college football playoff makes zero sense.

Both ideas are intended to maintain the “value” of college football’s regular season.

Not bothering to make an attempt to learn how to spell Jim Delany’s name properly is a good clue that you’re mailing it in, but I especially love the way he contradicts himself in the space of a mere four paragraphs.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, SEC Football

15 responses to “Good copping, bad copping the new playoff format

  1. The ATH

    I know it has the potential to hurt SEC teams (and thus, the dawgs), but I think this isn’t a terrible compromise. There shouldn’t be an absolute requirement of winning your conference, but it should mean something. I’m OK w/ a slight preference for conference champs.

    The situation makes me think about Braves teams from the last 20 years that would outplay the Marlins or Mets all year, only to see those wildcards jump them in a single playoff series.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      This has SEC Champ, PAC 12 Champ, Big 12 Champ and Big 10 Champ (plus Notre Dame taking the place of one some years depending on the season results) written all over it. Delaney and the other conference commissioners absolutely cannot stand that the SEC got both ends of the BCSNC money last year and they are going to fix it so that will not happen again.


      • Dawgaholic

        One year number 1 will get left out of the playoff under that scenario. Plenty of years with a one loss team at No. 1. Let’s say UGA runs the table, beats LSU and Bama but in the week following those two games loses to UF by a FG. UF loses only 1 in the conference and then loses to FSU. It could easily happen.


  2. Macallanlover

    Let’s give the ogre some credit here, it is the single most intelligent thing I have ever heard him say regarding playoffs….or CFB in total for that matter. Not saying he hasn’t made good decisions for his “employers”, he has; but disregard for all things not Big Whatever has been a detriment, imo.


  3. Chopper Reid

    The problem is last year Arkansas was better than almost every other Conference Champion…

    Delany just sucks. The Big 10 (B1G now?) needs to HTFU for a change and strengthen their whole conference rather than trying to skew the rules to give their own less deserving teams a sure shot.


  4. Always Someone Else's Fault

    The last thing CFB needs is a conference champion format. It’s exactly that formula that pushed the NCAA to keep expanding the tournament. Maybe none of you remember NC State-Maryland in 1974, but I do. Maryland lost in its conference championship game in overtime to an NC State team that went on to win it all. Everyone thought Maryland and NC State were 1A and 1B that year. Boom. Expansion.

    4 best teams. The last thing the playoff needs is #3 getting pushed out by #6. How does THAT solve anything? And since the SEC is the most likely conference to be the one getting pushed out, why would anyone rooting for Georgia think this is a good idea? If you guys are saying that you’re cool with Georgia being left out of the playoff after an undefeated season and OT loss in the SEC championship game to number 1 just because someone ran the table in a lesser conference, then I am shaking my head.


    • JoeDawg

      +1,000,000 Amen!!!


      • As someone who is a Michigan fan, and have seen this exact thing happen to Michigan back in 2007 when we lost to the #1 team in the nation Ohio State in the last game of the season by a last second field goal and we remained #2 in all the rankings, only to get passed over by for the Championship game, I can say that I fully support Conference Champions only. Ultimately, I think at least we had a shot to play into the game and lost. What is more likely to happen is that a #2 team in some power conference is selected over a (possibly undefeated) conference champ and that is unfair. If you had your chance to win and lost, you should not be given another chance.


        • Always Someone Else's Fault

          If Alabama beats Michigan by 20 and then loses to LSU by 1, while Michigan runs through a weak B1G, then how would it be fair for Michigan to go over Alabama? Or vice versa in a down year for the SEC?

          We can anecdote the fairness argument all day long. It doesn’t support one side of this more than the other.


    • The ATH

      An interesting hypo, and I appreciate your point about it increasing fan support for undesired (by me anyway) playoff expansion. I will say this though. All that teams can do (as we have to constantly remind USCe fans) is play their schedule and win their division/conference.

      Lawrence’s post below inspired me to neglect my job and work for a minute on this. The 2009 season produced an SEC championship game (FL v. Bama) similar to your hypo. If I were a Florida fan (tough even typing that), I think I could objectively say that my team lost its play-in game (the SEC champ game) for the final four – if the rest of the field is weak enough that we get another shot, great. But the final BCS standings that year don’t even count Florida among the top four teams, so they would’ve missed under either model.

      In fact, looking at the last two years, Stanford (twice!) is the only team excluded by Delany’s suggested rule – take that Larry Scott! In ’09, the top 4 wouldn’t have changed at all.

      Now that the cream of the mid-majors (teams like Boise, TCU and Utah) are all in Big Boy Conferences, I don’t know of any left that could put together a top 6 resume without both 1) running the table AND 2) knocking off a Big Boy or two ala Boise. Who is left to rise to the top? Houston? Southern Miss? I think a mid-major champ might make the top 6 once every 5 years or so. I can live with that – especially if it means keeping the SEC championship game relevant instead of turning it into something you hope you can avoid (ala Bama last year).


      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        A conference champion format rewards weaker conferences. Auto-inclusion. A blue ribbon just for existing. I just don’t see anyway around that. To me, the rare (as in, it’s only happened once, ever) scenario with Bama last year represents the lesser of two evils here. By far.


  5. Lawrence

    I’m just wondering what the point will be of the conference title games. I’m a Florida alum. We would have been left out of a 4 team playoff in 2009 after losing to Bama (And Cincinnati coached by purple face would have been in. That’s just wrong.) Bama would have been left out in 2008 after losing to us. It would have been to your advantage in 2007 not to play in Atlanta since you were already in the top 4. Heck, Stanford would have gotten in even though they didn’t play in the PAC-12 title game last year. Off the top of my head, the 2001 Tennessee team that beat us in the best game I ever saw in person would have been left out because they lost to LSU in Atlanta. Point is, the conference title game is going to be massive hurdle and will screw one of our teams. You are going to be better off finishing second in your division with one loss rather than risking a loss to a good team in a conference title game. Yeah, that will go over real well. Sorry SEC team that went 11-1 or 10-2 with a loss in Atlanta, we have to make sure that shitty ACC/Big East/Boise St. gets a fair shot at the title.

    The whole thing stinks. Frankly my two favorite wins over FSU in 97 and you guys in 02 are for the simple reason that those losses knocked you all out of the national title games. I guess when you all beat us in 2014 and beyond take solace in the fact that you may have knocked us from a 1 seed to a 4 seed!


  6. TomReagan

    I don’t want a playoff of any sort, but I think I should point out that the uproar that will come if a #1 Notre Dame is not allowed in a playoff will make all the griping to this point seem like nothing. It’s almost as though they propose this knowing that as soon as ND is left out that they’ll be guaranteed a more open system. The conspiracy theorist in me even wants to say this is a ploy to get Notre Dame to give in and join the Big 10.


    • Cojones

      ND? They are too busy drinking to worry about this shit. Rees, their QB, knees an arresting cop last night/this AM? Not since they stole a coach from Northwestern have we had to worry about their Rudy asses. When your butt is higher than your nose, you ain’t joinin’ nuthin’.


  7. Andrew

    Three of the teams should be conference champions. There just aren’t enough interconference games to justify more than two teams from any conference making a four team playoff or for two teams each from two conferences. Yes, it’s all about money and each conference wanting to get their “fair share” and not hurting what they already have. No one is forcing the conferences to have championship games either…that’s all about money too. Win your (major) conference and you have a great shot at getting in. No system is perfect, heck a 7-9 team made the NFL playoffs over teams with better records.