Rant Against the Playoff

Submitted by Vasav on December 2nd, 2012 at 4:23 AM

I don't think I like what college football is becoming. I know the chaos of last year proved that the system is broken. But having 8-5 Wiscy at the Rose Bowl proves to me that the new way we're doing things (and trying to do more of in the future) isn't any better. Yes, I know Ohio is ineligible and so this season is an exception, but looking across the country and through history this isn't the first time undeserving teams win the little playoff game at the end of the season. The Big XII had it happen all the time. Georgia Tech nearly did it. UCLA had a chance to do it last season. And rematches are stupid, anyway, which is another reason I hate these expanded conferences and their title games.

Even worse to me was what SI's "mock" committee selected for the playoffs. The committee would have selected an Oregon team that didn't win its division, and they were flirting with the idea of sending three SEC teams. That makes very little sense to me - the whole point of playoffs is so we can take teams who've been isolated from each other but were the best in their isolated conferences, and match them up to see who's the best of the best. You don't think Stanford is deserving because they lost to the #1 team in the nation on a questionabl goal line stand? Fine - then send K-State, not an Oregon team who had a cakewalk of a non-conference schedule. But the morons who run college football are going screw up this playoff or expand it (which is also screwing it up).

I'll always love Michigan football and always watch them. But I used to love the "chase" for the national title, whether or not we were a part of it. I loved seeing who won what conference and who played in which bowl games and how the BCS filled their slots. But these last two seasons, that has been so unsatisfying. I almost wanted to see 6-6 GT win the ACC just so everyone can see how ridiculous this new system of super conferences and divisions are, with the de facto playoffs at the end that next year lead into the "national" playoffs.

For years we all clamored, begged, and wanted playoffs. I'm regretting what that has led to. We've ripped apart and thrown away traditional rivalries that made these conferences seems like families. I am beginning to wish Penn State had joined the Big East in 1982. I don't think it's crazy to say that none of this super conference bullshit would have happened with that being the case. Sure, maybe the SEC and Big 12 would have formed. But the 14 team Big Ten, the ACC and the Pac 12? Maybe, it was inevitable, I don't know.

Maybe I'll get used to it - Michigan at High Point Solutions Stadium to play Rutgers. Every conference having a title game, the champions meeting in the bowl game playoffs. Maybe the powers that be will figure out the kinks in the next few years and actually make it so 8-5
Wiscy doesn't head to the Rose. And it is a good thing that we'll no longer have our arguments about "who is better?" But is that worth what we've given up? Conferences felt like families, rivalries that built this sport? With Wiscy in the Rose  and Maryland in the Big Ten the answer for me is no. And even if this season proves to be an anomaly, we would still have lost something with forsaking tradition and embracing a system that leaves no doubt who's "the champ." And college football is becoming a little bit less special as each of these moves happens.

Oh well. Sorry if this rant clutters up the board without adding anything, feel free to send me to Bolivia if neccessary.



December 2nd, 2012 at 4:40 AM ^

They had 1 game to win the Big.

Aaaaaaandddd they rolled.

Against a team that beat us.

Just because you're pissed off its not us, doesn't mean that wiscy wasn't deserving.

In fact, "deserving" is a subjective term, what Wisconsin did, winning their division, and kicking ass in the title game, was very, clearly defined, objective.

Get over it.


December 2nd, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

Not only is Delaney "bending over backwards to help OSU," but he expects Michigan to bend over forward as he does so.  What did Michigan do to piss off Jim Delaney?  Then again, maybe a better question is "What did Ohio State do to influence Delaney's decisions?"

I'll bet it involved a lot more than a few crappy tattoos.


December 2nd, 2012 at 4:50 AM ^

My beef is that Wiscy's one game outweighs the eight other conference games they played. They did roll, credit to them. But K State got rolled by a 7-5 team too. And I prefer the system where that costs them a lot, but is still just one of their conference games and statistically matters as much as every other one


December 2nd, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

I don't understand this opinion at all.

They played on the neutral field and found out that Wisconsin is a better team than Nebraska. I thought that was the whole point of sports.

What we REALLY need is four 16 team super-conferences so that regular season matters more and playoffs can determine the national champions without ANY subjectivity whatsoever.

We can see from the "mock" committee that subjectivity rules all still even with getting away from the BCS formula. The only way we can get subjectivity out college football is to go four super conferences where all final 4 teams are conference title winners. There is no way you should be able to win a national championship when you don't even win your conference.


December 2nd, 2012 at 6:08 AM ^

OP I agree 1000%.

I want things the way they used to be, MNC and Conference championship games be damned. 

I'd rather have an 11 team Big Ten sans championship game where our actual best team goes to the Rose.

Also this part:

"Michigan at High Point Solutions Stadium to play Rutgers." 

made me throw up in my mouth a little. :(

College football as we've known it is on its death bed, and with Media and Money the determining factors in the direction of the game, there's no going back, it's over, it's only a matter of time now.


December 2nd, 2012 at 6:15 AM ^

Wisconsin has dominated since Alvarez left. Rose bowl year after year while we can't even make it to Indy. It's embarrassing. I'm pissed off at this year. Everyone says oh but we lost to 1-2-3 and Nebraska so it still was a good season. No. We have to win the ND, Ohio, and NEB game. Instead egregious coaching errors and turnover bowl left us at 8-4 with having to play an SEC team in the bowl game. I know we don't have "the horses" yet and probably over achieved in Hokes first year, but I'm becoming increasingly worried that we will never see the Michigan a lot of us are used to seeing. Ohio goes 12-0 with an average unit. What do you guys think will happen when they have all Meyers recruits? I can see us still beating them, however I also don't see them ever losing within the rest of the B1G. It makes me sick to my stomach that no matter what happens to them they continually win and go to the bcs or the title game while we go to the fucking champs sports bowl or the outback bowl. I want nothing more then to routinely go to Pasadena or the bcs title game, but really I just want to be better than ohio more then once or twice a decade. We are the most recognized, traditional football team in the country. Most wins, and highest win % yet I feel as if something is missing. I believe Hoke is a great coach for us and a recruiter. I think he will have us back to being a national power. I'm just beyond tired of losing to ohio when we shouldn't. There have been 3-4 times in the past 10 years where our conservative bullshit approach has allowed them to beat us. After the game this year Meyer said on a Cleveland radio show that Michigan isn't even really their main concern it's themselves. He said if they play ohio football they will never lose to Michigan. I want Michigan to get back to the point where it's the other way around.

I am sorry for my drunk rambling. I literally ran into an ohio fan at the bar where he proceeded to tell me it was then and ND In the title game. They're literally so stupid some of them don't even know they're not eligible. He asked me why they weren't playing Nebraska tonight and I went on a tangent asking him if he even could name 5 players. He could not. It made me realize how much I hate them and how much I want us back to where we were in the 80s-90s. My only wish is that we don't get ultra conservative down the stretch.

Drunk rant over. Thank you mgoblog.


December 2nd, 2012 at 6:29 AM ^

Did anyone else happen to notice that Lucas Oil Stadium was 1/3 empty?

I looked at the box score- official attendance was 41.260, and this was with teams that travel well.

I share the feelings of others who have made comments about not wanting to go to a game in New Jersey or Maryland, but no one is mentioning that Rutgers and Maryland have attendance figures not terribly different from Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue.

Everything you ever wanted to know about attendance in NCAA football is here:



San Diego Mick

December 2nd, 2012 at 6:33 AM ^

they're not going to shut the game down cause a bunch of us are pissed off for different reasons.

Times they are a changing and we need to deal with it or get left behind.


December 2nd, 2012 at 7:29 AM ^

The sky isn't falling, this was just one year and the conference is going through the aftermath of scandals at two of its top football teams. What you saw last night is what is great about college football - on any given Saturday any team can win. Wisconsin is no less deserving than Nebraska and karma has a sense of humor.

If you've been drinking, I'd recommend stopping. If you're sober, it's time to start drinking. Problem solved.

/insert Simpsons meme


December 2nd, 2012 at 8:03 AM ^

I'd actually just slept off a hangover right before writing that.

No doubt that Wisconsin earned the W on Saturday. But I've always believed that the whole season should matter - I guess I just don't like the way that the 12- team super conferences are structured. I feel that Wiscy is less deserving because of their 5-4 conference record, when Nebraska has a 7-2 record. And remember also that Wiscy didn't have to play us - their crossovers were Minnesota and Sparty, in addition to Nebraska. While Nebraska played the three toughest teams in Wisconsin's division. So not only do the Huskers have a far better record, they also played a tougher schedule. In my opinion, no, Wiscy doesn't deserve to be the B1G champ off of one game.


December 2nd, 2012 at 8:31 AM ^

And agree with the point that the whole season should matter. Is Wisconsin the best team in the Big Ten this year? No. Did they win the championship? Yes. And they killed Nebraska definitively.

The upcoming playoff system will be too small with four teams. The current Big Ten divisions are too small (maybe). But I'll wait and see how it plays out...

Clarence Beeks

December 2nd, 2012 at 8:05 AM ^

"the whole point of playoffs is so we can take teams who've been isolated from each other but were the best in their isolated conferences, and match them up to see who's the best of the best."

And here all this time I've been thinking that the point of playoffs is for the best regular season teams to have a chance to play each other in an elimination format to see which one of them is the single best team. The funny thing is that this year's championship game does both. Don't conflate conference championship games with the upcoming national championship playoff system.


December 2nd, 2012 at 8:49 AM ^

My take on it is, if the two best teams have already played each other, and played a schedule of common opponents, then why would we need them to play each other again to determine who's best? Isn't that what the "regular season" just did?

But who are we kidding, we're both wrong. The point of a playoff is to make money.


December 2nd, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

A playoff that DOESN'T use the four 'best' teams because two of them have already played is a far bigger sham and perversion of the game than the occasional rematch. Hell, if the eventual B1G champ plays the eventual PAC-12 champ in non-conference, should they not both go to the Roae Bowl because "we already saw that matchup"?

I believe you're conflating "I don't like the system" and "I don't like the results the system produced this year."


December 2nd, 2012 at 8:57 AM ^

Having these conference championship games establishes nothing. Several teams have benefited from having not had to play (Alabsma and us last year, Florida, Oregon this year). Somehow Georgia will get bounced to the SEC #5 because they had to play an extra game against Alabsma, and Florida and Oregon leap them by sitting home? These games Ned to mean something - punishing teams for making the game and losing, as Michigan State did last year, and and Georgia did this year (and would have happened to Stanford had they lost) makes no sense.


December 2nd, 2012 at 10:08 AM ^

...that playing for your conference championship means nothing.  Sure, Georgia finds themselves behind Florida for playing an extra game, but they also had a chance to win the SEC championship, which Florida did not.  That, and, at least according to the computers, Georgia should have been behind Florida in the BCS standings before this week, anyway.


December 2nd, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

Evidently the playoff selection committee is supposed to give greater consideration to conference winners.  Obviously we will need to see how the process plays out a few times before we can see how that is implemented.  But to me, that means a team will usually have to win its conference CG to be selected, and only occasionally will there be exceptions made (for situations like Alabama/LSU last season, or where a team goes 12-0 through the regular season and then gets upset in the CCG).  

Mr Miggle

December 2nd, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

a worse example than this year's SEC CG. The winner was guaranteed a spot in the NCG and the team left out had no shot. The benefit of winning far outweighed the cost of losing. Also, for this season, could there have been a better way to select the #2 team?

Similarly, for all the whining from MSU last season, what did they actually lose aside from the game? They got the same amount of money. They played Georgia on New Years day.They had a chance to win the league title and play in Rose Bowl. We would have gladly traded places with them even if not playing meant a sure trip to a BCS bowl. They were just pissed because we got selected over them. If it hadn't have been us it would have been someone else.

Section 1

December 2nd, 2012 at 9:02 AM ^

Playoffs for college football suck.   A crummy idea, laden with unintended consequences.

College football wasn't broke; it didn't need fixing.  The people who knew the most about football -- people like Bo Schemechler just to name one (and there are so many others that it would be far shorter to name the important people in college football who favor playoffs, than those who oppose them) all despised the idea of playoffs.


Section 1

December 2nd, 2012 at 6:50 PM ^

Has there been any influence group (fans, bowl organizers, coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, television executives, media) that has been more unified and concerted in pushing a college playoff system?

I know that some fans want it; I think to a great extent they are led by the media.  Coaches have been some of the most cautious critics of playoffs.  I don't know that athletic directors or university presidents have been strong playoff advocates; they are concerned about their own individual fiefdoms, and also student-athlete pressures which again argue against playoffs.

No, I think that the media and the sports commentators have been some of the biggest playoff advocates.  And then television.

Swayze Howell Sheen

December 2nd, 2012 at 9:04 AM ^

Playoffs are always like this. Remember the NY Giants? 

Taking the Wisconsin example is extreme and misleading, a clear anomaly in a weird year for the Big Ten.

More generally, though, a small (4 or 8 team) playoff will ensure that teams that lose one game at some point still have a shot at winning the whole thing. If they just did quarterfinals at home venues, it would be awesome.

Right now, it's much worse: basically, winner of SEC vs. somebody else who didn't lose, OR winner of SEC vs. SEC runner up for the title. You really prefer that?



December 2nd, 2012 at 10:03 AM ^

My belief is that we are going to create these major conferences and eventually only play teams within them during the regular season. Then you can have the different divisions within your conference play one or two rounds of playoffs to get to a national playoff where you play opponents from other the other major conferences. For all the other non-playoff teams you have bowl games to put together matchups you would otherwise not see.

This would allow us to create a conference with essentially the Big Ten and ACC within one conference with the Champs from each playing each other to go to the national stage.


December 2nd, 2012 at 9:51 AM ^

Hard to believe that there was a time in the not too distant past when college football was at least as popular, if not more so, than the NFL, and when New Year’s Day bowl games meant the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Rose Bowls all were played in daylight, and the Fiesta was a celebration for Spanish-speaking families, and when the first NFL pre-season game each year featured the reigning NFL champions against a team of college all-stars from the previous season. 



December 2nd, 2012 at 10:38 AM ^

...but prefer an 8 team. I also agree with another poster who noted to have quarterfinals at home stadiums.

Someone is always going to complain, I for one do not want to see another SEC vs SEC CG just because of voters. Make the 2 teams beat the countries best to earn that opportunity.

All I am looking for is a clearly awarded "best in the country". Not speculation about who is the best. Every other sport has this, even D1AA CFB. Why shouldn't D1A? It's not like there aren't numerous weeks of BS games in December that Quarter's and Semi's can't fill.


December 2nd, 2012 at 10:03 AM ^

If you hate the idea of college playoffs how do you feel about the Big Ten basketball tournament and March madness?

Part of the excitement of watching those is the chance to see the cinderellas have a chance to win it all.

Mr. Yost

December 2nd, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

Split college football into eight 10-team conferences. N, E, S, W, NE, NW, SE, SW...

Play everyone in your conference once (9 conference games), play 3 non-conference games.

Win* your conference and go to the 8-team playoff. 6 automatic spots from the 6 highest ranked conference winners, 2 at-large spots.
*in order for a team to receive an at-large spot they have to finish the season ranked more than 5 spots higher than either the 7th or 8th place conference winner (i.e. #4 Oregon over unranked Louisville)

Play out the 8-team playoff and everyone else go to a bowl.

There. Done. Make it happen.