Annual Complaint Against Stupid System Comment Count

Brian December 5th, 2011 at 11:37 AM

The conference championships are completed and it's not that one year Vince Young played USC, so the BCS's answer is a stupid one. Yes. Yes, it is that time again.


this "On Notice" board from 2006 is remarkably apropos today save for the hatred directed at random SEC mediocrities who failed to beat Florida

If the BCS hadn't popped out of its mother in midair above a dorsal fin, this would be the moment when it jumped the shark. Since it did we have to invent a new term for a terrible thing everyone hates reaching maximum troll. The BCS just Clay Travised all over us.

Anyway, every year at this time I pull out the MGoPlayoff proposal. I don't do this in any real hope it will make a difference, since anyone who could assemble our current system will botch a playoff just as badly. I don't really know why I do it. Maybe it makes me feel better—yes, there is a hypothetical version of college football that makes a goddamn lick of sense.

The goal!

CREATE A SINGLE TEAM WITH THE DEFINITIVELY BEST RESUME. College football is unique amongst sports in that the national title is essentially decided by eyeballing it. The only thing the BCS changed was to take the one team people used to eyeball and turn it into two. Hinton:

What we should be asking instead is, why does college football and college football alone insist on wedging itself into this ridiculous corner year after year? When did we concede to leave the results of a sport to a cacophonous, ill-informed debating society? How have we convinced ourselves that dragging statistics and resumés and eyeball tests to the podium — along with preconceived biases that trump them all — can possibly deliver a satisfying answer?

Obviously, it can't. Any answer to an unanswerable question is the wrong answer.

Literally every observer who has ever laid eyes on the Bowl Championship Series has mocked it as an absurd anachronism, and continues to mock it to this day. Rightly so. Every sane observer within the sport has mocked it as an absurd anachronism. Seriously: Voting on the better football team? Are we still doing this? We're really going to do it again? Deferring to polls and algorithms in a competition that keeps score? Why are we still doing this?

Because of the unique structure of college football, a playoff can be constructed to be inherently satisfying. That is: you can make something that always leaves one team alone atop a pile of skulls no one else in the country can match. This is obviously not the case right now.

The key components!

RESTRICTED FIELD. No 9-3 teams. Maintain as much of the importance of the regular season as possible. Keep out anyone who could win three straight and still reasonably have an AP vote go against them.

HOME GAMES. Helps with attendance, prevents people from having to travel multiple weeks, helps maintain importance of regular season, makes the guys at the bottom wade through a tougher task and helps bolster their pile-of-skulls argument.

BYES. Again, importance of regular season and pile-of-skulls argument.

NO AUTOBIDS, MAX TWO TEAMS PER CONFERENCE. Autobids can suck it. So can third place teams in their own conference. Also no first round intraconference matchups.

FINAL AT THE ROSE BOWL. Iconic. Would become one of the great traditions in American sports.

This year's version based on the final BCS standings:

1. LSU vs winner of 4. Stanford and 7. Boise State
2. Alabama vs winner of 3. Oklahoma State and 5. Oregon

Arkansas is left out because of the two-teams-per-conference rule; Boise and Oregon flip to prevent a conference matchup. The first two games would be this weekend with the second round on January 1st (2nd this year) and the final a week after. Anyone outside of the final four can go to whatever bowl they want, so this hardly touches the bowl system. The net result is removing one BCS bowl in favor of the playoff.

An eight team version of this is less ideal but also acceptable; that would see Kansas State and Wisconsin on the road in the first round against the SEC teams. Autobids are awful. Clemson and West Virginia can win three straight games here and still not be as worthy as LSU.

The pointlessness of existence!

Don't bother telling me it's not happening.  I know.


After the jump: blogpoll ballot time. Sure to endear me to Alabama fans even more.

Here you go. No deltas because I forgot to vote last week while I was bathing in the sweet feeling of not wanting to throw up after the last game of the season.

ALABAMA. Admittedly, this is a protest vote, but Nick Saban voted Oklahoma State #4. Die in a fire.

If I had a real vote that affected anything I'd burn it in the name of not having a divisional rematch for the title game. Save your arguments about putting the "best two teams" on the field. We have no idea who the best two teams are. Alabama's schedule is weak, they didn't strangle Penn State with the authoritah Wisconsin did, and their best win is against Arkansas, which seems like a paper tiger itself. The only thing we know about Alabama is they lost to LSU at home and a rematch literally cannot produce a satisfying outcome.

If this doesn't destroy the BCS, nothing will. It won't.

BIG TEN FUTZERING. Yeah, MSU above Michigan. It's razor thin now but going 1-1 against Wisconsin in the way they did is a net asset Michigan does not have. Wisconsin, meanwhile, has to be sick to their stomach about the back to back Hail Mary incidents, either one of which going the other way would probably have gotten them to the title game.

BAYLOR! Your guess is as good as mine, man. I had them 9th, and then 20th, and I gave up. Hypothetically: is this what Michigan looks like if Rodriguez is around for year four?

CLEMSON? Oh, Clemson. What the helling hell. I find you to be so very Clemson.


[UPDATE: Well done. I left South Carolina and TCU out. South Carolina slots in at 14, TCU at 20, and GT and ND disappear.]



December 5th, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

when you look at conference matchups...


Iowa St > Iowa

Oklahoma > FSU

Arkansas (3rd SEC) barely > TAMU (6th B12)


And Purdue lost to Rice.  The B1G deserves to get ranked low among conferences because outside of Michigan > ND, there is no other good OOC win between the bunch.


December 5th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

The outcome of a playoff wouldn't actually tell you anything.  LSUcan't possibly be anything more than a 55/45 favorite over Alabama.  Hell, it might be a 55/45 underdog.  The margin is close enough that a one-game sample is completely and utterly meaningless for telling you who the best team actually is.  Two games probably isn't good enough either (if anyone can say with a straight face they have a good idea whether MSU or Wisconsin is the better team today, they're a liar).

There is simply no possible way to accurately pick a national champion in college football unless we add like 20 games onto the season.  A playoff sure as hell doesn't answer the question.  If it answers the question more accurately than the current system, the improvement would be marginal at best.  It would just give the illusion of an answer, and do so in the most frustrating, annoying way possible.  It would force me to read article after article about how LSU/Bama/OSU/whoever won the national champtionship because of heart/grit/determination/will to win, rather than the correct answer, which is: luck, variance, or random chance.  

Here's what I think people miss: given the impossibility of accurately picking a champion, the ultimate answer is less important than the entertainment involved in getting to it.  For me, the current system, stupid voters and all, is insanely entertaining.  I love that Iowa State-Oklahoma State on a Friday night ended up being, at worst, the 2nd most important game of the season.  The 14-week single elimination system we have now is constant drama in a fantastic way.  I would rather keep that and the idiots who vote in the Harris poll than go to a "more accurate" playoff and lose the drama.  


December 5th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

No worries.  It saved me from having to try to write something similar.  (It wouldn't have been as good.)

Tournaments yield tournament winners, not "national champions."  It is definitional.  It really comes down to what we want.  Like you (apparently), I have no problem with the ambiguity and the arguments.  I like that people still argue about whether Notre Dame was really better than Michigan State in 1966.

I tend to prefer the old bowls on New Year's Day.  However, I do appreciate Brian's concern about the bowls, money, and how the bowls are a financial drag on too many schools and their athletic departments.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

So why shouldn't we do better than we can now?  You don't think teams fighting to make this 6 team playoff wouldn't create games that are just as exciting?  There isn't any drama when the NCAA announces the basketball field?  This drama you refer too is frankly boring.

They didn't create the BCS to be entertaining they're trying to decide a champion. They aren't doing that and the entertainment you get is equivalent to watching a train crash.  It's wrong and you know it's wrong but you can't look away.  A playoff answers the question better than we are now and accepting the limitations of the college season.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:10 PM ^

a college football national champion with any degree of accuracy is a pipe dream.  It's like trying to figure out whether you or I are the better poker player by playing 100 hands.  There is no structure that can get the job done.  A playoff doesn't do better, it just gives the illusion of doing better (March Madness, while totally awesome, does an absolutely terrible job of figuring out who the best college basketball team is).  

A playoff would be exciting, but like 5 exciting games can't possibly compare to the 14 week madhouse that is the current landscape.  


December 5th, 2011 at 12:15 PM ^

How does the system Brian proposed lessen the 14 week madhouse you refer too?  All of the teams he mentioned would be in this year were in the NC discussion at some point also.  If anything it heightens the drama because more teams are in the chase longer.

A playoff with these limited teams does do better than you're suggesting.  Your argument is just a cop out to any suggestion someone brings up.  We know there isn't a real way to do it but just because that's the case statistically doesn't mean this suggested system isn't good or more valid than the BCS.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:22 PM ^

because Alabama can lose to LSU and Oklahoma State can lose to Iowa State without having much fear that they've just ruined their season.  Right now there's only one surefire way to have a shot at the national championship, and that's to never lose.  

At the end of the day, I don't care if a playoff would pick the national champion with 50% accuracy while the BCS picks it with 25% accuracy (or whatever the numbers are.  I think it's unlikely the "best" team would win a 6 game playoff more than half the time, especially if March Madness is any indication).  Both numbers are too low for me to care.  


December 5th, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

No, he wouldn't agree to increase the odds from 25 percent to 50 percent because the thing itself (or at least the thing he and I are most interested) is a mythical national champion that is a subjective thing.  To some of us, the discussion about a national champion is more important that having a tournament in which there is merely a tournament winner. 

I think another way of looking at this is that some years (most years) there ISN'T a National Champion.  Every so often, one team clearly dominates and will go down in history as a great, almost certainly undefeated, team.  They will play enough of the key competition by scheduling them in the regular season and getting in a bowl game against a non-conference opponent they have never played.  (LSU - Alabama is a ridiculous result for any bowl game, as would Michigan - Ohio State have been after the 2006 season.)  If that team does not win its final game, or if that team simply doesn't exist that year, there is no national champion.  Boo hoo.


December 5th, 2011 at 6:39 PM ^

I'm not getting this "the winner of a hypothetical tournament is a tournament winner, not a national champion argument".  

How many other sports can you think of that DON'T have a tournament?  Soccer outside the US and that's about it that I personally am aware of without doing research (Brian has argued that a tournament is not necessary here because every team plays every other team home and away and the system is actually fair).

Are you saying that all these other sports are wrong?


December 5th, 2011 at 2:30 PM ^

Moving from 20% to 30% confidence is a relative increase of 50% in confidence; one could argue it IS worth quite a bit.  Indeed, I think ANY improvement would be beneficial in this case.


Further, instituting a playoff would not be that hard, and you are more (though not perfectly) insulated from these kinds of criticisms:  the differences between teams ranked 1-3 are much smaller than the differences between teams ranked 1-6 or 1-8.  The last team out has less of an argument that they are legitimate contenders as you increase the number of teams.  So why not increase the number of teams?


December 5th, 2011 at 1:05 PM ^

I believe the 2004 Auburn Tigers disagree with your "surefire way."  Your logic completely ignores the realities of the college football world.  This isn't a 30 team league.  There are over 100 teams and we have to compensate for that.  

March Madness has 64 teams and a team has to win 6 games to win the championship.  For this system the best teams would have to win two games.  Along with the differences between basketball and football I think you're numbers a way off.


December 5th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

Had OSU beat ISU, the was a good chance that they were number 1 at the end of the season. That loss dropped their schedule to get to the NCG from beat the 4/5 seed to beat the 6 seed and the 2 seed. Not to mention having to play the NCG itself after that. That loss is huge for them. Essentially, losing to a bad team means you have to beat another very good team to get to the championship game. That makes every game very important.

Hawkeye State

December 5th, 2011 at 1:50 PM ^

Losing to ISU knocked OSU completely out of the race, which I think is AAB's point.  If we turn the two-team race now into a six-team race (which will eventually become 8, then 12, then 16, eventually 68, because every playoff system ever invented has done just that), we're arguing the "bubble" and Okie State's loss really doesn't have that much effect.  And if the loss doesn't have that much effect, that game is less fun to watch.  

A playoff will eventually turn college football into college basketball, and I'm pretty sure there's nobody who would say that the college basketball regular season is anywhere near as important as the college football regular season is.  Brian's playoff system is as good as there is, but it still doesn't change that basic math.  If your goal is entertainment (like the hoops tournament) I'm not sure you get there by diminshing the importance of the regular season.  If your goal is to crown a deserving champion, I'm not sure you get there by allowing six teams the opportunity; this year, the mere hypothetical presence of five teams playing LSU would be five too many.


December 5th, 2011 at 5:30 PM ^

Now you are just arguing against a system that nobody is in favor of again. 68 is too many. 2 is too few. 6-8 is just right.

OSU was not completely out of the race by losing to ISU. Had they put 50 on OU or not allowed OU to score the TD at the end, they might have swayed more votes and actually been in the NCG. OSU was actually ahead of Bama in the computer rankings and the only reason they didn't get in was because of the human votes. It shouldn't be that a preconceived perception of teams determines who gets a shot at the NCG. The SEC has won 5 in a row, soon to be 6, and the preconceived notion will continue because they didn't give OSU a shot. It's actually somewhat of a cowardly act to put 2 SEC teams in the NCG because had OSU beat LSU and BSU beat Bama, then the SECs repuation of dominance would be ruined. Had LSU lost to Georgia, they were still in the NCG, but I suppose that a playoff would take away the meaning of that game too.

In 2008, the infamous 3-way tie in the Big 12. Most people were arguing between Oklahoma and Texas to be the representative for the conference. Oklahoma won and lost to Florida. Was the Texas win over Oklahoma meaningless? Would the TTU loss to Oklahoma be meaningless considering they would still have to sit out of the 6 or 8-team tournament?

LSU had 2 losses in 2007 and still went to the NCG because there were no undefeated teams and LSU was deemed better than the other 2-loss teams. So, were those 2 games not worth watching either? At least the other four 2-loss teams and the 1-loss that LSU passed that last week in the season would get a shot at the title.

2006, OSU and UM were #1 and #2. Florida jumps Michigan, which was controversial at the time, but worked itself out when both OSU and UM got annihilated in their bowl games. I'm sure that USC would have loved to get a shot at the title against Florida after OSU and UM were proven to not be so untouchable after all.

Auburn won all of their games in 2004. You would hope that all of those wins would mean something, but they didn't.

The notion that a playoff ruins the meaning of any particular game is rubbish. If anything, once a team loses once, it ruins the meaning of the rest of games on the schedule because if they lose, nothing changes in terms of the national championship. At least with a small playoff, if a team loses one game, they drop seeds, but every game still has playoff implications.


December 5th, 2011 at 3:59 PM ^

"I think it's unlikely the "best" team would win a 6 game playoff more than half the time"

I would argue that a in a sport like college football (having very few datapoints (games), particularly between the teams actually in contention) a well-designed playoff, like Brian's layout above, would ensure that the playoff champion would be the "best" team by virtue of having won the playoff.

Think about it. Why do we consider Alabama to be a top team? They beat a lot of bad teams, but those wins can only tell us so much. Really their schedule only has three significant datapoints to go by: wins over Penn State and Arkansas and a close loss to LSU. That's it. That's what their ranking is based on. Oklahoma State has four significant games: wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Baylor and a loss to mediocre ISU.

By playing even a short playoff at the end of the schedule, we can potentially double the number of significant datapoints in each teams resume. The tournament winner would add 2-3 more wins over top competition and head-to-head victories over some of its closest competitors.

Could this system still "get it wrong?" I suppose, but I see no way for it to produce anything as egregiously awful as the system already in place.


December 5th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

That's Brian's point. If you are one of the top two teams, you have to win against two top 10, likely top 4 or 6, teams. If you are lucky enough to get in but aren't in the top 2, you have to win 3 games against top10, likely top 4 or 6, teams including at least one, but probably two, games against the top 2. The winner of the playoff will have, undoubtedly, the best resume in the country. This year, worst case scenario, you have a BSU team that beats Stanford, LSU, and Oregon to win the championship. Any team with that on their resume and nothing else will be deserving of the National title.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

Any pro sport with an 82 game regular season or longer should follow the EPL model and give the championship to the team that finishes the regular season with the best record (and have every team play each other an equal number of times).  

For any sport that doesn't play enough games to accurately pick the best team, I just want the system that's the most fun.  For college basketball, that's March Madness.  For college football, I think it's something closer to the current system.


December 5th, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^

You'd do away with the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the World Series and just crown the best regular season record champ?

MLB has the best system*: a relatively large number teams and a relatively small number of playoff spots. It makes the regular season meaningful (depending on intradivisional competition) and then pits the best against each other moving towards the WS.

Brian's system is similar to MLB since teams would have to win inside their conference to get into the playoffs.

*I'd change MLB's intradivisional schedule weighting during the regular season since it allows teams in weaker divisions to get a lot of wins.

Hawkeye State

December 5th, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

We had ALCS/NLCS/WS, and it was great, because every series had sufficient games to determine which team is actually superior and maintain drama.  And then we got playoff creep.  First it was wild cards and five-game series where having 2 good pitchers trumps actually having the best team.  Now they're adding another wild card and a play-in game, as if the 162 games before it weren't enough.  It's ridiculous.


December 5th, 2011 at 3:49 PM ^

Hawkeye State.

MLB had a very clean system back in the day -- two league champions decided entirely by regular-season standings, and then the 7-game world series.

Going back further, I think the World Series was added in order to reconcile two competing economic entities under one system, similar to the way the Superbowl was added to smooth the absorbtion of the AFL into the NFL. For the most part, there was no interleague play and the add-on game was the only meeting between teams from different leagues.

This system was for the most part based on ticket sales as a measure of economic success; each team had a fairly even slate of home games and away games, and the World Series was all home-and-away.

Sometime between the '50's and the '70's, TV broadcasting inserted itself into the economic balance, and this is the beginning of play-off "creep," as Hawkeye State calls it.

I think local fans have suffered indignity under the age of TV-based national branding of sports (as in tomato-can CFB out-of-conference schedules) as local sports entities are forced to balance the local pull of ticket sales against the national pull of TV exposure. The trend, reflective of the centralizing of corporate economics in the US overall, is toward distant, unaccountable, locally tone-deaf, nationally stereotypical decision-making. The only way play-off creep and the multiplication of meaningless games aimed at content-provision for a dis-interested national audience will reverse is if fans find a way to make the local aspects of the sporting economy count more in the local v.s. national TV audience balance. I don't hold out much hope, but I'll keep holding my breath (after all, this approach worked in the final 30 seconds of UTL).

Slightly OT, but I'll mention this here anyway: No, a championship doesn't necessarily determine the best team under some idealized definition, but it determines a champion, and allows all teams a shot at winning that championship. BCS does neither, in fact, all it does is to funnel lots of money out of college athletic departments into the pockets of bowl-game promoters. That is what the current sticking-point in the evolutionary process is all about: established pecuniary interests and their power to obstruct social or economic progress.


December 5th, 2011 at 1:31 PM ^

Because watching the last week of regular season games having NO IMPACT ON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHUP WHATSOEVER was so much more exciting.

The idea that the regular season would be less esciting with a playoff matchup is siimply a farce. It's wrong. I'd argue that it would make things MORE exciting, and we would thankfully avoid the neverending "which conference has better teams" argument in favor of real, tangible results from the best teams in each one.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

Your opening paragraph seems to invalidate all of college football. Yeah, the games are random and there aren't enough to actually make a determination. That problem is intractable; I don't try to address it.

What the playoff proposal does do is give you a team that definitively had the best season, something that the BCS basically never does. The ideal number of teams in a playoff this year is one: LSU. But usually it's not so clear cut and even when it seems that clear cut you get things like OSU-Miami or OSU-Florida that totally invalidate your RANDOM STUPID GUESS as to who the top team is, let alone the top two.


December 5th, 2011 at 1:43 PM ^

We shouldn't care who the champion is? We should just get rid of playoffs in all sports because, like, they may crown some medoicre team who caught fire at the right time (like the Green Bay Packers last year)? So, basically, the miracle on ice in 1980 wouldn't have happened because Russia was so obviously the best team in the world?

That's not how sports works. Champions aren't crowned like that. They're crowned by how you perform under a set of extreme pressure circumstances. Not by how you beat a bunch of bad teams in the regular season (which is basically what we have now). No sport - other than college football - creates a champion like that.

And it wouldn't make the regular season less exciting. What the regular season should be is a gradual seasonal buildup in excitement from start to finish leading up to the more-exciting post-season. As of now, there's a ton of excitement that builds in the middle of the season but (especially this year) became an anticlimatic letdown before the season even ended. And now the championship and BCS bowls represent uninteresting letdown matchups. I am completely disinterested in many of them because none of them really matter. Sure,I love that Michigan is in a BCS bowl, it does wonders for their national image. But do you think anybody outside our fanbase really gives a damn about the game when UM is playing, of all undeserving teams, VaTech? These BCS bowl games should be more exciting than they are now, and how can you argue that making them playoff games wouldn't accomplish that? You're adding real meaning behind the winners, something other than "woohoo Sugar Bowl Champions!!!!!11!!1! (whatever that means)"



December 5th, 2011 at 2:00 PM ^

Its really a philosophical argument as to what you expect from amateur athletics.  AAB has a point that is grounded in the understanding that college sports are inherently NOT professional sports.  However, that's not the reality of life in America - everyone here needs to have a clear winner and champion.

If you'll indulge me, an analogy to soccer is very fitting here:  I've had foreign friends that argue until they are out of breath that all Americans care about in sports is that there be a winner and loser.  Ties were done away with in college football, for example, years ago.  But Eurpoean soccer fans cheer a tie.  They attend and cheer because the spectacle is great (like we Americans do) and leave it at that.  However, Americans could not stand the tie situation and not having a clear winner. 

If I fell in AAB's camp, I would argue that college football is about the spectacle and the experience, not about crowing a winner.  That was clearly the purpose back when bowl arrangements were king (before the BCS).  Polls were used because people felt there should be a champion, but everyone knew these were human and unreliable.  Now, its actually worse, because everyone puts stock in the BCS poll and the resulting championship game - in other words, its being supported by all the participating universities, thereby validating the system.  I would guess that AAB is saying that it would be better to simply go back to the bowl system than take a few incomplete steps towards a true playoff.  In other words, all or nothing.


Hawkeye State

December 5th, 2011 at 2:01 PM ^

"That's not how sports works. Champions aren't crowned like that. They're crowned by how you perform under a set of extreme pressure circumstances. Not by how you beat a bunch of bad teams in the regular season (which is basically what we have now). No sport - other than college football - creates a champion like that."

I think the current system does just that, by making every game a performance under a set of extreme pressure circumstances.  You lose just once, and you're out unless the gods conspire to let you back in.

As for the first point, yes, I find it mildly moronic that the NFL crowns teams like Green Bay as champions.  Three of the last four Super Bowl winners were 10-6 and couldn't even win their divisions (of course, the division argument could be used this year, too, but at least that team hasn't lost nearly 40% of its games).  Did anyone really think last year's Packers team was the best football team on the planet?  How about the 2007 Giants?  They are your champs, they sit atop the pile of skulls, but they are also completely undeserving of being named champions on the entire body of evidence.


December 5th, 2011 at 2:48 PM ^

Of course.  They went on the road and defeated the Eagles, #1 seeded Falcons, and #2 seeded Bears.  Then they beat the Steelers on a neutral field.  All of this while sustaining injuries to a plethora of starters and key backups.  I don't know anyone who would argue that there was a better team last year.


December 5th, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

Maybe a 10-6 Green Bay team IS the best team in the country. Not by their entire body of work last year, but considering they haven't lost since the playoffs last year, can you really dispute that they are clearly the best NFL team in the country? Sometimes playoffs do that too...teams don't fully gel for weeks or even months, but once they do, they may have an argument for being the best team in the country, so why can't they have a shot at it? But the BCS doesn't do that. It determines the best two teams over 12 games.

As for the Giants? You're right. New England was clearly the better team. but again, determining a champion was never about who was the better team, and if it is then college football needs to come out and say it so that we can get rid of this "National Championship Game" name BS. 

BTW, is every game really that pressure-filled? Was Alabama really pressured when they played teams such as Kent State, North Texas, or Georgia Southern? I don't think its truly a 14-game pressure gauntlet. It's a 14-game regular season with MAYBE 4-6 true pressure-filled games.

And even then, there's still a lot of luck involved with going undefeated. Not always. But to me, while LSU this year is clearly #1 and undefeated, they too had to be lucky to get there. What if Georgia didn't have derpy-receivers, could cover a punt return, and went up 24-0 on LSU at half?  What if Alabama's kicker could kick a field goal?

I don't think the regular season is any better at deciding the best team than an additional playoff would be. And at least the playoff could filter out the teams that looked good but only because they played a weak schedule.

Ali G Bomaye

December 5th, 2011 at 12:14 PM ^

What do you mean by "accurately" picking a national champion?  Are you trying to discern the team that is actually the strongest team, or just the team with the best current resume?  It sounds like you're trying to pick the team that is actually the strongest, and for that, I agree that you'd need far more games than a playoff.

However, I think the current BCS failure is based upon the impossibility of determining which team has the best resume.  Is Alabama's absolute dominance against a weaker schedule more impressive than Oklahoma State's pile of victories over ranked teams, or vice versa?  This is where Brian's "pile of skulls" argument comes into play - by giving the best teams 2-3 more games against top competition, the team that wins out would not only have done well enough during their regular season to earn a spot in the bracket, but would have an additional 2-3 wins versus top-5 teams.  This would give them inarguably the best resume in college football.

This season proved that the "14-week single elimination system" argument is a joke.  Alabama lost their most important game of the season, at home, and didn't even win their division.  Yet they have somehow "earned" the same shot at the championship as LSU, who went undefeated in dominant fashion against the hardest schedule in the country and already beat Alabama on the road.  The BCS has existed for 14 years (including this year), and in 8 of them, a team played in the championship game with at least one loss.  The current system is only single elimination for teams like Boise State, who don't have the strength of schedule to survive a loss.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:20 PM ^

I'm not that interested in the "strongest resume" question, because I think that's largely a function of variance.  One of the biggest reason LSU's resume is stronger than Alabama is that they beat Alabama in overtime, which was a total coin-flip.  

The Bugle

December 5th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

But we, as a Americans, don't have any systems where the "strongest" team wins the championship.  For example, what do you think is a better representative of a successful season: the 162 game baseball regular season or a couple 7 game series?  All this playoff model would do is give an opportunity for the drama to be played on the field instead of inside a bunch of computers/by the voting of a bunch of people who don't have to justify their votes.  

tl;dr A playoff would be way more fun and look at the Superbowl XLII.  Does anyone really think the Giants were a better team than the Patriots? No.  But no one cares, because the Giants won the game.


December 5th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

Is that wins and losses don't matter.  Only the potential likelihood of producing a win matters.

Makable field goal misses just misses wide left in overtime, so what?   Desperate hail mary randomly bounces into the hands of Sparty player for a game winning touchdown, who cares?  Kordell Stewart to Westbrook...just variance.  The band is on the, Stanford was the better team.  Lets disregard all that noise and tell the players not to sweat it, because the outcome of the game isn't what they are there for.  They are just creating data points so we can evaluate how talented or not they are.

What you endorse is antithetical to all things sports. 


December 5th, 2011 at 12:43 PM ^

I agree with 99% of your post.  You posted this similar post several times over the last couple of weeks and you still don't seem to get the fact that Brian's system creates more drama not less.

You like the Iowa St/Ok St game.  That is fine, but the current system just made you wade thru 100 meaningless games to get to that 1.   Brian's system gives you 10 of these games plus the bonus of the playoff games at home.

With all the Texas vs UL-Lafayette games that exist I can't believe(Sorry for playing this card, but I have to) you call yourself a college football fan when you are lobbying for less meaningful games and more meaningless bowl games? 


December 5th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

the drama in undefeated teams left out of the championship game every couple years?  Where's the drama when the conference championships become meaningless?  Where's the drama when a single loss ends most teams' championship hopes?  Where's the drama when everybody not from the SEC gets screwed out of their chance to play for a championship?  Where's the drama when there's no real champion most years?

When a system (the BCS) makes most games (and even entire seasons) "completely and utterly" meaningless, there's less drama.

You know what would be insanely entertaining?  A playoff much like Brian's version, a college football version of March Madness.




December 5th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

If you don't win your conference championship, you don't win the national championship. It is that simple. Alabama lost to LSU already (on their home turf no less). That game is now null and void.

Oklahoma State should be getting the shot. It doesn't matter if LSU crushes them, or if we think Alabama can. The point is we know LSU has beaten Alabama. Now can they beat the next best team out of their conference. Just like in 2006, for all we know #1 and #2 could both be beaten by #3 and #4.

The only thing we do know is the Ducks lost to LSU (so presummably Oregon and Stanford should not get a shot), and Penn State (with no offense) lost to Alabama so the entire B1G is suspect.

Until there is a better pre-season after a couple a warm up cupcakes non-conference rotation, we know nothing about the relative strengths of conference champions.

Then there is the whole oversigning issue.

As I said before, the entire non-SEC nation should boycott the MNC. Show them that the poeple get it.