Friday, December 5, 2008

Uh Oh!

I guess this post is not moot since, so called, "head-to-head" advocates could still keep Florida out.


I think if Florida wins they will get more boost in human polls than the article implies since they will get lots of first-place votes. However, if Texas holds, we will get a scenario where Texas and Oklahoma play for a BCS Title and Texas Tech would NOT get into a BCS bowl...amazing! They could join Boise St in the "Isn't the BCS Great!" Bowl.

I've mentioned this point before, but I will say it here again, I support a 16-team playoff (11 conference winners + 5 at-large picks) that would NOT put limits on the number of teams that can be represented in the playoffs from any particular conference. So, under such a system this year, we would (likely) get OK, Tech, and Tex in the playoffs, as well as Alabama and Florida. And, of course, Boise, Utah, and Ball St would all get in, as conference champs. After this Saturday, we can have some fun with hypothetical brackets.

Now, someone might argue that such a playoff would decrease excitement for some of these regular season and championship games. This point isn't very serious, though. First of all, we don't know before the year, or even by the middle of the year, whether or not the SEC championship winner or loser will get into the National Championship game, in fact, we still don't know for sure that Florida could get in, even if they win. So, the meaning of any given win or loss is never clear until the end of the year...and it would be the same during the regular season in a playoff system--a certain win or loss COULD mean a lot...or not. BUT! we do know that in a playoff structure like the one I've mentioned, the SEC winner would DEFINITELY go to the playoffs.

Another point on this is the ridiculousness of these championship games and in-season rivalries somehow meaning less if there were playoffs (actually, these championship games ARE playoffs). They are just as likely to mean MORE, since playoff stakes may be at hand. Currently, a BCS bid may or may not be at stake, and actually, most regular season games for most teams are meaningless from a national championship perspective. And by adding more teams to the mix, with a playoff, you are getting a net-gain of meaningful games since more teams will have a shot.

Also, even with 16 teams, losses would hurt quite a bit (and so, wins would help a lot). As I've said before, just one loss in the race for the SEC East is often costly. It is always a loss that knocks a team from some kind of championship, and we never know which loss that is until the season is at least near over (and even then, if multiple losses are involved, it may not be clear which loss was the stake in the heart). Likewise, we can never pin the achievement of a championship on any given win, since it's the accumulation of all of the wins that makes it possible. Even more perplexing, though, is the fact that wins nor losses decide the champion at this point--just rankings.

So, the single-game theory (the theory that holds tight to a "2-team" playoff because it argues that it fosters a more interesting regular season) is a myth. Those exciting games are exciting simply because they are upsets and because championships and rivalries are at stake. Changing the form of the championship-determining structure will not change the character of the excitement of upsets and rivalry wins. Increasing the possibility for a championship for more teams, in fact, without demeaning the standards of success, would create a more interesting college football regular season.

This is just from the perspective of pleasure for the fans. Even more powerful arguments can be made from legal-justice-equality-funding-type perspectives.

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