In 2009, NCAA Needs College Football Playoff More Than Ever

Taylor SmithAnalyst INovember 15, 2009

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 14: Ryan Christian #18 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates his teams 55-28 victory over the Utah Utes at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's quite unfortunate that we'll likely never know if these Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, or Texas Longhorns are actually better than these TCU Horned Frogs, Cincinnati Bearcats, or Boise State Broncos.

Of the whopping six undefeated teams still left in college football in 2009, only the top three have a realistic chance to get to the National Championship game.

Who's to say that top-ranked Florida, after a slew of relatively unimpressive victories over unranked teams like Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and South Carolina, is really better than fourth-ranked TCU, a team that has made mincemeat of its last six opponents, including lopsided victories against ranked BYU and Utah teams?

Is Texas, which may at season's end have ended up playing just one team that will finish in the top 25 (Oklahoma State), capable of beating Cincinnati who, if still unbeaten at season's end, will have won against three ranked teams?

It could easily be argued that the traditionally powerful Big 12 is inferior in 2009 to both the Mountain West and the Big East. 

So why should the Longhorns have a clear-cut path to the National Championship game in a down year for the Big 12, when teams like TCU and Cincinnati have run the table on tougher schedules?

Well, simply enough, they shouldn't.

Now, this isn't to say that Florida, Alabama, and Texas aren't deserving of having their chance to win it all. Going undefeated in any conference is no small feat, and it should certainly be rewarded.

However, the reward should not come at the expense of other equally deserving teams just because they don't play in big-money conferences.

I know the NCAA's necessity for a college football playoff has been discussed and argued to the point of exhaustion since the BCS was invented and screwed everything up, but if everybody wants the playoff, why can't they just let us have it?

The primary pro-BCS argument I've read over the years has gone something like: "Well, the BCS is a work in progress, and it'll only change for the better. The BCS is necessary because it eliminates human bias from manual polls, thus avoiding any manipulation at the hands of the voters."

As the children of my uncle, one Andrew Meyers Sr., the most rabid Louisiana State fan on the planet would say, "Really?" (By the way, when I say he's "rabid," I mean it. He'd watch LSU women's lacrosse play Hofstra in a preseason game on a portable TV during church. He really would.)

Anyway, BCS supporters, if this is your best argument, you've got a terrible case.

Here's another one.

"If there was a playoff, we'd lose bowl games."

And...the problem is...where?

Do we really need to watch a 6-6 team go up against a 7-5 team in something called the Meineke Car Care Bowl? Would you really miss this?

Yet another anti-playoff argument I've heard complains about how a playoff would take too much time.

The date of the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 Championship games is Dec. 5 this year.

The National Championship game isn't until Jan. 7. That's a nice month off for whoever ends up playing for the title.

Sports Illustrated 's website, after the AP rankings come out every Sunday, puts out a bracket that pits the nation's top 16 teams against one another.

SI 's bracket is based on votes from the magazine's college football writers. 

You can organize the teams however you'd like.

If you want to keep the BCS around, then use those rankings to determine the best 16. Otherwise, they could just use the good ole "biased" AP rankings. Either way, SI 's idea would work.

Five full weeks pass from Dec. 5 to Jan. 7.

A 16-team playoff would take four weeks to play out if there were no off-weeks.

Therefore, clearly, a playoff would not take too long to play out.

Now, would you rather watch three weeks of bowl games between mediocre teams, or the top 16 teams in the nation playing do-or-die games every week for the same amount of time?

I thought so.

As it now stands, based on the aforementioned SI bracket, here's what we would have in the first round:

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 16 Penn State

No. 2 Texas vs. No. 15 Wisconsin

No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 14 Iowa

No. 4 TCU vs. No.13 Oklahoma State

No. 5 Cincinnati vs. No. 12 Stanford

No. 6 Boise State vs. No. 11 Oregon 

No. 7 Georgia Tech vs. No. 10 Ohio State

No. 8 Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 LSU

Is this not phenomenal?

As it now stands, with the dumb BCS in place, we're destined to get matchups like Cincinnati against Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

Cincinnati against GT would be a great matchup, but will anybody really care if they're facing off in a game that essentially means nothing on a national scale?

No, they won't. Whoever would win a game like that would end a great season on a nice note, but in the end it just seems hollow.

The playoff system would solve another issue: the fact that 6-6 teams get to play in postseason.

Should a .500 record really be good enough to qualify?

The entire point of a postseason is for the nation's elite to face off to determine which teams are the best.

Should teams that have lost four, five, or six games really be in the position to play against other mediocre teams in postseason play?

If you win the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and finish 7-6, does this do anything for your program? I fail to see the necessity here.

You can't call it a "postseason" when 33 of the 34 bowl games are essentially superfluous.

If everybody wants to see a playoff happen, why can't the powers that be allow it?

Wouldn't it be fun to see how deep teams that end the season on hot streaks, like Stanford right now, are able to go?

Instead, Andrew Luck and the Cardinals may be stuck squaring off in the Holiday Bowl against a cast-off Big 12 team. Exciting!

Critics would naturally whine, "What about the teams that are the last few left out? Shouldn't they have a chance?"

Quite frankly, if you're not in the top 16 after the regular season is over, what chance do you think you really stand?

Typically, the regular season is more than enough time to figure out which teams belong and which teams don't. Maybe the next group of 16 could play in an NIT-style tournament instead...or something. (This is hardly an issue; nobody cares about or watches the NIT anyway. It wouldn't be any different for college football. Now, back to relevant things.)

In theory, if the playoff were to become a reality, you could play the first two rounds of games on the higher-ranked team's home field.

For the final two rounds, why not match them up at a rotating Final Four-type location?

Since the title game is scheduled to be at the Rose Bowl this year, for the third round, you could play both "Final Four" games at the Rose Bowl on the Saturday a week (or two weeks) before playing the title game in the same stadium.

If this is too many games, then teams should just cut the non-conference schedule down, eliminating useless games against teams like Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP, and Central Florida. (In case you were wondering, yes, that is Texas' non-conference schedule this year. Intimidating! Now I can see why they're ranked so high.)

At the end of the day, TCU, Cincinnati, and Boise State should be allowed to contend with teams from the SEC, Big 12, and Big 10 for the National Championship. ("At the end of the day" happens to be my favorite sports cliche, by the way. It narrowly beats out "They don't play the games on paper," and "They just have to play within themselves." Good stuff.)

Just think, had Iowa not self-destructed and lost to Northwestern and Ohio State in the past two weeks, they would've had the inside track to the National Championship game over TCU and Cincy had a couple of the top three stumbled.

Why would they have had the inside track? 

Why, because they play in a major conference, of course.

It's ludicrous.

People claim that the NCAA loves the BCS because it's a hot topic that fuels heated national debates and conversations every single year, keeping people interested in the college football process.

Considering how much of the debate has to do with how the BCS is ruining college football, how can they possibly see this as a positive?

Shouldn't people be talking about games themselves rather than whether the computers have screwed another team out of a shot at a championship again?

After all, "they don't play the games on paper."

This is why they shouldn't play the games in a computer either.

This and more from Taylor Smith can be found at


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