Oklahoma State, Auburn, USC, Michigan and many others disagree with you.
well that's just, like, your opinion, man
Oklahoma State, Auburn, USC, Michigan and many others disagree with you.
For the most part, just win. You have no excuses if you lose a game. As much as I wanted Michigan in the MNC in '06, you know what, if they don't lose they have a shot. Is that always fair? No. But it's pretty much the truth.
And a 4-team playoff would pretty much take care of the years when there are a few undefeated teams without something like this happening. Those teams you listed can hypothetically disagree all they want, but for most of them if they just would have won it wouldn't have been an issue.
I think that sums up the problem right there. I agree with that statement. That's why the NY Giants just won the Super Bowl. Auburn went undefeated a few years ago and didn't even get a chance at the national championship. A playoff in any form is preferable to what college football has going on now.
And I completely disagree that college football is more superior. More passionate? Possibly. But definitely not superior. The ability of athletes between the two sports is obviously different, and I enjoy the NFL more because the quality is so much higher.
They were 7-7, they lost just as many as they won, which makes that much less meaningful than what college football is, which is essentially lose a single game and you have no reason to bitch.
And you're barking up the wrong tree on this blog saying the NFL is a more enjoyable game to watch. Obviously the talent is superior in the NFL (honestly not even sure why you brought this point up) but to most around here the college game in general is much more fun to watch. For my reasons it is because of the diversity, traditions, and probably most importantly, as you point out, the passion. I like the NFL, but I think most around these parts, including myself, find the college game superior in enjoyment value. You can use the amount of fans that fill the stands on Saturdays as evidence that many agree with this line of thinking.
I don't think you're correct. Take a look at the number of pageviews and comments in the "9/14 NFL Open Thread" or whatever, and take a look at the same numbers for the Fiesta and Orange Bowl threads; my guess is a substantially higher interest in the Fiesta and Orange, even though it's been a decade since an M team has played in either.
Also, a lot of the tone of this blog was set by Brian (who, in the beginning probably attracted mostly like-minded people, who are now our big-point users) who watches, for all intents and purposes, no pro football and would definitely argue the college game is superior. I'd argue that it's a very rare poster here that would take NFL over NCAA.
I'm just proud of my Redskins for beating the Super Bowl Champs.
take your victories where you can...kudos
That's like the Rams in 99. Completely unstoppable throught the regular season and playoffs. The Greatest Show on Turf...
Some people forget the Lions beat them that year.
I think each playoff team should start the game with the same number of points as their advantage in regular season wins. Patriots up 4 to start the game.
didn't beat a team with a winning record until the playoffs, and lost to the Giants at home during the regular season, and you want to spot them 4 points? This might be the worst idea in the history of mankind.
The only team that the Giants beat with a winning record was the Patriots, so you're kind of counting that one twice. Had the Pats gone 16-0 again, they would have had exactly 1 win over a team with a winning record. Don't get me wrong, it's a stupid idea, but using wins against teams with winning records as a measuring stick in the NFL is kind of stupid.
The point is the Giants had a much more difficult schedule than NE and made the playoffs. As many have already pointed out in this thread, NY was ravaged by injuries which very possibly could have been the difference in games lost against winning teams like @SF (27-20) and GB (38-35). My point is that awarding teams points based on victories against anything other than common opponents is an absolutely horrible idea. In fact, it's a horrible idea to award points for victories against common opponents as well. You may not have dug my example, but you seem to have missed the point of my post.
tim tebro thinks NOT
OT, but does anyone have a gif of the Patriots linebacker jumping the completely wrong way on that slant TD to Cruz? It looked like what I do sometimes on NCAA when I push the wrong button and my guy dry humps the air.
Or if you accidentally tap the hit stick too early/late and your guy will suddenly bend over forwards and tackle the air
I'm convinced the Super Bowl was just a beta test for Madden 2060.
This argument always strikes me as a bit of a straw man. The NFL playoffs take 12 out of 32 teams for the playoffs (37.5% of teams). For a proportionally similar playoff (and thus a proportionally meaningless regular season), college football would have to have a 24 team playoff (and that's if we're limiting it to BCS conferences). Nobody is actually suggesting that kind of playoff. Every reasonable suggestion is for somewhere between 4 and 8 teams.
An 8 team playoff in college football (12% of BCS teams) would be like the NFL having a 4 team playoff. In that case, the regular season would be incredibly meaningful.
"Every reasonable suggestion" is a very subjective thing. This is not a straw man argument, because there are a lot of people out there insisting on 16 teams. For example, Dan Wetzel, the loudest and shrillest anti-BCS, pro-playoff voice out there. And even if nobody is suggesting a 24-team playoff, people are suggesting that "if they do it in all the other divisions, why can't they do it in the highest one?" And I-AA football is a 20-team playoff. So even if nobody's insisting on a big, 20-24 team deal right now, playoff opponents are rightly concerned that it would eventually become one.
That's a fair point. However, we saw what thee other end of the spectrum, what we currently have, can do this year. From one perspective, worse loss, clearly Alabama was more deserving than OSU. From another perspective, OSU was more deserving because they had better wins. The best conference this year was probably Big 12 or at least that was the perception. The SEC has great defenses but it helps that their offenses are pretty below average. I remember hearing something about Alabama having never faced an offense better than 75.
Anyway, I think a 4-8 team playoff would still have the regular season be meaningful but it would make it fair for deserving undefeateds and potential one loss teams. Who wouldn't have wanted to see LSU vs. Stanford and Alabama vs OSU. If the rematch happened, then great. If not, well that's the point of playoffs. Whoever is best at the end of the season should be the champion. The rationale behind that is this encourages teams to improve over the course of a season, not regress. The Giants did this. Therefore, they are perfectly deserving of winning the Super Bowl.
I know that I would be absolutely livid if Michigan beats Alabama next year, loses one game somewhere down the line, and does not get championship consideration.
I would be more in favor of a four-team playoff if two guarantees could be made:
1) there would be no controversy or bitching and moaning about deserving teams that are left out. We would all sit down and agree that the teams that are in deserve to be in over the teams that are out.
2) it would never expand beyond four.
Unfortunately, not only could no such guarantees ever be made.... the reverse of both would come true. I guarantee there would continue to be controversy and I guarantee it would expand sooner or later. First to six, then eight, and so on. The BCS didn't last five years before people got tired of it and wanted something new, and it will probably finish its life at about fifteen years. If a four-team playoff is put in place like Mark Emmert wants, how long before people get tired of it and want something new..... again?
LOL @ your 1). There will always be controversy and bitching under any system. You want a guarantee that there would somehow be less than there is now in order for you to support change?
Correct, there will always be controversy and bitching. So why should anyone listen when someone says "team X got screwed by the BCS?" It's just the controversy that comes with any system, right?
That are screwed by it.
In a 2-team playoff such as the current BCS, the teams that are screwed by it are the #3 and #4 teams.
In a 4-team playoff, the teams that are screwed by it are the #5 and #6 teams.
In an 8-team playoff, the teams that are screwed by it are the #9 and #10 teams.
So as the size of the playoff increases, the less meaningful the complaining becomes by the teams that are kept out.
But as the size of the playoff increases, so does the number of "screwed" teams. If we had had an 8-team playoff this year, the first five spots would probably not be in doubt, and then there would be a minimum of 8 and probably more like 12 teams with legitimate claims to the last three spots. It would be much more than just #9 and #10. It would probably go out to #13 and #14. This would clearly do nothing to resolve any controversy. It would probably make it worse by adding more voices.
Eight teams is a number frequently cited as a number that wouldn't ruin the regular season, but you cannot claim both that, and that an eight-team playoff is sufficient to quell the complaints from teams that missed because they are not "meaningful" complaints. The NFL, time and again, gives us all the proof we need that anyone that gets in can win, so I don't buy that the teams left out have no legitimate beef, even in a larger playoff.
Both of your guarantees are not true about the NCAA basketball tournament. It has expanded throughout its history (albeit many resisted the change) and the last teams out always bitch and complain. The NCAA basketball tournament is doing just fine. While your ideas would be very nice, they aren't necessary to have a better system than we have now.
Remember when we wanted the Lions to beat the Packers so they would get the Giants instead of the Saints in the playoffs?
Just because the Giants won the super bowl doesn't take away from the fact that they were a much better matchup for the Lions than the Saints were.
Yep, and the Lions lost to the Saints, so it couldn't have been much worse if they played the Giants instead. In fact, it would probably be better if they had lost to the Super Bowl champs.
I agree with you OP. I just think it's unfair that a team that lost 50% of their games get into the playoffs and could win the Super Bowl. That's just another reason though why I'm a college fan and not a NFL fan. Every single game is important in college football.
"every game needs to be important" line. What about baseball? They play 162 games. The "best team" usually loses around 60 games or more. How about during the regular season, if you lose a game you can't play any more games--your season's over. Then the last undefeated team is the best. That would make the regular season extremely important would it not? Oh, but that's unfair. There is no fair scenario.
As soon as the Giants put together enough wins to get into the playoffs (based on their regular season) it becomes a whole new ball game. At that point, every team is well aware that it is one-and-done. At that point, records don't matter anymore. But if you had a great regular season, you get perks like home field advantage and bye weeks. I personally think that having a team with a poor record makes the Super Bowl more exciting because that leads many to believe that the lesser team "has no chance" which makes for an inspiring story. Why did Oklahoma State lose to a 6-7 Iowa State team? Because football is not always about who is the better team? The "better team" doesn't always win.
You're dealing with a longer schedule, a system in place that allows teams to lose some games and not be totally devastated, and a much more competitive brand of football. The Giants didn't have the luxury of scheduling crappy non-conference games during the weeks 9-14 that included @NE, @SF, PHI, @NO, GB, and @DAL. Still, in spite of that incredibly difficult stretch, they managed to win the NFC East and EARN a playoff spot.
For those of you who are just pissed that a NY team won and are therefore trying to minimize their accomplishment, take a look at their losses. They were swept by Washington, and they lost at home to Philly and Seattle, losses that scream NFL letdown games. If they hadn't been ravaged by injuries early in the season and/or shown up for those games, we wouldn't be having this absolutely ridiculous discussion right now because the 13-3 Giants would have defeated the 13-3 Pats to earn their 4th Super Bowl championship.
I tend to agree. There is just no way a 9-7 team should be declared Champions of the NFL
I'm glad a team won the super bowl, that actually pays more than lip service to running the ball. It does my old school football soul good to see that.
Uh they were dead last in the league in rushing.
But they made a concerted effort tonight.
I like how you were wrong on calling someone out and then just stopped writting additional comments.This is why I really don't like aruging with southern people about football or anything else, their factual information is a bit off. Good effort though I like the concerted effort you just gave.
They were 19th.
No they weren't. They had the fewest rushing yards in the league during the regular season.
they were dead last in average yards per carry. Don't know what the other guy is talking about with them being "19th" because they were/are nowhere close to that.
Those would be defensive statistics.
What football fan wouldn't call the Giants a rushing team? if you don't, then you really don't know football that well. Their running game didn't have the yardage, but their attempts were in the middle half of the league. Also, they were hurt by injuries, and had a record featuring a lot of great run defenses. I understand what RDT means, I'd always classify the Giants as a running football team.
The giants had the most passing attempts in the league (666), more than even the superpowers, i.e. the Pats and Saints.
They were 5th in overall passing yardage. Meanwhile, they were 22nd in rushing attempts and, as has already been mentioned, dead last in yards gained. That is not a running football team.
Not only that, but they won this game through the air too. Manning threw for nearly 300 yards.
With Bradshaw and Jacobs out at the beginning of the year, they were extremely pass heavy to start, but when their running backs came back they evened out. I think the Giants are more of a running team than their season totals indicate.
which is what the original argument was about. If the Saints had doubled their offensive production on the ground during the second half of the season, that still wouldn't have made them a "running team." The Giants won the Super Bowl and the AFC championship game through the air. I looked up the stats for their last four games of the regular season too, and the most rushing yards they got in a game was 115. Just because they had two okay rushing games out of four in the playoffs does not mean they are or ever were a running team.
so basically, you want no divisions and 15 teams fighting for one title? As long as teams don't play the exact same schedule who is to say the Steelers 12-4 is better than the Broncos 8-8 (for the record i have no idea who each played). You break it into divisions so each team plays a comparable schedule, winner take all and then give 2 add'l teams the chance to get in. Seems pretty fair to me.
In the playoffs, after winning the division playing the same schedule as everyone else in the NFC east and coming out on top, the Giants beat the Packers and the Niners, thought to be the 2 best teams in the NFC , on the road, before beating the team thought to be the best AFC team.
Thats the beauty of a playoff, the gauntlet of a schedule they faced, winning when it counts, you can't deny that the Giants deserve the title, regardless of their regular season record.
The point of the regular season is to give yourself an easier road to the championship...which the packers had and blew.
can be made with any of the major sports though. Just look at the Cardinals this year...very similar story to the Giants. Both made playoffs on last day of regular season. Both were last team in. Fair record (although 90 wins in baseball is probably considered most respectable than 9 wins in the NFL). Beat 3 better teams to win. For that matter, the Cardinals of 2006 also fall into that category.
The old system, where the two league champs went head to head at the end of the regular season, was better. Now they are adding even more teams to the MLB playoffs. It's a joke. You play 162 games for what, home field advantage? A chance to play a team that might have had a horrendous first half but is now smoking red hot? It's a cliche, but it's truly all about the money. Playoffs bring in the TV $$, and that's all that matters these days.
Actually, if I understand the MLB plan right, I'm fully in favor of it. I believe the only "expansion" is really just adding one more wild-card team, and the wild-card teams will play each other in a one-game series to determine who advances to the real playoffs. The effect would be to offset the wild card's rotation so they can't start their ace in Game 1 of the A/NLDS. And that is a great, creative way to nullify the one-hot-team effect where the wild cards keep showing up in the World Series.
They'll hype it like everyone's in the playoffs so that they can get ratings, sell tickets, etc., but I think the real idea is to improve the chances of the better teams, not actually expand the pool of contenders.
play 162 games and the stupid All Star game for home field advantage...
I love the Giants. Wish they would quit stressing me out though. Yes the Giants were 9-7, but they were also really beat up during the regular season. They got healthy at just the right time and started playing really good football. Say what you will about a playoff system. Only Div I football doesn't have it. Why is that?
Say what you will, the New York Giants are the Super Bowl Champions!
This season will be hard to beat; Gamecocks beatup Nebraska in their bowl game, Michigan wins the SugarBowl, and the Giants win the Super Bowl. Great year, I love this game!
The Giants are Super Bowl champs. Congrats to you and them.
The problem is that being champs in pro sports is entirely different than being the best team. D1 college ball is the only game that tries to decide the best team, and I would miss that if it were ever to end. A playoff would certainly end that.
People love playoffs because they are exciting to watch, especially the 1 loss and done style of March Madness and Pro football. But they really aren't the best way to crown a champion (March Madness is actually pretty bad at it because of the amount of games and luck needed to pull off that kind of streak, rather than actual best team).
I like the college system better than the pro system. I wish there was a 4-6 team playoff in college because I think that keeps the significance of the regular season for the most part in check (though even that loses some of it to an extent). There's always going to be trade offs, the worry is that the $ makes the whole thing get out of hand, then the playoff grows, and then teams with 2, 3, or even 4 losses in college football are getting a shot at the MNC, which shouldn't be the case.
In college football under proposed playoff systems, losing 2-3-4 games will drop you out of the top 4 or 8 by a wide margin. Someone looked at how many teams should be included in the playoff and they suggested 16. 16 is where the the bottom really starts to fall off and its where you go from Elite/Good to mediocre and lower.
College ball can have its cake and eat it too because the way it is set up, when you lose you drop in the polls. If MSU and UM lose to ND, they don't drop in the BIG standings, but do drop in national polls which directly affects the BCS pecking order.
The team that played in the Super Bowl tonight was much better than a 9-7 team. They were banged up, missing a bunch of studs (i.e. Bradshaw, Jacobs, and some D linemen) when most of those losses occurred. The team on the field today may very well have been the best in the NFL,as evidenced by their close game with the Packers and beating the Pats at the end of the season.
I'm not saying you don't have a point, but this year may have been a good argument for a playoff because a team wasn't penalized for injuries at the beginning of the year.
I definitely think the NFL shows us that any football playoff in college needs to be limited. I don't think anybody wants a playoff just so a 2-loss team can potentially show up for a few games and suddenly erase their regular season deficiencies; we want a playoff so that nobody gets screwed by the fact only two teams get in and a bunch of computers and pollsters get to decide who the lucky teams are.
Personally, I favor doing another split in D1 for football and doing an 8-team playoff (NFL is 12, but the NCAA has way more teams so 8 is actually a lot less than it looks, comparatively) using the champions of whatever conferences exist at the top level at that point plus 1-3 at-larges depending on the conference count to account for independents (if there are any left) and situtations of disputed conference titles (for example, if a conference produced two teams with the same record that didn't happen to play each other and lacked a conference title game, like was theoretically possible before Nebraska joined the Big Ten).
Of course, that system could and would have its controversies witht he at-larges, but losing an argument for being 8th best and a remote shot at a title draws a lot less sympathy for doing undefeated and being shut out of any shot at all. Plus, it would be versatile enough to handle future developments, such as the scenarios mentioned or the possibility of a band of second-teir teams forming a conference and moving up, kind of like what the Mountain West almost did.
The Giants started the season going 6-2. Then they lossed four in a row @ San Fran (27-20) when they blew a 13-12 lead in the 4th Qt thanks to turnovers. vs. Philly (17-10) after tying the game in the 4th. @ New Orleans (49-24) where Brees put on a clinic against the G-Men defense. vs. Green Bay (38-35) where they lost on a game ending 31 yard FG. From there the Giants went on to finish the season 3-1 to win the NFC East.
So to say they didn't deserve to win the Super Bowl is a joke. They survived a brutal 16 game NFL season and rose to the occasion in the playoffs. Beating a very good (10-6) Falcons team that many felt the Giants would lose. Beat the best NFL team in the regular season Packers on the road, when nobody gave them a chance. Then went on the road again and beat the 2nd best team in the NFC San Fran in sloppy conditions on the road; again few gave the Giants a shot at winning.
The Giants continued their 5 game winning streak by beating the mighty Tom Brady and his Patriots for the 2nd time in four years. That means the Giants beat the three best teams in the NFL regular season in the playoffs when teams are suppose to let it all hang out.
I have no problem with a 9-7 or 8-8 team winning the Super Bowl because I know the road for teams like that are much more difficult than teams that finish 13-3 or better. Injuries happen throughout a season and sometimes this causes teams not being able to win 10 or more games in the regular season, but come playoff time things sometimes come together. It happens in all professional sports. Look at the St. Louis Cardinals they won the World Series last year as a wild card team beating the mighty pitching staff of Philadelphia and Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers in the World Series. All those teams won their division and the Cards got hot at the end of the year to edge the Atlanta Braves for the WC spot on the last day of the regular season.
This is what makes sports and the playoffs awesome to watch, because you just never know what can happen. The regular season is just the stepping stone, the playoffs are where championships are won and legends are made.
Well they don't even have the best division record
Eagles are 5-1 in the NFC east, giants 3-3
Eagles got hot at the end of the season too with 4 straight wins.
plus even vince young can beat the giants at their home field
Get rid of the Wild Cards then. Division winners only.
College post season is a farce. As long as it's determined by voting, it's not a real competition. Every real competiton must have objective ways of determining its champions. I'm a fan of Wetzel's plan... all conference champions are qualifiers for the playoffs. Conference championships are determined objectively. Teams won't be afraid to schedule great non-conference matchups, and conference play becomes that much more important. Every team can play its way to a national title without worry about strange computer formulas and human voting systems.
I would like to see playoffs have division champions only, but the NFL makes a lot of money doing it their way. Sadly, the NFL has rendered the regular season so unimportant that they are often used (illogically, I might add) as an argument against NCAA playoffs.
As for the game, it was great that a Michigan alum played a big part in the victory. It amazed me, though, that the Giants have continued to be one of the luckiest teams in football. They put the ball on the ground four times IIRC, and the only time they lost it, someone on one of the least-penalized teams in football was stupid enough to be the twelfth man on the field. I wondered why, just once, the football gods didn't turn the ball over and make them pay.
Also, if someone would have told me before the game that Brady, Welker, and Branch would all make crucial mistakes and help cost their team the game, I would have suggested rehab for their crack problem.
Really, though, the bottom line is that the football gods made the Patriots pay for most of their mistakes, but didn't make the Giants pay for most of theirs.
What is with all the negging? Many of these pro playoff posts are perfectly reasonable points. If you happen to disagree then why not say disagree and explain why and what you believe.
I realize the points mean squat now a days. People that neg other people simply because they disagree should lighten up.
Winning a crappy division is far easier than getting a wildcard berth. And it is not uncommon that a division has only mediocre to crappy teams because it is not particularly improbable that 4 randomly selected teams out of 16 will all be weak to mediocre teams. Hence how you get situations like the 7-9 Seahawks going to the playoffs.
I'd be hard pressed to call this regular season meaningless.
First winning season in a decade, first playoff game in a decade... For the first time in a long time, I had a reason to care about what went on in the NFL this year.
About 95% of the entire month of September disagrees with you in the validity of how every single game is important in college football. I think having a playoff system would encourage more games like LSU vs Oregon or Michigan vs Alabama to start the year.....unless you prefer playing directional schools.
in the playoffs. Just to put their 13-3 record in perspective.
I don't know if this is relevant or not. But as a Giants fan, I find the OP a little annoying - the Giants got into that 7-7 predicament by having to play a murderer's row of opponents.
The Giants also failed to make the playoffs at 10-6 last year.
It seems like what you have problems with is that there are divisions, which would extend your issue here to all professional sports. The Giants fought their way out of the mess that was the NFC East, which earned them a home playoff game and the chance to become the hottest team in the NFL, and, ultimately, the best team.
Mostly, though, this is me putting up my umbrella - you ain't gonna rain on my parade!
I keep reading all these BS excuses about how the Giants were banged up to start the season and that makes it all ok. Umm, well, alright but if you want to talk about the injury bug let's talk about Gronk. The guy had the best season of any TE in the history of the NFL and was severely limited in this game. If you're going to claim that 9-7 isn't a fair representation of the Giants then I'd argue that the game last night wasn't a fair representation of the Patriots.
I'd rather do away with all interleague play if it means we don't have to deal with yet another freaking re-match from the regular season.
else think the Super Bowl sucks? I find the NFL barely watchable at its best, Wildcard weekend probably. It is all downhill from there going both ways. The regular season is filled with more injury reports than good football games, as the importance of a team winning is always less than the importance of the health of important players on fantasy teams. On the other hand, the Super Bowl is a corporate casarole centered upon owners, organizations instead of teams, and a predetermined MVP trophy handed to the quarterback of the winning team after a spectacularly average performance. I jumped ship on the NFL a long time ago. It has not been a good product for many years.
my team didn't win, so I don't care about the season, RABBLE, if I had my way, the Super Bowl teams would have to go undefeated and unscored upon in order to make it to the game, RABBLE, if I were king of the world, RABBLE, RABBLE, RABBLE
This is why they play the game every Sunday, and don't just hand over the win to the team with the better record... comprende?
Giants had an injury-ridden season, a crappy run game but a dominating d-line with an opportunistic passing game... put that together with a season-ending/playoff win streak, and you've got a Super Bowl champion... and I will be going to the NYC parade tomorrow.
You can disagree freely, as some have with the OP, but to thoroughly and completely not comprehend the argument, and to misunderstand the post itself in such a way, is kinda sad. But go ahead and make fun. Or you could try reading one of the posts above that disagree and actually make intelligent arguments, perhaps that will improve your thought process.
Nope, I understood the OP perfectly, but was having fun in the manner in which I responded to him - is that what offended your sensibilities? Do posters have to respond within a narrow and specific manner so that it pacifies your vision of acceptability on MGoBlog, or did someone ruin your day, and now you need to vent on a college website?
Where I don't agree with the OP is that the NFL is not college football, and you can't award the best teams anything more than home field advantage against a seemingly weaker opponent - just can't/won't happen. Also, how do you not see the value of a 9-7 team that experienced a host of issues throughout the season, but got white-hot during a play-off run?
I love college football BECAUSE every game counts, but it is not better than the NFL, it is just different.
To determine a fair champion is impossible in football due to limits in games able to be played, but to best eliminate injustices the fairest thing to do is allow the best teams as determined by the regular season play each other at the end.
To explain this point I give you a couple of examples.
Schedules can never be even. The Giants played a brutal schedule and still won their division. What teams you play, where you play them and when you play them makes a huge difference. To look just at a teams record is near impossible to tell if they are the better team. In the NFL you have a limited amount of teams and play more games than college.
In college it is even worse because you have so many teams. You can't even compare sometimes.
I never liked the one-and-done nature of the NFL playoffs because it did largely nullify the results of the regular season - in the past couple of years there have a large number of 5 and 6-seeds make the SB and/or win it, and usually they struggle the next season as their hot streak ends and they revert to the usual slightly-above .500 team they were for most of the year. I mean, after the Giants won their last SB, they went 12-4 and then missed the playoffs for 2 straight years, and barely made it in this year. And even during that 12-4 season, they lost 4 of their last 5 games (including the divisional-round game against the Eagles), so it definitely felt like a team regressing to the mean.
At the same time, I won't discredit what the Giants did - they beat two #1 seeds and the #2 NFC seed on their way to the title, so it wasn't a couple of lucky breaks that got them to the end. But looking at the whole season, both the Packers and Niners were better "teams" over the first 16 games, and arguably so were the Patriots. Heck, the Niners beat the Giants 27-20 and the Packers 38-35 the first time they met all year, yet we reward the Giants for their playoff wins.
I think crowning a champion with a bowl game, without something approximately a playoff or at least a meaningful collection of good teams battling for those coveted spots, makes the eventual title somewhat meaningless. I know people love to point to that Auburn team a couple of years ago that didn't get a chance to play for the title, but Texas and USC were also undefeated and a playoff may have helped to clear up that picture a bit. With a 4-team playoff, you give those teams with great seasons a chance without allowing a team like, I don't know, OSU going 9-3 but getting hot for 3 weeks and winning a title they have no business winning.
FWIW, I felt the exact same way. I really didn't care who won the in terms of specific teams, but the fact that a team that a 9-7 team can win the game that is supposed to declare the best team for the season really pisses me off. Hell, as we saw last season, even a 7-9 team has a shot. Can you imagine if a 7-5 team won the National Championship? That's why I don't like auto-bids.
Something that I just realized, which is pretty interested, is that in both conferences, there were 6 teams above .500, 4 at .500, and 6 below .500. What that says to me is that allowing 12 teams is essentially aimed at getting all of the teams above .500 into the playoffs. Why? Why not just take the top 6 teams, who would all happen to have 12+ wins, and let them play? They are all deserving. Any team with 6 fewer wins than the team with the most wins is not deserving.
In the NFL, the Super Bowl Champion is merely the winner of the tournament that is constructed at the end of the season. It does not claim, and obviously does not, decide the best team over the course of a season. Every sport with a playoff is similar in this way.
The best way to decide the best team is a balanced schedule like the European soccer leagues use. Of course, they sacrifice the pageantry of a one-game, winner-take-all event to crown the champion--no "title game." They also have the Champions League, which is separately exciting due to the tournament nature--the BCS of soccer, kind of.
College football is the only sport that does try to decide the best team, not the one that won some games that are more important than others. Right now it's done subjectively, but a small playoff could help eliminate some biases and issues with having so many teams and so few data points to distinguish between different teams with similar records.
Yeah. It seems like you have to choose whether you care more about crowning the best team of that season, or having a bunch of exciting matchups in an end of season playoff. NCAA bball and NCAA fball are pretty much on either end of the spectrum with that regard. I think if fball moves to a 4 or 6 team playoff they will strike a great balance between those two factors.