Subjective is as subjective does.

If you wanted to create a process designed to generate as much controversy as possible, you could hardly do a better job than the CFP selection committee does.

With the release of the first set of College Football Playoff weekly rankings, it is finally time to cut through all of the noise.

In choosing the four-team bracket, what actually matters? What a team has done or how a team looks?

“It’s all of the above,” said Rob Mullens, the Oregon athletic director who is the selection committee’s new chairman.

Hang on to that. In all of the stuff we heard Tuesday, in all of the stuff we’ll hear over the next several weeks, that was the most important soundbite – and it’s one of the truest things we’ll hear – because it’s one of the few things that’s undoubtedly not spin:

For some teams, it’s about the resume. For others, it’s all about the eye test.

“This process,” Mullens said, “… is subjective by design.”

It’s on purpose!

It’s almost as if these people deliberately go out of their way to sabotage a four-team playoff format.  I say almost there, because things won’t change when the playoff field makes its inevitable move to an eight-team field.

You really couldn’t engineer a more unstable arrangement if you tried.

27 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

27 responses to “Subjective is as subjective does.

  1. Frankly, It seems to me that every year they have had the 4 best teams in it. Without question they have had the two best teams every year. I think the system is working.

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    • I agree. Every time there was howling and gnashing of teeth regarding the BCS matchup, it involved some team slipping into the title game above a more deserving team based on some stupid, rigid technicality (like Oklahoma getting in over USC in 2003 immediately after being dismantled in their title game). And every time they would tweak the formula and end up with another unexpected consequence that pissed off the fans. I prefer the current format, and I can’t say that there’s been a single season in which they’ve gotten the top 4 obviously wrong.

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      • Agreed, I think the 4 team format is pretty damn good (at best) and one helluva great compromise (at worst). People can get butthurt about Alabama last year (even I have at times), but they still went out and beat 2 of the 3 other playoff teams that absolutely had the right to be there.

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        • My problem with Alabama last year is that they got the benefit of the doubt at the end of the year. The Alabama team that was on December 2, 2017 would not have beaten the Ohio State team on that date. The committee even went so far as to say they wanted to see Alabama with their players back from injury. The only redeeming fact about last year was Corch and their douche fan base were the ones to get screwed by the committee.

          I like the 4 team format … I hate the selection method.

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          • Did you watch the games Alabama played in the playoff last year? And you’re still upset they got the benefit of the doubt? Give me a f’in break. Clearly they deserved it. Yeah, it sucks that they got to skip the SECCG, but frankly I’m not sure that would have improved our own season in any way. And Ohio State didn’t get screwed by the committee. They screwed themselves by losing twice, including a blowout to a mediocre team.

            Liked by 1 person

            • One of the reasons they got in was the committee gave them the benefit of the doubt for the injuries they had during the year. IMO, my point is that they were not one of the best 4 teams in the country on selection Sunday. If you want to face facts, Auburn on December 2, 2017 was more deserving of a spot in the playoff than Alabama. They had beaten Alabama soundly the prior week, had played a competitive game against Clemson early in the season, and had beaten us soundly once as well. The Tide and the Buckeyes are the only programs that would have gotten that kind of benefit.

              Alabama was able to get healthy during that month and still needed quite possibly the worst officiated half of football in my lifetime to win a championship.

              The committee always talks about how conference championships and 13 points of reference matter … until they don’t.

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              • Got Cowdog

                I am inclined to believe that the “eye test” for the ESPN invitational tourney is about how many eyeballs they can get on the TV screen. UGA and Auburn had already played twice in high profile games. Not enough people would care to see it a third time.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Agree, it’s working. Very good, IMHO.

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  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    There’s something to be said for partly subjective judgment. If the selection depended on completely objective factors, there would be teams feeling just as wrongfully omitted, but for different reasons. Remember the old saw: “Wooden consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
    You make the right point that there’s always pressure to expand the field, but there are bigger reasons than subjective judgment. From this Hogbody’s modest point of view, the offended first team out, and the great g_d television, are the big pressure factors for expansion. It was the undefeated third ranked team in the poll era. It was number 3 in the BCS rankings. It’s number 5 in the playoff rankings.
    Not arguing hard. Maybe they just teed up a stupid comment this morning.

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  3. Biggus Rickus

    They could use computer rankings, and people would still complain about the unfairness of the system. Maybe at eight teams, people will shut up about it, but even then, I doubt it.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      People complaining is the goal. ESPN wants folks watching its shows where its commentators talk about how stupid or smart the process is. It wants humans picking the rankings because showing them filing in a room removing hats then giving interviews is better programming than showing a data entry on a computer.

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    • ASEF

      Look at the rankings. Trying to differentiate teams 7-15 for spots 7 and 8 would be a huge mess. And then once you’ve shown 7 of those 9 teams the door, you get to argue about seeding 1-8. It would be 10x worse on the argument side of things.

      I’m not really interested in participation trophies for conferences through an auto-bid. If you run your conference into the ground, like the P12, you deserve to get left out. Whatever people want to argue, the current system at least awards meritocracy.

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  4. Gaskilldawg

    The nonsense IS on purpose. It is not a real playoff. It is the ESPN Invitational (ESPN is actually an owner of College Football Playoff LLC, or whatever it is called.)

    The playoff and the weekly rankings are designed for one thing: get programming that college football fans watch. ESPN claims it wants “the best four teams,” but mark my words ratings potential of each team invited since the whole silliness began was a factor in selection.

    The only reason for the weekly selection “rankings” and the manufactured process is to give ESPN round table shows material for the ex-players to yell at each other about.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. CPark58

    Its not that hard. Win your conference and earn the right to play for more. P5 winners + highest ranked non power 5 with a first round bye to the 2 highest ranked. You want in, join a conference and win it.

    The fact that the conferences are decided on the field but the national championship contenders are decided in a board room just shows you that the entire system was built with the sole intent to spark controversy and feed the Mickey Machine.

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  6. Macallanlover

    Of course it is subjective, and always will be to some degree. And you don’t have to sabotage the 4 team playoff, it was designed to be inadequate when they only had four spots with five major conferences. Half ass, but twice as good as it was before (even more so with the silly polls and the computers eliminated.) Get to 8 teams and most any credible bitching will be gone.

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    • AusDawg85

      I’m with you until your last sentence. Subjectivity is needed, particularly at this point in the season, to acknowledge Alabama meets an eye test that scares anyone even though their resume to date is weaker.

      But to state that there is an easier distinction between teams 8 / 9 instead of 4/ 5 is nuts. There will be more teams with a legitimate claim to a spot the deeper you go in the list.

      Easier fix…don’t call it a Playoff. It’s an Invitational and then it all makes sense. See the Masters as a reference…it’s not the US Open where literally anyone has a chance to qualify, it’s a controlled group.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. stoopnagle

    Wait, prior to the BCS, didn’t we already have a subjective decision-making process for deciding the national championship? And back then, didn’t every game matter and the regular season had it’s own value beyond chatter for “the playoff committee… blah blah”. And winning the SEC meant something. And going to the Sugar Bowl wasn’t viewed as a disappointment.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Since the 4 team playoff started, since when has winning the SEC not meant anything? Every winner has been involved, seems pretty damn important to me.

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      • Not speaking for stoop above, but I think his point is that many felt empty after a damn good season last year because we didn’t win the “natty” (I hate that term). I think that’s more about Bama winning a national championship without winning their own division. To some (not me), it cheapened the value of our SEC championship.

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  8. Russ

    The arguing and complaining is a feature, not a bug. This is the CFB version of the hot stove league, except during the season. This is a pretty good system that still leaves lots of room for discussion.

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  9. If getting eyeballs glued to screens is the ultimate goal, I don’t think going to 6 or 8 is a given. Autobids to conference champs may seem more fair, but it won’t make for better television. The playoff is already hit or miss with viewers depending on the matchups and the dates the games fall on the calendar. If viewership is so uncertain now, what do you think the “quarterfinal” games will pull when the #1 and #2 seeds aren’t playing (assuming you go to 6)? My guess is nowhere near the 25M+ viewers the semifinals get currently. You are also assuming autobids, which invites all kinds of possibilities for lucky 3+ loss championship game winners getting into the playoff. That won’t get viewers tuned in. If you go to 8, it only gets worse.

    I think if the playoff expands, conference champ autobids won’t be a consideration… until it gets to 16.

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  10. Does anyone really care to hear from the committee until December? All of this is hot air to provide Pretty Boy Empty Suit Herbstreit and the college football chattering class something to flap their gums about for the next 6 weeks.

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    • 92 grad

      Yep. Gaskill gets it too. If your team is in the top 4, it’s really fantastic fun. If your team isn’t, it’s just noise. It’s fun to watch the games but it’s not fun to attach any real value to it. It’s an invitational tournament with a trophy and money for the participants. They throw around the “national champion” term too loosely and lots of sheeple buy into it.

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      • Even if the committee didn’t meet until December, ESPN could still have their cute little shows for the chattering class to talk about their top 4. That’s what they do 24 hours a day on ESPNU now. The CFP talk this early (Herbstreit offers a top 4 every week) sucks the oxygen out of the room and makes everything else irrelevant. Even this week the talk is about how Alabama can lose this week and still be in the top 4 because of the eye test. It’s ridiculous.

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