4 Team Playoff Officially Approved

Submitted by Son of Lloyd Brady on June 26th, 2012 at 6:25 PM

In this format the #1 seed plays the #4, #2 plays #3, winners advance to championship game

Link: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8099187/ncaa-presidents-approve-four-team-college-football-playoff-beginning-2014

EDIT: As stated in the article, the playoffs are not set to begin until 2014, so this season and next will still use the current BCS system.



June 26th, 2012 at 8:06 PM ^

16 teams seems like a logistical impossibility.  Football isn't basketball.  I was originally up for an 8 team playoff but have changed my mind.  I like the idea of four teams so you don't have dilution of conference play and conference championship games might have some meaning. In basketball, the NCAA tourney, for me at least, has made the conference championships less important unless you need a win to get into the big dance.

Just my .02.


June 26th, 2012 at 8:57 PM ^

The "N + 1" team or "N + 2" team will always bitch, but as we have seen in prior threads, four teams generally includes most teams in the NC conversation.  I really don't care about teams from second level conferences.  Run the B1G or SEC or Big 12 gauntlet and then get back about your 11-1 season.


June 26th, 2012 at 10:22 PM ^

Today's meeting had representatives from 11 conferences and ND.  So who really thinks that a playoff format that qualifies 1/3 of that number is stable for more than a couple years?  Another round of playoffs brings 4 more games - eventually the money wins out and the field expands to 8, especially given the 6 (?!) sites that will rotate as semifinal sites under this proposed system.  Funny number, isn't that?  It would exactly cover an 8 team playoff for quarter & semifinals.


June 26th, 2012 at 10:39 PM ^

we have to be fair.  It needs to be 144 teams.  We have to let in the top teams in D2 as well.

This way no one will bitch who got in and who was left out.  The playoffs can start in September.


June 27th, 2012 at 12:31 AM ^

Works for me.  I would prefer eight, but I could live with six.

To see the dilemma you have with only four, you have to look way, way back to  . . . gee, you only have to look back to last year.  

Alabama, LSU, OK ST would probably be consensus picks, but who is the 4th team?  B1G Champion Wisconsin?  Pac 12 Champion Oregon?  #4 ranked Stanford?  You are leaving out some teams with real merit.  This is not just leaving out the "65th team" in the NCAA Basketball tournament.

Six or Eight ensures that all the major conference champions are typically represented, as well as a couple of at-larges with merit.

Oh well. Four it is for now.  Better then Alabama-LSU.


June 26th, 2012 at 10:43 PM ^

"You don't have a dilution of conference play?"  "Conference championship games might have some meaning?"  When a bad joke like last season can happen with two teams, conference championship games already don't mean anything.  Under the proposed "system," all they are is another chance for a team to lose and get passed over by a second-place team.  

I would go to eight teams.   I would also count conference championship weekend as the play-in round, and make a pool out of smaller conference champions, the highest-ranked indie, and possibly a team like Alabama last year, and make them play "play-in games" the same week as conference championships.  

That would only take one week longer than the current system, and it would create a de facto sixteen-team playoff.  Since the FCS had a twenty-team playoff last season, no argument about "logistics" or the "extra strain put on student-athletes" can be taken as remotely serious.

Football would have a true champion, and the NCAA would make even more money.  Everybody would win here.  Except, of course, the bowls, who are obviously still using their payola to pull a lot of strings behind the scenes.


June 27th, 2012 at 10:18 AM ^

The rational opposition to such a system comes from college presidents and faculty who fear a substantial disruption to their campuses in the period around finals. A 16 team playoff would almost mandate on-campus games in early to mid December, the moment in the fall semester that presidents and faculty believe should remain relatively free of distractions on their campuses. They are substantially opposed to the flood of media, television infrastructure, and fans that an on campus playoff at the D1 level would bring as disruptive to the central academic missions of the university.

At the lower levels, this is much less of a concern because the attention from media and fans is not even comparable. Those playoffs aren't substantially disruptive because far fewer people care. 

snarling wolverine

June 27th, 2012 at 6:32 PM ^

But there may be something to be said for the argument that players at this level are faster/harder-hitting and that perhaps it's more physically difficult to get through a season if it's that long.  Given what we're learning about the long-term consequences of this sport, I think we have to be cautious about how much we can ask players to play.

Perkis-Size Me

June 27th, 2012 at 12:23 AM ^

I think beyond 4 is pushing it. At the end of the day, we have to remember that these are student-athletes, who are not getting paid a dime for their services (I don't want to get into the whole "should athletes be getting paid?" argument, thats a whole other can of worms). Its hard enough to ask these kids to play and practice nearly every day for 12 games, as well as stay on top of all their classes. Add in a conference championship game, then at least 2 playoff games to get to a national title, and now these kids are playing a minimum of 15 games to get to a national championship.

I'm always a fan of more football, but at some point, the expense for the kids is just too high. Maybe the amount of games won't matter too much down in SEC country, where most of the schools don't give a shit about their academics anyway. But I think most players around the country would start voicing real concerns with playing an 8-16 team playoff.

coastal blue

June 27th, 2012 at 9:34 AM ^

I'm so sick of this argument. I used to sway back and forth: not anymore.

The "kids" get to become local celebrities. They get a free education, often at a place they never would have sniffed otherwise. They get free room and board and meal plans. So what if they aren't being paid in cash? They are being paid in opportunity. If they don't like it, then don't go to school. Or join the CFL. Or don't play football.

As others have already pointed out: FCS, D2 and D3 football players do the same shit for none of the same level of exposure, opportunities and gifts. Acting like D1 football players have it rough is PC sports nonsense.



June 27th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

I'm happy with four teams.  Make the regular season mean something.  Don't dilute it like basketball has done.  Besides, it's not very practical to have an eight- or sixteen-team playoff. How many games can we realistically ask these guys to play?  They've got a 12-game regular season, plus conference title games, plus the playoffs.  You'd be asking college players to play basically an NFL schedule, without the benefit of practice squads and midyear free agent signings to shore up depth.  

IMO, the absolute maximum number of games should be 14, with some byes thrown in.  I don't want the playoffs to be a battle of attrition.  Scrap the conference-title games (which are just a cheap money grab anyway) and keep the playoff at four teams.




Ricky Bobby

June 26th, 2012 at 6:32 PM ^

Welp, gonna jump on this thread I guess.

So they said that the 4 team is the best option and that 6 and 8 are too big.  What is gonna be their explanation when they agree to a larger play-off for the next agreement?


June 26th, 2012 at 6:39 PM ^

I actually agree that 6 or 8 is too much, unless they got rid of conference championship games, but I don't like that as much. 

As it stands, almost all teams with a shot at the national title will play 12 games, plus a conference championship game, a semi-final game and a final, making 15 games altogether.  That's a lot of football (and travel) for students.  Add in another week for them and they'd be playing near non-stop from the start of the season through January. 

I like 4.  If you're the 5th best team, you don't get a chance, sorry.  We don't need college kids playing as many football games as the pros.


June 26th, 2012 at 6:57 PM ^

I get what you're saying, but now that the conferences are getting bigger, that wouldn't be that fair because the schedules are so different, and you could miss the other best team in your conference and still win.  Plus, it's an extra game for every conference and it's fun. 

If you got rid of conference title games (which would be 12 games or however many conference there are) just for an extra round of the playoffs, you'd take away a big game for a lot of schools just so the top schools could play an extra one.


June 27th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

If we could scrap the Big Ten CG, then we could go back to having a single division, with the OSU game being at the end of the season again (with the right to advance to the playoffs possibly at stake), with no possible rematch.  I'd love that.  I'd take that over the present setup in a heartbeat. 

If other conferences have gotten too big, hey, that's their fault.   If multiple teams share the conference title, good for them.  I don't see that as a big problem.


June 26th, 2012 at 7:00 PM ^

that a team in contention will play three postseason games, I'd rather play a Big Ten team for the first round. Even if we're talking about replacing a very good team (say, number four Missouri) with a good team (number eleven Wisconsin), I'd rather keep things interesting within the conference, and play one of the other nine teams we've played forever, plus our shiny new additions.

Mr. Yost

June 26th, 2012 at 6:58 PM ^

Well, they SHOULD get rid of conference championship games...too often you have a undefeated Alabama playing a 3 loss S. Carolina team or something like that. That game is unecessary.

My dream would be to get rid of conference championship games. Mandate that no conference can be more than 10 teams, play all 9 teams in your conference (and 3 non-conference games). Have an 8-team playoff...I don't care if it's seeded by committee or BCS standings (but not conference winners). Keep the bowls.

This would mean the majority of college football would play 13 games. Some just 12...although, I'd give them the option to schedule a scrimmage with each other if they choose to do so. Rank the non-bowl teams and start at the top giving the top non-bowl teams first pick on whether or not they want to host a scrimmage.

You'd have 4 teams play 14 games and 2 teams play 15 games.

That's actually less than what happens now (and will be happening).


It just makes too much sense. I don't care if you have 12 conferences of 10...and CFB is oversaturated with teams as it is now (I'd prefer 6 to 8 conferences of 10 teams)...just use that format and call it a day.




June 26th, 2012 at 7:07 PM ^

Your plan makes sense, but it's a wholesale change, and requires far more regulation (telling conference how many teams they can have) than would be possible, especially with the history some conferences have.  I'm thinking more of a feasible system based on what we already know won't change (or can reasonably predict won't change).

EDIT:  Also, very rarely does an undefeated Alabama play a 3-loss South Carolina in champpionship games.  LSU played 2-loss UGA this year, 1-loss Wisconsin played 2-loss MSU (1-loss in conference), and had USC not been on bowl ban, you would have had 2-loss Oregon (1-loss in conference) play 1-loss USC.  That's all pretty typical, and they all have pretty big implications. 


June 27th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

The primary function of conference championship games is to generate revenue, which is important for the schools given that bowls aren't as lucrative as they once were.  But if the playoffs are as profitable as people suggest, that changes everything.  Then, the conference-title money becomes less important and that game can be dropped.


June 26th, 2012 at 7:10 PM ^

Who should leave the SEC, Big Ten and Pac 12? More importantly, what are the presidents of Big Ten schools going to say when you say, "alright, we need to throw out two schools your school has been associated with for a century and have $500m in lost CIC money this fiscal year because of it"? I doubt you could convince MSC that Michigan would be better off without Northwestern and Purdue (or insert other non-elite football school here) in the Big Ten and the CIC.


June 26th, 2012 at 7:18 PM ^

only adds one more round.  Everybody plays 12 games in the season, only 2 teams from each conference play in the championship game.  Playoffs begin, 8 teams play in the first round.  All of those 8 teams would have been in a bowl game any way, so at that point, there are no additional games added.  From the 4 surviving winners, 2 will only play one more game,  So in the end, 2 teams played 1 extra game and 2 teams played 2 extra games.  I think all the players on those 4 teams would be more than happy to play those extra games for a shot at a National Championship.


June 26th, 2012 at 7:23 PM ^

I'm not talking about the teams who lose in the first round.  But keep in mind that almost all of the 8 teams would be teams who played in a conference champ game (especially the ones who are likely to win).  That means that before your 8 team tourney starts, most of the teams have played 13 games.  The two teams that play in the final will have played 16 games.  That's too many. 

Saying the the players would be happy to play another game to win a title is irrelevent.  They'd play 20 if if meant they got a title.  It doesn't mean it's the best thing for them on a yearly basis. 


June 27th, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

Of course, it helps that at lower divisions, the games aren't as hard-hitting.  There aren't too many future NFL guys in the D-II ranks.  I'd imagine that FBS players generally suffer more serious injuries than FCS/D-II/D-III players, owing to the fact that they're going up against bigger, faster opponents, making those collisions more impactful.

If FBS college teams are going to play 16 games to win it all, the postseason could be a battle of attrition - only without the benefit of practice squads to shore up depth, à la the NFL.  


June 26th, 2012 at 11:37 PM ^

But high school kids never have to travel across country and shack up in hotel rooms for half of those games.  They ride in a bus across town, maybe across the state, and are home that night.  And not only is high school a lot less depanding academically than college, high school football is a lot less demanding than college football.  All that is involved is far form equal. 

The problem isn't the individual game, it's everything that's involved in it. 


June 27th, 2012 at 8:33 AM ^

Maybe in MI but not in FL.  Two out of state games.



Laste year only one out of state...

"Scheduling FCA and Skyline means Manatee won’t get a rematch with New Jersey power Don Bosco Prep, which beat the Hurricanes last fall in Bradenton en route being named the nation’s prep football champion by MaxPreps and USA Today."


June 26th, 2012 at 6:35 PM ^

Starting the 2014 season... as in we still have 2 more years of the BCS? I thought it would only be one. Unless they mean the 2013-14 season, 2014 being when the playoffs would be held... someone care to clarify?


June 26th, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

It's really not that confusing. I've never seen a football season written as "2011-2012" and I've never been confused.  And for most teams, it's not a split year sport, just the teams who make it to a January bowl game, which is a small percentage of the teams.