What do you call a four-team playoff? A bad start.

The BCS is dead, the body hasn’t even had enough time to cool yet, and we’re already hearing a myriad of reasons why its replacement is doomed.

Today’s two reasons:  (1) parity makes a four-team playoff unfair for the ACC and (2) “The only way to determine a true champion is to conduct a true tournament, with 16 teams – if not more – stretched over a month or more.”

For those of you who think a four-team or even an eight-team postseason will calm the waters, the next few years are going to come as something of a shock.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

19 responses to “What do you call a four-team playoff? A bad start.

  1. Looking back over the years, I contend that a 4 team playoff or a PLUS ONE would in every case have satisfied me as to the fact that we ended up with a True National Champion. It is the one and only playoff scenario that I am in favor of…THe current way does not work & more thsan 4 teams in a playoff does not work for me either. I stay with the PLUS ONE only.


  2. Scott W.

    So the only way to get to a true champion is to expand the playoff and add inferior talent?


  3. Mayor of Dawgtown

    For years I was for a 4 team playoff (#1 pays #4 in a bowl; #2 pays #3 in another bowl; and the winners play in the BCSNCG). I am now absolutely convinced that the TV people and the Conference Commissioners/University Presidents are so greedy that if we do have a 4 team playoff within a few short years it will be expanded to the point that it will destroy the sanctity of the regular season and the meaning of being a conference champion. I am now totally against any playoff. ENOUGH!!! STOP!!! DO NOT KILL COLLEGE FOOTBALL YOU MORONS!!!!


  4. dawgfan

    Always has & always will be about TV/bowl $. Take every dollar from TV/bowl payouts/contracts & split it evenly among all Div I schools. No play off unless all conference champs qualify. The crap conference champ will get their tail kicked quick. Let the polls decide “who is the best team” at the end. No real “national champion” can exist in football without a 16 team playoff & all teams play every team in their conference. Let each school make/spend as much $$ as they please outside of TV/bowl $ (merchandise/donations/ticket sales, etc).


  5. Cojones

    If we each had a column we could place in front of everyone, you would read more about the reasoning most of us had in mind before you declare us outlaws before 2014. Fairness and inclusiveness come to mind. In that milieu of teams, the SEC will not only do great, but prosper. Using these two articles as example, I generally agree up to the point to where some author interjects some specious, subjective and downright twisting personal takes that don’t match the facts laid out in their own column.

    Right now, media columnists and others are hellbent to try and destroy what we have waited for for some time by bringing up every negative aspect that they can invent or twist to change our minds about a playoff. No one writes an entire column that lines up the pros for what has already been decided. Another self-fulfilling prophesy (a playoff won’t work) for plaguing us all with the negative side such that we can’t enjoy what we have wanted for some time and we just lose interest from all the negative shit flying.

    I’ve got news for you boys. I won’t read your negative undoing shit that’s angst promoting. I’ll just drift to all the tasks I have to complete before season arrives and then drive or tune in to the games. And I will enjoy every game to the last down while others may rant and rave how football has gone to hell in a handbasket since they have worked so hard to make that prophecy come true. Just don’t sit near me at a game you try to verbally suck the juice of success from. I’ll be the 6’2″, 245lb white-bearded sucker limping toward your ass if you do. And it won’t do you any good to say the mole on my neck looks like “Jesus!”. And the thong around my left knee will be to keep my balls behind my leg. It frees the right leg up for kicking.

    Only 47 work days left before kickoff. Can’t wait for you to “Sic’em” Dawgs!


    • Always Someone Else's Fault

      So when the predictions come true, it will be because they are self-fulfilling?

      (1) “We must have a national champion.” Not really. I don’t see it written down anywhere.
      (2) “We must have a national champion emerging from a tournament big enough that no one with a legitimate claim can complain about being left out of it.” Definitely not really, and definitely not written down anywhere.
      (3) “We must have a national championship playoff as the emotional apex of the season.” Totally backwards, IMO. The reason every other sport has its playoff as its “special moment in the sun” is because their regular seasons just don’t resonate. CFB was the exception. We killed it because it didn’t conform with the NFL model. We killed it because it pissed us off to see Saban voted into the LSU Redo.

      I just don’t agree with your operating assumptions, Cojones. We had a great sport that was unique. It just took a huge step in the wrong direction, and 8 will change the sport into something unrecognizable.

      So don’t blame me when the ADs start talking about playoff chances being more important than a rivalry, or playoff chances being more important than a compelling OOC match-up.

      This was a classic case of “kill the problem” rhetoric getting WAY ahead of the “but what’s the solution” dialogue. And now you want the Power of Positive Thinking to make it all better?

      I like your posts, and I like your willingness to see things from odd perspectives. But I think your off-base on this one.


      • Cojones

        I think that the rhetoric has already changed minds to view upcoming events negatively. I am not glad-handing this change without being aware of what could happen negatively in several ways, but several self-styled muses want us to muse a reversal and I ain’t fer it..

        We can agree that the fan bases will never be pleased in CFB. Since alma mater and school pride runs deep into our feelings, many of us don’t feel that it will be a few rule changes here and there and everything will be “ok”. I just don’t think that the angst and negative approach to the changes does anything except infuse us with finger pointing before a resultant future outcome. We can’t even discuss the possibilities without casting about for excuses not to. It’s ruining our season of cheering mightily together to promote our school’s team at a time that we usually are talking about the renewed power our recruiting classes are bringing.

        I’ve eaten a lot of dirt while going through a period of roiling fan emotion concerning our coach (my view has always been that the administration is responsible for hiring and firing while fan involvement should be in the afteraction reports, not fans leading a lynch mob while being egged on by trolls). I don’t intend to get wrapped into another fanbased revolt that impacts the appreciation of CFB. My point has been to get all to look at and honestly study the reasoning that must accompany changes that have already occurred and not get prejudicial rhetoric running the thinking. It’s our game and no one can take it away from us, but we should be careful of taking it away from ourselves.

        That goes for the committee that’s making decisions each week as well as fans.


        • I’ll admit that I’ve been out of the loop lately, but it seems to me that the “media columnists and others” that you reference were the same ones that had pushed for a larger playoff all along. Now that we have a four-team playoff instead of a two-team playoff, they think the four-team is an abomination and this slightly-larger playoff will not work until there is eight or sixteen teams.

          As someone who has been opposed to a larger playoff for this reason alone (expansion is inevitable), I find it amusing that I don’t hear like-minded people arguing against the slightly-larger playoff… but rather people who have always been large-playoff advocates. I’m down with the four-team playoff. It sounds great, assuming the selection criteria doesn’t involve a dart board. But the angst we already get from the expansion crowd is nonetheless chuckle-inducing after a ground-breaking round of playoff expansion. If there is anyone involved with college football that believes this playoff isn’t headed to eight teams at the next renegotiation, then that person may be the most deluded individual on the planet.

          If only there had been someone out there decrying the inevitability of expansion once that cherry had burst…


        • Always Someone Else's Fault

          Reflection and analysis of motives and reasons is huge – but that has to look at all possibilities, including the negative. Nothing is written in stone moving forward, but prejudicial rhetoric is going to guide the process one way or the other. Even “reason” is prejudicial rhetoric operating from a certain set of stipulated assumptions (see: John Locke and “self-evident truths”).

          My self-evident truth: The best results will come from a conversation that engages as many viewpoints as possible, with people who are using their ears as earnestly as their mouths.

          I do not want CFB to set up its regular season as prelude to “a second Super Bowl,” which is the phrase starting to percolate among the advocates of the 8 or 16 team structures. Someone has to be willing to do the, “Yes, but…” side of that argument.


          • IveyLeaguer

            Good post. And I agree wholeheartedly.

            The last thing we need is to emulate the pros. There was a day when the college game was great just because it was the college game, and not because one of the participants was a team that might play for the national championship.

            We shouldn’t forget that.


  6. I have a great idea, let’s not worry about the light speed bracket creep we have going on and follow this bracketology crap though to its logical end. I propose that we cancel the regular season.Every team will play 3 or 4 preseason games that will be held at the Ga Dome,Rose Bowl and Jerry’s World (auction off the most attractive preseason games to the highest bidders(we might want to call them bowls or something stupid like that) and than let every friggin football team in America into a total open tournament. What could be fairer?Hell Division I, Division II, Division III let em all in. Everyone is equal,everyone has their chance. Assuming we can get 256 teams to sign up…… seven weeks later we got a real champion. And none of this BS baseball crap either…. where you use double elimination. One and your done,go home,seasons over. This is where we’re heading I just thought I see if I could get there first.


  7. IveyLeaguer

    See, this is what I’ve been saying. There is no stopping at four. A 4-team deal where Slive cuts us in at all opportunities will be just fine for us … for a while.

    But if a system of any kind truly works to put the absolute best teams in a final playoff picture, the SEC will always do very well (but only because of the more-level playing field of the BCS years). And there is the catch … for that can only happen to the exclusion of other teams from other parts of the country.

    Let me make a factual statement that I think few of us actually consider: There will never be a system that determines a true national champion that is without controversy. It simple AIN’T gonna happen.

    We’re looking at a 4-team deal that may be pretty good for us, short-term anyway. Yet the thing isn’t even finalized yet, and already there is clamour for both 8 and 16-team formats. It isn’t going to stop.

    As I said early this year, once the toothpaste is out of the bag, it’s only a matter of time before inclusion rears its ugly head, the regular season is affected, and teams who don’t belong in the picture are in to the exclusion of much better teams.

    I just hope we can hang on for as long as possible.


    • Cojones

      “Yet the thing isn’t even finalized yet, and already there is clamour for both 8 and 16-team formats.”

      You have stated my point exactly except you should insert “4-team format” in place of 8 and 16-team format. Who said 4 was the magic number? At least discuss the other formats and shoot them down before you arrive at 4. Using words like “slippery slope” and “overdiluted” have no places in reasoning numbers (although those words are used most often to support 4), whereas 4 may be the best format. Who the hell knows? But putting a cap on a numbers discussion because prejudicial epithets are slung out there to shortcut and stop the process ain’t my cup of tea.

      The media first downgraded the BCS and at first the word “playoff” was used as a discouragement. As polls appeared asking fans what they wanted, the media began warming up to the issue since over 80% replied “Yes!” I then saw foot dragging and angst churned up by the media NOT to have a playoff. All those commissioners working to get a playoff in were villified to the point where most of us sneer at them in disdain, including me. Each decision has been met with putdowns and verbal massacres to the point that no one, media or fans, have a handle on it. Warring about the # of games that make it a playoff is stupid on all our parts. Prejudicial comments by writers favored by many fans only adds to the unreasoning aspects when we emulate those writers’s words.

      Yep, it ain’t new that money is driving the decision-making process. But it ain’t all cynical and attempts to make it so is what hurts CFB in my book and spoils it for us all.


  8. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The only playoff that makes sense long-term would be for there to be 4 “superconferences” of 16 teams each with 2 divisions in each conference. The 2 division winners meet to determine the conference champion in each conference, then the 4 winners play in a 4 team playoff with the highest ranked playing the lowest ranked of the 4 and the middle 2 playing each other, with the winners of those games playing in a BCSNC-type game at the end. Each team will need to play full-out to win its conference championship and in the round of 4 so there won’t be any sitting players, etc. I realize that leaves out the Bama ’11 scenario but to protect the integrity of the sport something’s gotta give.


    • SCDawg

      Four superconferences of 16 teams would protect the integrity of the sport? In my view, this is the kind of the kind of stuff that will do just the opposite.


      • I think D-1 would do itself a world of good if it would lop off the bottom 40 programs. At least.


        • SCDawg

          I can’t say I disagree with that. There are a lot of teams in the bottom who simply don’t belong and only joined as part of a money grab. Joke’s on them in some cases.

          But don’t you think further compressing CFB into four giant mega conferences would just NFL-ize us more than now? While I think a team like ND should get over itself and go ahead and join a conference, there is something to be said for the level of independence the conferences and teams currently have from each other. And I don’t want a CFB commissioner, as many of the playoff advocates seem to want. I guess I like the free for all disorganization of CFB. I am one of those who wishes we’d just go back to the traditional bowls (get rid of about 10 of those, too) and forget the whole BCS/playoff junk entirely. Who cares if two undefeated teams claim a MNC at the end of the year?


          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            I’m not married to 16 teams in each superconference, either. 14, 16, 18 teams, 20 teams, some with 16 some with another number. Bottom line is there have to be 4 superconferences and a total of 8 divisions for it to work. If everbody in the superconferences had 20 members you would have a new division in CFB of 80 teams and effectively another D-IA division for the rest. Hell, the lower division could have its own champion, too, like D-IAA, D-II and D-III.