Holy shit. The NCAA has FINALLY switched to a playoff system. Did hell freeze over? Or did BCS and college officials finally pull their heads out of their asses? (Like that will ever happen..) Well my friends (or haters), I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I’m here to tell you this will probably not turn out the way you all want/plan it to so don’t get those hopes up quite yet.
When the BCS was originally instated, it created a positive buzz in the college football world. Many thought it was the ultimate answer to crowning a college football champion. My, oh my, were they wrong. Within the first three seasons, the BCS had already kept arguably one of the greatest teams of all time from winning a championship. For those of you who don’t remember, I’ll give you a quick synopsis.
The Miami Hurricanes finished the season with a phenomenal 10-1 record, with the only loss coming in a week two upset to Washington 34-29. That season, Miami averaged 42.6ppg while giving up an average of 15.4ppg. Did Miami make it to the Championship that year? No. Instead, a Florida State team whom Miami had already beaten (Wide Right 3) 27-24 was headed to play Oklahoma, where they would have a weak showing, losing 13-2 . What did the Canes do that postseason you ask? They laid a 37-20 ass whooping on instate rival #7 Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
The BCS has failed at times to get the correct teams in the championship, and a 4-team playoff will likely suffer from the same failure.
Granted the playoff system would have a selection committee, it would not take much for one team to get screwed over. Is the NCAA implying that whoever is the fifth team, or odd man out, just flat out isn’t good enough to beat one of the top four? Excuse me while I laugh hysterically. In 1999, Tennessee had already beaten Alabama 21-7 in week 6 IN TUSCALOOSA! If they had already beaten one of the best teams in the country, what makes you think they couldn’t have done it again and taken out big bad Va Tech or Florida State in the playoffs? Sure 1999 is a tough argument to propose, Virginia Tech and Florida State were both extremely powerful teams who ran the table behind their offensive studs Michael Vick (QB, VT) and Peter Warrick (WR, FSU). How about in ’01 when Nebraska was #1 or #2 all season long only to have #15 Colorado pulverize the number one Cornhuskers 62-36?
As we’ve seen in many playoff formats, it doesn’t quite matter if a team has gone undefeated and earns the number one seed. Teams tend to play exactly how they are supposed to in the playoffs; like there is no tomorrow. As college football fans, we all know any given team can win on any given Saturday.
A four team playoff is not real change. To imply that #5 cannot compete with #1-4 is ludicrous.
Let’s face it, at the end of the season the only teams that really pose any competitive threat (most of the time) are the top 15. With that being said, here is my proposed 14-team playoff bracket:
With a 14 team playoff, the two teams who finish numbers one and two at the end of the regular season are awarded a first round bye. For the other 12 teams, the magic number is four. Four victories will earn that school a National Championship. All conference champions are not guaranteed to make the postseason unless the team finishes in the top 14, thus keeping the competition at the highest level possible. With a four team playoff it is much likelier for a highly competitive team to be left out, unlike the 14 team playoff. The #15 team who gets left out will cry foul, but realistically they are highly unlikely to win the 4 necessary games.
What about the bowl games you ask? Many will stay intact for the teams that do not earn a spot in the postseason and the more expensive bowls will be brought into the playoffs, being used as the games for the first round. Once the playoffs have reached round two, it is then that you apply BCS bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange), since there are four games in the second round. Much like NCAA Basketball, the Final Four should be in the same city and at the same venue, as well as two Final Four trophies (one for each winner). For the National Championship, the NCAA should select the highest bidding city, and the officiating crew should be voted upon by conference commissioners who cannot vote for their own conference officials.
Four teams just isn’t fair and just flat out won’t cut it. Sure, establishing a playoff is a big achievement for NCAA football, but to settle for this is absurd. This 14-team plan obviously would not be something that could take effect in just one season, but it could be something we have to look forward to with possible playoff expansion. Only time will tell.