Saturday, October 22, 2011

What’s that? Ah — Playoffs? Don’t talk about — playoffs?

Just thought I would take a moment to voice my opinion on playoffs in college football since every year around this time there is talk about how there are too many undefeated teams, that someone is going to get screwed, and that we must have a playoff. I will make it very plain that I hate the idea of playoffs in college football. Do some deserving teams get screwed out of a shot at the title, yes. To me though a few teams that deserve a shot missing out is better than having teams that deserve no shot winning it all.

Quick name me the last college football team that truly didn't deserve to at least be in the top 4 to win a national championship? Now compare that to NFL's way of doing things. How many teams that couldn't win their own division have won Super Bowl's? That would be five, four of which have been since 1997. That means 4 of the last 14 "undisputed" world champions can't even claim division championships. The five to win titles averaged winning 70% of their games. The most recent wild card winner, the Green Bay Packers went 10-6, a 62.5% winning percentage. They finished tied for the 8th best record in the NFL. That is about the 75th percentile of teams in the league. In college 62.5% would translate to winning 7.5 games in a season. Being at about the top 25th percentile would put Green Bay just outside of the top 25 in college football. Look I hate AU but which team do you think earned their title more last year; 14-0 AU or 14-6 (after playoffs) Greenbay?

I am not making this argument to say the way that the NFL decides a champion is wrong. I am saying that there are different ways of doing deciding a champion and that just because you get to "prove" it in a playoff does not mean that the best team over the season won it all, just that the team that played the best in the playoffs did. One way is designed to have the greatest emphasis on the regular season and therefore a greater number of games. The other way puts the emphais on the post season and therefore a lesser number of games.

I would begrudgingly accept a 4 team, or plus 1, type change but I just cannot see that people would be satisfied with that. Teams 5-8 would be screaming how they were left out. Then after it was 8 teams 9-12 and so on until you had a playoff that included way too many undeserving teams. Don't think it will happen? Look at college basketball, it has 64 65 68?? teams and there is still talk about expansion of the tournament and every year teams moan and complain about being left out.

College football does not have a perfect way of choosing a champion. It does however have by far the best regular season of any sport. I do not want to see that ruined. I do not want to see college coaches resting guys at the end of the season the way it happens in the pros once a playoff spot is assured. I do not want to watch this years LSU/AL OU/OSU games and think it doesn't matter who wins because they will all end up in the playoffs anyways. I also do not want UGA's chance to ruin the winner of the LSU/AL games season by beating them in the Dome. With a playoff even if Georgia did pull off the upset the chances are that AL/LSU would still make a playoff and that would suck some of the fun of beating them out of the air as they would be like, ah well at least we made the playoffs.

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