Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Bit of an Application of the Playoff Concept

First, some quick points--the automatic bid framework would be unbiased against when a team loses in the season (polls reward early losses over late), and unbiased against a team's preseason ranking, which is based on things like knowledge of recruiting and returning players, last year's performance, schedule, reputation, injuries, etc. "Style points" would also mean less, overall. Each team begins the year with the goal of winning their conference--so the 11/5 formula makes that goal fit the playoff scheme in an uncomplicated way. The at-large component, however, could reward teams that do have late surges and improve, like Georgia last year (a team that would have gotten in under the 11 conf/5 BCS picks formula instead of an obviously inferior Tennessee, because of the room for at-large picks).

Okay, I don't feel like going back and checking on who won all the individual conferences over the last few years, but I thought I'd add a list of teams that would have been eligible as at-large teams over the last 3 years, along with some general observations, just to get a sense of what kind of teams would have been in a 16-team playoff with 5 at-larges and 11 conference champions, and which would have been out. I am basing my results on the final BCS poll of the year (which is the December edition, after the conference championship games). The sites are linked on the listed years (they are pdf files). The entire list is linked on the post title. The number in front of the teams (below) is their ranking.
(These are teams that would make the playoff, along with all conference champions, in the formula I support. The point is not that these teams would get in only under this formula, but that this formula makes room for these teams even with it giving a shot to all conference champs.)

2007: 5)georgia, 6)missouri 8)kansas 11)arizona st. 12)florida. (this means 3 SECs get in, including the Gators, Hawaii gets in without any wondering about how they are ranked--and if Boise St had beaten them, Boise would have gotten in instead, without hoping for a top 12 ranking, and conference champs BYU would get in. BYU was ranked 17, so they would have been bumped out by a strictly BCS top 16 playoff. That same BCS top 16 formula would have let in 3 ACC teams, including 3-loss Boston College and 3-loss Clemson, as well as a 4-loss Tenn. Oh, and it looks like the seeding would of had Florida playing at Georgia in the first round (in the 11/5 system). Nice!)

2006: 3)Michigan 4)LSU 7)Wisconsin 9)Auburn 11)Notre Dame (Again, 3 SECs, and this was the year of Boise St, so we could have seen how that whole thing would have unfolded)

2005: 4) Ohio St (OSU and Penn St were co-Champs of the Big 10, Penn St was ranked 3, OSU was 4, so OSU would have taken an at-large spot) 5)Oregon 6)Notre Dame 8)Miami 9)Auburn (10th ranked Virginia Tech is the first team in this list to be ranked in the top 10 and not get into this system I support--but, they lost the ACC title game to Boston College, ranked 21. The ACC would have still had 2 teams in the playoffs, then, and V Tech was bumped out in a conference playoff game by the team that replaced them in the national playoffs) Florida was ranked 17, and would have missed the playoffs under this system. LSU and Alabama were 12 and 13, respectively, and would have missed as well. But the SEC would still have Georgia and Auburn in the playoffs, in a year when the SEC had less dominant teams).

Also, in 2004, both undefeated Auburn and undefeated Utah are in, as well as 3 total SEC teams (which would all be true with virtually any 16 team playoff applied to that year).

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