Chaos, I tells ‘ya.

If the Alabama-LSU rematch for the BCS title was the spark that lit the fuse to end the old postseason order and replace it with the current four-team college football playoff format, what do you think this would lead to?

Suppose the committee did put the two Tigers plus the Tide and Seminoles in ahead of, say, a one-loss Washington or Michigan or TCU. This sort of thing is why we have the playoff in the first place. Two SEC teams making the BCS National Championship Game in 2011 immediately preceded the creation of the new system. The rest of the power conferences thought enough was enough and finally decided to expand the championship system. (Ironically, the SEC had been pushing for a four-team arrangement for years by then.)

If the majority of the power conferences get left out this year, there will be tremendous pressure to Do Something About It. This could go anywhere from tweaking the committee guidance to more heavily favor conference championships to possibly setting a date to expand the bracket. Only the situation of all four playoff teams coming from just two conferences could do that because the other three P5 leagues have voice and influence in a way that the G5 conferences do not. That’s why I put this scenario far ahead on the nightmare scale than Houston—even an undefeated Houston—not making the playoff.

If you’re one to root for chaos, then your best bet is pulling for the actual four best teams to be Alabama, Clemson, FSU, and LSU in some order. The committee will either have to break its own rules to avoid putting all four in or follow its rules and potentially set fire to the whole system. The Big 12 has been having an existential crisis ever since its one-loss champion(s) failed to make the 2014 bracket. Imagine what could happen if the Final Four only came from two leagues.

It’s an eight-team playoff proponent’s wet dream.

55 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

55 responses to “Chaos, I tells ‘ya.

  1. Boooooooo…..I like Georgia to be in, LOL.

  2. Skeptic Dawg

    I do not recognize Alabama as the 2011 national champ. They did not deserve to play in that title game due to their loss to LSU during the season. Additionally, I believe that winning your conference should in fact be a criteria for admittance into the playoff. If you have to move beyond comference champs due to tie breakers and/or equal records then winning your division is an absolute must. The value of your 12 game season has to accounted for and winning your division/comference should be rewarded. Yes, I realize that all conferences are not created equal, but such is life.

    • Excellent post, Skeptic. I feel exactly the same way about 2011 as you. LSU beat Bama fair and square in T-town and played an extra game in the SECCG. All of that just to see Bama again in New Orleans. It was like killing Freddy Krueger just to see him come back and slash you at the end of the movie. I hated it …

      It would be impossible to make it happen, but any 8-team format needs to be “champions only.” I can’t stand the committee and really have no interest in seeing wild cards get a berth into the CFP.

      • paul

        So, in that scenario, where would the eight champions come from?

        • Otto

          2011 did not need a playoff, LSU won the SEC fair, they also had wins over the PAC champ and BigEast Co-champ.

          An 8 team playoff will devalue the regular season,

        • Paul, it would require radical changes to make an 8-team champions-only playoff work from a competitive balance standpoint. In today’s college football landscape, you can’t legitimately do it because ND doesn’t play in a conference (and TV won’t pay for scenario where the Irish aren’t eligible) and you would have to have 3 mid-major champions in.

          My scenario would require:
          1) Super D-1 (think 80 schools in 8 10-team regional conferences split into 5-team divisions)
          2) Teams only play other schools in the super D1
          3) 8 conference championship games played on neutral sites
          4) Winners advance to playoff

          • Cosmic Dawg

            This. Or go back to bowl games only….sigh.

            • Cosmic, this scenario would actually keep the bowl system intact, but there’s no way the conference commissioners would ever go for it. Also, the Super D-1 would probably need an antitrust exemption from Congress similar to the NFL’s arrangement to prevent the legal challenges from schools 81-128.

              It’s a pipe dream, but it would make both the regular season and post-season the best. You could play a OOC game against a traditional rival and not worry about the impact of a loss on your playoff prospects. Similar to today, conference games would be the only ones that count toward getting to your conference championship game. You have a virtual 16-team playoff at that point.

              • Mayor

                My solution is similar to yours ee: 4 superconferences of 16-20 teams each divided into 2 subdivisions per conference. The champs of each subdivision play each other in a de facto first round of the playoffs and the 4 surviving teams are in the 4 team playoff.

    • PTC DAWG

      My brain can handle just fine that the 2nd best SEC team might just be better than the other conference champions. I know one way to find out. 🙂

      • Skeptic Dawg

        PTC, I too can easily envision the 2nd best team in the country being an SEC team. However, the 2nd best team in the land would have either 1) lost the SECCG or 2) not won their own division in some years. If it is a case where the loser of the SECCG remains 2nd then I would have minimal issues with that. What I do not want to see is a team from any conference fail to at the very least win their own division and then be gifted an opportunity to advance into the playoff. So in my world, the first criteria would be all teams in playoff consideration must have first won their division and you begin to sort teams out from there. I do not think that this is too much to ask for.

    • Jared S.

      I get what you’re saying. And I see the validity of all your points. But it’s hard for me to feel sorry for LSU when they played Alabama for the NC in New Orleans (FOR GAWDS SAKE) and couldn’t score a single point. I mean, come on.

  3. @gatriguy

    We’re a million miles from here to there. I don’t see at least 2 of those teams having only 1 loss b

  4. paul

    I think this sort of thing would be totally awesome. Even if it isn’t those four teams. It’s precisely what the sport needs. Having said that, as soon as we go to an eight team playoff, which I believe is inevitable unfortunately, that’s when I quit watching, quit caring and quit spending my money on college football. But don’t worry Senator, I’ll still read your blog.

    • PTC DAWG

      Why didn’t you quit watching when they went away from the traditional way of the bowls?

      • paul

        I realize I’m old but I liked college football better when it was a regional sport. In recent years I have given up our season tickets, quit donating to the Hartman Fund and quit spending the tens of thousands of dollars we used to invest in tailgating. Now we watch from home on the giant HDTV. In my mind much of what made college football great has already been sacrificed on the altar of TV revenue. An eight team playoff is simply the precursor to the eventual but certain death of the golden goose. Now, you kids get off my lawn!

  5. Debby Balcer

    That is like the number three US gymnast who was better than any other country’s number one gymnast getting left out just because she came from the US. It happened. If your team is better than a conference champ because the conference is weak why should they deserve a chance at a national title all of those of you who diminish our wins because they were not good wins should against that. I will go ahead and say it the BCS was better because it did was not biased.

  6. Cojones

    Eight teams have been inevitable since a national championship game was first announced. Weak excuses not to have 8 teams are fading and the reason for having that many? Just look to our SECCG as the reason. Sometimes the #1 and #2 teams in the country are right here and we should embrace that as having the finest CFB in the land. Choosing one of the two top teams from the SEC is a travesty when we are seeking the best team in the land and both are playing for it; more unfair than not having a conference represented.

    There are many who don’t see it unfair to have the two strongest teams in the country in this conference and to let them play for the NC. The quicker we go to 8 teams, the sooner all P5 conferences can be represented and that permits more than one team in a conference to participate and most certainly stops the foppish pome de rue excuses promoted.

  7. DawgPhan

    I perfer the chaos of Bama losing to LSU. LSU losing to UGA in the SEC title game where UGA has 2 loses.

    11-1 Bama
    12-1 LSU
    11-2 UGA

    Bama makes the playoffs and the other 2 teams sit at home. I think that would drive people crazy.

  8. Bob

    We are on our way to NFL Lite. Oh yeah. Who seriously thinks that 8 will be enough? Laughable. Playoff addicts will never be satisfied. And the regular season will be as important as the NBA or even college basketball. It is coming.

    • Otto

      Sad but likely true, I hope UGA wins a title before targeting rules and playoff expansion result in turning off the game.

    • Cojones

      Casting the people who have always proposed 8 teams as “Playoff addicts” just illustrates that you have not considered the reasoning for a playoff from the start. What is your term for everyone who wanted 4 teams, “Semi-playoff addicts”?

      • Bob

        No, they were playoff addicts as well. We are on the slippery slope. There are probably some who simply wanted 4 and I have no doubt that there are some that would be satisfied with 6 or 8. But once the momentum starts…well. Hell, there are plenty of basketball gurus who now want all teams in a super tournament at the end. The nature of football won’t allow that.

        I can recall perhaps one or two times in the past 60 years when more than 3 or 4 teams had a LEGITIMATE claim for a title, with 2007 being probably the last and even then, not 8.

    • PTC DAWG

      I disagree…but that’s ok too.

  9. Cousin Eddie

    I see a six team play off with a guarantee to add all 5 power conference champs with the third lowest ranked playing a group of 5 or ND to get in the final four and the two lowest ranked playing for a shot at the final 4. This would give everyone a shot to divide the money.

    • Gary Danielson had a pretty good variation of the 6-team playoff with the 4 highest rated conference champions and 2 at-large teams using a similar system to the old BCS. The 2 highest rated teams get a 1st round bye with 3 playing 6 and 4 playing 5 at the higher seeds’ campus.

      • I believe that as long as there are 5 Power Conferences the playoff expansion will bit 6 before 8. I don’t see the Power conferences going to 8 and then share the wealth with the Group of 5 by letting one or two in per year.

        If the Big 12 survives then I think we definitely will see a 6 team playoff with the 5 conference champions getting the automatic bid. There would be 1 at large berth which would be reserved for a 1 loss ND, the highest ranked Power 5 team that it is not a conference champion or an undefeated Group of 5 team that is ranked in the Top 10.

    • Otto

      If there must be a playoff, 6 teams, no autobids just the top 6 as determined by the current committee, top 2 teams get a 1st round bye.

      Big enough to include teams on the cusp of the debate, the 1st round bye will keep focus on tough schedules to get the bye.

  10. ASEF

    So Alabama in 2011 wasn’t legit, proving we need an 8 team playoff, which Alabama 2011 would have been at worst a 3 seed – and while 1 game miracles do happen, does anyone really believe any of the other 7 teams in a 2011 field beat Alabama 2011 3 out of 5?

    Playoffs are entertainment. Good entertainment sometimes, although if you look carefully, the hype usually exceeds the reality. That’s cool.

    But can we p l e a s e stop pretending more-team-playoffs confer more mystical validation that less-team-playoffs. The more rounds you add, the greater the probability the best team doesn’t win. Look at the NCAA tournament. How many teams do we see teams obliterate the regular season and then have a 1-game stumble against a hot team with nothing to lose?

    It’s entertaining as heck. But it’s hardly an ideal way to figure out who the best team is. Seeding, officiating assignments, injuries – the bigger the tournament, the more random noise you introduce to the equation.

    • Mayor

      Look at Major League Baseball. The Braves had the best team in the Major Leagues for year in the 90s and 00s and only won the World Series once during that stretch. The reason? Too many teams in the playoffs and too many chances to get upset.

      • Baseball’s also weird because an average overall team with two top-line starting pitchers can dominate a playoff series when they go away from a standard 5 day rotation and start 4 games in a 7 game series or 3 games in a 5 game series. I’d argue the Braves running into some dynamic 1-2 pitching buzzsaws really cost them as well (i.e. Johnson / Schilling – D’Backs 2001, Prior / Wood – Cubs 2003, et al.).

        • DawgPhan

          I also think that the braves philosophy on pitching hurt them. They never really lined up 2 power guys.

          The air gets drier, you lose a little movement and the strike zone gets smaller.

      • Macallanlover

        That wasn’t the reason Mayor, Braves were built for a season, not beating top teams in a 3/5 or 4/7 series. Cox did not know how to win games against top pitching by playing little ball, and it cost him.

  11. Sh3rl0ck

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with “Bowl ‘n’ Poll”. There was absolutely nothing wrong with split championships. There was absolutely nothing wrong with ties. I have never understood Americans zeal for single-elimination playoffs. Part of what made college football great was that every game mattered.

    The fact that a 9-7 NY Giants team won the Super Bowl the year after a 10-6 Green Bay Packers team that didn’t even win its 4 team division won the Super Bowl has made the NFL regular season irrelevant. That even happened a year after a 7-9 Seattle Seahawks team won a Wild-Card came.

    • PTC DAWG

      I could easily see the better team having a few key injuries early in the season, and having a few losses for it. We are no where the NFL model. The NFL teams are all very close. Not so in the College game.

    • European soccer has byfar the best and fairest set-up in determining league champions.

  12. Jared S.

    Just go back to the BCS formula and put the top 8 teams in a an 8-team playoff.

    End of story.

  13. Macallanlover

    There is never a justification for two teams from once conference until every Power 5 conference champ is already in. When the playoff gets to six or eight, I can see a runner up included some years, but not before then.

    • What if those two teams are better than those from any other conference?

      • Macallanlover

        We don’t know that, ever. When there are excess spots after the conference champs, then they get a seat. All this arguing about conference supremacy when there isn’t enough data interactions is just unfounded opinions. Just because the SEC has better teams at the top doesn’t mean FSU, ohio, Stanford, TCU, cannot singularly be better than anyone in the SEC. We all have different schedules, ways of determining the champion, number of conference games played, championship games and no championship game….how do we know. But each conference has a right to be represented, we already deny one, which is wrong, denying another is much worse.

        I get the two best teams philosophy, but there is no guarantee the best team will even be in the four, much less the two best. Everyone needs to get over that the playoff identifies “the best”, it doesn’t, it only gets a winner we call “champion”. The Super Bowl, World Series, Masters, etc., just give you a champion, someone who won “the process”. Best has nothing to do with it, and never will.

  14. Pretty much all the major points have been covered. I guess all I have to add is that nothing in life is fair, someone is always getting screwed. Same with determining a NC. Also “it’s all about the benjamins” as we say in the hood. There will be and 8 team playoff.