According to ESPN BYU is close to leaving the MWC to become an independent in 2011. Perhaps this portends an eventual move to the PAC-__ or a desire to allow it to schedule its way into the BCS should the team be good enough.
Either way, Orrin Hatch just became less interested in developing a playoff system.
I have read this blog religiously for 2 years but this is the first time I have been compelled to write a diary. I realize this is not a topic people are thinking about all the time right now and that is why I am writing it. I am really tired of the tate/denard/devin and omg wings freakout. Also, I realize this is against the general opinion of most so all I ask is you wait to neg bomb me into oblivion until you have read my arguments. Feel free to rip my arguments to threads in the comments. Finally, as a proud LSA student I am using a blue book essay like format and trying to give an answer the way I would if I got a “Defend the BCS” essay on an exam.
Over the last few years, it has become the popular opinion that the current BCS system needs updating and that that update needs to result in a playoff. Just the other day I was with a group of people and somebody blurted out, “I assume you all agree we need a playoff in college football.” My comment to that was that we actually do technically have a playoff, it is a 2 team playoff. Furthermore, I don’t even like the current system, however I do believe that it is the better than the other options. Also, this is not a defense of using computers to determine the top 2 teams in the land instead of a selection committee.
The major argument you hear against the BCS is “it is not fair.” It is my belief that a 4 team and an 8 team playoff would be unfair for the same reason people claim the current 2 team system is. The first major argument I hear people bring up the 2008 Utah team because they beat one loss Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and finished undefeated. First off, people conveniently ignore the fact that the Alabama team looked like they would rather be anywhere else but playing in the Sugar Bowl instead of the national championship game. This was made painfully obvious when one of Alabama’s best players (if not their best), LT Andre Smith, decided he would rather talk to an agent and get ready to play on the NFL than play in that game. His backup was eaten alive for some unreal stat like 5 sacks. Also, I got the chance to watch that year’s Utah team live as they barely beat an awful 3-9 Michigan team by only two points and in my opinion they did not look that impressive in person. Even if you ignore those points, and still argue for either a 4 or 8 team playoff, it is still unfair because that undefeated Utah team may not have made it into either of the playoff systems. At the end of the regular season in 2006, Utah was ranked 6thin the final BCS poll behind USC (5th, PAC 10 champ), Alabama (4th, at large bid), Texas (3rd, at large bid), Florida (2nd, SEC champ), and Oklahoma (1st, Big 12 Champ). (http://espn.go.com/college-football/rankings/_/year/2008/week/16) In a four team playoff (or the plus one idea), the four teams to go would be the top 4 and Utah would be left out. In an eight team playoff, 6 slots would go to the automatic bids for the BCS conferences and then the 2 at larges would go to the top 2 BCS at large teams (Texas and Alabama) leaving Utah out. There are 2 ways for Utah to get in. The first is to give an auto birth to a non-BCS provided they are top 6. In this scenario you would have to leave Alabama (a top 4 team out of the playoff), which in my opinion would be even more unfair them omitting Utah. The other option is to drop the worse BCS auto bid team, this would not happen for monetary reasons because the big 6 conferences need their team represented. What we have in the 8 team situation is no better than the 2 team option because you still don’t get Utah in. This is why we added a 5thBCS bowl; it was just too hard for mid-majors to crack into 8 teams. So where we are now at is needing some version of a 4 week playoff to find a “fair” championship.
I also believe that from a straight logistical standpoint, a 4 week playoff will not work. While I realize the four week format works at the FCS level, I still just don’t see it as an option in major college football. First off, college football is a very dangerous sport and adding 3 extra games ups risk. With conference championship games, the team that reaches the finals will play a mind boggling 17 team games as an amateur athlete. That is literally more games than are in the NFL regular season. Furthermore, I am not sure how people expect student athletes to go through the media craze of a major college football playoff for 4 weeks in December that happens to overlap with fall term finals. If you are willing to dismiss those points, I still don’t see it working because of the ultimate sticking point. Where would these games be held? There is no way the teams from the north would be willing to play all the rounds at traditional bowl sites because that means the #1 team in the nation (if it is from the north that year) would have to play 4 road-like games to win a national championship (which is so unfair it shouldn’t even be mentioned). The only reason the Big Ten agrees to play these road games now is because it is one game and the beauty of one game is northern families and the team themselves will take a weeklong trip to the bowl location making it much less like a road game atmosphere. The teams would be unable to stay on sight for a week all 4 games due to exams and fans would not be able to take 4 separate vacations. This means that the at least first 2 rounds would have to be held at a regional site (bad for attendance) or home sites of the higher seeds. This means eventually Southern teams like those from the SEC would have to take their vaunted speed up north into the cold December weather. Seeing as SEC teams currently almost always refuse to cross the Mason-Dixon Line even in September, I don’t see them signing off on this. This effectively eliminates the four week idea.
Where we now are at is a situation where 2 team, 4 team, and 8 team playoffs are all “unfair” and four week playoffs are a logistical impossibility. At this point you have to select the best of the unfair systems and I submit to you that the best of the 3 is a two team system. The reason for this is you generally get an absolutely great championship game. Even if you disagree with the top 2 teams in the rankings every now and then, you are going to get a game between 2 of the top 3 teams in the country. This means you are going to get a great championship game between 2 great teams. One of my problems with the beloved college basketball tournament is there are too many upsets. It is too random. This makes it exciting to watch but doesn’t promote the best of possible finals. I realize people love Butler but I would have much rather watched a seven game series between Kentucky and Duke, that would be great basketball. It also means you can never take a week off during the regular season because it acts as a 12 week playoff in a way keeping the season exciting. If you had a large playoff you would get a situation where conference championship games may become boring because both teams are locks for the playoffs (similar to how some great college basketball teams yawn during their conference tournaments). To be honest, I don’t think there is one team in the nation that even had an argument that they were more deserving for a championship game then either Texas or Alabama because going undefeated in a major conference is far more impressive then doing it in the WAC. I would be willing to bet if you swapped last year’s Michigan schedule with Boise State’s schedule, that awful Michigan team would have been about 10-2. Basically, in the current system, we determine the championship by having the two best teams play for it. I love this.
In conclusion, while I readily admit that the current system we have to determine a college football champion it far from perfect and can be perceived as unfair, I believe it is the best system that is actually logistically possible. This is because a fair four week playoff would not work and of the remaining options, I would much rather see the one week version that guarantees us a premier national championship game between 2 elite teams.
I am on my annual summer trip to Vegas and checked the odds for UM to win the BCS Championship. UM and some other teams of note:
- OSU - 18 to 5 (pre-season favorite to win)
- Alabama - 4 to 1
- UM - 50 to 1
- MSU - 100 to 1
- UConn - 100 to 1
I LOVE that even though the team is a long shot it is still favored over MSU and UConn!
UM is also favored by 3.5 points over UConn.
So having just read the article on m.go.licio.us on cold weather BCS bowl games, I'm glad to see there are still people out there willing to give the cold a shot when talking about bowl games. I personally love snow football, and watching my team win in the snow is even better.
Patriots fans do this every year (among other teams), and the NFL has set a precedent with their recent decision on a New York Super Bowl for 2014. I've heard many a student want to kill me when i wish for some snow late in the season, but I'm still hoping to see a full blown snow game before I graduate.
What's everyone's opinion on this? Pros/cons on this kind of game? Would it help solve the "is the SEC truly better outside of their warm comfort zone" debate? I certainly think it would legitimize either how good they really are or how well they have been using that warmth to their advantage.
Doc Saturday's take on the potential pitfalls of ESPN taking over the BCS broadcasts as it relates to those of us hoping for a playoff is below.
It's interesting, because ESPN is very much a focused, on message broadcaster. Will they be inclined to bite the hand that feeds it? Will the BCS itself be able to shape the WWL's message? Obviously, we can't know that now, but it will be interesting if Herbie is OK with a controversial BCS pairing this year--or perhaps even lauding it for making the right choice.
I am currently taking my last English class ever(thank god), and one of the final assignments is a 10 page argumentative research paper. For a paper this long i need a topic that I'm truly passionate about; and what better than college football?
Most, if not all, of us know that the great controversy of college football is of course:
the BCS system vs a playoff system
I wrote a shorter 6 page paper on this same topic last semester but I'll re-word everything to avoid that whole plagiarism thing. Onto the whole point to my post...I want to improve my paper but don't want to post it on here so my teacher doesn't Google a section of it and find it on a sports blog. (I almost did, that would have been stupid of me)
At the moment there are no rebuttals to why a playoff system would be bad but from what I've read around here, the BCS makes a lot more money than a playoff would. Is there any factual data to prove that so I could put it in my paper? Also, I understand that a playoff would remove the student athletes from their schools or homes for a longer duration, but doesn't March Madness do the same thing?
So if you could comment on the reasons a playoff system is a better option than the BCS system, it would be greatly appreciated.