“If four is good, eight is better.”

Dennis Dodd tells me that the war is over and I’ve already lost.

Remember all that hand-wringing over impacting the regular season? In the era of conference championship games, league titles already have been devalued. Divisional play has seen to it. In leagues with conference championship games — only the Big 12 won’t have one by 2014 — a conference’s best team doesn’t necessarily play in that league title game…

The sanctity of the regular season isn’t so sacred after all: We’ve already told you about how divisional play has stolen some drama from the regular season. The game has survived, even thrived. Now think of Ohio State and Michigan being locks for an eight-team playoff as they meet in late November. How would that steal the hype one bit from “The Game”?

Because both teams would still be in the postseason and, if things break right, might face each other again in a game that would mean more than The Game?  Oh, never mind – we’ve still got something to comfort us.

One concern in that scenario is teams resting players. Maybe, but this is college where the rivalries are so much larger than those in the NFL. They’re so much larger than the coaches and players themselves. I can’t envision Urban Meyer resting Braxton Miller against Michigan because he has a playoff berth sewed up, can you?

Seriously, playing the tradition card?  In a world which has already ditched the Nebraska-Oklahoma game, do I think a guy as smart as Urban Meyer (who’s been at Ohio State a whopping couple of seasons) might rest a dinged-up quarterback in a rivalry game in order to save him for a rematch in the national playoffs?  Does a wild boar pee in the woods?  Maybe Dennis ought to ask himself how OSU fans would feel if a healthier Miller was the key to their beloved Buckeyes winning the national title.  My educated guess is all would be forgiven.

Sadly, while this pisses me off, I can’t say Dodd’s wrong about where this is headed.

Are we ahead of ourselves? Absolutely. Do eight teams make total sense before four teams even kick off? Absolutely.

All we had to do was ask.

So when do you think they’ll go to twelve or sixteen?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

85 responses to ““If four is good, eight is better.”

  1. I don’t think the conference championship games devalue the regular season at all. The best team may not be in the championship game, but that’s because they lost in the regular season… meaning that regular season game was super important. That loss kept the best team from a shot at winning the conference. Take 2007 Georgia. If they had won just one of the games they had lost, they likely would have won it all. Instead, they finished 2nd, and got the Sugar Bowl as a consolation prize.

    Georgia has never rested players against Tech. Of course, up until now, every single game has had national implications. Who is to say that will not change if, for example, conference champs are guaranteed a spot in an expanded playoff? Would it not be in Georgia’s best interest to rest players the week before the SEC championship game, if an auto-berth in the playoffs was at stake?

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    You’re accusing Corch of dishonorable intentions?

    • Cojones

      If anyone thinks any coach in the land would rest his players as a ploy to save them for another and bigger game: Sure, if they are injured and he thinks the AA team he is playing won’t win, BUT if you think The Crier would rest against his biggest competition in the Big 10 and risk a loss, you are plain nuts!Besides, who is projecting a team into the playoffs when the last polls haven’t come in to say who is playing yet. There is a fuzzy thinking virus invading CFB and it’s followers.

      This member of the great unwashed will just wait and watch the clear thinking on this subject that is evolving, no matter how many posts will try to stop the reasoning from catching hold.

      Have at it, Senator. It won’t stop the great unwashed from thinking for themselves and bagging this inane posting that is beginning to mimic the manager of Faulty Towers.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Whatever, but I still think Corch is a jackass.

      • You think they’ll expand to 8 without some form of guarantees for conference champs? You think Delany will take a chance on having 3-4 SEC teams taken and his Big 10 (sic) champ staying at home?

        As soon as you add the guarantee of a conference champion, you add the possibility of sitting players in an otherwise meaningless game to save them for the playoffs.

        • Bob

          Absolutely. No doubt about it. Slam dunk.
          And if Ohio State (or just about anyone else) is 11-0 heading into that game and there are only about 4 once beaten teams, they absolutely know they are in the playoff.

          I was afraid this would happen which is why I opposed even going to 4. Four was never going to be enough for playoff addicts. Neither will 8 or even 16. It is an illness that pervades American sports. Two thirds of the NHL and NBA make the regular season not only boring, but a joke. And while March Madness is great, the regular season college basketball season is not only way too long, it has become utterly meaningless except to bubble team 64. And if these people have their way, they will add another 32 or so teams to that.

      • Hackerdog

        So, your argument is that we need a playoff, so that college football will be more like the NFL. But, college football is so unique that it could never possibly adopt the tactic of resting your starters that NFL teams sometimes use?


        I am absolutely amazed that people think that UGA would rather beat GA Tech than win a national championship. I wouldn’t. And I hate Tech. But, if we had a system in place giving us a clear path to a national title game, but winning against Tech made our path harder, then I say lose the game.

        Do you think Alabama fans are satisfied with their path to the 2011 MNC? I do. I don’t think they lose much sleep at night over the fact that they didn’t win their division. Now, they didn’t lose their division on purpose. But it’s just silly to argue that teams would place more value on a division title, or a rivalry game, than they would a MNC.

  3. AusDawg85

    Senator, as soon as they announce an 8 team playoff format….

    • Connor

      Agreed. The first 4 team playoff is still 18 months away, and everyone is already moving on. When they agree on the 8 team and people start thinking about how that is going to be selected, what teams it would have meant were included and excluded the last 10 years… they’ll say it has to be 12. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      • Slaw Dawg

        Exactly. While 4 teams are bad enough, what’s utterly awful about 8 is that there’s no way to get there without allowing in several teams with at least a couple of regular season losses and/or championships in lesser conferences. If you think Boise State’s bitching over being left out of BCS games with 1 loss is loud, wait until you have multiple 2-loss teams–last year, there were 9 of those ranked less than 8th–out there screeching that THEIRS is one of the teams that deserved to get into the Elite Eight. And a 1 loss MAC, WAC or SunBelt champ left at 9th well really be yelling when a 2 loss non-conf-champ Notre Dame team gets its obligatory spot. And you know what? In my book, they’ll have a point. If you’re gonna buy the house, the kitchen sink comes with it.

        Then, of course, when you go to 16, you’ll be scooping up some 3 and 4 loss teams. 16? Hell, fairness would mean going all in for at least 32.

  4. Macallanlover

    Repeat after me Senator, focus on the eight vs four debate, focus on the eight vs four debate. The discussion is not 12 or 16, stop deflecting. Eight does not devalue the regular season in any way, it is how you get your ticket for admission and actually enhances the regular season by giving a path to a meaningful title.

    And the discussion about teams laying down after clinching is just simply not true, absolutley without foundation in CFB. When exactly did UGA pull players against GT after clinching? Or FU and FSU rest anyone? Or Auburn and Bama? Facts do not support this position, it isn’t the NFL. And if home field or seeding are involved, how could a team afford to take games off? The problem will never occur until, and if, the playoff becomes monster sized and develops enough “slack” to allow for stumbles at year end. That certainly doesn’t occur at eight. Focus on eight, focus on eight….

    • Mac, I’m having a hard time seeing how any of the arguments in favor of eight versus four can’t be made in favor of twelve or sixteen versus eight.

    • And the discussion about teams laying down after clinching is just simply not true, absolutley without foundation in CFB. When exactly did UGA pull players against GT after clinching? Or FU and FSU rest anyone? Or Auburn and Bama? Facts do not support this position, it isn’t the NFL.

      You are using history as a precedent for the future without acknowledging that incentives are changing. If you are moving more towards an NFL model – which would be the case if an expanded playoff guarantees a spot to conference champs – then the incentives and motivations of coaches will logically become more like the NFL and less like CFB history.

      Imagine if an 9-2 Georgia team that backed its way into the SEC championship game can earn an auto berth in the playoff if they win the conference championship game. They are not going to make the playoff unless they win their conference, and win-or-lose to Tech, they are going to be a low seed and play on the road even if they do win the conference title game. To boot, Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley are banged up. Should they not rest them vs. Tech to have them ready to go the following week to setup a potential playoff run? Or, more simply, is it more important to beat Tech or get in the playoff?

      • Cojones

        How are these teams assured they will be in a playoff if they are still playing the season’s schedule and teams have not been selected since final rankings for the Top 8 teams have not come out yet? Are you thinking that we are proposing that 8 teams would be SELECTED by committee as they are now? Not on your life.

        • Connor

          Automatic bids will almost certainly be a part of any playoff larger than 6 teams. His point is that a team that has shot at an automatic bid based on winning their conference but no shot at an at large bid would have no incentive for winning a non-conference game late in the season.

  5. Chris

    Whatever happened to the “we can’t have a playoff because it would add to much stress/games to the student athlete” anti-playoff talking points? That was even before CFB (hypocritically?) went to a 12 game regular schedule (money grab).

    I am a proponent of a 8 team playoff; however, that could mean a team could play up to 16 games in a season, including the conference championship and then playoff. That’s unprecedented in CFB.

    All that other anti-playoff talking points are just hyperbole. Could resting players happen? Sure. But it would be rare, because 8 teams is still exclusive, which is why I don’t support 12 or 16 teams. Being in a position to afford to lose a game and still be in the top 8 would be rare, and IMO if a team is in that position, they deserve to do whatever they want and is best for their team. This is ‘Murica dammit. Unless its turned into the NBA, where resting starters to better your team in the long run warrants a fine for the sake of fan entertainment.

    Instead of focusing on the negative what-ifs, I’m excited about the potential for some epic rivalry games with post season implications, where a rival would love to knock another rival out of the playoffs or a rival could leapfrog another rival into the playoffs. That’s a more probable scenario than a clear #1 team resting its players, which they have earned the right to do.

  6. Always Someone Else's Fault

    And in this discussion of 4/8/12/16/24 (what kind of playoff will we have?), we’ve tabled, perhaps permanently, another discussion altogether: CFB’s unique departure from the American obsession with “postseason.” Three years into a Field of 8, CFB will be Just Another Sport. 16 will render it CBB.

    At this point, we’re just watching them carve up the goose.

  7. Normaltown Mike

    Yeah, but maybe then ESPN can get Dick Vitale to do a “bubble show” where he debates the merits of a #16 ranked 9-3 Clemson team getting in over a #17 ranked 11-1 Houston squad.

    Just THINK of the excitement of that, huh? Anyone, anyone?

  8. AlphaDawg

    “As soon as we go to a 8/12/14 game playoff all regular season games will cease to have any meaning to me what-so-ever”….said no real college football fan.

    • Come a 12-team playoff, and I’ll no longer care about the regular season like I do now. What worries me is that I may feel the same way if/when they go to eight.

      If that means I’m not a real college football fan, so be it. It’s my time and money, after all.

      • You are the ultimate college football fan. Back in the day…you were not. I have heard the story about your first Georgia Football game from our Friend. Great story…..You were in rare form. Possibly from too much (?).

      • AlphaDawg

        I’m a college football fan because of my ties to the school and because of the rivals I love to hate. Just because there is an 4/8/12 team playoff in no way impacts my desire to see UGA curb stomp every team that wears Orange or offers ticket deals that includes Cokes and Hotdogs. Hell if we get a chancce to beat UF twice in one season, it might even be better.

        • Again, I understand YMMV. But I know how I feel.

          I chose my undergraduate school based on being able to attend ACC basketball games. At this point, I watch a handful of regular season CBB games, none with any intensity, ignore the ACC Tournament in its entirety – something that would have been sacrilegious 25 years ago – and tune in to March Madness when I have the time. It’s simply not the same experience for me any more.

          • Always Someone Else's Fault


          • David K

            Apples and Oranges. If the basketball regular season was 12 games with only 8 conference games you better believe you’d tune in. Every game would be do or die as it still in in CFB, 4 games or 8 games in the postseason it doesn’t matter. Either way, you need to keep winning.

      • Chopdawg

        Senator, tell the truth: how much do you care about Georgia vs Buffalo? Georgia vs Florida Atlantic? Georgia vs Georgia Southern? Why do you keep worrying about the sanctity of the regular season, when so much of it is such a joke right now? And don’t you want something better for college football’s postseason than the mindless menage of bowl games we have now?

        You’re right about one thing: it’s your time & money. It’s my time & money too, and I’m getting tired of wasting $325/seat just for the privilege of buying $40 tickets on the 10-yard-line for meaningless games against teams I’ve hardly even heard of, much less care about seeing.

        • I care enough to have attended all those games.

          You guys miss the point about devaluation. What do you think would have happened to Georgia’s national title chances if it had lost any of those games? They’re crappy matchups, but in the vast scheme of things, they still matter.

          When we talk about devaluation, here’s what we mean: what happens when you have an SECCG in which both teams, win or lose, make the national playoff field? You really want to insist the game doesn’t lose a shred of relevance?

          And you are kidding yourself if you think an expanded playoff means the end of cupcake games. ADs are going to want those home games, no matter what.

  9. mdcgtp

    Senator, I am curious as to what you thought was particularly new or insightful about this article. it suggests that we are not going to stop at 4, and you predicted that. You were not alone. as others have pointed out, it took great effort to agree to plus one models, and it was obvious from the start that plus one was a transition model. The fact that the powers that be openly “lied” or professed otherwise at the time is not news or insightful either. We all get it. the commissioners and university presidents are far from perfect. we get they have flaws, flawed motivations, and often say and do dumb things. the pleasure of a forum is to have interesting discussion around it rather than beat a dead horse.

    the new “twist” you link here is the notion of resting players, but that is predicated on the notion that a playoff spot can be “clinched” and a seed can be clinched. In the NFL, they absolutely rest players when it becomes strategic to do so (i.e., a certain seed is “locked” in and home field advantage is either clinched or unavailable). If you think logically about how a college playoff might work, I don’t think that is probable.

    In an 8 or 12 team playoff where first round byes and potentially home field advantage is still at large, which I suspect would be in a playoff system WITHOUT a defined formula (based on record, division standings, etc) will be risk losing seeding and byes by resting starters.

    Seeing as how you chose to dismiss the math of playoffs and how it affects the significance of the regular season as well as the notion that cupcake games represent a stain on the sanctity of that regular season you hold so dear, I am sure you will conveniently ignore this difference as well.

    • What about my example above? I certainly don’t think they’ll go to 8/12/16 without auto berths for conference champs… do you?

    • The “twist”, as you put it, is that Dodd asserts the regular season has already been devalued. I thought that was clear from the lede in my post, but if I didn’t get that across very well, I apologize.

      By the way, “risk losing seeding and byes” is exactly what you look to a regular season for when it turns into little more than a content delivery system for the playoffs. Devaluation, in other words.

      • Keese

        I just don’t see how the big money could afford to let there be a threat to the importance and significance of the regular season. If that were to happen the market would correct itself among the networks

        • That’s a good point. In fact, it’s the fragile reed I’m clinging to in hopes that things don’t get out of hand.

          But here’s the problem – do you trust these guys to be really good at calibrating? Because I don’t. And the reality is that if they overshoot, the market correction won’t come in the form of reducing the postseason. It’ll be just the opposite, because they’ll be chasing more playoff money to make up for the hit they’ll take on the regular season.

          • Keese

            The TV networks have recognized and exploited the “tradition” theme in college football to get where we are today with these big contracts. They’ve done a pretty good job at it IMO. I feel they will defend the status quo of the regular season and protect their cash cow.

      • mdcgtp

        anyone who watched the USC-UGA, UGA-UF, USC-LSU, LSU-Bama, and USC-UF games knows that the regular season absolutely matters because its is those very games that get you to the championship game. adding a conference championship arguably ENHANCED the college season because it provided a defined path to an SEC title (and a defined path to NOT make it to the game). As a result, divisional games took on GREATER significance and rivalries between and UGA-UT and UF-UT were born. Now the “annoying kid that lives down the street” that we loved picking on has become a rival as well. Why? because he stands in our path to an SEC title. sure there are times when half a league collapses and somehow a crappy team makes the conf championship (i.e., wisconsin, arkansas in 1996,) but of late, the SEC championship has been must see TV.

        for good measure, Bama had effectively clinched the west after its win over LSU, but you would be hard pressed to argue that the loss to A&M did not matter. No it did not prevent them from winning a national title, but it mattered. further, it would have mattered if we had an 8 or 12 team playoff.

        that said, yes, they “matter” less in the conext of winning a national title when there is a play off. the individual burden on each and every games does ABSOLUTELY decrease by some amount. further, the real elephant in the room is the conference championship games. I still don’t really have a solution for them in ANY play off scenario 4, 8 or 12 teams. it seems to me that losing an extra game should not hurt a team. On the other hand, due to the quirk in scheduling, our resume was effectively a win over UF and being explosive offensively. After playing Bama, our “resume” was enhanced by the championship game, and any 8 team playoff HAD to include us.

        That said, the amount that the post season improves VASTLY offsets what is lost here. You can use terms like “content delivery system” to reiterate your view, but continue to ignore the fact the SUM of regular season + playoff > sum of regular season + BCS title game + 4 other “BCS” bowl games.

        do you really believe that when we get to the 8 or 12 team post season, you are going to pine for the days where we have ONE BCS championship game that pits two teams whose claims rose to the top and then 4 games that have included the likes of louisville, uconn, and northern illinois in recent years? Oh and the consolation prize for the SEC team is a date in a meaningless came against a big ten team that they may or may not want to play.

        Bear in mind Jim delaney and his crap ass brand of football will demand “access” simply based on being champion of his league (a league that the NFL has CLEARLY VOTED to be inferior) because the league’s brand meant something at some point in the past. I think he would have pushed for Ohio State over Bama with the patina(stench) of MNC winning coach urban meyer leading his team and the media would have bought it hook line and sinker. It’s ohio state right? they won all their games right? never mind that said Ohio state team was 21 and 33 in yards per play on defense and offense respectively against a schedule without a single quality win. Is that what you want to protect?

        by expanding the playoff, we can reward deserving teams with access and crown a champion based upon a run of achievement on the field. that seems far far to exceed the what is lost by letting teams have a “mulligan” ?

        • do you really believe that when we get to the 8 or 12 team post season, you are going to pine for the days where we have ONE BCS championship game that pits two teams whose claims rose to the top and then 4 games that have included the likes of louisville, uconn, and northern illinois in recent years?

          Based on my experience as a formerly rabid fan of CBB, yes, yes I do. I know the sinking feeling that’s going to set in the first time a #1 or #2 seed gets knocked off by a team that has no business being in the national title hunt. ESPN will go wild with Cinderella talk… and I will care less.

          I don’t mean to infer that I hold some superior moral ground here. I understand that you think the system will be improved with playoff expansion and you’re hardly alone in that. I respect your position. But I know from personal experience I won’t be able to maintain my enthusiasm as CFB’s postseason grows.

          • mdcgtp

            I am pretty sure college basketball was pretty awesome in the late 80s and early 90s in both the regular season and NCAA tourney, which were the years following expansion. college basketball stinks because the product stinks. the best players are no longer staying beyond one season, and the quality of play is terrible relative to those eras. I don’t think it is anything driven by the structure of the season and having a tourney.

            • I’m sorry… are you trying to explain to me why I’ve lost interest in a sport I loved?

              • mdcgtp

                no i am trying to explain to you that it not was a playoff that made you lose interest in college basketball. rather, it was the product stinks now.

                ergo, I think if one of the central elements of thesis for not wanting a college football playoff is your concerns about the impact of a playoff on college basketball, your concerns are misguided. nothing about a playoff in football suggests the quality of play should get worse…unless the NFL opens its doors to guys before their sophmore and junior seasons.

                • My interest in the CBB regular season seriously waned in the mid-80s when they pushed past 48 in the tourney, FWIW. (And honestly, it took a major jolt in ’75 when they went to 32 teams.) So I don’t think your “product stinks” argument holds much water with me.

                  No offense, but your attitude is what bugs me the most about this debate. I recognize that many fans want a bigger CFB postseason. I disagree, but don’t take the position that their position is erroneous. But what I hear from you – that I’m factually mistaken about why I dislike oversized postseason expansion – is something that gets pitched at me a lot by playoff advocates.

                  There isn’t any right or wrong here. It’s just about how our appreciation of the sport will be affected by bracket creep.

                  • I hate it! It turns CF into a sport for commercial exploitation.

                  • DawgPhan

                    And they never want to admit that all they really care about are brackets, pools, and Cinderellas.

                    There is a level of anxiety and stress that goes into a regular season college game that doesnt exist in any other regular season. That tension and release is what makes college football great. ditch the tension and you just get another piece of content that I can fast forward through.

                    • And they never want to admit that all they really care about are brackets, pools, and Cinderellas.

                      Well, I don’t think that’s every expanded playoff proponent’s point of view. But even so, if that’s what you want, it’s cool by me. Just don’t tell me I don’t understand or I’m wrong and that my position can be disregarded as a result.

                  • David K

                    Then you’re the minority. I’m 39 and grew up watching the ACC tournament and loving it and then watching and loving the 64 team big tournament. Knowing the players was the key. The Duke, UNC teams with all of their stars, Georgia Tech with Scott, Oliver, Kenny Anderson, etc. Players and teams were intact year after year. Today teams turnover every season. Even the 64 team tournament I have diminished interest in because there’s no familiarity with any of the teams. Ratings are down because the product sucks today, not because of playoff creep.

                    • Hackerdog

                      You’re 39. An expanded tournament is all you’ve ever known. If you grew up eating shit sandwiches, you might think they taste all right.

                      I agree that player turnover has harmed college basketball. But that doesn’t mean that low player turnover, with an expanded playoff, makes for a better sport than low player turnover with a small playoff field.

                    • I’m 57 and don’t mean to sound condescending, but you have no idea how intense ACC basketball was in the ’70’s. The 1974 ACC Championship game is still the greatest CBB game I’ve ever seen and that’s partly because of its winner-take-all nature.

    • Connor

      There’s no math relevant to playoffs besides the simple formula that individual playoff broadcasts are more watched, and therefore lucrative, than individual regular season broadcasts. Once you have a playoff there’s no better way to juice short-term returns than to add another few playoff games. Unless the commissioners and presidents of college football suddenly grow averse to money there will be no end to playoff expansion, regardless of the negative consequences.

  10. Derek

    You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  11. paul

    I am 55. I can count on one hand the number of times in my life when I genuinely felt there were four college football teams who legitimately deserved a shot at the national championship. The number of times EIGHT teams were deserving of that shot? Exactly ZERO. Twelve or sixteen? Seriously. Does anyone truly believe there are twelve or sixteen programs playing national championship quality football in ANY season? I got news for you. It has NEVER happened and it NEVER will.

  12. Spoence

    Here’s the solution. Go to 4 Superconferences with 32 teams each. Each superconference has an A level league and a B level league with 16 teams each divided into two divisions. If you come in last place in your A level division, you get knocked down into the B level, akin to Premier league soccer. If you win your B level division you get promoted the next year. Conf championship games and a 4 team playoff with conference champs.

    This system gives you a huge interest in the regular season, as you have to win your division to “play for it all”, and you have to not lose your division or you risk demotion. Interest would be high throughout the season for all teams involved (except those at the bottom of the B level divisions, but interest will never be high for them), we’d have in effect a 8 team playoff for the “settle it on the field” crowd, and you could preserve a lot of rivalries.

    Just think about it.

    • AusDawg85

      So playing every historical and traditional game is thrown out the window since you never know from one season to the next who is in which division?! If playing for a championship is more important than preserving the pageantry and traditions of CFB, then you just don’t get it and never will.

  13. cube

    I want to get real traditional. I think each team should only play about 5 regular season games with no postseason, like they did in the early 1900s. Anything more than that devalues what happens in those 5 games.

    • Ausdawg85

      Cashing out to lose UGA v Fla, OSU v Michigan, OU v Texas, USC v UCLA, etc so that you can have an office betting pool and a 8 – 4 “Cinderella” win it all is not an improvement IMHO.

  14. Macallanlover

    I feel there is no weaker argument against playoffs than the “devalue” the regular season one. The total opposite is true. Now when we get a playoff that includes 30+% of the teams, THEN you will be proven right and it will resemble college basketball, baseball, etc., and it will resemble the NBA, NFL, NHL, etc. Until then, the moaners about the regular season are off the mark. For once, the totality of the regular season will have an enhanced reason to be played. Currently only the conference games lead to a clear path of resolution. Every single game will be better, conference and OOC.

    And those who don’t see that teams will not lay down when a conference berth is clinched are covering your eyes. As has been pointed out to you, it hasn’t happened yet in games after a conference championship berth was clinched, never. It will only change if we were to reach that NBA, CBB, type silliness. Stop with using irrelevant examples about the NY Giants, the Braves, etc., when real life college football cases prove other wise. I understand you don’t like it, fine, but don’t jump around like a pinball side to side. Let’s stay with CFB, and there is no empirical data yet but all signs point against you in this resting players thingy.

    • Always Someone Else's Fault

      Everything except the behavior of every team in every sport who ever clinched a playoff berth.

      • Macallanlover

        You ignore the 100% evidence previously presented by several posters. But then, why face facts when you can speculate about the future because it makes you feel better. Again, we are talking about one sport here, let’s stay on point if we are to have a discussion.

        • “100% evidence”? C’mon, Mac, you’re confusing passionately held opinion with fact.

          • Macallanlover

            Name me one example where a cfb team pulled or rested in a regular season game after clinching a spot in the championship game. Just one example please. Not UGA, FU, FSU, BAMA, AU, LSU, TX, OU, etc. Never happened, and it could have many times.

            • Which championship game are you referring to?

              And you don’t think there’s the slightest possibility of that happening if instead of a single game, we’re talking about making a field of eight or more? If not, why would CFB be different in that regard from every other American organized sport?

              • Macallanlover

                Every conference championship game played since they began 20 years ago. Biggest game of every year.

                • Hackerdog

                  So, Alabama should be disappointed with the 2011 season because they only won the MNC and didn’t win the SEC? Someone should tell Saban and the fans how broken up they should be about that. Every Bama fan I know considers the 2011 season to be a success.

                  And if you think that UGA fans would gladly sacrifice a MNC in order to taunt Tech fans with, “_IARB!” then you’re delusional.

                  • Macallanlover

                    I think we are “apples and oranges” here. The discussion was on teams taking a game off. I have seen that in other sports but never in cfb. 8 is too exclusive for that. Even in the extraordinary case you cite, Bama did not take any games off, and their spot wasn’t assured until the end of the season, and another team out west lost. We could also argue whether playing full bore in football is ever sacrificing anything but that is a different discussion as well. Not sure feeling different from you makes me delusional. I am just as convinced of my position as you but that doesnt make you delusional.

                    • Hackerdog

                      You’re assuming facts not in evidence. An 8 team playoff will allow for automatic bids for conference champions. Under those rules, winning the SECCG is a much more important game then beating Tech. So it’s perfectly understandable why UGA would rest players against Tech in order to save them for the SECCG.

                      Bama didn’t take games off because we didn’t have an expanded playoff. Under the BCS, only the top 2 are taken. The margin for error is minimal. Any loss could potentially put you out of contention for a championship. An expanded playoff with automatic bids greatly increases the margin for error. A 3, or 4-loss conference champion is guaranteed entry to the tournament. Obviously, you can’t change the rules of the game and expect teams to continue behaving exactly the same way that they used to.

        • AusDawg85

          And as noted above, your “facts” are predicated on a past that does not resemble the future. You’re telling me how Blackjack works when the game is changing to Texas Hold’em.

          • Macallanlover

            I think they are a perfect correlation to the subject matter. And they occur within 7 days of one another which makes it even riskier for teams to play all out. Add in seeding and a potential home field advantage and the case gets even stronger.

            • I’m not sure why this idea is so obtuse. You are leaving the current format where every game affects your postseason – read: bowl slot (and where no rational team would tank one game to have a better shot in the next) to the eventual expanded-playoff format where end-of-year games could have zero impact on admission or seeding in the postseason tournament.

              A 9-3 division winner doesn’t get a shot at the national title in the current format, even if they win their conference title. They are just playing out their season, trying to win as many games as they can to improve their bowl slot should they lose the championship game. However, under an expanded playoff, that 9-3 team could win a shot at the national title by winning the conference title game… regardless of what they do in a game the week prior. It would be irrational to play your hardest in a game that has zero bearing on your ability to play for the ultimate prize. That is why you see teams take it easy in professional sports when they are playing games that don’t matter. CFB is moving in that direction, but you hold fast to this idea that they will forego the same rational thinking. I don’t get it.

              • Macallanlover

                I am just as baffled by you, and others who feel this way. How can you not see what is so blatently obvious to me and others? Some where there is a disconnect in communication, and it may be me not stating it the best way.

                Look, when UGA won the East in 2002, the GT game meant nothing about achieving the goal of a conference championship which could end a 20 year drought. Didn’t mean home field, seeding, nada. Just pride. We sat no one, zero. And neither did the other teams I mentioned, none, even though their spot was clinched.

                Lather, rinse, repeat, because an 8 team playoff will not change that for anyone. If anything the stakes for all games will be raised, imo. You are talking about 6% of the teams getting in, and half of those could get homefield advantage by being the highest rated. Tell me where you lay down in that case? Think OU won’t play hard in Bedlam? Or Bama against AU? FU against FSU? The Cocks against Clemson? Or even Michigan against tosu? Hasn’t happened yet, and will not happen until we reach a huge pool of spots, say 32 or more. Doesnt matter, I am on record of 8, no more. No team would take a game off in my proposal.

                • Chopdawg

                  Mac, I happen to be in favor of a 16-game CFB playoff, which would become a part of the bowl system…thus preserving those second-tier bowls for the teams who deserve to play in them, and bringing the upper echelon of bowl games into a white light that college football has been denying itself all these decades.

                  But I agree with your premise about teams taking games off. It won’t be any worse than it already is. Do fans currently get to see their teams’ best players, playing entire games, when their teams play late-season cupcakes like 2011 GA vs New Mexico State?–or 2012 GA vs Ga Southern?

                  Most of the anti-playoff arguments I’ve read on this blog sound like fans arguing for some old-time dream-world of college football that hasn’t existed for many years, if it ever existed at all.

                  • A five-round playoff through the bowls? How many CFB fans would be able to afford to follow their teams around through those games?

                  • Macallanlover

                    You know, the perfect size would be six teams if it didn’t bring in the need for byes. I would like 5 conference champions and one wild card (to accommodate for a truly deserving “other”) but taking two more doesn’t do any real harm because they will be paired against the highest ranked teams and will keep those two teams sharp for the next round and not sitting around for a month. Eliminating more whiners would be an added bonus; we will never eliminate them with any proposal but muffling the sound some would be pleasant as we enjoy more great CFB.

                • Look, when UGA won the East in 2002, the GT game meant nothing about achieving the goal of a conference championship which could end a 20 year drought. Didn’t mean home field, seeding, nada. Just pride.

                  … and a shot at a national title game. Just sayin’.😉

                  • Macallanlover

                    There was nothing on earth bigger than that SECCG for UGA fans, It was guaranteed, we weren’t even in the discussion for a BCS title game…it was pretty much beyond the thinking of UGA fans, who had yet to even make a trip to the Dome as a contender. And to say a “chance” for a BCS title a month away interfered with how the most pressing, most prestigous, title we were guaranteed to play for is unrealistic. It was a chance to rest players, and we didn’t. I even thought about it at the time. CMR, and all other coaches with the same opportunity have all elected to play all out, risks be damned. In the 8 team playoff, EACH game is critical. I get it with expanded playoffs beyond that point, but the argument is extremely weak, feeble even.

                    • Hackerdog

                      Nothing on earth bigger than the SECCG? In other words, Alabama fans aren’t happy with the 2011 MNC? They are sad because they didn’t win their division? I have absolutely no idea why you believe this. It’s simply not true. Even if you thought it was true, you could easily ask any Alabama fan whether he considers the MNC to be a better prize than the SECC. 100% would tell you that it is.

                      And yes, UGA was in the hunt for the MNC in 2002. We entered the BCS rankings at #5 and never fell below #6, and eventually climbed to #3. Our problem was that #1 and #2 were unbeaten. If either team had lost, we would have played for the MNC. I think any team ranked #3 in the BCS standings late in the season is pretty much, by definition, in the hunt for the MNC.

                      Also, you keep ignoring the fact that an 8-team playoff includes automatic bids for conference champions. I understand why you ignore it. It undermines you argument that every game must be critical, just because it is. But that doesn’t mean that your argument stop being undermined.

                    • Macallanlover

                      Sorry Hack, you are the one ignoring facts here because they don’t support your position. Focusing on 2002, I wasn’t sure we could beat Arkansas that year. Success was a new thing to all Dawgs so yes, it was the BIGGEST thing at the time. I was confident we could beat GT so the relevant point is, with a huge game 7 days away, and a game with an opponent whose outcome did not effect our achieving our goal (Richt has always said his goal is to win the SEC), it is the perfect example of my position.

                      That same situation has been faced by many others (Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida, SC, etc., and UGA several times) over the years with the exact result, every coach/team has played to win the game prior whether they had clinched, or not. It cannot be any more clear so we will have to leave it as a point that can not be agreed on. But honestly, you have to be able to see that. My opinion is you just don’t want to admit all the known evidence says I am right. And even if you think that will change, which I don’t, you do see that not stumbling at the end is huge for any contending team of eight if for home field, seeding, pride, etc., all rolled together.

                    • Macallanlover

                      Didn’t read the last sentence in the first paragraph so left out the point of with all the reasons saying sit the keys guys against GT, we didn’t. Every swinging dick in Dawg land would have accepted a loss to GT if we got the SEC title for the forst time in 20 years, Couldn’t have been more important, imo.

                    • Hackerdog

                      Let’s look at a different scenario. Suppose the powers that be decided that the football field should be shortened by half. Starting next year, the end zones will be 50 yards apart. It’s obvious to me that teams would adapt to the new game and call plays accordingly. You seem to believe that they would continue to function as if the old rules were still in effect.

                      Because that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about an entirely new postseason. And your only argument is to point out something that happened 20 years ago, under the old system. And you still have to misrepresent THAT.

                      Under the current system, every game matters when determining the national champion. Under a proposed expanded playoff or 8, or more, teams that condition ceases to exist. That’s obvious to most of us.

                    • Hackerdog

                      As for you insisting that UGA had incentive to rest starters against Tech, you’re still wrong. Imagine Richt rested starters against Tech, lost the game, won the SECCG, and meanwhile, one of the two teams ahead of us in the rankings also lost. Instead of us moving up to #2 in the BCS rankings, we’re out of the MNC picture.

                      You think UGA fans would gladly accept the loss of a chance to play for a MNC because we won the SEC? You’re crazy. MNC > SEC.

    • …it hasn’t happened yet…”

      And… there hasn’t been an expanded playoff yet either. Until now, every game has had national implications for teams with conference title berths clinched. When you introduce an expanded playoff, the incentives and motivations change, as evidenced by your other examples. Unlike the other sports you mention, however, it won’t be the teams that have clinched a spot and are jockeying for seeds. It will be the teams that have a puncher’s chance at a national title shot in a conference title game but none otherwise, but have a non-impactful game or two before they get that conference title shot. It hasn’t happened yet because the opportunity has not presented itself. But it will as soon as auto berths are guaranteed in an expanded 8/12/16 team playoff.

      • Cojones

        Then designate the top 4 bowls for playoff status. The Top 8 teams are whittled to 4 who would play in two semifinal game stadiums to decide who is matched for the NC. I have been consistent with that proposal for over a year because it is workable, a true playoff and would be inclusive of deserving teams.

        • Cojones

          Mac, thanks for the cognitive posting, holding your powder when the Senator suggested your enthusiasm was guiding your reasoning( especially since he is the one introducing that type of reasoning) and for being civil (because that drives your point home best with many posters on here). Keep up the good reasoning fight and down with the fuzzy thinking embraced as negative reasoning for a NC Playoff.

          • Macallanlover

            Thanks, but I am more impressed with your getting “cognitive”, “civil”, “good reasoning”, “negative reasoning”, and “fuzzy thinking” all into a two sentence paragraph.