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 Post subject: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:59 pm 
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Warning: Long and contains opinions.

I'm a big college football fan, I can't help but think that the direction we are headed re: determing a national champ is going to have serious negative impacts on the game.

Moving from the old vote only system to the BCS was a major step forward for three reasons:
1) It created a matchup of 1 vs 2 which in most years was hard to debate
2) Champ was earned on field
3) pure voting was replaced by a modified system to include voting and a deeper analysis of the teams (aka "computers")

While this system was clearly an improvement over previous there were 2 "problems". Fans, accustomed to larger playoff formats and wanting an increased chance of getting their team in, wanted more teams in the playoffs. The NCAA, wanting to make more money, wanted the same thing. Will this method create a better, fairer system for determining a national champion? I think it's doubtful.

Here's why.

Think of any sport that is determined by a playoff - from NFL to march madness to any youth sport. What they have in common is a procedure for determining which teams belong in the playoff to begin with. It's set in stone and understood by all. It's objective rather than subjective. And that is where the new playoff system will fall down. A team of people voting for the participants. What's worse is that there isn't an agreed upon way to value the teams.

The media is already portraying the objective of the exercise as finding the 4 best teams. And that is where i call bullshit. Playoff berths by definition are earned on the field. It doesn't matter if you are a better team, it matters if you win more games, win your division, etc.

So how do we fix this? First, we need to identify the objectives. Listed without any priority:
- Rewards performance on the field. Win by winning, not getting voted in
- keeps the "regular season" important
- Needs to reward teams that win their conference championship. It's the one place, prior to the playoff itself, where something can be earned on the field.
- It needs to "not" punish teams for playing a difficult schedule
- It has to keep some sense of competitive fairness

My proposal:
1) Keep it at 4 teams. Why? it's a competitive balance issue as well as a protection against shortened season. The competitive balance issue is this. College football is about teaching and reps. More weeks of practice, reps, games creates another built in advantage the top teams have over others. It's also an issue affecting conference championships. If the field gets big enough, conference championships begin to have zero significance. Think about college basketball. While march is great, the 64 team field has basically made almost every game leading up to the tourney meaningless.
2) 3 Auto qualifiers from among the champions of the big 5 conferences. Note: it will soon be a big 3 so determining these won't be difficult. Tie breaker for the 5 teams would be based solely on the teams performance in out of conference games with a heavier weight for SOS than W-L. This change will dramatically improve the quality and intensity of out of conference games and keep teams like Ohio State from scheduling OOC patsies each year. One upside of this system, is that in many cases you actually do have an 8 team playoff. For example, you might have Alabama-LSU playing for the SEC spot and UCLA-Oregon playing for the Pac12 spot. These would just happen to be conf champ games. Note: since the OOC games will all be over prior to these conf champ games, teams will know whether a win would get them into the top 3.
3) One wild card team determined by a similar forumula as the BCS.

So there you have it. A way to keep college football great, and keep Condoleza Rice from having any say in who wins the national championship.

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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:38 pm 
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Who would be the top 3? SEC, ACC, Pac-12? The Big Ten still beats all in viewership, so that won't happen.

I think you have to go to 6 - the 5 big conference champs plus one at large. The at large could still be determined by a BCS-like formula as you suggested.

The only problem then is the seeding. You could do 1 and 2 with byes, but that is a huge advantage, which is why I think it will end at 8, with 3 at large (BCS formula). I think non conference games will be reduced to 2, to make up for the 3 added games, for the champ/runnerup. Probably one mid major and one other power conference team.

This all assumes that a true minor league is not spun off soon, which I think there will be. It will go the way of hockey and baseball, where legitimate prospects come out of both the professional minor leagues and colleges.


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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:55 pm 
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stillenigma wrote:
Who would be the top 3? SEC, ACC, Pac-12? The Big Ten still beats all in viewership, so that won't happen.

I think you have to go to 6 - the 5 big conference champs plus one at large. The at large could still be determined by a BCS-like formula as you suggested.

The only problem then is the seeding. You could do 1 and 2 with byes, but that is a huge advantage, which is why I think it will end at 8, with 3 at large (BCS formula). I think non conference games will be reduced to 2, to make up for the 3 added games, for the champ/runnerup. Probably one mid major and one other power conference team.

This all assumes that a true minor league is not spun off soon, which I think there will be. It will go the way of hockey and baseball, where legitimate prospects come out of both the professional minor leagues and colleges.


I like the idea of all 5 top conf champs getting in. I don't like the playoff expanding to 3 games though. Tough tradeoff.

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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:17 pm 
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With 4 teams it probably would have looked like this last year

Automatic: Stanford (won Pac 12; defeated ND out of conference)
Automatic: Michigan State (won Big 12; defeated South Florida out of conference)
Automatic: Oklahoma (won Big 12; defeated ND out of conference)

2 conf champs Auburn and FSU miss out on automatic berth due to crappy out of conference schedules. Note: if this system was in place you would probably see these teams play much tougher OOS schedules to avoid this issue.

Wild Card: Florida State

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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:39 pm 
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There what, 5 power conferences? These have about 60 teams right? How about BREAK THEM UP COMPLETELY. Then create 4 conferences of 20 teams each, I'd divide them by Northeast, Midwest, South and West, each with two 10 team divisions. Take the 60 POWER teams, add the next best 20, like Boise, UConn, Cincy whoever, then have them play at least 7-8 games within their division every year, then have a conference title game and the 4 winners reach the Final 4... I think that would be the only way that I would ever feel happy and that all teams have a serious chance. If your team could get lucky and get to their conference championship game, then you got a shot at the final 4. But of course you JUST ACCEPT that the 4 best teams won't be there every time, I could care less myself, so what if some year a 9-4 Pitt team lucked into a Final 4 and 12-1 Auburn was left out. :lol: I'd like a system like that. It would be more like the NFL-like that year 8-8 SD got in and 11-5 NE was left out, so what? It would be BETTER, it could be a 4 team playoff where anybody had a shot, not just NAME BRAND FAVORITES masturbated over by the "voters". Would you have a TRUE CHAMPION, well? OF COURSE: YES!!! A Champion is whoever wins the championship game, CHAMPION does not = Best Team! Champion potentially has a chance to also be BEST TEAM, but one has nothing to do with the other. Where the 9-7 Giants the "best team" or the 16-0 Patriots? I'd say the Pats where the BEST TEAM and the Giants where the CHAMPIONS. Myslef, I enjoy when the "BEST TEAM" get's ousted and doesn't win and some medicore team raises the trophy, unless it's the Steelers of course.


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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:43 am 
Good topic...and keeping Condi's GD hands off of football is a great hook.

Points of contention-

No worry about the meaningfulness of regular season games. There are only around 12 of them on average...regional and conference rivalries fuel themselves in a game as violent and image transferable as football. I don't like this argument coming from ADs...chasing TV money/conferences and rankings they have gassed some of the great rivalries of my youth...Pitt-PSU, Okie-Neb, Tex-T AM, ND-Mich, Pitt-WVU even the SEC is putting in a provision that will renew long time rivalries yearly now broke apart by divisional scheduling.

No need to worry about reps or number of teams. Looking at the NFL cba and all the ways around the NCAA practice rules the NCAA players likely work at football at least 3 times as much as there professional peers. If you mean teaching as academics.... :lol:

I would be fine with this...http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/football/fcs

Football and basketball are apples and oranges. I'm fairly certain the ratings of the regular season game between T AM and Bama would rate 6 if placed among the top 10 NCAA basketball national championship games. NFL draft beat the NBA playoffs in ratings. Basketball is an afterthought in this country....

I think it should be expanded to at least 8 teams. The 5 major conference champions and three other teams...and I would be all right with letting the coaches vote on the three. I'm guessing we are going to have a few highly pissed off one loss teams when this season shakes out.


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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:00 pm 
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Zivco wrote:
Good topic...and keeping Condi's GD hands off of football is a great hook.

Points of contention-

No worry about the meaningfulness of regular season games. There are only around 12 of them on average...regional and conference rivalries fuel themselves in a game as violent and image transferable as football. I don't like this argument coming from ADs...chasing TV money/conferences and rankings they have gassed some of the great rivalries of my youth...Pitt-PSU, Okie-Neb, Tex-T AM, ND-Mich, Pitt-WVU even the SEC is putting in a provision that will renew long time rivalries yearly now broke apart by divisional scheduling.

No need to worry about reps or number of teams. Looking at the NFL cba and all the ways around the NCAA practice rules the NCAA players likely work at football at least 3 times as much as there professional peers. If you mean teaching as academics.... :lol:

I would be fine with this...http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/football/fcs

Football and basketball are apples and oranges. I'm fairly certain the ratings of the regular season game between T AM and Bama would rate 6 if placed among the top 10 NCAA basketball national championship games. NFL draft beat the NBA playoffs in ratings. Basketball is an afterthought in this country....

I think it should be expanded to at least 8 teams. The 5 major conference champions and three other teams...and I would be all right with letting the coaches vote on the three. I'm guessing we are going to have a few highly pissed off one loss teams when this season shakes out.


Thanks for the feedback. A question for you - are you a college football fan?

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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:31 am 
I think of it just as football...


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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:40 am 
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Quote:
Moving from the old vote only system to the BCS was a major step forward


I always saw it as more of the same... You're just averaging the polls to come up with #1 and #2.

An actual playoff is the only way to define a champion. It's not a popularity contest.


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 Post subject: Re: College playoff - let's fix it before it breaks
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:32 pm 
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Steeler Jones wrote:
Quote:
Moving from the old vote only system to the BCS was a major step forward


I always saw it as more of the same... You're just averaging the polls to come up with #1 and #2.

An actual playoff is the only way to define a champion. It's not a popularity contest.


You are correct. The trick is determining how many teams make the playoffs and what the objective system is in place to determine those teams. The more i think of this the more i think that 4 is the right number and that a rule is imposed that if you are in a power 5 conference and "don't" win your conference title you can't play in the final four. The conf champ games then become somewhat defacto quarterfinal games.

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