lsu

College Football Playoffs – Blow it all up

I am not a proponent of a playoff in college football.

I feel this way for a number of different reasons, but my key reason is this:  Playoff proponents hate the BCS and the bowls because they are “unfair”, yet there has never been a playoff proposal that is “fair”.  They are subjective on who gets in and who gets left out, they do not always reward conference championships, providing equal footing for all teams.

So I decided to find a fair way to do a playoff – one that addresses some of the core feelings of the playoff and anti-playoff crowds.  Namely:

  • The regular season and results on the field, need to matter
  • You cannot play for the championship if you do not win your conference.
  • All teams need to have a clear path to a championship – no haves and have-nots

Accomplishing these goals is not an easy task.  But I have done it.  That is the good news.

The bad news?  Well, that really depends on your point of view.  Let’s just say that creating a “fair” system meant blowing up almost everything that is in place today.  And I mean everything.  Quite frankly, that is both good and bad.

Just Say No to Playoffs

I have written a lot of things, expressed a lot of opinions, and have touched upon some controversial topics.

But nothing that I have ever written is as controversial (or as likely to have my sanity questioned) than the following sentence:

I think a college football playoff is an absolutely horrible idea that would irreparably damage the game.

That puts me in a serious minority among college football fans (I saw a 2007 Gallup poll that said 85% favored a playoff of some fashion). But I don’t care. You all are wrong. And I am right. Let me prove it to you…

The BCS Got It Right.

The BCS got it right.  Alabama should be playing for the National Championship.

I keep seeing people complaining about the LSU-Alabama matchup for the National Championship.  From what I can tell, their main complaints are 1) Bama already had a chance at LSU and lost, 2) the first game was an ugly and boring 9-6 game, 3) Oklahoma State is more deserving and 4) OSU would provide a better (i.e. more entertaining) game.  I disagree on all counts.

1.  Alabama already had a chance at LSU, and lost.  Therefore, they do not deserve another chance.

Frankly, this is the best point the anti-Bama crowd can make.  Alabama already lost to LSU this year – at home.  That fact is indisputable and it gives people a solid reason to deny Alabama a rematch.  Of course, doing so ignores the fact that no other team has been within 12 points of LSU – let alone taken them to overtime.  It also ignores the fact that if Bama had a kicker who could connect from beyond 40 yards (1 of 5 in the game) the argument would be which team is good enough to face #1 Alabama.

2.  The fans do not want a rematch of November’s boring 9-6 defensive struggle.

What is an exciting football game?  Exciting for most people is the season opening game between TCU and Baylor (a 50-48 Baylor win), that featured over 1,000 yards of offense, 5 touchdowns by a QB, and numerous big plays.  There is no way to spin it – the first go-round of LSU-Alabama was not what most people would call exciting.  But was the issue boring play, a lack of scoring, or did the weeks of pre-game hype (“Game of the Century”) set the expectations too high?  LSU and Alabama are evenly matched (as witnessed by the 3 point win in November) and I believe they offer the best chance for an epic title game.  Put it this way – if the first game had been a 38-35 thriller, would you still be opposed to a rematch?

3.  Oklahoma State is more deserving than Alabama.

This is a great example of using a vague term (“deserving”) to make an argument.  Yes, Okie State beat more ranked and bowl eligible teams that Alabama.  Yes, the computer rankings believe that the Big XII was a tougher conference than the vaunted SEC.  But Alabama’s sole loss was to the #1 team, by a field goal, in overtime.  Oklahoma State’s lone loss was to an Iowa State team who came into the game at 5-4, and finished up at a very pedestrian 6-6.  I understand that the OSU team was rocked by the tragic plane crash that took two of their women’s basketball coaches that day.  I also understand that Iowa State beat Northern Iowa (a FCS team) by 1 point.  Face it – if Okie State wins at Iowa State, they are in this game.  They had their chance to be undefeated and they blew it.  So now they have to be judged with all of the other 1-loss teams, and their loss is worse than Bama’s (and it is also worse than Boise State’s lone loss).

4.  Oklahoma State would provide a better (i.e. more entertaining) game than Alabama.

On paper, this one is dead wrong.  The basis for this argument is all about matching strength against strength:  Okie State’s high-powered offense against LSU’s amazing defense.  That would be fun to watch, but unfortunately, there is another match-up:  LSU’s offense against OSU’s defense.  LSU has an average offense (375 yards per game, 75th nationally), but Okie State has a putrid defense (445 yards per game, 107th nationally).  LSU would not have much trouble scoring 28 points against OSU’s defense, but I don’t think you would find many people who believe OSU could put up 28 on LSU’s defense.  Oklahoma State’s defensive weakness would be the key to another SEC title game blowout – and nobody wants to watch that.

You may have noticed that I’m ignoring the elephant that always comes into the room this time of year – the cries for a playoff in college football.  I’m planning to talk BCS vs. Playoffs in more detail this week, but there is something that I find interesting (and slightly hypocritical):  Many people hate the idea of a LSU-Alabama rematch as determined by the BCS.  Yet, I’m guessing that if LSU and Alabama made it through a 4, 8, or 16 team playoff to the championship game (as would be expected given their #1 and #2 seeds) nobody would have a problem with the rematch.

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This isn’t the first time I’ve discussed college football’s post-season….Read more about:

And feel free to let me know how right (or wrong) I am in the comments.

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