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Old 06-26-2012, 09:23 PM    (permalink
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Default Why the 4 team play-off is sensationalist garbage

This proposed 4 team play-off is the definition of sensationalism, essentially. We have 2 crazy years over the past 3 and all of a sudden the system is broken. I looked at it subjectively and found that only 3 years had a controversy on who is the unanimous #1 and #2, but twice that number of years saw the AP and BCS disagreeing on who the top 4 teams in the country were, in whatever order. It was never both at the same time, though. The following is a year by year account on the battle between a traditional system and a 4 team play-off, with a traditional boxing scorecard on the bottom.

1998: Tennessee is the unanimous #1 with a 12-0 record, and Florida State (11-1, 2), Kansas State (11-1, 4), and Ohio State (11-1, 3) round out your field. UCLA and Arizona both finished with 11-1 records, and Arizona was #5 in the AP, with UCLA as #6. An argument could be made either way, really, but let’s call this one a unanimous decision between the BCS and AP.

1999: Florida State and Virginia Tech would be your unanimous #1 and #2 in both and matching 11-0 records, and Nebraska (11-1, 3) is the only other school featured in both the AP and BCS top 4. The battle for the 4th seed is dicey though, with Alabama (10-2, #4 BCS and #5 AP), Tennessee (9-2 #5 BCS and #6), Kansas State (10-1 #6 BCS, #7 AP) and Wisconsin (9-2 #7 BCS, #4 AP) really being all candidates for that 4th spot. But, Randy Moss and Chad Pennington are another undefeated team and they deserve a shot, right? Could anyone stop Moss that year? This situation is made worse by the play-off, and a basic 1v2 would have been a huge money maker this year. Why risk losing one of two undefeated teams in a 4 team play-off if you care about making money?

2000: Oklahoma was the only undefeated team in America (12-0), and there were 5 other teams that were all one-loss teams, so who else gets in? Florida State (10-1, #2 BCS and #3 AP), Miami (11-1 #3 BCS and #2 AP), Washington (10-1 and #4 in both), Virginia Tech (10-1, #5 BCS and #6 AP), and Oregon State (10-1, #6 BCS and #5 AP) all have reasonable claims for 3 spots. So 2 of those teams get left out. (Note: Miami and Washington became split National Champions this year, what if one was left out?) Even though this was a unanimous 1-4 selection and I can’t argue against it, there would still be controversy.

2001: Miami (11-0) was the best team in America this season. Nebraska (11-1, #4 AP) and Colorado (10-2, AP#3) would be your 2 and 3 seeds, and that would have been a rematch from the Big XII title game and Oregon would have been your 4 seed. I do think a 4 team playoff would have been advantageous for this situation.

2002: Miami and Ohio State were both undefeated and unanimously 1 and 2. Why complicate things with Georgia (12-1, #3 BCS #4 AP), USC (#4 BCS, #5 AP), and Iowa (#5 BCS, #3 AP) all going for the remaining 2 spots? A play-off makes this worse. Remember the how McGahee’s knee got destroyed this game? That happens in the semi’s, why watch the final?

2003: Oklahoma (12-1 #1 BCS #3 AP), LSU (12-1 and #2 in both), and USC (11-1, #1 BCS and #1 AP) would have the top 3 seeds and all have legit claims for the 1 seed. Who gets the 4th seed? Michigan was 10-2 and #4 in both polls, but Texas also had a legitimate claim (10-2, #6 BCS and #5 AP). I think a play-off is good here, and this was unanimous in the top 4, but not the top 2.

2004: USC (#1 BCS and AP), Oklahoma (#2 BCS and AP), and Auburn (#3 BCS and AP) were your top three, 12-0, and Auburn was consensus the worst of the 3. Here is where it gets interesting: California (10-1, #5 BCS and #4 AP) sat in 4th with a week to go, and Texas jumped them (10-1 #4 BCS and #6 AP) when neither played. Imagine that happening today and tell me twitter and ESPN wouldn’t simultaneously combust. Utah (11-0, #6 BCS and #5 AP) also has a claim to that 4th spot. A playoff makes this worse.

2005: USC and Texas were your unanimous #1 and #2 with identical 12-0 records. Why complicate things with a 3 and 4, with Penn State (10-1 #3 in both) and Ohio State (9-2 #4 in both) getting those seeds in the tournament as fodder to USC and Texas. Why is Ohio State more qualified than Oregon (10-1 #5 BCS and #6 AP) and Notre Dame (9-2 #6 BCS and #5 AP)? I have no idea. Even though this was unanimous, it shouldn’t have been.

2006: Besides Ohio State (12-0 #1 in both) there really is no clear cut seeding. Florida (12-1 #2 in both), Michigan (11-1 #3 in both), LSU (10-2 #4 in both), USC (10-2 #5 BCS #7 AP), Louisville (11-1, #6 BCS #5 AP), Wisconsin (11-1, #7 BCS #6 AP), and Boise State (12-0 #8 in both) all have legitimate claims on the 3 remaining spots. With how it shook out, it would have been Big Ten vs. SEC. Awesome way to crown a national champion, right?

2007: Ohio State (11-1 BCS and AP #1) and LSU (11-2 BCS and AP #2) solidify your top 2 spots, and there really is no question. Virginia Tech (11-2 #3 BCS and #5 AP), Oklahoma (#4 BCS and #3 AP), and Georgia (10-2 #5 BCS #4 AP) are all going after 2 spots, and with how it went down (Georgia falls to #5 on an idle week) chances are people would be screaming until the next September no matter who got in. A play-off really makes this a worse situation.

2008: Every team from the top 9 from a major conference had 1 loss while Boise and Utah crashed the party with unblemished records. Oklahoma (12-1 and #1 BCS and AP), Florida (12-1 #2 in both) and Texas (11-1, #3 in both) all have legit claims to be in the play-offs, right? Texas beat Oklahoma, but Texas Tech (11-1, #7 BCS #8 AP) beat Texas. Meanwhile USC was 11-1 and #5 in the BCS, but #4 in the AP. Throw in Penn State (11-1, #8 BCS and #6 AP) and you are looking at a huge mess. What do you do solve this, because the old system and a 4 team play-off really does nothing for anyone.

2009: Alabama and Texas were both 13-0 and a unanimous #1 and #2, respectively. Cincinnati (12-0, #3 BCS #4 AP) and TCU (12-0 #4 BCS #3 AP) would round out your field, but a case can be made for Florida (12-1 #5 BCS #5 AP, lost to #1 Alabama) and Boise State (13-0 #6 in both) to get in over either of those teams. Another huge mess, but it doesn’t get better with a 4 team play-off.

2010: Auburn and Oregon were your unanimous #1 and #2 at 13-0 and 12-0, respectively. TCU was 12-0 and unanimously the #3 team. Those 3 spots are locked in stone, really. So who gets the 4th spot? Stanford (11-1 #4 BCS and #5 AP), Wisconsin (#5 BCS and #4 AP), Ohio State (11-1 #6 in both), Oklahoma (11-2 #7 BCS and #9 AP), Arkansas (10-2 #8 BCS and AP), Michigan State (11-1 #9 BCS #7 AP), and Boise State (11-1 #10 in both) all have a legit claim at the 4th spot, so people are going to be mad. This doesn’t end well for them, in this hypothetical situation.

2011: LSU (13-0 #1 BCS and AP) was unanimously the best team in the country. Alabama, Oklahoma and Stanford all had identical 11-1 records and were #’s 2, 3, and 4, respectively. This one is relatively easy, and that’s why we have this busted system.

If this was a boxing match, I’d score this 135-131 for the traditional setup, with the 4 team playoff picking up 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2011. 2009 was a tie round, and the traditional system won the other 9 rounds. Still like the idea?
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:32 PM    (permalink
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I will rebut with this.

1. It means two more football games which isn't a bad thing.
2. It allows teams like the Boise States of past years to have a shot of going to a national championship the deck in the old system was skewed to far into the favor of the major conferences.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:19 PM    (permalink
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I will rebut with this.

1. It means two more football games which isn't a bad thing.
2. It allows teams like the Boise States of past years to have a shot of going to a national championship the deck in the old system was skewed to far into the favor of the major conferences.
Thanks for the rebuttal. I agree with you partly, but at the same time I can't agree entirely.

1. The two more games, while awesome for fans, has drawbacks for the uncompensated players, who could lose out on millions of dollars if they get hurt. As a fan, I will never complain about having two extra games to watch though.

2. The thing is, as good as Boise was all those years they would have NEVER made it in if this was brought back to the inception of the BCS. TCU makes it in twice, but even then, can we really say with certainty that a "Selection Committee" will even give these smaller schools a shot to make it in this new system? Would TCU had gotten a shot over Tim Tebow and Florida in 2009 or Wisconsin/Ohio State in 2010? We can only speculate, but there are flaws that allow them to make decisions based on whatever they want without any accountability.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:33 AM    (permalink
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The BCS system was a complete disaster IMO, off the top of my head, I can only think of at most 3 seasons where the BCS Championship game had the best 2 teams playing against each other. Undefeated records rarely tell the whole story about who the best 2 teams are.

Records don't tell the whole story, injuries occasionallyly put a rotten team into the BCS when they lost a key piece on their team and had zero chance to beat their opponent.

The Big 12 was a very weak conference for years with often only 2 solid teams competing for the conference championship, Texas and Oklahoma. Their undefeated seasons often just reflected their weak schedules, where the winner of their game automatically got them an undefeated season and into the BCS Championship game.

The TCU's and Boise St. teams had a great run but got zero consideration for the BCS Championship game even though their teams sent many players to the pros as high draft picks. They simply had no name recognition and paid for it in the Coaches Poll.

I could go on and on but last season was probably one of the worst, where Alabama simply had a far higher recognition factor over Oklahoma St. otherwise there was no way Alabama makes it to the Championship game.

And these are just the current problems considering that the top teams in the Coaches Poll rarely if ever, play each other and depend almost strictly on their in conference record to go undefeated.

While I would really like an 8 team format, I am exceedingly happy to get at least a 4 team playoff, it is a real step in the right direction and hopefully, a 8 team playoff system isn't too far off in the future.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:46 AM    (permalink
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I agree Jballa!

Last year's Stanford team did NOT deserve a chance at the title!

The best regular season in sports has now been compromised.

The only point I agree with the pro 4-team-playoff people is that there is extra football.

Otherwise, I prefer the BCS way. I just loved that regular season.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:30 AM    (permalink
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1. The two more games, while awesome for fans, has drawbacks for the uncompensated players, who could lose out on millions of dollars if they get hurt. As a fan, I will never complain about having two extra games to watch though.
I have no problem with your argument as a whole, and actually agree with a lot of it like it really just shifts the controversy from picking 1 & 2 to pick teams 3 & 4.

However, and I don't mean this as a personal shot at you, but this argument is garbage. If this were the case, why not take away all post season games? Or shorten the season from 12 games to 10? If one extra game is such a high risk to cause injury to a player, then why play any games at all? Going from 13/14 games to 14/15 games likely will not be a major factor in if a player gets hurt in that "extra" game or not. Will it happen occassionally? Probably, but the percentage is going to be so low it shouldn't even be a factor. Players will probably be just as likely to get hurt in their conference championship game or a regular bowl game as they would in the +1 game.

Plus the whole compensation argument is a completely different topic and should have no bearing on this whatsoever.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:44 AM    (permalink
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I agree Jballa!

Last year's Stanford team did NOT deserve a chance at the title!

The best regular season in sports has now been compromised.

The only point I agree with the pro 4-team-playoff people is that there is extra football.

Otherwise, I prefer the BCS way. I just loved that regular season.
That's just the thing, though. I think the regular season means too much in college football, just like it doesn't mean enough in college hoops.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:39 AM    (permalink
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That's just the thing, though. I think the regular season means too much in college football, just like it doesn't mean enough in college hoops.
I just absolutely love the regular season games that feel like playoff games. OSU-Mich in 2006 or whatever it was. Auburn-Bama a few years ago. Last year's LSU-Bama first matchup. Hell, even Oregon-LSU to open the season felt like a championship game (and it kinda WAS).

I personally love that.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:40 AM    (permalink
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I think people are missing the point. I don't really care if the true #4 team gets snubbed but I really do care if the true #2 team or the true #1 gets snubbed. What is the likelihood that a undefeated team doesn't get a chance in this new format? Nearly none. Having no standard is good and bad IMO. Its good because it is very hard to find guidelines that will always work. But I do agree that it also opens it up for corruption.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:28 PM    (permalink
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I've long said this when it was looking like this was the route, but all it's going to do is continue to cause controversy over who doesn't get included into the top 4. I mean it's better, but the debate won't end. Will an undefeated Boise St team deserve to go over a 2 loss team in the SEC or Big 10 with a grueling schedule? There are also some years where a ton of teams have 2 losses or 1 loss.


Granted, I don't think you have much to gripe about if you lost 2 games but that's where we are headed. I'm fine with it though, at least it makes the top 2 teams have a tougher road to a NC.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:35 PM    (permalink
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I have no problem with your argument as a whole, and actually agree with a lot of it like it really just shifts the controversy from picking 1 & 2 to pick teams 3 & 4.

However, and I don't mean this as a personal shot at you, but this argument is garbage. If this were the case, why not take away all post season games? Or shorten the season from 12 games to 10? If one extra game is such a high risk to cause injury to a player, then why play any games at all? Going from 13/14 games to 14/15 games likely will not be a major factor in if a player gets hurt in that "extra" game or not. Will it happen occassionally? Probably, but the percentage is going to be so low it shouldn't even be a factor. Players will probably be just as likely to get hurt in their conference championship game or a regular bowl game as they would in the +1 game.

Plus the whole compensation argument is a completely different topic and should have no bearing on this whatsoever.
You know, I was close to throwing out every other argument besides the controversy that will come when picking the 4 teams, because I felt that was really the strongest point and something that historically can't be ignored. After reading your post, I realize I should have scrapped all the auxiliary arguments and stuck with that one.

I agree with you completely on what you said, and if I ever get around to rewriting this I will base the argument on the controversy at 4 being greater than the controversy of picking two teams.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:39 PM    (permalink
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I've long said this when it was looking like this was the route, but all it's going to do is continue to cause controversy over who doesn't get included into the top 4. I mean it's better, but the debate won't end. Will an undefeated Boise St team deserve to go over a 2 loss team in the SEC or Big 10 with a grueling schedule? There are also some years where a ton of teams have 2 losses or 1 loss.


Granted, I don't think you have much to gripe about if you lost 2 games but that's where we are headed. I'm fine with it though, at least it makes the top 2 teams have a tougher road to a NC.
Here is a spreadsheet I made of the top 8-10 each year, their records, and rankings in the BCS and AP since the BCS' creation. While some years we'll see an argument about a two-loss team getting in (see: 2006, where Boise, in revisionist history, might have been a top 4 team in the country) the trend we will see is a plethora of 1 loss teams going for a limited amount of spots.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...0Vlc lE#gid=5
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:45 PM    (permalink
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I think people are missing the point. I don't really care if the true #4 team gets snubbed but I really do care if the true #2 team or the true #1 gets snubbed. What is the likelihood that a undefeated team doesn't get a chance in this new format? Nearly none. Having no standard is good and bad IMO. Its good because it is very hard to find guidelines that will always work. But I do agree that it also opens it up for corruption.
looking at it historically, 10 mid-major teams have gone into the bowls undefeated (I might be missing one, can't seem to find Hawai'i the year they got smacked in the Sugar Bowl in these rankings https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...0Vlc lE#gid=5) and of those 10, only 2 were unanimously in the top 4 and 8 would not have had a chance. Boise never would have got a chance, nor 1999 Marshall with Randy Moss, or really any undefeated mid-major besides TCU the past 2 years. Utah, the two times they have run the table, would have been on the outside looking in still.

The idea that it gives these cinderella's a chance is a nice thought, but in all actuality Boise could still go undefeated and not get at a national championship.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:51 PM    (permalink
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:00 PM    (permalink
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The BCS system was a complete disaster IMO, off the top of my head, I can only think of at most 3 seasons where the BCS Championship game had the best 2 teams playing against each other. Undefeated records rarely tell the whole story about who the best 2 teams are.

Records don't tell the whole story, injuries occasionallyly put a rotten team into the BCS when they lost a key piece on their team and had zero chance to beat their opponent.

The Big 12 was a very weak conference for years with often only 2 solid teams competing for the conference championship, Texas and Oklahoma. Their undefeated seasons often just reflected their weak schedules, where the winner of their game automatically got them an undefeated season and into the BCS Championship game.

The TCU's and Boise St. teams had a great run but got zero consideration for the BCS Championship game even though their teams sent many players to the pros as high draft picks. They simply had no name recognition and paid for it in the Coaches Poll.

I could go on and on but last season was probably one of the worst, where Alabama simply had a far higher recognition factor over Oklahoma St. otherwise there was no way Alabama makes it to the Championship game.

And these are just the current problems considering that the top teams in the Coaches Poll rarely if ever, play each other and depend almost strictly on their in conference record to go undefeated.

While I would really like an 8 team format, I am exceedingly happy to get at least a 4 team playoff, it is a real step in the right direction and hopefully, a 8 team playoff system isn't too far off in the future.
Throwing this stat out there to make you hate the scheduling system even more, but the SEC plays an average of 4 road games, per school, per year. Tell me how that's fair that a Pac-12 team playing 5.7 road games a year is compared on the same scale as an SEC team playing on the road a lot less.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:51 PM    (permalink
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I would love to see this playoff idea expand to 8 teams at some point in the next 10 years. I think it would be a little easier to select teams, and would be less controversial IMO
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:49 PM    (permalink
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You know, I was close to throwing out every other argument besides the controversy that will come when picking the 4 teams, because I felt that was really the strongest point and something that historically can't be ignored. After reading your post, I realize I should have scrapped all the auxiliary arguments and stuck with that one.

I agree with you completely on what you said, and if I ever get around to rewriting this I will base the argument on the controversy at 4 being greater than the controversy of picking two teams.
Ya, I mean I somewhat agree with most of your argument. It doesn't completely resolve the issue, but what would? A 16 team playoff? At least this is, if anything, a slightly better solution than the current one.

But I just didn't think the risk of injury is a big enough factor to not do it.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:57 PM    (permalink
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Ya, I mean I somewhat agree with most of your argument. It doesn't completely resolve the issue, but what would? A 16 team playoff? At least this is, if anything, a slightly better solution than the current one.

But I just didn't think the risk of injury is a big enough factor to not do it.
Honestly, 8 or the old system works with me. at 8, you really don't have as much debate over the 8, with major conference champions virtually guaranteed a spot, while opening the door for a mid major school to run the table and make it, or a team with 1 fluke loss given a shot to be a champ.

I'd prefer the old system, really. In terms of execution, it did its job about as well as any system. Hell, I would go back to the rotating bowl system, and just add the cotton bowl as another BCS game, removing the national championship game and having The Sugar, Rose, Orange, Fiesta, and Cotton on a 5 year rotation of the national championship. I don't see what was so bad about that, really. If the system was broken, the proposed system is just as broken, if not more broken, while opening the door for more controversy later on.
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JBalla is mormon, so naturally he assumes that whenever you get one marriage done, another two or five are in the works.

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Old 06-27-2012, 09:08 PM    (permalink
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I disagree with the assertion that just because the BCS and AP agreed on who the #1 and #2 were, there wasn't controversy. In 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011 the top two teams were "unanimous," but there was tons of controversy surrounding the title game. I also find that assertion that controversy regarding the #4/#5 teams is somehow worse than controversy over the #2/#3 teams. Do you really think that leaving two of Cal/Texas/Utah out of a playoff in 2004 is worse than not giving an undefeated Auburn a chance at playing for the title?
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:14 PM    (permalink
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An 8 team playoff with home field until the title game makes the most sense to me. It's an incentive for the best teams not to coast.

The format works for well for every freaking sport. It works for all other levels of football. Big time CFB is so freaking corrupt that the ADs, conference execs, and school execs can't exclude the bowls since the bowls take them all on golf trips and whoring excursions in the caribbean.

The bowl system can exist separate and apart from a playoff. It's inane that they aren't separated for this mini-playoff.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:15 PM    (permalink
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I disagree with the assertion that just because the BCS and AP agreed on who the #1 and #2 were, there wasn't controversy. In 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011 the top two teams were "unanimous," but there was tons of controversy surrounding the title game. I also find that assertion that controversy regarding the #4/#5 teams is somehow worse than controversy over the #2/#3 teams. Do you really think that leaving two of Cal/Texas/Utah out of a playoff in 2004 is worse than not giving an undefeated Auburn a chance at playing for the title?
Exactly. The BCS is a joke.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:30 AM    (permalink
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Throwing this stat out there to make you hate the scheduling system even more, but the SEC plays an average of 4 road games, per school, per year. Tell me how that's fair that a Pac-12 team playing 5.7 road games a year is compared on the same scale as an SEC team playing on the road a lot less.
Great point, the Pac 12 also has a record of playing tougher non conference games than the SEC has but these facts aren't the whole story. People are forgetting that the BCS Championship game is to decide the NCAA champion for that year, and that requires a playoff IMO just like it does for every other NCAA sport. Technically, if you win your conference, you should be eligible for a Championship run if you are in a Div 1 conference, it should never be decided by subjective means. A 4 team playoff is a step in the right direction but an 8 team playoff makes far more sense to me. Second place teams like Alabama should never get consideration to be a NCAA Champion which really made the BCS look rather stupid last year.
I do believe the regular season should be cut back to 10 games so the athletes aren't subjected to unnecessary injury risk when a 8 team playoff is finally in place.
I do not understand those who argue that the playoffs will reck the worth of the regular season games, after all, you have to win those to be eligible for the playoffs which means they are still extremely important in every sense of the meaning.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:29 PM    (permalink
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I disagree with the assertion that just because the BCS and AP agreed on who the #1 and #2 were, there wasn't controversy. In 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011 the top two teams were "unanimous," but there was tons of controversy surrounding the title game. I also find that assertion that controversy regarding the #4/#5 teams is somehow worse than controversy over the #2/#3 teams. Do you really think that leaving two of Cal/Texas/Utah out of a playoff in 2004 is worse than not giving an undefeated Auburn a chance at playing for the title?
The reason why I declared it "unanimous" was the system agreed with the AP Poll. Every single year someone somewhere can make an argument that their favorite team deserves a national championship shot, but that's going to get worse when you have more teams debating about seeds, matchups, making it in, travel to semi-finals, etc. It's more headache than it needs to be.
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JBalla is mormon, so naturally he assumes that whenever you get one marriage done, another two or five are in the works.

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Old 07-01-2012, 04:31 PM    (permalink
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I've written 10,000 times why no system will fix college football as it is constructed right now, because the core premise that "every team has equal opportunity to win a championship from day 1" is, at best, a lie. The rules are different for different teams.

The BCS isn't going to fix it and a 4 team playoff won't fix it.

If you want to read a long post, I'll post it... but even a 32 team tournament won't fix it. There is no good solution for the championship for the FBS Division 1 Football leagues.
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:20 PM    (permalink
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I've written 10,000 times why no system will fix college football as it is constructed right now, because the core premise that "every team has equal opportunity to win a championship from day 1" is, at best, a lie. The rules are different for different teams.

The BCS isn't going to fix it and a 4 team playoff won't fix it.

If you want to read a long post, I'll post it... but even a 32 team tournament won't fix it. There is no good solution for the championship for the FBS Division 1 Football leagues.
Agree. Mathematically provable, which is why those computer algorithms are bogus as well. There are just too many teams and not enough games to build a quality matrix of relative strengths.

64 team division one, with soccer style promotion and demotion for the lowest ranked d1 teams and highest ranked d1aa teams. 16 team playoff.
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