Any Way The Wind Blows: Playoffs

Submitted by Brian on May 3rd, 2012 at 10:25 AM

An apparently continuing series on Dave Brandon's remarkably malleable opinions.

Dave Brandon, January 16th($):

"This whole notion of a playoff is ridiculous because I don't care what you come up with, it's not going to be a fair playoff. You've got a bunch of teams that don't play one another and play different competition and in different time zones in different conferences in different stadiums in front of different crowds and different weather and suddenly at some point in the year you are trying to arbitrarily decide which one is better and which one deserves to be in a four-team playoff or a six-team playoff."

Dave Brandon, May 3rd:

"I'm not opposed to 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, plus-one concept," Brandon said. "I don't see it as a true playoff system. It's a clever way to come up with one more football game. I'm not sure I call that a playoff, but if it makes everybody feel better, call it a playoff."

Mmmm, bendy. Dave Brandon's line between playoff and not playoff is 5.87 teams, no fewer, no more.

Comments

chitownblue2

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:42 AM ^

His first comment seems more an argument against even attempting to crown any champion - it's certainly applicable to the current BCS format as well.

I guess the argument is that he should hold his breath and stomp his feet against the inevitable, rather than give a gruding, luke-warm endorsement?

jg2112

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

Looks to me Brandon is consistent in finding the proposals ridiculous. Also looks like he has not changed his mind about being against a playoff - in quote 2 he doesn't even address whether he wants a playoff, just that he doesn't think what's being proposed is a playoff.

But I realize Dave Brandon has spoken, so we must criticize what he's said.

M-Wolverine

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:41 AM ^

On a day where the sport this blog covers is being turned on its head (no pun intended) and the hot topic in all of sports is the very future of football, and RABBLE GRUMBLE Brandon said something a little bit different GRUMBLE RABBLE is the first real new content over the same time period? I'm sure it's coming...but this is a non-news story. 

The danger lies is if we turn everything into Chicken Little, when the sky is really falling, no one will listen.

MGoBender

May 3rd, 2012 at 5:28 PM ^

Well, I don't disagree, but it's not like Brian posted a 10,000 word column on it.  He posted a 2 sentence column on it. That by itself indicates it's not a huge deal.

I'd personally like to see my AD shouting "I WANT A PLAYOFF AND I WANT A PLAYOFF GAME IN THE BIG HOUSE."  I don't understand why he isn't.

BiSB

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:48 AM ^

Compare...

This whole notion of a playoff is ridiculous... you are trying to arbitrarily decide which one is better and which one deserves to be in a four-team playoff...

...with

I'm not opposed to 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, plus-one concept...

By his own words, Brandon is "not opposed" to a "ridiculous" and "arbitrary" system.

jg2112

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:52 AM ^

In the first comment, he says he's against a playoff.

In the second comment, he says he's not against something which he later says is NOT a playoff.

He's being consistent.

jg2112

May 3rd, 2012 at 12:09 PM ^

Frankly I don't care what it's called.

But if we're going to criticize Brandon at every turn, let's at least criticize him based on what he is saying. He is saying in quote #2 it's not a playoff. Based on that he is not changing his mind.

Again, let's all continue to look for ways to hate the guy who is ably doing his job. That's real healthy.

M-Wolverine

May 3rd, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

It's a silly system that still won't determine anything. He could very well be perfectly fine with it, because the current system might not be any better, or worse. Or it could be better, but a playoff is inevitable, so he's ok with it as long as people understand it for what it really is....something fun, and maybe exciting, but not any better method to end controversy.

Maybe that's not true, and is certainly arguable, but it's not inconsistent.

BiSB

May 3rd, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

Both statements can be made earnestly without Brandon lying or having some hidden ulterior motive. And the differences aren't earth-shattering or that controversial. People change their minds or go along with the crowd all the time.

What I AM saying is that while I think Brian is probably reading too much Nefarious Eduardo into these two statements, others at the opposite end of the spectrum are too willing to say, "there is no difference between these two statements" when they espouse patently different viewpoints on their face. If something was ridiculous four months ago and totally okay now, something else is missing.

imafreak1

May 3rd, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

I can certainly see why Brain left this comment out of his argument. In the same sentence, Brandon is saying that he is fine with a plus one model but it's not perfect. That's all he's ever said. A playoff is flawed but he will go along with it.

If you want to make hay out of his strident wording and using the word 'ridiculous' be my guest but no one has produced a quote where Brandon says he would vote agaisnt a new so-called playoff.

BiSB

May 3rd, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

ADs don't necessarily get a "vote," in these types of things; that's usually the Presidents.  But if you ask someone, "what's your opinion of [Thing X]?" and they respond, "I believe [Thing X] is ridiculous," logic suggests that the end of that sentence is NOT "...but I plan to support it"

WashUBlue

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

I don't really think this is a big deal at all. But, just becasue he says he doesn't think it's a playoff doesn't mean it isn't a playoff.

Please explain to me the difference between the 4 team playoff that Brandon is opposed to in the first quote and the 4 team non playoff that brandon isn't opposed to.

jmblue

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

OK, he's "inconsistent."  What does it matter? 

Has Brian been "consistent" in all of his positions?  No (certainly not regarding Hoke), and I don't see anything wrong with that.  People can change their minds.  I don't understand why we should expect the AD to be any different.

 

BiSB

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

People can change their minds. Maybe he was convinced in the interim of the value of the playoff.  Maybe he was visited by the Ghost of Bowl Seasons Future. I dunno. But I can't possibly agree that the two statements are reconcilable as 'the same opinion expressed differently.'

MGoBender

May 3rd, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

Has Brian been "consistent" in all of his positions?  No (certainly not regarding Hoke)

Brian was against the Hoke hire because it represented a return to 3 yards and a cloud of dust, punting on fourth and 3, etc, etc. He also made caveats that Brandon would have to open up the pocketbook for coordinators. Turns out Hoke wasn't Lloyd 2.0, Brandon did open up the check book, and things worked out. Brian adjusted his opinion accordingly and even apologized for assuming they wouldn't and putting doubt in Hoke.

The difference is: Brandon is all politic-y about his changes of view.

uncleFred

May 3rd, 2012 at 8:02 PM ^

It's pretty clear that Hoke was NOT a return to 3 yards and a cloud of dust or punting on fourth and 3. Rich Rod and the spread have departed from Michigan. Some folks, Brian among them, initially judged Hoke apparently based on their frustration with their preceptions of how RRod was treated. Brian has since reevaluated Hoke based on what he has done instead of his fears about what Hoke might have done. He should be commended for that, however that does not excuse his initial rush to judgement. 

Your central premise is that had Brandon not opened the checkbook to get Mattison, Hoke would have ended up more like RRod. Perhaps, but somehow I have a very hard time believing that. Borges was relatively cheap in his first year with us, and Hoke was a very successful defensive coach. Would we have gone 11-2 without Mattison? Probably not, but I have a hunch that we'd still have had a solid season had Brandon kept the checkbook closed. I, for one, am greatfull he wrote the checks.  

That is the past. The future is bright. Rather than defend the hyperbole of the past, why not focus on the future?

uncleFred

May 3rd, 2012 at 8:03 PM ^

It's pretty clear that Hoke was NOT a return to 3 yards and a cloud of dust or punting on fourth and 3. Rich Rod and the spread have departed from Michigan. Some folks, Brian among them, initially judged Hoke apparently based on their frustration with their perceptions of how RRod was treated. Brian has since reevaluated Hoke based on what he has done instead of his fears about what Hoke might have done. He should be commended for that, however that does not excuse his initial rush to judgement. 

Your central premise is that had Brandon not opened the checkbook to get Mattison, Hoke would have ended up more like RRod. Perhaps, but somehow I have a very hard time believing that. Borges was relatively cheap in his first year with us, and Hoke was a very successful defensive coach. Would we have gone 11-2 without Mattison? Probably not, but I have a hunch that we'd still have had a solid season had Brandon kept the checkbook closed. I, for one, am greatfull he wrote the checks.  

That is the past. The future is bright. Rather than defend the hyperbole of the past, why not focus on the future?

M-Dog

May 4th, 2012 at 9:54 PM ^

The difference is that Brian had an initial point of view he believed, but saw evidence to the contrary, and eventually changed his point of view.

We don't ever really know what Dave Brandon believes.  It's always just spin for whatever scheme he is trying to manipulate us at that moment.  It does not matter that we believe or don't believe what he says, he doesn't even believe what he says.  

His statements are nothing more than a tool to be used for whatever the hot topic is at the moment.  That's why he's so malleable - he's not trying to tell us what he believes, he's trying to tell us what we should believe that accomplishes what he's trying to do at that moment.

My guess is that he doesn't believe either of the conflicting statements he put out on a "playoff".

 

Lionsfan

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:39 AM ^

With all of these debates, I sort of wish we just went back to the old bowl system. I mean, there were a few split titles, but not as much rage as we've had over the BCS

Lutha

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^

Never thought about it this way, but the split titles are actually kind of fun in a weird way.  I sat next to a Nebraska fan on a flight not too long ago and we were having a fun argument over who had the better team in 1997.  I mean, that was like 15 years ago.

Erik_in_Dayton

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

I realize that I'm in a small minority, but I wouldn't have "fixed" college football at all after 1997.  There is no perfect way to crown a champion (the Bulls tied for the best record in the NBA this year but now won't be the "best" team b/c Rose went down, for example), and arguing about college football is part of the fun. 

M-Wolverine

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

I just think there's a very vocal majority (but not necessarily a vast majority) that are backed by media like ESPN that have spent years convincing people they need this, and that you're in a small minority.  

UMaD

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

Instead of being taken for what it is (a marginal improvement over the old system), the BCS is/was expected to crown a clear-cut champion.  Every year it doesn't, it 'fails'.  The same thing was never expected of the old bowl system.

The hype of a 'championship series' outweighs the marginal improvement (relative to people's preference for clarity.)  Their biggest mistake was marketing - calling it the "championship" anything.  They should have just called it the Super Bowl.  That name is available right?

FragglePac

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:45 AM ^

The first is saying that a playoff system is pointless because of the logistics of football.  You just can't have a large enough playoff field and the factors of outdoor play are too drastic to come up with a consensus most deserving champion.  There are still a ton of factors that will make people unhappy that their team didn't get a "fair" opportunity.  

The second is saying, he is fine with adding "playoff" games, he just doesn't think it is a true playoff.  And the "if that makes people happy" comment doesn't mean everyone will be happy with the results, it just means people are upset and they want that change so he is fine with making it.

In summary to both statements he doesn't care if they do a mini playoff, but he thinks people will still be complaining in the end.

StraightDave

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

"You've got a bunch of teams that don't play one another and play different competition and in different time zones in different conferences in different stadiums in front of different crowds"

Don't tell Brandon about March Madness.

Erik_in_Dayton

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:54 AM ^

I think you're misunderstanding him.  He's saying that it's absurd to pluck four or six teams and put them into a playoff after they played in very different circumstances during the regular season.  The MBB tournament involves choosing 68 teams, many of whom played one another due to the fact that MBB teams play 30-plus games.  You have more information in MBB and a larger margin for error given that you get 68 chances of picking the best team rather than four or six. 

Fort Wayne Blue

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:51 AM ^

I do agree that right now the system is set up in a way that there isn't parity and equality. 

He didn't factor in the differences in academics, the fact that its been 70+ degrees in SEC country for 2 months now, while still brisk and chilly up here in Big Ten country. He didn't talk about the recruiting advantage some schools get due to geography. 

 

I think conference champions would be the only way to get a somewhat fair system. and have the head to head conference winning percentage that is in place in the BCS to determine whcih conferences get into the tournament. BUT THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! the SEC is going to block that with everything they have. They like having LSU vs Alabama in the game.

Wolv54

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

and I think he's talking about two different things; a large format playoff system and a plus-one concept on the current system.  You'd paint him as an old curmudgeon if he had one single, unwavering opinion on the subject. 

Until they level the playing field with regards to academics, admissions standards, and recruiting class sizes, the call for a playoff is a moot point.  One September 1st, we'll see one college football team and one semi-pro football team compete against each other under the veil of amatuerism and tradition.

chunkums

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:55 AM ^

The second is not exactly a beaming statement of support for the new system.  He says he wouldn't call it a playoff, then asserts that it's, "a clever way to come up with one more football game."  If anything, with the last sentence in mind, the second quote sounds more annoyed than anything.

MGoNukeE

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:02 AM ^

are a little contradictory (saying a 4-team playoff is bad, then saying a 4-team not-playoff that still functions like a playoff is okay), but I can at least see how Dave Brandon could have made an honest mistake in clarifying his own opinion in each case. Calling out MGoBlog for misrepresenting his position on the date of The Game, when he supplied the quote on considering moving The Game back, was much worse.

jvp123

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:11 AM ^

I actually like what he said, as I have the same opinion. The biggest issue, though, is that teams are ranked before every game is played. Everybody agrees that the ranking system is something that changes week-to-week, so why not just wait until the last week to release it? I know this will never happen, because those that vote would still compile a private ranking system, and lord knows ESPN will have their "informal rankintology" every Monday. I've always been under the impression that when a team has an opinion on whether they should be in the National Championship game or not, the cause of such ire is on the voter's shoulders, not the BCS's. This issue won't end if a tournament is adopted, unless guaranteed spots are given to conference champions only (which still poses problems because conferences rarely play every other team in their conference)

I like the bowl system because kids have the opportunity to play a team they may never play again in a city they may have never visited nor may ever visit again. Creating a tournament only gives you a tournament champion (see college basketball).

Scenario 1: (1) Undefeated Team

                   (2) Undefeated Team

                   (3) 1-loss team

                   (4) 2-loss team

If (4) beats (1), (3) beats (2), and (4) beats (3), was (4) the best team in college football? Probably not, they were just the best team over a two-week period in a tournament. How would that be any less mythical o than those that use "MNC" somewhere in their online lexicon?

End Rant.

/it's like 85 degrees in Arizona; no real reason to complain, I guess.

UMaD

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

The view most people hold is that if it is won 'on the field', it is justly earned.

The key point is to clearly identify the requirements in advance.  No one complains (much) when a wild-card NFL team beats a 16-0 team in the Super Bowl, because they 'earned it' within the construct of the pre-defined system.  The path is clearly identified for David and Goliath, both.

College football will have a 'fair' system that people will accept only when the polls are removed from the equation. If you have polls, you can not have justice. Which is why using conference champions (even if it's a .500 UCLA team going over Oregon) is the only system that will make people happy.

Conference champs to the playoff, also-rans to the traditional bowls.  While that does run the 'risk' of having an Oregon-Alabama Sugar Bowl and an Arkansas-UCLA national championship game, that's not such a terrible thing for anyone.

Section 1

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^

The polls are always going to have the potential to countermand the new fascination in college football, which is 'the conference championship game.'

What happens when conference championship game losers hold onto a #4 ranking?  When a #1 undefeated SEC or Big Ten team loses a squeaker to a #3-ranked undefeated rival in the Dr. Pepper Championship Game Brought to you by Nationwide Insurance at Safeco Stadium and Sponsored by Ford?

I'm not going to worry about it too much; I just want to be on the record time and time again, predicting that there will be lots of complaints no matter what changes are made.  The bigger and bolder the plan, the more there will be undesirable consequences that people will hate.

UMaD

May 3rd, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

about a lack of fairness, they complain about a lack of clarity.  'Cinderellas' in CBB receive zero criticism.

If the rules (i.e. the path to a championship) are pre-determined, well-defined, and transparent -- people will not complain.

If the path to a championship is based on the undefined, inconsistent, and ever-changing criteria of poll voters, it is impossible to have clarity.    To satisfy fans you must have clarity.  For clarity you must remove the polls.

You're right that, initially, people will continue to look at the polls, but that habit will recede over time as people get used to them having no real weight.

The model I would personally advocate for would be and 8-team playoff consisting of only conference champions. Conference championship games would take place over Thanksgiving weekend.  A week or 2 later, a playoff round would occur with conference champions squaring off in pre-determined matchups. (i.e. a Rose Bowl type matchup between the Pac12 and Big10 champs).  No seeding occurs until the '2nd round' - a January 1st playoff of 4.  The plus-1 championship game would come about 2 weeks later. 

Non-conference champions, even if they're ranked #2 in the country, and 1st round playoff loser could just go on to the Bowls, as they would today.  The only change would be to who is absorbed into the playoff.

Ernis

May 3rd, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

His main argument is consistent, in that the selection process (AP + Coaches + BCS) is not changing, only more teams are being added, and that ultimately the math of MOAR TEAMS * NEBULOUS SELECTION PROCESS = GREAT SUCCESS! does not compute.

He is, clearly, more tactful in his second statement. What is the issue with tact?