“Nobody has the perfect solution.”

I realize I’m likely wasting bandwidth with this post, but for those of you who earnestly believe an eight-team college football playoff will be the greatest thing since sliced bread, after reading this piece, do you honestly think the people who make the decision to expand are competent enough to invent a format that addresses all the issues raised by a bigger playoff?

I’m not.  That’s not to say we’re not getting expansion.  We are.

It’s just that they won’t be able to figure out a solution that works.  Instead, they’ll flail around trying, in the end unable to ignore the one guiding principle behind another round of playoffs:  but there’s all that money!

Eh, no big deal.  They’ll just revisit things a few years later.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

45 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

45 responses to ““Nobody has the perfect solution.”

  1. TomReagan

    Scrap the whole damned thing. Does anyone feel like college football is more fun today than it was in 1995?

    It may be my rose tinted glasses of days gone by, but I sure do miss those days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Walt

      To me college football is as much fun today as in 1995.

      Like

    • Biggus Rickus

      I mean, I’m not 20 anymore, so nothing’s as fun as it was in 1995. That said, I don’t think college football is any less fun on the field. In most ways it’s better. We all just have a lot more knowledge of the behind the scenes nonsense than we used to. That said, I preferred the days when in a given year a series of dominoes could fall that turned the number 6 team going into the bowls into a national champion. Other people hated the arbitrary nature of it, though, so whatever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Russ

        I agree about know too much of the behind the scenes info. I have a friend that used to be deep into recruiting news (back before it was widely available). He knew all the dirt on everyone, including us. I told him I didn’t want to know any of it because it spoiled the illusion for me. I should have taken my own advice when it comes to the internet.

        I also agree with you on the old bowl days when someone could (and often did) make a huge jump because of how all the dominos fell that day. We will never have a true, settled on the field champion in a sport with 130 teams, so I’d prefer the old way. Made for more fun and certainly more to talk about.

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    • AceDawg

      The format doesn’t make it less fun, just the rules that take away big hits and physical play. I get reducing head injuries, but you are still supposed to be able to leave your opponent squirming around on the turf with big hits.

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    • 4th and Kirby

      When the evil genius was routinely spanking our fanny? No thank you. Although I hate the playoff and any variation of it.

      Like

    • I didn’t like Florida and their antics so much then, so in that sense 2019 is far more rewarding.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ASEF

    UNC plays Wake Foresst next season. It is a non conference game. Popular matchup with the fan bases lost on a regular basis to conference expansion. So, the two teams dialed it up as an “OOC” game.

    The same people who created that mess are trying to navigate Playoffs!

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    • TomReagan

      That UNC/Wake news is great.

      Roy Kramer doesn’t get enough credit for maintaining as many traditional rivalries as he could when the conference split into divisions. It’s amazing that other conferences didn’t follow suit and how it ended up biting them in the ass.

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      • spottieottie

        I’ve only ever known the SEC as an expanded league (I was 3 when Arkansas and South Carolina joined), so I don’t really have any memories of regularly playing Alabama or Ole Miss. But I wish there was a better way to rotate the cross division opponents. Kind of ridiculous that A&M has been in the league since 2012 and this will be our first time seeing them.

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        • There’s an easy way to deal with that.

          #9gameschedule

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        • GruvenDawg

          You can lookup pod scheduling or “the roommate switch” for options to increase scheduling regularity in a conference. Uneven divisions amongst the power 5 is what devalues the conference championship games. The NCAA requirement for round robin divisions to determine conference championship game participation is the real culprit of why intra conference rotation sucks. Also a mandatory of 9 conference games and 2 P5 teams per year for all conferences would help

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        • Russ

          We have never regularly played Bama or LSU. In fact, we routinely went much longer between meetings back then. We played LSU in 78/79 when I was in school and it had been 20 years since we’d played them last. I think we went from 76 to 85 before we played Bama as well.

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  3. The current system is fine how it is. If they want to go to 8 (and they do), the worst thing they could do is pigeon-hole themselves into auto-bids. If you want the regular season to be the most meaningful, select the top 8 teams. With the top 8, you can take big non-conference games into account, conference championships, etc. If auto-bids are given out, you’ll end up with a four-loss conference champion in the playoff instead of a one-loss non-champion, and all hell will break loose… and by that I mean they will expand again.

    What they really should do is make a super league of the power five conferences and tell the group of five to fend for themselves. Get a commissioner, pay the players and let them collectively bargain, and then we can have the NFL Lite we all crave with this AAF and XFL nonsense.

    Like

    • AlphaDawg

      I don’t support an expanded playoff but wouldn’t an autobid for Conference champ’s mean the regular season actually counts more? Sure a 4 loss team could win a championship game but they would still have to win their division and a game against the “best” team from the other side of the conference. Its not ideal but I don’t see how it would devalue the regular season anymore than an expanded playoff would anyway. It would make a win over division foe’s mean more but that is how it works now.

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      • I don’t follow. Conference championship games are not part of the regular season, so you are trying to validate the regular season’s value by taking a postseason game and giving it more value.

        For example, Northwestern this year went 0-3 in non-conference (all at home), including a loss to Akron. They managed to win their division with an 8-1 conference record and a +53 conf point differential (+24 for the regular season), and if they had caught lightning in a bottle against Ohio State, they would have won a place in the playoff (under this hypothetical).

        Don’t forget that UCLA played in the 2011 PAC 12 championship game with a 6-6 record and a 50-0 loss in their 12th game of the season. With auto-bids, they would have had a one-game shot at a playoff that would have completely rendered the rest of their season meaningless. With a selection committee, they would have still been conference champs, but they would have been passed over for much more worthy playoff candidates, even if the field was 16.

        Like

  4. Walt

    I like the idea of a 6 team playoff with the top two teams getting a bye.

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    • RandallPinkFloyd

      Most playoff games have proved that there are really only 2 deserving teams, maybe 3 at times. If they expand it, it will dilute the regular season. That’s what we’re headed to and it sucks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Truth

      I don’t think that’s much different than going back to the BCS. If there are 2 teams that have separated themselves enough from the other 4 to deserve a bye, just let them play for the title. There won’t be any byes in expansion.

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    • Macallanlover

      I could be on board with it as a number, but the bye advantage is just too huge to give to a subjective call. Home field is a nice advantage as well but it is the only way to logistically get a quick turnaround for the 1st round games. Plus, it insures we don’t give teams a chance to sit players once they have clinched a spot via the automatic conference slot. Regular season will be better with expansion to eight, unlike almost all the other sports who leave that door cracked.

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  5. JCDawg83

    Unless they go to 8 playoff teams comprised of conference champions it would suit me fine to go back to the old “bowls and polls” system. If there is going to be some subjective, arbitrary committee picking who they think are the eight “deserving” teams, let some arbitrary subjective groups of writers and coaches vote on who is the national champion, there really isn’t much difference. I’m sure Ohio State, Texas and Washington would all argue they should have been in the playoff and could have beaten all four of the teams the committee decided “deserved to be there”.

    If a four loss team beats an undefeated team to win the conference, that says to me that the four loss team was better and deserves to advance to the playoff. The one loss team should have played harder, smarter, made fewer mistakes, they knew what was at stake. Upsets are some of the best stories in sports, “do overs” for losers are disgusting and reinforce the “everybody gets a trophy and everyone’s a winner” BS that is so common in modern society.

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    • But it’s OK that 1 win in a “conference title” game would essentially be a do-over of 4 regular season losses ? That’s one element where it’s not naïve to question the undermining of the value of the regular season.

      “Conference Title” is in quotes because a 4 loss team playing an undefeated team for the same “title” is by definition an artificial construction—in this case because of geographic, but unbalanced, divisions. I suppose you could say that is maybe the single bright side of infrequent divisional rotation. In a sense, the SEC is operating as two 7-team conferences with a scheduling agreement that is fortunate enough to have at least 1 top team in each division that also rarely play each other in the regular season. The replay with Auburn was the first time that had happened and could have presented a bug had Auburn entered the game with say 3 losses (2 non-conference) but won the title.

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  6. Chopdawg

    The linked article reaches the conclusion that the playoff structure is “unlikely to change significantly anytime soon.”

    Also–guess this must be a matter of perceptions– but hasn’t the regular season already been diluted since about 1975, when teams like Richmond starting showing up on Georgia’s schedule?

    Like

    • Russ

      Cupcakes are a different kind of dilution. The dilution that the playoffs is causing is in games that really should matter. Auburn beat Georgia and Bama 2 years ago, yet in the end, those games didn’t matter because we both got into the playoffs. If there had been 8 teams instead of 4, the SECCG wouldn’t have mattered because Auburn would have gotten in that field. That’s the dilution I don’t want to see.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 100%. Also, in an 8 team playoff world, years in which the Iron Bowl should be at it’s pinnacle (2 undefeated teams) will be the years it is rendered most meaningless as the loser will almost certainly be in the field. As has been mentioned, we already saw that in the 4 team field—8 teams just guarantees that. At least that Sunday in 2017, everybody had to bite their nails on whether Bama privilege would come to fruition.

        Like

    • Georgia dined on cupcakes long before 1975.

      Like

  7. spottieottie

    Has there been a season in recent memory with 8 teams who “deserved” a shot at the national championship?

    Like

  8. AceDawg

    A 4 team playoff is fine, but if the NCAA and profit seekers want to make more money and add more excitement with something OTHER than an 8 team playoff, my recommendation is to add one more game to the regular season. That game will pit Power 5 teams against a random Power 5 team via a drawing that occurs the previous year. Those games would almost be equivalent to a bowl game in the regular season, and the various cross conference matchups that ensued would make it easier to compare and contrast teams for the playoff committee in selecting its top 4.

    Like

    • Given how schedules are made, how could you do the random selection? Would all of those games be played on a set weekend? How do you prevent Bama from playing Kansas and Georgia ends up with Ohio State? Which school gets the home game? Regarding adding a game, do schools only get one bye week or so you move the schedule?

      Good idea … almost impossible to implement.

      Like

  9. doofusdawg

    The problem as I see it with an eight team playoff is the extra week it would require in January. I like the fact that the semifinals are part of the New Year’s day bowl weekend with the championship the following week. That works with the bowls as well as the academic calenders of most schools.

    How would you squeeze in an extra week other than moving the championship game to the second week of January… which nobody wants.

    Like

  10. Macallanlover

    Answering your question: I cannot feel comfortable they won’t screw up certain aspects of the expansion. Too many compromises by these politicians massaging each other’s backs, but it will still be better. And they can tweak it as it moves along.

    Like

  11. HiAltDawg

    This year proved four teams are too many. It’s time for the SEC to do the Jesus lovin’, patriotic thing and make a four team SEC Playoff and we won’t have to waste our time and money on what Disney wants.

    Like

  12. I believe the only tweak that should be made is you have to play for your conference’s championship. You don’t have to win but you have to at least play for it.

    Like

  13. PTC DAWG

    And they thought the first round was uncompetitive this year…yeah, going to 8 fixes that, sure. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  14. DawgByte

    “Instead, they’ll flail around trying, in the end unable to ignore the one guiding principle behind another round of playoffs: but there’s all that money!”

    Obsessed much? Nah…

    Like

  15. The Truth

    Get conferences down to a manageable size, no more than 8 of them, play a round-robin schedule in each, do away with conference championship games, and I’d be on board with an 8-team playoff, with the first round basically replacing the conference championship games.

    Added benefit: since only conference record would determine if you made the playoff, the other 3 or 4 regular season games could be against other powerhouses and wouldn’t affect making the playoff. No more top dollar for cupcakes!

    Like

  16. UGA '97

    We would rather conferences expand first.

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  17. What I do not get about the “expand to 6 or 8” concept is why folks watched Clemson vs. Notre Dame and decided that football would be better if Clemson was playing a team worse than ND.

    Why the desire to have had Washington get slaughtered by Alabama? Expanding the field will not make the 6th team better with a 6 team field than it is with a 4 team field.

    Like