A postseason proposal that makes too much sense

I linked to this before, but it’s worth another mention.  Flexing the postseason to take into account the real world results of the regular season makes sense to me.  Maybe it’s just another way of acknowledging the relevance of the regular season, but this is both succinct and accurate:  “The regular season may do a terrible job at selecting the country’s best team, but it functions rather well at determining who the best team isn’t.”

The reason I bring this up is that I hadn’t seen Peter Bean’s Burnt Orange Nation’s [ed. note:  see comment below about authorship] rather elaborate proposal for flexing the postseason, which he brought up in a post that predates the one I linked to.  And here’s what he says about the networks’ objection to the uncertainty created by flexing playoffs:

… Let me make this clear: there is the same number of Bowl games and BCS games every year. The only difference is whether the winner of one or 2 of those games goes on to play in another.  And remember, if you have an 8-team playoff, you’re effectively replacing the BCS games with the playoff and if you have a 16-team playoff, you probably need to scrap the whole Bowl System altogether.  Maybe the TV stations would be more excited about those than what we have now.  But they certainly wouldn’t be LESS excited about the flex system than they are now…

Now Bean wrote that was written before the 2007 season played out in all its messy, glorious fun.  (It’s still my favorite season of college football.)  So it’s fair to say that his proposal isn’t as wide open as what Josh Levin came up with – Levin would have ditched a playoff that year; Bean BON’s concept would have limited it to four participants, which would have led to some serious squawking – but it’s far easier for the networks to swallow, since there would be some sort of meaningful postseason to broadcast every year.

The strength of flexing is that it attacks the fairness/settle it on the field complaint that’s at the heart of fan frustration with the BCS.  Its flaw is that it doesn’t do much to make Jim Delany happy.  Which is why it’s little more than a fun theoretical exercise.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

5 responses to “A postseason proposal that makes too much sense

  1. reipar

    Personally I hated the 2007 BCS. Probably not for the reasons most people do though. First off there were only 6 Jan 1st bowl games. I still miss the days of having all the big bowls on Jan 1 and if not at a UGA game then having friends over and multi-TVs set up around the living room. Second the two big bowl games were complete mismatches and worse….everyone knew it going in (well everyone who was not connected with ESPN at least). Not to mention the Sugar Bowl ended some time around noon on Jan 2nd, which made for a long drive back the next day, but that last one may have more to do with me and the French Quarter than the BCS.


  2. Derek

    There may have been some reasons unrelated to being a UGA fan that made 2007 compelling, but AS a fan it stands as one of the most frustrating season I can recall. (1992 being another.). Watching Vandy and UK blow it vs. UT and thus our chance to get to Atlanta and then watching us form into what may have been the best team in the country in November and then watching herbstreit and espn change the rules so that we’d be excluded from bcs consideration do not add up to a favorite season IMHO.


  3. Cojones

    Select two teams. Select 4 teams. Begin the natl selection, but stop calling it a “playoff”. They are different animals.


  4. Scott

    Hey, it actually wasn’t Peter who wrote this post. I wrote it (@BZatBON), but Peter posted it because I wasn’t a Burnt Orange Nation author at the time (see the opening header). In any event, with the benefit of hindsight, the flex proposal is a little too restrictive and (in some scenarios) places emphasis in the wrong place. If I wrote it again, I would make a few changes, but I think mine was the first full articulation of a flex system.


    • Thanks for the correction.

      There’s no perfect postseason format, and the networks would probably throw a hissy fit over flexing, but in terms of keeping the regular season relevant while making sure nobody gets screwed out of a playoff slot, there’s a lot to recommend about it.