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Playoff issue divisive, but now there’s compromise

Urban Meyer AP

When it comes to a college football playoff, there is one known truth: it’s being recommended, and barring a complete and sudden veto during conference spring meetings, four teams will compete for a BCS championship in 2014.

Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to how the whole thing will look. Bowl sites or on-campus? Selection committee or formula? Chicken or fish?

As a (sort of) member of the media, I can assure you the accommodation factor is (not) a hot button issue. Where I (won’t) sit inside Kansas State’s press box, or which Manhattan Motel 6 I (won’t) stay in — I don’t even want to fathom an hour wait at the local Applebee’s — are logistics to be settled on another day and, frankly, ones that I couldn’t give two squats about.

For now, there are bigger questions from some as to whether a four-team playoff is even in the best interest of the sport. Thanks to Josh Kendall at The State (SC), a pair of outspoken coaches, both with Florida ties, have given their opinion on the matter.

Ohio State Urban Meyer says he’s on the fence. “Can they really play 15 games?” Meyer pondered. “Where is this headed? I’m a traditionalist.”

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, on the other hand, knows exactly where it’s headed. Spurrier said he’s a fan of the playoff idea “and I (will) like the eight team when we go to that in about five years.”

But whether it’s five years or 10, the HBC is saying what surely many others are thinking. As John opined last week, a four-team playoff isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. And whether anyone out there reading this is for or against a playoff of any kind, you have to believe that a four-team playoff is the gateway to a larger pool of teams competing for a championship down the road.

Why? A four-team playoff has its own set of imperfections and the decision makers aren’t going into this blind to them. Granted, those imperfections are spilled milk compared to the current system, but imperfections nonetheless.

College football is accepting an alternative, knowing it doesn’t have to be the long-term answer. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Look, I’m as big a playoff advocate as anyone (although I didn’t use to be), but a four-team playoff will only modestly temper the annual complaining and howling about selection… revenue distribution… you name it. We’re talking about uncharted territory here.

Take the revenue, for example. The numbers vary, but it’s believed a playoff could exponentially increase the amount of money poured into the sport. Who will benefit from that extra money? It should be the athletes across all sports, who work tirelessly for their coaches and their school. Will they, though?

That’s the question.

Eventually, the answer, along with others, will come from another event (see 2012 BCS championship). And another set of meetings. And another set of change.

It’s evolution.

It’s just a matter of whether the likes of Jim Delany and Bill Hancock will be part of the evolution when it happens.

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25 Responses to “Playoff issue divisive, but now there’s compromise”
  1. udub says: May 1, 2012 5:45 PM

    What is the point in having a four team playoff when everyone just says it’s going to bigger soon anyways. Why not just do it bigger from the get go?

  2. akhhorus says: May 1, 2012 5:48 PM

    I cant wait for Wilbon, Bayless, Reilly et all to whine as loudly about Boise State, TCU or whomever being excluded from the playoff system lol.

  3. ancientcougar says: May 1, 2012 5:56 PM

    The problem is the # of games……..If you wind up with college teams playing 15 games, you are taking off the veil of student athlete and exposing the system for what it is; semi-pro ball and the football players should be compensated over and above the scholarships that are given.

  4. tmb333 says: May 1, 2012 6:15 PM

    12 regular season games plus a possible conference championship game plus a bowl game = 13 or 14 games.

    16 team playoff
    12 regular season games plus a conference championship game.

    Lose in round one, you played 14 games (8 teams)
    Lose in round two, you played 15 games (4 teams)which is what D3 plays including a playoff.
    Lose in semi-finals, you played 16 games (2 teams)
    Lose or win in finals, you played 17 games (2 teams).

    If the D3 student athletes can handled 15 games in a shorter season, the athlete students can handle 15, 16 or 17 games.

    The players don’t care, it is the old men trying to protect the status quo.

  5. Deb says: May 1, 2012 6:50 PM

    Always thought playoffs were the answer until it’s finally upon us and I realize the potential for irreversible screwup. But it’s heartening to know Spurrier is looking forward to an eight-team tournament in five years–both because anything less than eight is ridiculous and maybe that means the Ol’ Ball Coach plans to keep entertaining us at least that much longer ;)

  6. secucks says: May 1, 2012 8:45 PM

    Here’s a suggestion to save everyone a lot of time. Just make the team that wins the SEC the National Champion. The current BCS system is already slanted that way so why change to another system where there was already a comment made about SEC teams potentially filling three of the four playoff spots.

    I’m sure this will raise more than a few comments from SEC fans who will go on and on about how many BCS titles they’ve won or the idea that they’ve won the last six or eight consecutively. In advance of those comments I say WHO THE F cares??? The streak and the record is meaningless as the BCS process was designed by the SEC for the SEC. And of course a cadre of SEC fans will defend the system as well as the dubious record because why would you argue against or even see a flawed process that provides results that work in your conference’s favor.

    Personally I say scrape the entire BCS. Go back to the individual polls for identifying the #1 team as that system isn’t any worse or better than trying to invent something to create a National Championship game. Considering the BCS produced something as god awful as the 2011 LSU – Alabama fiasco which really proved nothing especially after the two teams split wins during the season. I’d rather have 3 or 4 teams in contention and voted upon by respective poll particpants and if it ends up in disagreement so what?

  7. suprmous says: May 1, 2012 8:57 PM

    I swear the evil twins, the BCs and NCAA, have gotten so damned out of hand till it’s down right pathetic. Even from the standpoint of bein on the sidelines: havin no dawg in this fight others have said the same thing. I just have to wonder how much more damage they’ll intend on puttin everybody thru. The oldest brother agrees that somethin has to be done but has l’il input in as to what while the younger brother has input but is pesimistic as to what can be done as a compromise. All I need now’s to get the middle brother’s opinion. And I don’t dare ask without soundin like I haven’t heard from the other 2. Strange as it sounds surely somebody can come up with somethin, can’t they? Guess we’ll find out sooner or later.

  8. bamasleeper13 says: May 1, 2012 9:35 PM

    It doesnt matter if it is four or eight team playoff,the best team will win it all. So all of you SEC haters can relax.

  9. Deb says: May 1, 2012 9:37 PM

    @secucks …

    Thanks, but as an Alabama fan, I’d prefer the winner of the national title game win the title … you know, the way the Super Bowl winner is undisputed no matter what happens in any regular-season meeting between those two teams. (It’s really not complicated if you can get your two brain cells to fire in sync.) BTW, Alabama won more than a few titles before anyone ever thought up that nasty ol’ SEC-biased BCS you’re whining about (even if you erase our two BCS titles and our five pre-WWII titles, we still have seven).

    By your name, it’s pretty obvious that you care enough about the SEC to make it part of your user name and to write a long tiresome rant because, apparently, your team hasn’t been too successful lately. Awww.

  10. coolhorn says: May 1, 2012 10:54 PM

    Sorry, but the best team doesn’t always win, although smart money usually bets that way. That’s why they call ‘em upsets.

    A four team playoff of some sort is a start in the right direction. However, I tend to agree with the ‘Ol Ball Coach that it’ll bump up to an eight team playoff in four or five years. I don’t see it going to more than eight teams, and I’m pretty sure that whatever playoff plan gets voted in will have its’ problems and opponents. That’s about the one thing you can count on before anything is finalized.

  11. secucks says: May 1, 2012 11:05 PM

    @Deb,

    If I have two brain cells those two cells outnumber the cumulative total of the SEC fan base by two. As you’ve detected, I have an bias against the SEC and the choice of a user name “SecUCKS” was deliberate as I could have just as well picked “Truth and Justice”.

    Since you are a self confessed Alabama fan in light of the result of the 2011 BCS NC game there is no doubt you would favor the winner of the BCS NC game being named as the NC. DUH!!! If it was based on conference champion qualifier or a no rematch condition, LSU would have played either Oklahoma State or Stanford.

    SEC BIAS.

  12. rubbernilly says: May 1, 2012 11:27 PM

    Any conference that is viable by NCAA rules (8 teams, minimum) should send a team to play in the playoff.

    If you aren’t going to let them compete on the field, then you might as well construct a new tier of teams between I-A and I-AA and crown a champion of those schools just as you do for FCS, Div II, Div III, etc.

    Anything less than 8 teams is still unacceptable.

    Oh, and:

    http://offthebench.nbcsports.com/2012/04/19/pres-obama-honors-crimson-tide-at-white-house-but-about-those-14-national-titles/

  13. huskerzfan says: May 2, 2012 8:16 AM

    Why do we need ‘at least’ 8 teams in a FBS division football playoff?

    Who in the slots 5-8 really deserved a shot to play for it all?

    2011:

    5. Oregeon: Should actually replace Stanford as they were the Pac-12 champ, and stomped them IN Stanford in their regular season matchup. Stanford’s schedule was pretty weak to boot.

    6. Arkansas: Both LSU and Alabama beat them by 24 points. They had 2 losses. I really don’t see the point of allowing them in. 3rd in their own division for crap’s sake.

    7. Boise State: Can’t win the MWC Conference Championship. Again, seems rather pointless to let a team in that can’t even win the 6th or 7th ‘best’ conference in football.

    8. Kansas State: Oklahoma beat them 58-17 on their own field; ’nuff said.

    2010: Really pointless after the top 3 in Auburn, Oregon, and TCU.

    4. Stanford: Why? Lost by 3 TD’s to #2 Oregon.

    5. Wisconsin: They beat Ohio State at home. Congrats. Lost to the only other decent team they played on the road, and that was by double digits. Why do they even deserve a shot at Auburn, Oregon, or TCU? Lost to TCU anyway.

    6. Ohio State: Schedule was a joke, and lost only real game on the road by 13. Same as Wisconsin, why do they deserve the chance?

    7. Oklahoma: Lost 2 games. Both by more than a TD.

    8. Arkansas: 2 losses, and Auburn beat them by 22.

    We’d have some seasons in which 4 and 5 could be a question, but it would likely force teams to schedule a bit tougher as teams that play other tougher teams get rewarded in polls.

    Also, Boise State, TCU, and Utah will have all upgraded to better conferences thus giving their schedules more merit than in years past.

    When you start getting into the 6th, 7th, and 8th teams in the final BCS rankings you really start finding some questionable teams that really don’t deserve a shot at the National Title.

    You get to the heart of why people want more teams in a playoff, and the real reason is they just want more games from a selfish fan standpoint. Seriously, we get to 16 teams and we are now including Baylor, Michigan, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Georgia from last year. What is the point of giving these teams a chance? Do we really need 30 point blowouts in the 1st round to appease the fans to find a ‘legit’ champion in a single game elimination tournament? Talk about truly diluting the importance of the regular season. When teams can get beat by more than 30 points in a game, and lose multiple games during the regular season and still be ‘in’ the National Championship playoff, the regular season becomes rather pointless.

  14. coolhorn says: May 2, 2012 8:45 AM

    The number eight team will be good, and any team one through eight can get on a late season run and win it all. Ultimately, meaning four or five years down the road, the playoffs will likely expand to eight teams. It’s nothing to worry about Huskers fans…unlike, say, Nebraska getting good enough again to be part of the playoffs.

  15. huskerzfan says: May 2, 2012 8:51 AM

    @ coolhorn:

    The number eight team will be good, and any team one through eight can get on a late season run and win it all. Ultimately, meaning four or five years down the road, the playoffs will likely expand to eight teams. It’s nothing to worry about Huskers fans…unlike, say, Nebraska getting good enough again to be part of the playoffs.

    __________________________________

    Can’t put together a reasonable argument so you feel the need to trash my school?

    Stay classy coolhorn.

  16. rickne7 says: May 2, 2012 12:02 PM

    huskerzfan: Well thought out and researched. If more bloggers thought before they wrote like you just did, these blogs would be more enjoyable to read. Your points make sense and as we get into the new playoffs, I think reasonable minds will agree. Thanks for a good read.

  17. sunhawk00 says: May 2, 2012 1:11 PM

    I’m simply amazed by the number of people who don’t get it in regards to the number of teams involved in the playoff. At any level of sports (and any sport) there is something that stirs the juices about getting to the post season. And for most sports outside of 1-A football the post season means something. It’s an affirmation that they accomplished something real this season. (For 1-A football it means you were above .500 and going to a bowl – we won’t talk about UCLA) It’s damned important to get into the playoffs and that makes the regular season that much more important.

    Under the current system in 1-A, in most years by week 10 (some years earlier), the teams that have a shot at a post season that means anything is down to 2 or 3. I’m not saying that everyone else simply gives by this point but it’s not the same kind fire that burns when you know you’ve still got a shot at something big. We don’t know how it’s going to play out yet but with a 4 team playoff, teams 5-8 are going to be playing with a vengeance in order to try and make the cut. Odds are with 2-3 weeks to go in the season, there will probably more than that who still think they have a shot and will be playing their hearts out because of that. Most of them know they don’t have a realistic shot at the final prize but, they still can grasp the brass ring of a meaningful post season.

    I know there are some dim bulbs out there who won’t understand this but, college football is better all the way around when more teams can smell blood. Smaller teams rising to the top. Slumping glory teams returning to greatness. This is what makes college football great and paying these teams for their effort by letting them earn their way into a meaningful post-season is the way it should be. This is about way more than who has a shot at the crystal football.

  18. mrslay1 says: May 2, 2012 2:31 PM

    I think 8 teams is the best. If it costs some teams 1 game a year so be it. There is also the thought of have a 2nd teir playoff for lower ranked teams that you have to quailify for …LIKE BOWL GAMES used to be!

  19. Deb says: May 2, 2012 5:42 PM

    @secucks …

    From your reply to my post, it’s obvious you’re even slower than I thought. Bless your heart. :D

  20. sullyforthetide says: May 2, 2012 6:45 PM

    One definitive point for all you morons out there…only two FBS teams beat EVERY team they played in 2011-12. Know who they were? Alabama and LSU. All that really matters is the Tide won the last (non-All-star) game of the season. In case you had not noticed, that is the way championships are decided. Roll Tide and shutup!!

  21. bucknut8357 says: May 3, 2012 12:43 PM

    I agree with Huskerzfan on the 4 team playoff. I feal like 8 would be too much, however I could compromise with 6 in that the #1 seeds would skip the first round. Going back, since the inception of BCS I don’t think anyone has ever looked beyond the number six team as a legitimate contender for the NC. I dread the thought of taking away from the regular season…you would have guaranteed playoff teams by week 11 with 8 teams (possibly) definitely with 16. Why not just watch NFL at that point. So keep BCS in place to rank top 4 or 6 then go to Playoffs! Regular season is still a fight every game.

    GO BUCKS!

  22. secucks says: May 3, 2012 6:14 PM

    @deb. and in response to your reply to me like the majority of the myopic SEC fan base you too appear to have your head up your posterior. The BCS scheme is bogus as it is built to favor a single conference. Knowing that you’re a Steelers fan what if the basis of the NFL playoffs was the power rankings which would have put the Patriots against Green Bay in the Superbowl? Baltimore was 5th and Pittsburgh was 6th so they don’t even have a shot in a 4 team playoff. The way the BCS works is taking polls and computer algorithms to attempt to identify the eligible teams. The OOC games played by the SEC are against lightweights and over half of the SEC teams are rather average so this creates a perception that the revolving SEC elite teams are not as strong as they appear. Limiting the regular season games (i.e. @deb. and in response to your reply to me like the majority of the myopic SEC fan base you too appear to have your head up your posterior. The BCS scheme is bogus as it is built to favor a single conference. Knowing that you’re a Steelers fan what if the basis of the NFL playoffs was the power rankings slanting the . @deb. and in response to your reply to me like the majority of the myopic SEC fan base you too appear to have your head up your posterior. The BCS scheme is bogus as it is built to favor a single conference. Knowing that you’re a Steelers fan what if the basis of the NFL playoffs were polls which slanted a single conference like the NFC East? You’d see a steady championship string featuring Dallas, NY Giants, Philadelphia. This is exactly the situation that the SEC has created. Do you really think that the Giants are a better team than the Steelers or Ravens? Anything can happen in a single game and that’s why the BCS NC is suspect.

  23. Deb says: May 4, 2012 2:57 PM

    @secucks …

    Don’t you think 6:35 is a little early to be that drunk? Yes, you had a point swimming around in there, but good grief …

    First, the BCS isn’t built to favor a single conference. Except for the fluke that was last season, the SEC teams faced nonSEC opponents in the championship game. Those Big 10 and Big 12 teams had their opportunities to make their case on the field and failed. Alabama only appeared in last year’s title game because one team after another from other conferences lost, soundly, to lesser opponents than the one that had taken down Alabama. Again, they had their opportunity to make their case on the field and failed. The problem isn’t that the BCS is SEC-biased. The problem is that you guys don’t have enough character to accept those failures.

    You can go back through the history of the game and see eras of domination by the Pacific Coast, the Big 10, the Big 12, and Notre Dame. Did that mean the polling system was deliberately engineered to give those conferences a leg up and those who disagreed had their heads up their posteriors? No.

    Yes, SEC teams play some cupcakes. So do Big 10 teams, Big 12 teams, and Pac 12 teams. All God’s children in the NCAA play cupcakes. But the competition within the SEC is generally pretty fierce–certainly as fierce as the competition within the Big 10. Three teams from our division finished in the top six, and last I checked, Alabama has 13 players from this year’s team already taken in the draft or as UDFA so far. It speaks for itself.

    While I have seen dynastic teams during my years as an NFL fan–no, I don’t believe most championship teams are worlds better than their opponents. Most are, as you say, the better team on the day. The best example is the 2007 Patriots. They certainly were a better team overall than the Giants that year. But I have a lot of respect for teams that can run the table–even the Packers who beat my Steelers in 2010. It’s called being a good sport.

  24. secucks says: May 4, 2012 9:03 PM

    @Deb

    So you know my comments were written on a smart phone while bouncing back and forth into email and other real work for which keeps the lights on, A little problem with cut and paste however even my inebriated ramblings have more coherency than those of a SEC fan. In response to your last….

    1. The BCS isn’t built to favor a single conference. WRONG. The original BCS system was proposed by the SEC and remains built around polls rather than something slightly more meaningful like strength of record. It was so bad after 2004 (when USC was recognized by all the meaningful polls as the best team and there were even defections by poll voters committed to follow BCS rankings – and yes there is such a rule) the formula was modified.
    2. SEC teams play some cupcakes. (THAT is an understatement)
    3. So do Big 10 teams, Big 12 teams, and Pac 12 teams. TRUE but the SEC schedules 4 OOC opponents where a tough game is an exception and the typical SEC OOC games include such powerhouses such as: Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, Western Carolina (ALABAMA)Jacksonville State, ULM, Tulsa (ARKANSAS)
    North Texas, Idaho, Towson (LSU)
    The only 2012 OOC scheduled game of any significance for the SEC “Elites” is the Michigan-Alabama contest.
    4. While I have seen dynastic teams during my years as an NFL fan–no, I don’t believe most championship teams are worlds better than their opponents. EXACTLY MY POINT

    The NY Giants are currently ranked pre-season as the #1 power team. They ran the table at the end of the season but until they got to the playoffs they only beat one +.500 team during the regular season. They were 3-3 in their own division which only by NY media bias continually gets identified as the toughest division in the NFL. Polls are based on herd thinking and any scheme that uses a poll to select which teams should play in a NC game is a bogus system

  25. Deb says: May 4, 2012 11:05 PM

    @secucks …

    You make some good points, but it’s difficult to take seriously a guy whose identity is wrapped around his hatred for a conference. You’re like a junior high kid declaring that any incomprehensible thing you utter is smarter than anything an SEC fan could possibly say. Believe it or not, the world is full of really smart people who hail from different regions, root for rival teams, attend different churches, and vote for different candidates than you do. No one group has a monopoly on intelligence.

    Thank you for that analysis of the SEC’s out-of-conference opponents. I might be able to comment on your conference or team’s schedule, but you haven’t bothered to reveal them. That seems the norm in these types of discussions.

    The BCS does include strength of schedule among its plethora of ranking considerations. Since you consider any human polling irrelevant, that means you’d toss out every championship awarded, including those won by whatever conference represents your team (unless you’re a Notre Dame or BYU fan). Interesting.

    The Giants are the champs until they’re eliminated from playoff contention this year. But the polls don’t interest me because we have real playoffs and I will know every minute of the season where Pittsburgh stands. If it were up to me, we’d start this whole process by paring Div IA down to a smaller number of conferences/teams so we could follow the same model. Then there wouldn’t be any cupcakes to play.

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