Why I Am Starting To Question The Idea Of A College Football Playoff

Mitch Wilson@sportschatplaceSenior Writer IFebruary 13, 2009

For years, I’ve thought I had it all figured out.

I had all of the answers … how it could start in the bowls?

How conferences all would have a championship?

How it would all play out on the field?

… and now I realize it will never work.

While college hoops has its “March Madness,” we're talking about a sport where teams can play two games in one weekend — we're not talking about a physical pounding, like the one that happens on the college football field.

Of all of the proposals I see there are other glaring flaws as well and let's take a look at a few, and it should become obvious to you as well.

1) A four-team playoff:

Of all playoff ideas this is the one that makes the least sense.

What I can't figure out is how you can come up with a definitive system to decide who these four teams are.

While conference championships can weed out some of the teams, how does this allow for an outsider to break through and stake their claim to the system?

Who is to say which championships get you there and which one's don't?

Doesn't this lock in certain conferences, which may be useless some years and lock out others, which may deserve?

The worst idea of the worst idea for a playoff is the opinion that it should be the teams that are ranked in the top four in the polls.


I thought the whole idea of a playoff was to get away from the polls deciding too much.

Wouldn't the polls deciding who gets in and who doesn't be the same thing?

Is it that much more cut and dry as to who is fourth and who is sixth or seventh than whom is numbers one or two?

This whole thing just gets sillier the more we look at it.

2) An eight-team playoff:

We are now into a three-week playoff, so if it started around mid-December, it could be over by early January.

Almost makes sense: the playoff could also go along with the regular bowls as these could just be feature games of a Saturday Night and Friday Night the first weekend or an all day Saturday event.

Now, we need to look at who gets in and who doesn't.

Would the major conferences would automatically get in?

I'm not sure if there wouldn't have to be some other qualifying criteria.

Aren't there some years where second place or even third in some conferences would easily have won a team another conference?

Let's look just a few years back at Pittsburgh's trip to the Fiesta Bowl: they were horrible.

The Panthers lost to a Utah team who, while they were very good, weren't quite National Champion material.

If we look at just this past year, ACC Champion, Virginia Tech, was 19th ranked going into the bowls and Big East Champion Cincinnati was 12th, both solidly outside the top eight and many could argue, rightfully so, but once again, those rankings are based on the very polls a playoff is supposed to get us away from.

While Cincinnati lost to Virginia Tech when the two squared off, it could have easily been argued that the Bearcats deserved to be ranked even higher.

3) A 16-team playoff:

Are these just plain and simple too many teams?

If we stick with the current 12 game schedules, add a conference championship and four more games we are now looking at a 17 game schedule.

While I love college football and never have argued that there was such a thing as too much college football, at a certain point it may become too much for the athletes involved.

Whether we like it or not, or agree with it or not, many of today's college football players are just grooming themselves for their next career, a professional football player.

While most football players are athletes and in tremendous shape, as bodies are punished over the course of a season, the chances for a serious injury grow.

Another issue arises from where will the games be played?

Do they add they home games to two teams schedules?

Many of the teams now share stadiums with other teams or professional football teams.

With the percentage of college teams actually hosting games, would it even make sense for them to hold the stadium if by chance they were one of the teams hosting a game?

There's the neutral site … come out of the existing bowl argument here, but how many fans are going to travel with a team for four straight weeks especially with much of it being on pretty short notice?

While many would argue they’d sell out wherever they are played, have any of these people seen any of the crowds at the early round baseball playoffs or some of the earlier bowls or lack there of a crowd is more like it?

4) The current system stinks:

The current system is terrible.

The BCS has been in existence and has solved nothing.

There have been only twice that I can think where it hasn't been a controversy in deciding who even got into the title game: the year Miami played Ohio State and the year USC played Texas.

Every other year there seems to be some kind of dispute.

Just having two undefeated doesn't really solve much either, as if one of those teams come from a non-BCS conference, they don't even get considered for the big game.

It gets worse; the coaches don't have a real vote after the game.

If many of the teams who participated in the title game played like they did in the actual game during the regular season, people may have voted differently.

The coaches aren't afforded a chance to change their mind.

Personally, I think it's odd the coaches’ poll even counts for much as how would they even see other games when the poll is due by Sunday morning and their team played Saturday; plain and simple, they didn't.

5) The best-case scenario:

The best case is a return to the old system of certain conferences being affiliated with certain bowls, throw in a few at large berths, get rid of the bowl alliances for all of the other bowl games and we're back to where we were.

The BCS has done nothing except inflated ticket prices and created over-hyped meaningless games.

More real national championships were settled the old way and the match ups from top to bottom just seemed better.

New Year's Day really meant something, now if your team isn't in the Big ten or SEC it's just another day.

I mean I even considered heading over to Wrigley this year and taking in the hockey game, that thought would have never crossed my mind in the good old days.

While I've spent countless hours arguing for a playoff and justifying its existence, it's now painfully obvious we aren't any closer than where we were before.

In fact, with the prices they charge for the BCS games, we are probably further.

It's sad but true but at least a return to how things were will end the myth and lunacy which is the BCS.


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