Hitting that expanded playoffs sweet spot

Settling it on the field, for the win:



Filed under BCS/Playoffs

45 responses to “Hitting that expanded playoffs sweet spot

  1. Merk

    Didn’t they win their division though? I get it when the winner is some wildcard team that got in because everyone else sucked worse. I mean the Falcons killed the in the regular season, but wet the bed in the post season.

    This is why playoffs will be hated and loved forever. One team owns for the first half and blows the last few weeks that matter, while another blows for half the season and shows up for the 2-3 weeks that matter. Guess who gets the trophy.

  2. Go Dawgs!

    It’s virtually the same trend in Major League Baseball. Just ask the Braves. How much better would their postseason resume be if they hadn’t had to face wild card teams that they’d far outpaced in the regular season?

  3. sniffer

    I have a question that I haven’t heard an answer to. Will the winner of the CF playoff system be an NCAA champion or BCS champion? Not that it matters much, really. My life experience has been a mythical national champion and have enjoyed the dialog, arguing and discussion for the months between seasons. I guess the discussion will now be about who was deserving of being in the playoff. So, I’ll still the off months to brag or whine. What will change?

  4. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The NFL playoff system shows exactly what the pitfalls are for CFB in embarking on a playoff to determine a champion. It is nothing more than a tournament. The NFL plays an entire season to eliminate slightly more than half its teams, then the best have to run a gauntlet of teams that are almost as good. This is a recipe for knocking out the best team via upset and one of the inferior teams winning just because it got hot at the right time. This is also precisely what getting addicted to TV money does to you.


    Yeah, the ratings the NFL pulls in really show a problem area….

    • I’m not saying that playoffs are an unsuccessful marketing ploy. Hell, that’s their reason for being. The NFL wouldn’t be considering another postseason expansion if it didn’t think somebody was willing to pay for it.

      But at the same time, it waters down the field and thus renders the regular season a little more meaningless than before.

      • PTC DAWG

        Possibly….both seasons count, regular and post season..you obviously have to be good enough to make the playoffs for the second season to matter. I guess my point is that it hasn’t seemed to hurt the NFL regular season in the least bit…I fully realize that opinions vary on this for sure..but to me, it’s a fairer way to determine a champion…obviously, I don’t think you’ll ever see the NFL model in College Football…we aren’t using close to 40% of our teams in a playoff…It works in the NFL due to parity….

        Good off season fodder for sure…

        When is the spring game again?

        • The debate around here has never been about whether CFB overall would be hurt as a result of expanded playoffs from a monetary/interest perspective. It’s more been about whether those of us that got into college football for other reasons would be emotionally invested enough after a certain point to give a shit anymore. I don’t pretend to speak for everybody, but it seems like that’s been the question for most of the anti-expanded playoff folks.

        • “good enough” – my, what a relative expression.😉

          • PTC DAWG

            Well I think it’s better than voting on the “two best” teams….but opinions vary. Being “good enough” in the College game probably means top 3-4%……I do wish there was a concrete set of rules for making the playoffs in the College system to come. I can’t warm up to voting/commitees.

            • GaskillDawg

              Which is better is a matter of taste. Would anyone argue that last year’s champion, the NY Giants, were one of the 2011 NFL 2 best teams, yet it was the Champion but not the best team. Would anyone say the 2011 baseball Cardinals were MLB’s best team? How about NCAA mbb champ UConn. It finished sixth in its conference and won the tournament.

              Folks know which are the top2 or 3 teams in NCAA football. The BCS made sure one of those teams got glass trinkets displayed in Wal-Marts and not a team that got hot in December after demonstrating Sept through November it was not the best.

              The divide is this. If you prefer crowning a tournament champion even if it is not the best team, I understand and do not quarrel with that preference. Me, I prefer that 3 months of excellence determines which team is crowned rather than determine just seeding.

              I would rather keep the BCS in its current form.

              • Cojones

                By having an 8-team playoff, the hot teams (who may be able to beat everyone after developing through the season) will more than likely be included and,if good enough, win it all. “Ws” and “Ls” don’t make the best team as we just saw with ND in the NC game. Why wouldn’t we want the hot teams since they probably are the best teams and can beat the pundit-praised pussies?

                • GaskillDawg

                  It is a matter of personal preference. I don’t want to see a team that established itself over 12 weeks as the 8th best team in college football be able to be crowned champion. A “hot team” is not necessarily the best team.

                  If you prefer to detemine a champion by a short term tournament, then that;s your preference.

            • Hackerdog

              We have a college football playoff to examine. FCS has 127 teams and will use a 24-team playoff this year. That means 19% of the teams in the division will enter the playoff.

              Given that FBS schools have access to TV money and travel budgets that FCS schools don’t, FBS could easily expand a playoff beyond what FCS can support. That means FBS fans don’t have to be content with ONLY 19% of the teams in the playoffs. For FBS, “good enough” could mean 30%, or 40%, or more. The sky is the limit when you’re talking about playoff expansion.

      • That’s totally subjective. I watch the NFL regular season and the postseason much more than I did 10 years ago–as does the large majority of sports fans. If it was meaningless, I wouldn’t watch it. Go to NCAA basketball if you want to talk about a watered down regular season, but not the NFL.

      • Jman781

        Why should I watch the majority of college football? Under the BCS, once a team loses a couple of games, the season’s essentially meaningless. Right?

        The argument that the playoffs create more meaningless games is laughable. Under the BCS, two teams have a shot at the title after the regular season. That’s 2 out of a ton of games (120+ total teams).

        In the NFL, multiple teams are vying for seeding and playoff berths for the entire season.

        I’d argue there are a lot more meaningless college football games. How many Syracuse-Mizzou games must one watch?

  6. David K

    NFL playoffs are infinitely better than the college bowls. I don’t watch the NFL much during the season and still get more interested in the NFL playoffs than 90% of the bowl games. And by the way, there are 32 NFL teams competing for 12 playoff spots. Even if college football were to expand to 16 teams, you’re still competing against such a greater pool of eligible teams that the percentage of teams making the postseason is much, much smaller in college football. The regular season will still count plenty, and much more than today’s NFL regular season.

      • By Georgia We Did It

        I agree as well, but think of it this way. We all know there are only 20-25 teams year in and year out who have the players, coaches, facilites, etc. to win a national championship. Just because you have 90-100 other teams playing in the same division doesn’t mean that your pool is that much bigger but rather more watered down. The NFL has 32 teams and probably 20 teams that could win a SB if things shake out the right way. That’s where the parity thing comes into play. If CFB had that kind of parity then 80 teams a year would be capable of winning the title.

      • Chopdawg

        During its regular season, Super Bowl winner Baltimore lost six games, playing in the NFC North, playing Pittsburgh and Cincinnati twice each, and playing four other NFL division-winning teams.

        Pretty good competition! But, alas, those games were meaningless. The NFL plays a meaningless regular season, so it needs playoffs after its regular season is over, in the hope of giving itself some meaning.

        Meanwhile, major-college football, having played a meaningful regular season filled with meaningful matchups like Georgia-Florida Atlantic, Alabama-Western Kentucky, and so on and so on, can play a meaningless exhibition schedule after its meaningful regular season is over.

        Must make sense to somebody.

    • Hackerdog

      My objection to expanded playoffs isn’t that every regular season game would be rendered meaningless. It’s that SOME regular season games would be rendered meaningless. And the larger the pool of playoff teams, the more games are rendered meaningless.

      Remember the Falcons-Panthers game where the Falcons lost decisively? Remember the angst that followed the game? Yeah, me neither. That’s because everybody recognized that the Falcons were a shoo-in to make the playoffs and the loss to the Panthers was … meaningless.

      Remember a few years ago when the Colts were undefeated, yet rested their starters against the Jets and sacrificed the game? That’s because the game was meaningless.

      So a 16-team college football playoff, where conference winners are guaranteed admission, would incentivize teams like UGA to rest starters for conference championship games and/or playoff games. That renders the UGA/GA Tech game meaningless. I would hate to contribute to the GEEF and buy my tickets only to come and watch the scout team lose to Tech, but be reassured because we’ll need our starters healthy for the “real” season coming up.

      • GaskillDawg

        Another example: Atlanta’s regular season finale against Tampa Bay. Winning meant nothing and playing John Abraham was a mistake. THAT was a “who cares if we win or lose” game.

  7. cube

    Not all NFL schedules are created equal. Thus the need for playoffs.

  8. Cosmic Dawg

    Somewhat playing the contrarian, here –

    Although the regular season is a necessary proving ground to show you’ve exhibited a certain caliber or quality to be invited to a playoff, is it possible that part of the composition of a champion is grace under fire and rising to the occasion? And, in defense of the expanded playoff, the ability to persevere through a gauntlet?

    Also, I don’t buy the argument that a team that excels early and fades late is unfairly treated by playoffs or expanded playoffs. In a race, you have a finish line. We have to choose some point in time to cut off the competition. I think a better gauge of the historical character of any group of people striving for a goal is to evaluate them after they’ve lived and fought together for a while and have learned to operate as a team. In sports, that’s the second half of the season….

    • Hackerdog

      We do have a finish line. But in order for, say the 200m dash to be more along the lines of a playoff system, we need 8 lanes to run 100m. We stop the race, throw out the slowest 4, and then start the final 100m race with all runners even again. If you were in 4th place after the first 100m, you start even with the fastest man.

      The man that runs the race in 11 seconds, followed by 10 seconds (21 seconds total), is declared the champion over the man who ran the race in two legs of 10.1 seconds each (20.2 seconds total).

      Some people love that format. If your favorite runner is slow out of the gate, you can just hope he’s in the top half of the runners over the first half of the race. At that point, his slow start is forgiven and they start a new race. Some people hate it. It takes the best runner and makes him prove it twice. It’s designed to penalize the best runners (teams) and reward the worst runners (teams). And to maximize television profits.

      • cube

        Actually, some of the runners have a 25 mph wind at their back (easy schedule), some have very little wind (moderate schedule), and some have a 25 mph wind in their face (hard schedule). So trying to compare their 100m times is incredibly difficult. That’s why you have to have them run together to determine a champion.

        • Hackerdog

          But in a playoff, you’re often taking a runner leading the race through a headwind (SEC team) and handicapping him by making him stop and wait on a runner trailing the race with an easy schedule (ACC).

          This last season, making Bama play more games to prove their worth against ACC or BIG10 teams is only penalizing Bama and rewarding lesser teams.

          Perhaps, if you could design a playoff that takes scheduling into account, you would have a legitimate argument. But you can’t. A team that survives an easy schedule makes the playoffs just the same as a team that survives a hard schedule.

          • cube

            Actually no. After Bama lost to A&M, they were trailing in the race to teams that had easier schedules – Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame. This was as late as mid-November.

            On top of that, Bama would have been on the outside looking in at the end of the regular season if Ohio State wasn’t on probation.

            This was yet another year that served as a great example of why a 4 or 8 team playoff is the ideal setup.

            • Hackerdog

              Not at all. An 8-team playoff would involve the conference champions.
              That means FSU, Kansas St, Louisville, Stanford, Bama and WISCONSIN get automatic berths. The 2 at-large teams would certainly have included an undefeated Notre Dame team and probably included Florida.

              So, your “ideal” setup would have included an unranked Wisconsin team vying for the national championship.

              If you simply want to see more college football, I understand that argument. Playoffs would be great for that. We could easily have an extra 2-5 games a year with a playoff system.

              But let’s not kid ourselves that putting Wisconsin in the mix for the national championship is a superior system to polls, or the current BCS system.

              • cube

                Nice strawman but I’m not going to let you get away with that. I never said the ideal setup is an 8 team playoff with conference champions.

                • Hackerdog

                  You said the ideal setup is a 4 or 8-team playoff. In what world do you live where the conferences accede to a playoff without conference champions getting automatic berths? Are there unicorns to ride there?

                  • cube

                    It actually sounds like there might be unicorns in your world. We just completed year 15 of having a 2 team playoff in place that doesn’t have automatic berths. Next year will be year 16. Then we’re going to a 4 team playoff that doesn’t have automatic berths. On top of all of that, I still never said the ideal setup is to include conference champions.

                    Are you going to keep digging your hole or are you done?

                    • Hackerdog

                      You said that an 8-team playoff was one of your ideal setups. There is simply no plan for an 8-team playoff that doesn’t include automatic berths for conference champions. Period.

                      Now, your other ideal setup (a 4-team playoff) won’t have automatic berths for conference champions. It will have a selection committee to pick all 4 teams. And the selection committee will completely ignore the polls when selecting teams. Sounds ideal to me!😉

                      You seem to think that internet fans will be in charge of selecting the teams in the playoff to produce the best matchups and/or the most credible champion, rather than conference representatives selecting teams to maximize revenue to their conference. That’s adorable.

                    • cube

                      Congratulations, you’ve managed to put even more words in my mouth. I never once said the committee version of the 4 team format was ideal (just like I never said an automatic berth version was ideal). I simply said that a 4 or 8 team playoff was ideal.

                      But by all means…keep digging your hole. It’s amusing.

                    • Hackerdog

                      I see. You’re saying that playoff structures that don’t exist, and can’t possibly exist, are ideal. I would probably agree with that.

                      In this imaginary world, where Jim Delany and Mike Slive have no influence on college football, it may just be possible to design a wonderful playoff system that won’t expand, that won’t reward unworthy conference winners at the expense of at-large teams, and really will give more credibility to a champion.

                      Unfortunately, I live most of my life in the real world. In the real world, commissioners like Slive and Delany have more interest in maximizing revenue for their conferences than in satisfying your craving for an “ideal” playoff system. And these commissioners have much more influence than you do.

                      Sorry to burst your bubble.

                    • cube

                      You think you live in the real world? That’s funny. You’re going on and on and on and on and on about automatic berths and playoffs being one and the same, yet we haven’t had automatic berths for the first 15 years and won’t have them for the foreseeable future.

                      And just to throw attention back on this…you started this string giving 200m race analogies. When I logically shot down those horrible analogies, you ignored it and moved on to trying to demonstrate the flaws in certain playoff versions and formats, at the same time asserting that those are the versions and formats that I embrace. You’re all over the place.

                      Do I think a 4 or 8 team playoff is ideal. Yes. Do I think the committee version is ideal? No. But since when do we ever get the absolute ideal version of anything? Was the college football world prior to the BCS/2 team playoff ideal? No. Did it get better by moving to the current format? Yes. Are the BCS rankings ideal? No.

                      Also, I’m just as afraid of the playoff being too big (16 teams) as anybody else. I don’t want that. But I also don’t want to sit here with my feet in the mud crying. You seem to think that fear of the 16 team format (or 8 team automatic berth format) should prevent someone from embracing the expansion of 2 to 4. But me…I’d rather move closer to what I think is ideal than stay further away from it.

                      But go on and reply with whatever nonsense you’ve got. I’m done.

                    • Hackerdog

                      Of course I live in the real world. I’m talking about playoff scenarios that can actually happen. I’m not the one talking about hypothetical scenarios that can’t. I mean, it would be great if I could date Megan Fox and Scarlett Johannson at the same time, without my wife finding out. But it ain’t happening. So why waste time on a forum arguing about it? That isn’t a rhetorical question. I really don’t know why you’re insisting that the proposals that have actually been made should be ignored in favor of ones that haven’t, and won’t. That’s just nonsense on stilts.

                      Of course we haven’t had automatic berths under the BCS. The BCS is a 2-team playoff and we have more than 2 BCS conferences. Are you saying that you think a 4-team, or 8-team playoff would require the same selection criteria as the current, 2-team playoff? The 4-team playoff that is being put in place has already announced that it will NOT use selection criteria similar to the BCS. It’s foolish of you to think that they would.

                      And there hasn’t been a single 8-team playoff proposal from any source with skin in the game that hasn’t included automatic berths for conference champions. Again, it is foolish of you to think that, suddenly, every single source that has proposed an 8-team playoff would suddenly abandon their proposals in favor of whatever system would appeal most to you.

                      For the record, you didn’t logically shoot down anything of mine. You argued that a playoff alleviates scheduling inequities. And it doesn’t. That’s what launched us into the proposals actually being offered versus whatever fantasy system you think would somehow come into being.

                      For the record, I agree with you that the BCS isn’t ideal, the next system of a 4-team playoff with a selection committee isn’t ideal, and an 8-team playoff with automatic berths for conference champions isn’t ideal. Where we disagree is over what is realistic. The above scenarios, or some minor tweaks of them, is really all that is realistic with 8 teams, or less.

                      As for moving toward what is ideal, I disagree. If an 8-team playoff that is organized such that obviously undeserving teams gain entry is the only system that is realistic, and that system will inevitably lead to a 16-team, or larger, playoff. Then I would rather stick with a smaller, less ideal, system.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        that’s an interesting analogy but it would really work better if they were actually stopping games in the middle and letting players rest…wait a minute….

        • Hackerdog

          My favorite conspiracy theory after the Super Bowl was that Louisiana was getting the NFL back for BountyGate. If some power company employee pulled that off, kudos.