Regular Season Works…AGAIN

“It is the greatest regular season in sports. But, sadly it has the worst post season”

* Tim Brando at halftime of the SEC Championship game just minutes after UCLA upset USC. Clueless.

What Tim Brando and others can’t seem to grasp is that the nature of the one game National Championship is what makes college football’s regular season so wonderful!.

Think about it and stop falling for all of the cliches.

It JUST unfolded in front of Brando and the whole country! The classic USC-UCLA game had JUST FINISHED. If collge football had an 8 team playoff that game would have meant absolutely nothing. Nothing. Nobody outside of California would have cared about it and the result wouldn’t have mattered at all – USC would be playing in an 8 team playoff regardless of the outcome.

Additionally, ‘it’ was also in the process of unfolding in the very game that Brando was helping broadcast. I hate to break it to Brando, but if the BCS was decided by a playoff then most of us would have not been watching Brando’s broadcast of Florida vs Arkansas. What would it have mattered? Florida would have been in the playoff regardless of the outcome of the game. Instead, we are all watching and wondering if the Gators can hold on and potentially surpass Michigan for a shot at Ohio State.

(Sidebar: if Arkansas wins this game then SEC could potentially claim 4 of the top 8 teams in the country – Arkansas, LSU, Florida and Auburn. Please tell me how you are going to sell an idea to all of the conferences in the country that would mean their conference champion would not have a guaranteed slot in the ‘tournament’?)

Every year I hear about the need for a playoff…and every year fans start their bitching before the end of the regular season fixes almost every fabricated controversy. If everyone would step back they would realize that college football’s regular season IS a playoff! And this regular season is what makes the sport so wonderful!!!

If college football had any kind of playoff, then none of the great games that were played on Saturday would have meant much of anything. But, at least these game would have been played because they were all conference games; most of the best games of the year would fall off of future schedules because teams would not want to risk padding their record on the kind of games that us fans actually enjoy.

If college football had a four team or eight team or sixteen team playoff – massive controversy would exist as to which teams deserve to be in the top four or eight or sixteen. (Although I’m sure some fans would try to find a way to propose a playoff to get into the playoffs as a solution). It is never going to change. What’s the big difference between cutting off the ‘playoff’ at two teams instead of four or eight or sixteen?

Throughout the entire history of college football there have been times when two teams could lay claim to deserving a shot at a national championship after the regular season.

Throughout the entire history of college football there have been a few times when three teams could lay claim to deserving a shot at a national championship after the regular season.

Throughout the entire history of college football there have been very few times when four teams could lay claim to deserving a shot at a national championship after the regular season. This year ends up no different.

Regardless of the fact that almost NEVER are there four (or eight, or sixteen) teams that deserve a shot of playing for a national championship after a brutal regular season…every year we hear calls for the need of a logistically impractical playoff system.

I’d love to hear your proposed eight teams that deserve to be in your hypothetical playoff field. (Can’t wait to see all of the different sets of eight that are supposed to reduce our controversy). Question – are you going to include Wake Forest? what about the winner of Oklahoma/Nebraska? Yes? No?

If you DON’T select the champion of each conference, please tell me how you are going to get each conference to agree to a playoff in which they have no guaranteed participation each year?

If you DO select the champion of each conference, please tell me how you can you look at me in the eyes and tell me that you are choosing the “eight best teams” to “decide it on the field”? Can’t do it.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said last month:

“You’ve got a number of very good (ACC football) teams, without having a team that is a national title contender. We lost 51 players (from 2005) to the NFL, so we thought this would be a transitional year. That said, we have some teams with chances to close out strongly. The fact they’re not the teams people expect to see at the top shouldn’t take away from the success they’re having.

Dream with me for a moment that NC State was Wake Forest and won today’s ACC Championship. Without guaranteeing that the ACC had a seat at the playoff table then NC State would not have made your proposed playoff. How f*ing IRATE would you be that NC State finally got to the ACC summit only to be relegated outside of the top tier of recognition available for such a wonderful season?

It is already hard enough to compete against the Top 15 national programs in general. (Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, half the SEC, USC, etc). Putting together a playoff does nothing but make these programs more powerful as it decreases the importance of conference championships and forces everyone to try to break into the playoffs on a unilateral, national comparison. Try breaking through to the national playoffs without a guaranteed spot for conferences. Tell me again how a playoff is “for the fans”.

My parting shot is an article from The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes from February 14, 2005. I saved it for almost two years for use at the right time.

Football is fine minus the Madness

Maybe you’ve seen this already. I stumbled upon it while taking a break from digging trenches in the back yard, which explains how I spend my eight dreary months without college football. Apparently, our shameless friends at ESPN have figured out another way to overexpose a good thing. This time it’s the basketball version of College GameDay, a spinoff of the wildly popular football College GameDay.

Two quick thoughts: 1) Any college production without the dimwitted yet delicious rantings of Lee Corso blows; 2) the show reinforces my belief that in college football’s most polarizing argument, I’m right: The current system — no matter how convoluted and contrived — beats the hell out of a national playoff.

We can break down the numerous reasons why, but only one matters. A national playoff would render the regular season — and eventually the sport itself — meaningless. Ladies and gentlemen, for Exhibit A, I give you basketball College GameDay.

Digger Phelps is yapping about a “huge” Big East test for Syracuse and about how Notre Dame guard Chris Thomas is the type of player who can take over a game and carry a team on his shoulders. You know, all that cliched coachspeak.

Another talking head shouts, “It doesn’t get much bigger than this!”

Big, huh? Syracuse beat Notre Dame by nine a month earlier. Syracuse and Notre Dame could play again in the league tournament. And if things really get wacky, the two could play again in the NCAA Tournament. That’s four games between two teams in one season — each of which could have little bearing on the national championship.

Meanwhile, every week of the college football season is a national playoff. Every game is live or die; every game-changing play or mistake is replayed over and over. Every time a team steps on the field, its season can end. When Notre Dame limped off the Carrier Dome’s court with another loss to Syracuse, it was just that — another loss. Goals still were intact, the ultimate prize still attainable.

College football is about surviving and sustaining a body of work throughout a season; college basketball is about getting hot at the right time and running the table (see: N.C. State, Villanova, Kansas). What does college basketball have other than a tournament? Judged on its regular season, the sport would rate somewhere alongside reruns of championship poker. College football, meanwhile, never has been more popular — even without a tournament.

We can drone on about how the BCS is unfair (of course it is) and how three unbeaten teams can’t fit into two championship slots (so what). But what do we really want? We are a society of winning and losing; it’s just that simple. That’s the beauty of college football, the sport that forces each team to control its destiny — win or go home — from the first play of the season.

In a couple of months, the BCS honchos will get together again to further discuss the state of the controversial series and devise this year’s changes. One tweak could include a poll of selected writers and broadcasters to replace the AP poll (going to happen) or a selection committee to choose the two teams for the national title game (not going to happen).

They’ll dress it up nice and present it again, and everyone will carp and complain for the next four months. Hey, it’s better than digging ditches.

General NCS Football

50 Responses to Regular Season Works…AGAIN

  1. teacher 12/03/2006 at 8:36 AM #

    If you go to the “plus one” formula, you DO have a true champion! I would rather have to argue about who is the #4 team than who is the #2 team. Everything else stays the same. So all of you that enjoy watching over 25 meaningless bowl games can still be happy. It’s just that there is one more game a week after the BCS bowls. How could that hurt anyone? This year it would be great. Michigan and Florida would have to PLAY each other to see who would get a shot at OSU. And OSU would have to beat whomever the #4 team would be in order to get their NC game. If this system was implemented, there could be no arguments about who the true NC was. There would be some argument about who the #4 team was, but once again I would rather argue about #4 than argue about the national championship.

  2. StateFans 12/03/2006 at 8:54 AM #

    So, in the proposal above – LSU, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Lousiville, Texas, Auburn amongst others don’t get to compete for a national championship despite the fact that they are better than many of the teams that make the playoff? That’s absurd. I thought the point of the argument was to have the best teams ‘settle it on the field’

    Basically, all you are doing is taking the existing bowl system of having conf champs and slapping the word playoff on them.

    As for ‘controlling your own destiny’? OF COURSE Boise and others control their own destiny. They could schedule tougher OOC games when they know that they are in a weak conf. Boise did this last year and got PASTED by Georgia. But we still have to hear them complain?

    Additionally, I don’t understand the love for the +1 at all. After 12 or 13 regular season games…do we REALLY need a +1? All this does is create ANOTHER layer of risk for the best team to get beaten. What happens when you get to the end of the season and the bowls and there is a CLEAR #1? Why do they have to play again? Take this year for an example. If OSU beats Florida in the bowl, why on earth would you have a +1 game? Who are they supposed to play? They’ve alreasy beaten Michigan. Why not just keep having extra games until you can finally crown whomever you want?

  3. teacher 12/03/2006 at 9:00 AM #

    Statefans: Because they wouldn’t even be playing Florida! They would be playing a weaker #4 seed team. That would possibly be Louisville! Then Florida and Michigan (being #2 and #3) would play to see who would play the OSU/#4 winner.

    If they are a “CLEAR #1,” they shouldn’t have a problem beating the #4 seed and then beating the winner of the 2/3 game. It is the post-season, you know. How many times has the “best” team not won the Super Bowl or the Final Four? The best team has to be the best when it counts. College football is the only sport where you can lose your shot at the NC in September. That really doesn’t make sense.

  4. ADS95 12/03/2006 at 9:19 AM #

    One point of clarification (its been stated incorrectly in a couple of the above posts): Louisville won the Big East this year.

    Their only conference loss was at Rutgers. Rutgers lost to WVa and Cincy. WVa lost to Louisville and South Florida.

  5. Buck 12/03/2006 at 9:25 AM #

    “I think GaTech had to share a title. Some still don’t think the ‘81 Clemson team were “real” champions.”

    Duh!…that happened before there was a BCS!

  6. teacher 12/03/2006 at 9:25 AM #

    So the plus one system would have #1 OSU vs. #4 Louisville. Then have #2 Florida vs. #3 Michigan. Then the winners would play for the championship. It wouldn’t affect any other bowl games, and it would settle the dispute over Fl. or Mich. in the title game. It is a win/win situation. If Louisville upset OSU, then OSU didn’t play like the #1 team when it counted. That’s their fault.

  7. Slader4881 12/03/2006 at 10:43 AM #

    I think something that could clear some of this up is to require the teams in the NC game to be conference champs. I know someone will say well what about ND? I would say ND is allowed in the game if undefeated and/or has a tougher schedule than the team in a comparison.

  8. LSUTigerFan 12/03/2006 at 10:50 AM #

    “college football’s regular season IS a playoff!”


    Nothing was decided on the field last night!!! We still have to wait 12 more hours for the voters to decide who will play in the national title game. This year is worse than ever because, the voters aren’t voting 1, 2, 3…, they are voting, ‘who do we want in the national title game’. The integrity of the system is completely gone. What we have is a group of men, most of whom we would agree aren’t impartial and don’t watch all the games, who are going to decide who plays in the national title game based on their biases and preconceptions, who they want in the title game, and what’s happened in games over the last two weeks. The system is a complete fallacy.

    The only thing that “works” is that Fox Sports will make lots of money off the national title game. If the national title game comes down to OSU/Michigan, it will be a complete joke. If the voters choose to vote Florida over Michigan only to change who plays in the national title game, then the system has NO INTEGRITY whatsoever and is also a complete joke.

    To your second point, if there were an 8-team playoff based on a ranking system similar to the current BCS system, then in fact, the SEC championship would have been a pseudo first round. Florida would not have locked up a spot because had they lost, they wouldn’t have made a BCS game. Of the two loss SEC teams, LSU would certainly be the highest ranked; so only the winner of the title game would get a spot.

    (Sidebar: Even in the SEC, we wouldn’t expect that we’re going to send our four best to a playoff, but there are only 6 BCS conferences; so that still leaves two at large spots.)

    Whether you think a playoff is a good idea or not, the current BCS system is absolute nonsense.

  9. Dan 12/03/2006 at 12:21 PM #

    The bowl system does NOT put the most value on the regular season. A playoff made up of the 11 conference champs would do that.

  10. Tau837 12/03/2006 at 12:44 PM #

    SFN posted “So, in the proposal above – LSU, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Lousiville, Texas, Auburn amongst others don’t get to compete for a national championship despite the fact that they are better than many of the teams that make the playoff? That’s absurd. I thought the point of the argument was to have the best teams ’settle it on the field’

    Basically, all you are doing is taking the existing bowl system of having conf champs and slapping the word playoff on them.”

    I assume you are referring to my proposal above. You are not making a cohesive argument. I clearly stated that the reason the playoff would be the BCS conference champions and one wild card is for all the reasons you ranted against just taking the top 8 teams. So we agree on that, yet now you turn around and bash it from the other direction.

    LSU, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Texas, and Auburn have either (1) proven on the field that they do not deserve to be in the playoff or (2) not done enough to prove they deserve the chance (see my description of Wisconsin’s scheduling). So a valid playoff does not need to include them.

    As for Louisville, I incorrectly posted that West Virginia is the Big East champion, so they would be in, not WVU.

    And I agree with Lock that you should stop acting like the rest of us who want a playoff are idiots. Most of the SFN posts treat its readers with respect.

  11. Tau837 12/03/2006 at 12:47 PM #

    One more thing. Given my mistake about Louisville, the seeds could end up like this:

    1 Ohio State vs. 8 Boise State
    2 Florida vs. 7 Wake
    3 Michigan vs. 6 Oklahoma
    4 Louisville vs. 5 USC

    In that case, there was still huge importance on USC’s game yesterday, since they may have dropped from the 2 seed to the 5 seed, and lost a first round home game in the process.

  12. teacher 12/03/2006 at 1:56 PM #

    I would still like to know WHAT’S WRONG with the plus one system? How is it not a win/win situation? The teams that are the best have to play their best for two weeks in order to earn the title. There are other ideas, but this one would keep the bowl game supporters happy as well as the playoff people.

  13. WolfPup35 12/03/2006 at 2:04 PM #

    The BS err…..BCS system is good for some great FB matchups, but mostly it’s REALLY all about….$$$$$$$$!! The reason so many universities and their respective athletic departments are against a playoff system is the bowl game payoffs. The bigger the bowl, the bigger the paycheck. I agree that it can be and usually is extremely expensive to run college athletics, but to crown a true champion, use the top bowls as quarters and semis, and select one bowl per year (perhaps a rotation) to serve as the venue for the big one. Maybe have a selection committee like they have in BB. There will ALWAYS be someone who thinks they got screwed, but thats the way it is. Maybe I’m nuts, but at least give it a look, and see if there are any geniuses that can come up with some kind of formula that works.

  14. GoldenChain 12/03/2006 at 2:22 PM #

    I think it ironic that ‘talking heads’ from around the country want to just name a NC in every sport without actually having to play the regular season games.
    Look at how many ‘top teams’ managed to stumble down the stretch:
    1st it was ND, then Auburn, WVa, but what if one of the newbies goes undefeated like Rutgers!
    What happened to the so-called break through teams like Clemson?

    Now that hoops is on the same guys (or their hoops counterparts) want to crown unx as NC. Maybe we should just cancel the season and crown ’em!

    Too many sports experts with wayyyyyy….. too much airtime!

  15. Joey 12/03/2006 at 4:53 PM #

    @teacher: I think the “plus-one” system is better than what we have now. Really, what you’re describing is a 4-team playoff. What we have now is a 2-team playoff. I’d much prefer a 4-team playoff to a 2-team playoff, simply because I think it’s too difficult to narrow down who those 2 teams should be. I think 4 would still be a little difficult (I’d prefer 8, 12, or 16). However, a 4-team playoff poses the least change to the current system, so it probably stands the best chance of actually being implemented. I would certainly support it as an improvement to the current system.

    No system is going to be perfect every year. The key is to develop a system that maximizes the chances that it “works”. We started with the polls deciding the champion, and now with the BCS we have a 2-team playoff. I haven’t gone back through the seasons to check, but my guess is that this 2-team playoff has worked maybe half the time. That’s simply not good enough in my opinion. We can do better. I think a 4-team playoff is a solution that is better. I think an 8-team playoff would be better still. I don’t know what the optimal number is, but it’s definitely not 2.

  16. Mike 12/03/2006 at 6:01 PM #

    Playoffs are for the fans. Bowl games are for the players. Playoff does not work for mnay reasons discussed earlier. Even if you choose an 8 team playoff, 4 teams will be crying they should be in. The bowl games are for the kids. Take a team that is rebuilding, and goes 8-4, a great year. They should be rewarded with a nice trip and fun over the holidays. The kids get an experience they may never get. The bowls are great rewards for a long season (and off season) of hard work. The BCS is not perfect, but it comes close. For all those that say so and so got hosed because someone else got in, you will have the same arguments for the tournament that someone got hosed. Same argument, differenet day. And if you take truly the top 8, Boise has no claim to the tourney. If you dont take the top 8, what is the point of the tourney.

    The bowl system has flaws. Other than the team fans and relatives, no one really cared about the Tire Bowl last year, but the players for both teams had an experience. Only people who watched the game either were team fans, had money riding on the outcome, or idiots with no life. Fix the bowls if you want to require 8 wins (6-6 bowling is a joke). A playoff is not good for the players and a playoff does not ensure the best team is the winner.

  17. dpos21 12/03/2006 at 6:44 PM #

    So the regular season wouldn’t matter as much, so what. You’d still have a playoff which would, arguably be more exciting. I see your point though on logistics and other factors. We’ll have to live without regardless.

    The problem I have is with the idea of a Louisville and/or Rutgers or even supposedly not having a shot if they had gone undefeated. Sure Rutgers and Louisville proved they weren’t worth it by losing but the fact that when they were undefeated late in the season they still didn’t have a chance is what I don’t like. And they are BCS schools!

    There is too much emphasis on preseason rankings. What if State had gone undefeated this year would we have a shot? Hell no. What would we all be saying then?

    I guess if the season IS the playoffs (which is a good analogy) then previous seasons are your regular season? How many years do you have to be good before you can start the season in a good enough position to get those votes, before you even play, to have a shot?

  18. shaggy_pack 12/03/2006 at 7:05 PM #

    I call B.cS. How is it that NCAA Division I-A and II Football, NFL Football, High School Football, NCAA Men’s Basketball, NHL, Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Lacrosse, Badminton, even freekin’ NASCAR have figured out how to have a playoff but College Football can’t? What a crock.

    Know this – NC State would have NEVER won the 83 championship if NCAA basketball was organized like this. There is no room for momentum, no room for heart, and no way for the players to decide the championship. In fact, unless there was a playoff system, there’s very little chance NC State football would ever get to even play in a national championship game. Why? Let’s say they start out ranking #30 preseason in the AP and ESPN polls. Let’s say they have a magnificent team that runs the board, and goes 13-0. At best they would end up #5 or 6 in the country….. it would take that long to work their way up. They might be the best team in the country, but they would never get a chance to prove it. Preseason polls do matter and effect the BCS. Now, the next season, NCSU would start out ranked very high, somewhat regardless of their actual team that year. Even if they were as talented as the year before, they would have a better shot than they ever did the year before. The current championship arrangement awards big teams the benefit of the doubt, and leave little room for teams to prove their the best team in the country.

    Now with regards to as how things are done is what makes college football unique, well, let’s just call college football “special” and put it on the short bus. Why don’t we put them in tu-tus and roller skates? That would make it really special. Every other respectable sport has a postseason playoff system, college football should too.

    With regards to this being for the fans and not the players, I call BS on that too. I don’t think you’d hear teams 3 through 8 complain for a SECOND that they HAVE to play in a playoff for the championship. Teams live to make it to the playoffs, and ultimately you’d have more teams playing harder near the end of the season trying to make it in. Sure, you’d have disappointed teams who don’t make it in. But I’d rather it be the 8th best team in the country than the 2nd best.

    Finally, I call BS on the “too many games” thing. Since that card’s been played, college football has added a game to the regular season. Obviously, they weren’t concerned about the players when they did that. Conferences realigned to add a conference championship. Guess they weren’t concerned then. Every other major college sport and college football division has a playoff, and it’s not too many games, how is college football different?

    In conclusion, Jimmy Dykes sucks.

  19. Joey 12/03/2006 at 7:59 PM #

    @Mike: I don’t think anyone is suggesting we do away with bowls altogether, just the way it works at the top. 8-4 teams will still be rewarded with a game in the Tire Bowl or whatever.

  20. redfred2 12/03/2006 at 11:23 PM #

    Jeff, I agree with your comments 100%.

    I can hear someone later on saying, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot they won in the playoff,’ and that’s puts the absolute end on any future discussions. That’s professional football, not college football. Discussions involving college football rage on, and they are always full of speculation, ‘what if’s’ and ‘what should have been.’ That is THE major factor in the popularity and carry over from year to year, and what makes this tryed and true version of college football, stay alive and stronger than ever before.

  21. PACDADDY 12/04/2006 at 11:49 PM #

    Tau837…look at my last comment above your initial post…you nailed it. That system will take away the voters BS except for seedings and the 2 wild cards. If a team isn’t good enough to clearly separate themselves from the 2 wildcards then tough sh$t.

    I would require all conferences to have a CC game, which would be a 1st round game. ND should be required to join a conference or risk being a wild card pick ever year.

  22. youchuck 12/06/2006 at 12:33 AM #

    Since the BCS is such a wonderful system, let’s adopt it for all sports. Let’s see we would have had an Indy/Seattle Superbowl last year, did we really need to see a remarkable run by the Steelers? I really would have enjoyed a Yankees/Cardinals series in ’04, really who needed all that Red Sox/Yankees playoff drama? Let’s adopt it for college basketball as well, I’m sure all State fans would have much rather seen a Houston/UNC final in ’83. A playoff system is what is needed. I would settle for the plus one game. Play two bowls as National Semi-finals on Jan. 1, how exciting would a final four football day be? Then one week later let the two winners play for all the marbles. I love College Football, but this is why I hate it at the same time. The pre-season polls give unfair advantage to the big name teams. They should consider those prognostications and not the Gospel. Let figure skating determine it’s champions by voting, let’s decide it on the field!!

  23. revilo78 12/06/2006 at 8:31 PM #

    I agree with everyone calling for a conference champion based playoffs. It would still keep the regular season games as important as they are today. Although I prefer having the top two non-champion BCS teams to get in. Something like the bracket at where Michigan and LSU get in.


  1. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » NYT & JB Follow-up on Playoffs - 01/02/2007

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  2. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » I seem to say this every year on this day - 12/02/2007

    […] see, days like today and seasons like this season are exactly WHY college football is so wonderful. If a playoff existed heading into today’s games, then imagine how unimportant and unremarkable…. Heck, West Virginia probably would have played all of their back ups to rest their starters and […]

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