Why doesn't college football just add another week and scrap conference title games?

Submitted by UMxWolverines on November 30th, 2016 at 6:31 PM

If hypothetically this was still the big ten of before divisions but a playoff system, OSU and Penn State would have shared the big ten title. But as far as the playoff team OSU would have the edge because of better overall record and higher ranking. The obvious problem we have now is

1. A lot of teams have better resumes than division champs

2. Certain divisions are tougher than others

3. One game should not determine a conference champ. Ex if somehow a miracle happened and Florida beat Alabama no one thinks Florida is better.

Obviously conference championship game weekend was pretty much created as an extra weekend and money grab, so if they're going to do this why not just add another weekend? Go back to shared titles and highest ranked team gets into the playoff. Obviously there's the argument then that the four best teams should still get in and if two teams in one conference still appear best so be it. Obviously I like the fact that Michigan still has a chance, but not really for the fact that Clemson and Washington are playing extra games. Based on resumes Michigan clearly has a better one than either two, but if all three teams played 13 regular season games and went 11-2 it would be a no brainer.



November 30th, 2016 at 8:48 PM ^

How about conference contraction and adding a power conference? Let's have 6 power conferences with 10 teams each. Each team will play 3 non conference games and then 9 conference games to crown true champions. The six champs will get auto bids into an 8 team playoff with two at large spots available for all teams, including non power conference teams or independens, to fight for. The first round games would be played on the same weekend that conference championship games are currently played and the current bowl structure with a final four can remain. This also negates the arguments that an 8 team playoff will make the regular season less important and that an expanded playoff creates too many games for a student athlete. We have 64 teams in power conferences and then Notre Dame as an upper echelon independent. Remove four teams from this mix (Rutgers, for one), realign conferences to give us the original PAC 10 and Big Ten prior to PSU, and let the Big 12, ACC, SEC and new Conference figure out how they'll organize. What four teams would people eliminate from the power conferences and how would you organize the six conferences?


December 1st, 2016 at 8:00 AM ^

I can see a lot of merit to that, but with one difference: make the first round playoff game the 2nd week (or 3rd) weekend in December, not the first; likewise maybe another week between semi-finals and finals. This would give enough time to work out logistics, etc. for the visitors, and time for players to recover from injuries, as well as a few days off for academics.

It's not necessarily the length of the season in number of weeks that is the problem, it's the wear and tear and travel time away from school.


November 30th, 2016 at 10:26 PM ^

The championship game could feature two teams that will played 14 games heading into to it. Thats more than enough, probably too much.

I'd rather they dump one of the stupid non-conference games (not interested in baby seal games that don't benefit a Michigan MAC school), move to a 8 team playoff with at least the first round games played at higher ranked teams campus. Scrap some of the chickenshit bowls, make all bowls start the week of Christmas while we're at it. 


November 30th, 2016 at 6:37 PM ^

8 team playoff, conference champions get an automatic, 2 at large, 1 non power 5. First round home field goes to the better seed, final 4 is neutral, championship is as well.

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November 30th, 2016 at 6:55 PM ^

Why does everyone keep including the Go5? This isn't Boise State and TCU of yesteryear anymore (i.e. perennial top 5) , these teams do NOT deserve to sneak into a playoff when they are ranked 15+. Make it 3 wild cards instead.

Also, why conf champs? Wisconsin was a conference champ at 7-5 a few years ago. Its fine how it is.


November 30th, 2016 at 6:41 PM ^

I agree. If teams are beefing up their non-conference schedules, the resume of a non-conference champion far exceeding that of the champion will happen almost every year. The committee should devalue them completely but they backed themselves into at least having to consider them by announcing that they were important in the beginning. 


December 1st, 2016 at 1:26 AM ^

they would.  The answer is not money at all.  It's the NCAA trying to pretend it cares about student athletes.  Not long ago, the college football season was limited to 11 games and it got extended to 12 for more money.  Conference championships are an exception to be able to play 13 games.  So until that rule is changed (which it might, because $$), your suggestion can't be implemented.

The easier solution to the problem I think you're trying to solve (more fairly determining conference champ) is just to get rid of divisions but still allow a conference championship game.  To your point, the championship game this year would be OSU vs. PSU which seems fair.  Then we'd at least eliminate the problem of Wisconsin (or VT or any number of divisional winners that aren't top two in their conference) being able to get in despite being fourth in the conference just because the rest of their geographically determined division finished lower.

Unfortunately, the rules currently state that a conference must have divisions with a round robin in OR (and this is new) if it doesn't have divisions like the Big12, each team must play ALL other teams in the league.  I'm not really sure why this rule was made, but it means a conference with 14 teams definitely couldn't play a full round robin schedule.  A 12 team league technically could but its teams could only play one non-conference foe.  This rule was changed last year to accomodate the Big12's desire to have a conference title game, it seems like it could easily be changed further.

I would LOVE there to be no divisions in the B1G ten.  Protect two or three rivalries for each team and rotate the rest of the games.  We wouldn't have to play Rutgers and Maryland every year, The Game would matter even more potentially.  It would be the best solution for what ails you.

State Street

November 30th, 2016 at 6:47 PM ^

There is simply no way to crown a true champion with 12-14 teams per conference.  This is exacerbated by the use of divisions. Hold the games for financial reasons, sure.  But to use it as a barometer to discern the best 4 teams is bunk.


November 30th, 2016 at 6:47 PM ^

Problem is unbalanced divisions and schedules.

Michigan, OSU will probably be an continuing issue so long as Harbaugh and Meyer are around. 

LSU and Bama will probably become an issue, and was before, if Coach O gets the right staff together. 

IMO, Play it out, let mediocre teams play for the conference championship - who cares.

Just make sure to pick the best 4 at the end of the year for the playoff regardless of who won the conference.

This years should be:

Bama, Michigan, OSU, Clemson... In that order- Yeah, the OSU game was a screw job and UM is the better team.

I honestly think USC is better than Clemson as well, but putting a 3 loss team in over a 1 loss team that went to the playoff last year would be quite the power play by the committee.


November 30th, 2016 at 6:50 PM ^

Interesting thought. The B1G is really fucking up the playoff. Last year no one had any idea if undefeated Iowa was any good, but figured after the close championship they were okay. Both them and MSU got blown out in bowls. OSU was the best team in the conference.

So thank you so much Sparty for getting blown out by Alabama. Because of you, the committee no longer values conference championships and we have a shot this year because they won't risk poor ratings again.


November 30th, 2016 at 9:50 PM ^

but if it comes down to determining if the 4 seed is Michigan or Wisconsin/Penn State vs Alabama, it's plain as day what the better game will be. If people see Alabama-Wisconsin or Alabama-Penn State everyone's going to expect another bloodbath and ratings will be awful. Saban-Harbaugh is 1) actually two of the best 4 teams and 2) far more compelling


November 30th, 2016 at 11:24 PM ^

The committee has typically applied their "conference championship quotient" after the conference championships. See: TCU getting bounced by two counference title game winners two years ago.  We'll see if they do the same this year with the B1G winner if they have the opportunity.  Hopefully they really do stick to the best four.

Bando Calrissian

November 30th, 2016 at 6:51 PM ^

After 20 years of conferences scrambling to add teams so they'd have enough to get a CCG...

The Pac-10 had it absolutely perfect with a 9-game conference schedule, pure round robin, absolute champion... And still added teams to get a CCG. 

Money, money, money.

Billy Ray Valentine

November 30th, 2016 at 7:35 PM ^

IMO, the reason why the BIG 12 is being left out so often is because they continue to schedule weak non-conference games and/or lose the big games they schedule.  If Oklahoma, the likely 2016 Big 12 conference champ, beats Ohio State at home this year, they would be virtual shoe-ins to the CFP, even with their neutral-site loss to Houston.  I won't even try to comment on Oklahoma State and CMU because my head will implode as I'm being sucked into an illogical bottomless vortex.


The Big 12, for the most part, is the conference that has a format that guarantees an undisputed champion.  I prefer round robins whenever possible.  Having said that, even the Big 12 still has flaws.   Their schedules are unbalanced in that half of the conference plays 5 away games, while the other half plays 4.  Another issue arises with the 3-team (or more) tiebreaker, which can be a conudrum.  


November 30th, 2016 at 8:29 PM ^

Except that two years ago they had tcu and baylor tied at x-1 but claimed they were co-champions because the team that won the head to head and thus the conference was lower ranked and they wanted the higher ranked team to get in the playoffs.  Instead I like to think the CFP committee punished them for their denial of their own tiebreakers and transparent attempt to get a team in.


December 1st, 2016 at 1:47 AM ^

claimed them to be? The CFP put the team that won the head-to-head (Baylor) ahead in their rankings.  The problem is Baylor lost to a mediocre WVU team and played a putrid non-conference schedule.  They weren't good enough, didn't challenge themselves enough, and we're top 4.  Committee got it right.


December 2nd, 2016 at 7:05 PM ^

You miss my point, I didn't say the committee got it wrong.  Baylor won the conference, but the big 12 knew that TCU had the better chance to get into the playoffs so they ignored the fact that Baylor officially won and claimed Baylor and TCU were co-champs.  It was a transparent, dick move.

Bo Schemheckler

November 30th, 2016 at 7:15 PM ^

It also helps solve the problem of division inequality. Say we never played Wisconsin and we both managed to beat Ohio in OT. Wisconsin is undefeated and looking unbeatable and we have 1 loss to Iowa. Us beating them in the title game shows who is the better team even with a slightly worse record in a tougher division.


November 30th, 2016 at 7:32 PM ^

I like this. I also like the 8 teams--5 auto bids for conference champs plus 3 wild cards. If sometimes a Boise State or ND get so be it. Typically the 3 wild cards would be for flukes when the strongest team on a power 5 doesn't win the conference championship. The auto bids do allow for late surging teams. For example, in the future if Florida upset Alabama or a surging USC made it to the PAC 12 game, it keeps the season interesting to the very end for those teams (incentivizes not giving up after a slow start). The 3 team wildcard flexibility allows for the Alabama who gets upset by a hypothetical Florida surge or the OSU/Michigan bottleneck to be fixed.

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November 30th, 2016 at 7:22 PM ^

I agree with and I think most people are going to roll their eyes at all the "conference championships" if chaos happens this weekend.  At least in basketball teams are playing for seeding and for auto bids because worst case scenario is some team barely scraping above .500 gets knocked out.  But the football conference games are proving meaningless except to potentially eliminate teams from the playoff conversation.  I'm sure Washington and Clemson would sit this week out like OSU if they could and their opponents have almost zero chance of playing their way in.  I'm not sure there is an easy answer.  There isn't the parity across conferences and divisions to allow for auto bids and there aren't enough spots in the playoff to accommodate all of them anyways.  You don't get home and homes against division rivals so you end up with these resumes that are next to impossible to compare.  What does MIchigan's loss at Iowa and OSU mean if they don't get a home game against the two?  I've always felt the debate over who is better is part of what makes college football so interesting, it's so rare to really know at the end of the regular season who is legit because you have so few data points.  I like the selection committee for this reason and selfishly I think their process is good for the sport, but the conference championships seem to be at odds with what they see and for good reason.


December 1st, 2016 at 7:34 AM ^

"football conference games are proving meaningless except to potentially eliminate teams from the playoff conversation."

[I asume you mean conference championship games] For that matter, that's how ESPN and others treat the entire football season. From September onwards, all the conversation is about who can and can't be eliminated.