Minimum Playoff Size Need: A 1998 to 2001 BCS Review

Submitted by CRex on January 13th, 2012 at 2:26 PM


Over the past few days a lot of people have posted ideas for the playoff system.  They've come up with a variety of systems to ensure balance and fairness and clearly a lot of thought has gone in to this.  I want to attack the problem from a different angle though:

What is the minimum number of games we need to crown a national championship?  

To determine this I'm going to review the BCS's history and determine who else had a valid to claim to play for the Dr. Pepper Crystal Ball (and then have to display it at Wal-Mart).  In part I'll use what we knew at the end of the regular season for that year and in part I'll look at what we found out after all the dust from the bowl games settled.  

The BCS needs to die simply for having this a contractual requirement.

I'm going to break this into three or four diaries, as these things get long.  With that said, lets get going:

1998/99 BCS:

Championship Game: #1 Tenn defeats #2 Florida State

Other Possible Claimants*: Kansas State, Ohio State, UCLA, Texas A&M.

Are their claims legit?

First off Tennessee's claim is untouchable.  They came out of the SEC defeated and beat 4 ranked teams before besting Florida State.  For Florida State though the claim is hazier.  They came out the gate strong, beating Texas A&M (A&M was #14 at the time, the Aggies finished the season ranked  #11).  The next week the Seminoles lost by three scores to North Carolina State.  NC State finished the season 7-5.  FSU though did go on to beat 4 more ranked teams, giving them a total of 5 victories over ranked teams.  

So in 1998 we're looking to see if we can argue that anyone else can claim they should have finished #2 instead of FSU.  First off KSU.  They finished the regular season undefeated and beat three ranked teams.  They ended up going to the B12 Championship game ranked #1 but lost to Texas A&M in triple overtime.  In my view, if you can't win your conference, you can't win the title so KSU is out.  

The Buckeyes lost to the Spartans (well really we all lost when a meteor failed to strike the stadium, but I digress) by 4 points (28-24).  Otherwise the Buckeyes were undefeated and beat 4 ranked teams during their season.  Michigan State finished 6-6.  The Buckeyes went on to defeat Texas A&M in their bowl, making Texas A&M the Kevin Spacey of 1998.  When compared to Florida State, Ohio State is close.  Ohio State lost to an inferior team by a lesser margin (4 points vs 3 scores) but Florida State beat one more ranked team than Ohio State did.  This one of those decisions you can argue about.

UCLA spends most of the season as the bridesmaid but never the bride.  They finish out their conference play undefeated, but on 5 December lose to Miami (YTM) by 4 points.  Miami finishes the season 9-3 and ranked (although Miami was unranked at the time UCLA lost to them).  UCLA's major problem was they only had three wins over ranked teams.

Texas A&M has been covered about by virtue of their losses to FSU and OSU.  Coming out of regular season play, FSU could claim superiority over A&M.  OSU also went on to prove it was a better team in bowl season.  A&M also lost to Texas and finishes the regular season with two losses.  So Texas A&M is out due to my desire to avoid rematches and the fact they have two losses.

1998 Season Summary:

#1 Tenn cannot be disputed.  

For #2 we have three teams that all lost to one team and have between 3 and 5 victories over ranked teams each.  I'd say 1998 leaves us with a pretty clear argument for a +1 system.  Tenn, FSU, OSU, and UCLA as division winners fight it out for the greater glory of their local Walmart (or Super Walmart).  The Big 12 division winner is removed due to a lose to FSU 

*I'm using claimants in the sense they had a claim to play in the title game, not claim a share of the title.  

So Woodson is getting the Heisman and y'all are getting a ring the year after I leave?
That's right Peyton, I'm also getting a Cup named after me.

1999/2000 BCS:

Championship Game: #1 Florida State defeats #2 Virginia Tech

Other Possible Claimants: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Alabama

Are their claims Legit?

First off Florida State has an touchable claim on #1 this year.  They finish undefeated and with 4 wins over ranked teams.  Virginia Tech is also untouchable, finishing out the season undefeated and with wins over 4 ranked teams.  Although I really do want to penalize Virginia Tech for their out of conference scheduling (namely: James Madison and UAB).

I'm going to handle Alabama (and thus the SEC first).  Alabama finishes the season with losses to Tennessee and Louisiana Tech (We choked on a cupcake PAWWWWLLL).  They lose to Michigan by one point in overtime at the Orange Bowl.  The other option from the SEC is Florida (they lose to Alabama twice and once to Florida State).  No rematches, so sorry Florida.

Wisconsin suffers from an early season loss to Cincinnati (the Alvarez Strategy of Scheduling Crap Teams suffers a rare backfire).  Then the next week they lose to Michigan.  Michigan finished off the season with an Orange Bowl Win and as #2 in the B10, so that's a terrible lose.  Each loss was by 5 points.  Wisconsin does beat 4 ranked teams.  

Nebraska finishes off the season 12-1.  Their only loss is a 4 point loss to to a ranked Texas squad.  They beat two ranked teams (A&M and KSU) and then avenge their loss to Texas in the B12 championship game.  So that leaves them with three wins over ranked squads and one loss to a ranked squad.  Nebraska also beats a ranked Tenn squad in the Fiesta Bowl, the good old days of the Fiesta Bowl, back before we as a society had the computing power to make a bag of chips say dumb stuff.

1999 Season Summary:

This is one that the BCS gets right, although considering they had exactly two teams finish undefeated it isn't hard to get right.  If either FSU or VT finishes with one loss then Nebraska has a legit claim on the #2 spot.  At that point we'd have a clear #1 (the undefeated team) and a tie for #2 (the one loss teams).  Had this happened I'd assume we'd once again need a +1 game, with Wisconsin getting pulled in to round it out to four teams.  Wisconsin has the weakest resume of the bunch, but had Wisconsin won out they'd have had 6 wins over ranked teams and only one loss to an unranked team.  So it wouldn't be a travesty.  

It would have better if VT lost to the Georgia or Mississippi State

 

2000/2001 BCS:

Championship Game: #1 Oklahoma defeats #2 Florida State

Other Possible Claimants: Miami, Washington

Are their claims Legit?

First off Oklahoma is undefeated, so they get the immunity idol.  Florida State drops to Miami early in the season.  FSU does defeat two ranked teams in the course of their regular season.

Miami wins the Big East and defeats Florida State, but losses to Washington.  Washington is Miami's only loss.  

Washington meanwhile beats Miami, who beat Florida State, but loses to #20 Oregon.  Beside beating a ranked Miami team, Washington also beats a ranked Oregon State team.  

As a side note, the B10 and SEC both experience down years and fail to produce a team with fewer than 3 losses.  

2000 Season Summary:

Florida State has the claim of beating two ranked teams, as does Washington.  FSU has the claim that their one loss was to a higher ranked team.  Washington though has the claim that they beat the team that beat Florida State.  It's a mess of quality of opponent versus the transitive property of wins.  

Solution:  The plus one system.  Washington gets a chance for a direct win over FSU and Miami gets a chance to avenge a regular season defeat.  All four of these teams are conference winners, so our worst case with a +1 is a potential out of conference rematch (Miami vs FSU).  Since it was out of conference play that loss occurred early in the season and wouldn't be a terrible, plus both teams would have had to beat some other good teams to earn that rematch.  

A rare photo in which Rick Neuheisel has hair and job security.  

 

2001/2002 BCS:

Championship Game: #1 Miami (YTM) defeats #2 Nebraska

Other Possible Claimants:  Colorado, Colorado, Oregon, Tennessee, Illinois, Maryland

Oh boy, this whole season is a mess.  With that said:

Miami is undefeated, so the immunity idol is theirs.

Now Nebraska and why I listed Colorado twice.  Nebraska is the favored team in the polls, with wins over a ranked Notre Dame and Oklahoma (The Sooners are #2 when Oklahoma played them).  The last game of the regular season though they are blown out by Colorado.  Colorado 62, Nebraska 36.  In the title game Miami takes care of business and wins 37-14.  

Colorado meanwhile ends the season with losses to Fresno State (24-22) and Texas (41-7).  Colorado avenges their loss to Texas in the B12 Championship Game though and wins (39-37).  Their reward is to get the Fiesta Bowl, while Nebraska gets a shot at glory despite failing to win their division or their conference.  

Oregon has a strong season with wins over 3 ranked teams in the regular season and then beats Colorado in bowl season.  Oregon's one flaw is losing to Stanford by a touchdown.  This is a Ty Willingham coached Stanford, but somehow one that finishes the season 9-3.  

Tennessee has a fairly strong resume, but suffers from the fatal flaw of losing to LSU in the SEC Title Game.  LSU has three losses at the time.  If you can't win your division, no crystal football for you.  So Tennessee is out.

Illinois finishes out the second with wins over three ranked teams.  They do suffer a 45-20 defeat at the hands of Michigan, but finish the regular season 11-1.  

Maryland gets mentioned here since they also finish the season with one loss.  However they need overtime for their sole victory over a ranked team (Georgia Tech) and they lose to a ranked Florida State squad.  Maryland is out of the picture due to their weak resume.  

2001 Season Summary:

Colorado got screwed.  They finish the season with two losses (one of them avenged).  Oregon also gets screwed here considering they have three ranked wins and only one seven point loss.  

I'd say you have four teams with legit claims when this season ends.  Miami, Colorado, Oregon, and Illinois.  They're all conference winners.  Colorado does have two losses, but they did avenge one of them and they bombed Nebraska, so I'd say let them play.  

The BCS remains the second worst thing to happen to buffaloes.

So The Mininum?

 

What is interesting is in this era you can't really argue about the #1 team.  In these games the #1 team was undefeated and took care of business.  The argument mostly comes down to who deserved the honor of having a shot at the #1 team.  Perhaps this argues for #1 getting a first round bye in a larger format playoff system.  

Anyway in terms of structuring a playoff where no one can complain they were screwed out of the #2 ranking between 1998 and 2001, by my count we're at:

1998: 4 teams, 1999: 2 teams, 2000: 4 teams, 2001: 4 teams

This of course is subjective and I'll freely admit I engaged in some resume voting with the above.   What I did find interesting here was we're at a point with six strong BCS conference (Miami and VT are in the Big East at this point and FSU is enjoying the glory of a pre senility Bobby Bowden).  1998 is the year we come the closest to having five teams in play (if KSU beats A&M).  It seems like most years you end up with two conference winners who can be fairly easily discarded.  In 1998 for example A&M is out due to their two loses (in 1998 the winner of the Big East, Syracuse, had 3 losses and is eliminated).  

When the fifth team threat emerges so far it has come from a team that did not win their conference (KSU in 1998 and Nebraska in 2001).  In those cases you can simply invoke the "Win your conference if you want to win the title rule" and remove them (and in Neb's case: "Win your division").

As a side note, the BCS was good at picking #1s during this period.  

So working solely off these four years of data, I'd argue in the direction of a +1 system.  It seems in most cases you have four strong teams and anyone who comes the champion in a +1 playoff is going to have a resume that makes them the clear champion.  This could change those if more 1998 scenarios happen (where KSU wins their conference and thus you end up with 5 BCS conference winners who have resumes worthy of letting them into a 4 team playoff).  Keep in mind those, in the future we'll not only have 6 BCS conferences, but some possibly legit teams coming out of the MWC.  So will 4 be enough?

 

So The 4 Team Playoffs:

1998: Tenn, FSU, UCLA, Ohio State

1999: FSU, VT, Neb, Wisconsin

2000: OU, FSU, Miami, Washington

2001: Miami, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon

The only two real objections here would be in 1999 if a two loss Wisconsin team runs the table (so a two loss Wisky gets the title over FSU and VT who would both be one loss) and the whole FSU-Miami rematch in 2000.  FSU-Miami is an out of conference game during this time period though (Miami is Big East, FSU is ACC) and I don't want to penalize scheduling like a big boy for your out of conference schedule, so I say let it happen.  In terms of Wisconsin winning it all, that's the downside of a playoff.  The pro of the playoff is that it elimates arguments over if #3 or #4 deserved a shot at #1.  The con is sometimes a weak #4 could get lucky and win out.  We just have to hope the latter doesn't happen often.

I also can't see any fifth team that would have room to complain about getting the door slammed in their face for any of these games (include my standard: If KSU won in 1998 we'd have a problem disclaimer, but they didn't so I do what the results say I should do).  

Quick Note: Please don't get too hung up on the #4.  I'm not trying to set a standard playoff size from just these points.  My goal is at the end of all of this to look back and say:  "The median number needed since 1998 is X, and with X we'd have still had controversy in the following years...".  For example with an X of 4, you likely have some controversy in 1999 when a two loss team got a shot at an undefeated team.   

Up Next: To 2002 and Beyond!

(If I screwed up a fact in all this please call me out.  I was multitabbing like a madman on College Football Warehouse so I may have messed up a score or record here or there.  Hopefully not too frequently).  

Comments

chally

January 13th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

"So in 1998 we're looking to see if we can argue that anyone else can claim they should have finished #2 instead of FSU."

I'm not sure I agree with this sentiment, though.  Shouldn't the standard be, "We are looking to see if there are any other teams who have a legitimate chance to win every playoff game?"

If the point of a playoff is to crown the one team that beats all the other teams they face, then the field should consist of all teams that have a realistic shot of winning the championship.  By this metric, Kansas State needed to be in the playoff in 1998.  They had one loss -- to a Top 15 team in triple overtime.  Short of Tennessee, they had the best case for thinking that they were capable of beating any team on any field any day.

Your question seems to be, "How many teams have a fair complaint that they got screwed by the BCS?" not "How many teams should have been in a playoff?"

CRex

January 13th, 2012 at 3:21 PM ^

It is a point of view issue where people can disagree.

I find fault in the BCS by looking at the title games and saying "Are there any teams that have a resume equal to one of the teams that played in the BCS Title Game?".  

So in 1998 I don't think you can find anyone with a resume equal to Tenn.  You can find teams with a resume equal to the #2 spot though. 

I personally dislike the "legitimate shot" viewpoint because it takes emphasis away from winning your conference.  It also opens the door to arguments like "Yes they have 3 losses, but they play in a tough conference and they're a tough team that can beat anyone.  So they should play in a playoff".  

Michigan this year had a legitimate chance to beat any team you seeded against us (we're finishing in the Top 12 after all).  I'm not saying we would, but we'd be legit and unlikely to be blown out thank to the much improved defense.  Yet I don't think we deserved a shot at the national championship due to our failure to take care of business in our own division.  Basically you can twist the "legit" shot into included the top 12 to 14 teams which gets into messy rematches and transitive wins.

I view winning your division and your conference title game as the first round of the playoffs.  Consider it college's unique twist on the playoff system.  Round one earning is the conference title, so you need to kill off any sibling that threatens you.  Fail to do that an you're eliminated from the playoffs.  Other people see it from different viewpoints and thus might favor larger playoffs where rematches and multiple teams from the same conference are options.  

I'm trying not to let personal views influence the data that much though.  If I see a fifth team with a resume equal to the others, then I'll mention it.  Otherwise I'll agree the fifth team (ex: 1998 KSU) was legit, but they should have taken care of business in their own conference.  

cclittle

January 13th, 2012 at 4:11 PM ^

of winning the conference (and division) as mandatory.  One of the charms of cfb, I think, are the conferences and the semi-rivalries between them.  I like the idea of only one team being able to represent any conference.  Is this completely fair, in terms of getting the "best team" in the championship game? No.  Would it exclude very good teams (like say, Alabama and Stanford this past year)? Yes.  But I think that's just tough- you've got to take care of your conference and division first.

Drew Sharp

January 13th, 2012 at 8:22 PM ^

Division winners in the nfl get in while other teams get screwed. Look at Denver this year and Seattle last year. In any one year there may be a third team from, say, the nfc east that should get in but can't because they didn't win the division. Tough shit, i say. Only in college do you hear the "yeah, but our conference is so tough" argument. Win and you're in, end of story.

chally

January 13th, 2012 at 5:30 PM ^

and I get where you are coming from, though it still seems odd to me to say "We are choosing a champion based on which team is able to beat a set of elite teams, but we are going to potentially exclude the team(s) with the best odds of beating that a set of elite teams by imposing an arbitrary requirement."

I guess part of it comes down to what you see as the purpose of a playoff.  If you think that a playoff is the most accurate way of determining the "best" team (by forcing them to play the other legitimate contenders), it seems that you should want all the teams that could reasonably prove to be the best (I disagree that Michigan would fall into that category this year, btw).  If, however, you don't think that a playoff is about determining a "best" team, but rather about finding a method of choosing among teams with the best resumes, I'm not sure why we would bother with a playoff at all (as opposed to, say, reverting to just voting for a national champion).

Tater

January 17th, 2012 at 10:34 AM ^

Although there will never be the tidy package I would like, making conference championship games into a de facto first round would be great. The main glitch in my system would be when a non-worthy conference like the MAC is big enough to play a championship game.

I would like to see AQ conferences with championship games play on the same weekend as they do.  I would also like to see those without CC games be in a pool with the top indie (if ranked 16th or higher) and the top champions of lesser conferences for a "play-in" round the same weekend as conference champions.  

The eight winners could play the the "first round' the next weekend (sorry, Army-Navy, Hawaii, etc).  Then they could pick the bowls the same way they always do with the semis being in rotating NYD bowls, and the "plus one" game one week after NYD.  The main differences would be that the "plus one" teams actually earned their way there, and that no teams that couldn't even win their divisions are ever allowed to play for a "national championship" again.

There would be a lot of things to work out.  I'm sure, for example, that the Rose Bowl would not want anyone to step on their toes and put a competing game in their time slot.  I think the bowls have too much power right now and need to be "put in their places."

The main problem is that under the current system, or under a plus one, a team like Michigan would be stupid to take a non-conference game with Alabama, becuase one loss means that they have to run the table.  Most teams know this and game the system.  

A true playoff would make conference championships actually mean something again.  It would also make their laughable "every game counts" slogan almost truthful.  And it would no longer penalize teams that schedule tough non-conference games and lose one.

 

 

pjandy

January 20th, 2012 at 11:20 AM ^

How do I +1 this? because it needs to be +1'd 

would be great to see the CC games become incorporated in championship ... system. That would be a great step away from the current popularity contest that BCS rankings are. It's the subjective "black box" nature of BCS rankings that makes it so obnoxious. Even a "plus one" thing would just be skirting the issue - you have some cabal selecting 4 rather than 2 teams. A little better, but still falls short. 

rmic2

January 13th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

Very fun to relieve the past. Very frustrating that we beat Wisky in 99 and Illiois in 01 - then had puzzling losses in those years to take us out of contention.

CRex

January 13th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

Seth's work is definitely excellent and I'm not attempting to tread on his toes.  My goal is more just to say how many teams finished the season with top shelf resumes and then figure out the median number, whereas Seth tries to fit each season into a preset playoff and see which model works best.

(I'm almost hoping we end with some weird number that is hard to structure a playoff around.  Which opens up the choices of:  Do we bring in weaker teams to get to a number that divides easily or do we have a multiround bye to balance it out.)

Although as I mention above, I tend to lean in the direction of a +1 (and that the midmajors can go back to D-II where they belong).  I'll try to avoid author bias and I think starting around 2003/2004 I'm going to find that +1 is not enough.  So we'll see if I destroy my own beliefs.

If nothing else I hope this saves other people trips to the data warehouse when they write their playoff proposals.  

polometer

January 13th, 2012 at 5:08 PM ^

get the wrong impression, your article rocks.  I just thought that since Seth wrote an article on such a similar topic (although I don't think you are covering the same ground), and it covered the same year span, that I would link to it.

Good job, I am looking forward to the next few years.

oakapple

January 13th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

Eight would be ideal. I mean, there are never nine teams that could claim to be #1, so if you include eight, you will never leave out anyone who has a credible complaint. But the university presidents are going to do four or nothing, and provided there are no auto-bids, four ought to be satisfactory in most years.

The real problem is that it’s seldom exactly four. This year, for instance, the three top teams were clearly LSU, Alabama, and Oklahoma State. No sane person would disagree with that. Every other team had a conspicuously poorer resumé than those three.

But someone would be the 4th team, and there are usually multiple credible candidates for #4. Going by this year’s BCS standings, it would have been Stanford. Yet, Stanford lost to Oregon and didn’t even win its conference. Oregon won the conference, but had two losses (to LSU and USC). And then there’s Arkansas (their only loss was to LSU, just like Oregon and Alabama).

In a plus-one scenario, sooner or later a #4 seed will win the national championship, when their resume was no better than a #5 or a #6 that wasn’t given the opportunity. But with four, at least you will never leave out an obviously deserving team, as happened to both USC and Auburn in years they went undefeated.

So, let’s be happy with four. It’ll probably take them another 20 years to go to a full playoff.

EGD

January 13th, 2012 at 5:40 PM ^

I think the big problem with a +1 format is that it continues to reward teams for scheduling weak non-conference opponents, and may even exacerbate that problem.

If you are guaranteed to make a playoff by winning your conference, then OOC schedule doesn't matter.  This might be an incentive to schedule more difficult OOC games.

If you are guaranteed to make a playoff by winning your conference, and can also make a playoff as an at-large if you do not win your conference, then there is a definite incentive to schedule more difficult OOC games (because you increase your chances of an at-large bid with big OOC wins, and if you lose, you still have a shot at the playoff by winning your league).

But if a team that wins its conference can still be denied entry into a playoff due to OOC losses, then the incentive is to play a weak OOC schedule and hope your 12-0 or 11-1 record is good enough, despite the lack of quality OOC opposition.  (Which is the problem we have now). 

Moonlight Graham

January 13th, 2012 at 6:19 PM ^

Why do we keep trying to figure this out? There is momentum for the Plus One and the Plus One will work. Stop at 2002, we got this. 

The only question is exactly how to deploy the Plus One, and if the BCS would add the Cotton Bowl to the mix (I think they'll have to). 

First, a little housekeeping. Every conference needs to have at least 12 teams and play a championship game. This may force the CUSA and SunBelt to merge and for the Big East to devour the rest of the MWC, and then heck maybe we see a MACWAC conference. Whatever. There are no auto-bids ... the BCS Final Four are determined the Sunday after the CCC's weekend and then the BCS bowls can choose whoever they please. 

Plus One model "+1A"

After the CCC weekend, the following week #1 hosts #4 and #2 hosts #3. The winners will play on January 8, 9 or 10 (like the BCS title game is schedule now, a week clear of New Year's Day usually on a Monday night). The rest of the BCS bowls pretty much operate as per usual, now that the Final Four has identified the Final Two. In this scenario, the Cotton Bowl may not need to be added, but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea. It's already played the Friday after NYD, why not give it BCS status, award BCS money, and make everybody happy. 

Plus One model "+1B"

After the CCC weekend, a Final Four is identified and the 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 matchups are assigned to two BCS bowls. The other five BCS bowls including the Cotton Bowl choose their matchups according to a rotating pecking order. While this is the format that is discussed as being the Plus One model 80% of the time, this is really the more difficult one to pull off in terms of traveling fan bases. The seeded bowl winners' fan bases would need to travel twice in two weeks, or at the very least remain in, say, New Orleans for over a week if they wanted to see both games. 

Going back to the +1A option, the #1 and #2 teams would be "rewarded" with home playoff games; only four teams would play an extra game each season, and then the rest of the bowl season would go on as it usually does (dumb sponsor bowl names, empty stadiums, ho-hum matchups). Only problem is that the BCS bowls are all meaningless except for the title game whereas with +1B at least two of the BCS games are meaningful. So there's a trade-off ... I could go for either one. (Oh, and by the way, the Final Four losers in +1B would automatically get to play in a BCS game in January, as well, in case that wasn't already clear.)

MSHOT92

January 14th, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

I like it...particularly the concept of placing a premium on winning your conference. That seems to be the biggest ruffle with bama and okie state this season...and as shown/stated, though bama would have been eliminated..they owned LSU in the title game...so the quality win/loss issue can be tricky...however if you say you MUST win the conference championship which all conferences pretty much have in place now...it's simple and irrefutable... MSU controlled it's destiny and lost..save the tears CUZ...

likewise the tiebreak in the event of a +1 +1 or more could be broken with 'quality of schedule' so teams scheduling western, easter, central, appy state, delaware state,  etc...yes I'm poking at our recent scheduling crap too...fair is fair...would come back to haunt you in the end. And I'll give credit to DB...Alabama to start '12 is a step forward if you want to play and challenge the big dogs...in our 'glory' days we played FSU, MIAMI, USC, UCLA, COLORADO....not derivitives of small school state run programs..

Ziff72

January 13th, 2012 at 9:02 PM ^

I appreciate the effort, but you don't account for the fact that the logistics make using comparitive analysis near impossible.   

There are simply too many teams that play too few games against each other to simply say team 1 had a a better resume.   The 99 Nebraska team is a good example.   Their only loss was in conference to a ranked team.  Top say that you know with any certainty that they we're not deserving or could not beat FSU and VT is a fallacy.

 

joegeo

January 16th, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

I'm sold on Wetzel's 16 team format.  Mainly because I agree with the principle that every FBS team should be able to win its way to a national championship.  Conference championships are objective, so if you win your conference you're in.  That leaves a few at large pics.  Certainly there would still be debate about who deserves the at larges, but debate is okay.  Those teams had a chance to objectively make the playoffs by winning their conferences.  Until every team has objective access to the national title, it's not a real national title.