Saturday, February 19, 2011

College Football Playoffs

Recently Mark Cuban has started a new company with the sole purpose of pushing for a college football playoff for division 1A. First of all whether you are for a playoff or against it I think getting Mark Cuban involved in college football would be a very bad idea. I believe that while he says it is for the good of college football that he is interested he is only looking out for his best interest and making money will be his only true goal.

I know I am in the minority on this but no matter Cuban's intent I am against a playoff in college period. College football has the greatest regular season of any sport and it is not really even close in my opinion. A playoff would only serve to dilute the regular season and I do not believe the potential gain would be worth it. The team with the worst record to win a national championship in my lifetime was a 2-loss LSU team. This year the Falcons defeated Green Bay and won 4 more games than Green Bay only to have Green Bay called the better team after the playoff game made it a season split and gave the Falcons half as many losses as Green Bay. A few years ago a Patriots team that had the most wins in NFL history and had already beat the Giants fell to the Giants in a rematch in the Super Bowl. NFL playoffs might give give you the 9-7 Cardinals in the championship while an 11-5 team sits at home and doesn't even get to play in the playoffs. Did these games make for an exciting game? Yes. Did they truly prove who was the better team? I don't know that they did. They proved that it is very hard to beat a good team twice in a row, but if they were truly the better team then why did they lose so many regular season games? Baltimore and Indianapolis are two other examples of Super Bowl Champs just in the past decade where they had clearly inferior seasons but got hot in the playoffs and won championships.
The NCAA basketball tournament makes for great excitement but does it always have the best team win it or just the team that got a better series of match ups for that team on their road through the tournament? I am not saying that college football has a better way than the other sports just pointing out that what many people consider to be the most fair way, a tournament, is not always as fair as everyone would have you believe. In all honesty the fairest way to decide a championship is the way foreign soccer leagues determine a champ. Every team plays every other team an equal number of times and the team with the most points (3 for a win, 1 for a tie, 0 for a loss) wins the title. No championship game at all. That is not realistic for college football but we get the next closest thing. A great regular season where the margin for error is very slim and then two of the best, possibly not the two best but at least two teams that are very near to be the best, that play for the BCS title.  Those who are for a "fairer" way to decide the champ can have it. As for me I'll keep the excitement of knowing that there is very little margin for error.
This sums up why I am totally against a college playoff. Suppose your favorite team is suffering through a sub par season. They go into the last game of the season against your biggest rival who is undefeated. Your team does the unthinkable and pulls off a huge upset knocking them out of the national championship. It makes up for the rest of the season, you may not be proud of the overall season but that one game changes your whole outlook on how the season went. But wait, there is a playoff, your rival makes it into the post season anyways. They go on to win the national championship. Would you still be happy you beat them? Yes. The huge upset is completely devalued because it is hard to brag about the win when they flash their title in your face.

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