Chase Stuart dials up a scenario that’s guaranteed to raise the volume level.
Winning your division = Bad
We saw this last year, when Alabama ended the year as BCS #2 and therefore had locked up its spot in the national championship game, while LSU still had to go play in the SEC Championship Game. In this particular case, I don’t feel too bad about the fact that Florida would be given a free pass to the four-team playoff while Georgia has to go play Alabama, but only because Florida has faced a much tougher schedule.
But what if instead of what actually happened — Florida beating South Carolina, South Carolina beating Georgia, and Georgia beating Florida — the order was reversed, and Georgia beat South Carolina, South Carolina beat Florida, and Florida beat Georgia? In that case, Florida would likely be #2 or #3 in the BCS, while Georgia would sit pretty at 4. And Florida would go play Alabama for the right to win the SEC… with the loser being left out of the playoffs. That’s patently unfair. Being the third best team in your conference could be preferable to being the second best team. This is a lock to happen at some point during a four-team playoff. This is also going to be a bigger problem generally as conferences get bigger, because conference schedules will become unbalanced. [Emphasis added.] The Big 12 has a round robin where everyone plays everyone, but in a 14-team conference, you can easily see a better team end up with a worse record than an inferior team due purely to scheduling.
Is there any doubt what will happen in response? Of course not – they’ll just grow the postseason to make sure injustice is served. If you’re a brackets fan, this is a feature, not a bug.
The best part of this is that it’s totally unplanned. It’s like the weird bastard love child of conference expansion and postseason revenue greed. Which of course makes it hard to figure out where it will stop, because the next fix will just create a new set of problems. Ah, what the hell… it’ll go on until ESPN tells ‘em to STFU, financially speaking.