Either outcome is a rationale for expanding the field.
Either outcome is a rationale for expanding the field.
The NCAA powers-that-be have repeatedly emphasized the importance of maintaining "the most meaningful regular season in sports." There's no desire to undermine the regular season.
The old system of bowl conference lock-ins made no sense whatsoever.
The BCS, for all of its flaws, has been an improvement.
The four team playoff will be an improvement on the BCS (it's essentially the "plus one" model that Coach Saban has endorsed).
My major concern with the new system is the selection committee choosing the teams. In the four team playoff, we will have a small committee making the selection of teams. I fear that this will allow TV $$$ to wield heavier influence on the selection process. I would've preferred they kept the BCS system in place, but expanded the Championship to include the top four teams instead of the top two.
How would the Oregon and Ks State games have been less important with a 4-team playoff? Would those teams just have mailed in the game, assuming they'd keep the top 4 ranking even if they'd lost? That would have been a mistake, because they both fell out of the top 4 with their losses to Stanford and Baylor. It's likely that in a playoff system, at least one of them, if not both, would be left out because of their 1-loss record coupled with other perceived deficiencies.
With the playoff, we would have been treating many other team's games as championship play-ins, ie the games of UGA, Fla, Oklahoma, LSU, FSU, SC, etc, even though they'd already had a loss. Under the current system, these teams had been written off long ago. The new system calls for more than only the teams with undefeated records to have games that can make or break their chance to finish in the top 4 and compete for a title. Now, 2-loss teams will still be in the hunt, perhaps hoping that the 1-loss team which would otherwise take the 4th seed will lose so that they can jump ahead of them and into the playoff.
The NFL comparison is flawed because there are more games during the season and more teams in the playoffs. The problem occasionally emerges where a team has a bye locked in and can mail in the last game or two (although this is pretty uncommon). Regardless, there are usually several critical games at the end of the NFL regular season, with teams at least fighting for home-field advantage if not for a playoff spot itself. Also, teams that are not in the playoff picture commonly shut down their A-game to protect their rosters from injury, preserving their personnel for the next season, which can make for boring games. College teams don't do this as most of the players are getting their only shot.
Regarding baseball, it is true that the wild card expansion is bad for the better teams. But it definitely makes more games relevant. Not only is there the division race, there is also the wild card race.
Given that in college there are still so few playoff spots under the new system, and so few games during the regular season, I sincerely doubt there will be a disregard for any of the games by any of the collegiate teams. It will be very tricky to get in, with nothing for certain for any team that loses.
Would anyone here have felt ok if Yeldon didn't score the game-winning touchdown against LSU, just because there were 4 playoff spots? Would the team have just thought, "no biggie, we'll get into the playoff anyway. . . we'll just mosey on past Texas A&M"? Obviously, with the A&M loss, Alabama is still in it this year. But a lot of that has to do with recently-earned favor due to winning titles. Most teams, like Oregon and Ks State, don't have that luxury, and Alabama can't assume it always will.
The nail-biters won't decrease in number because there are two more spots. I think the opposite will happen. Long story.
Last edited by Jack Bourbon; November 22nd, 2012 at 04:53 AM.
We have been in a 2 game playoff for 20 years now, for us that's one more game.
Dont get me wrong, I'm not for the play offs at all because of what it does to the regular season, just my view. However, a well coached team that happens to have one down night just a shot at redemption, like we are fortunate to see this year.
Whatever system is settled on, I think Alabama above most schools will be prepared & focused on winning it all.
I guess I agree that "too many playoff spots" (for sake of argument let's say 16) will hurt the regular season.
However, I don't see how it will be possible for the season to be lengthened enough to allow for anything beyond a 4 team playoff.
That's just two extra games. Go to eight team playoff and it would be three. Go to sixteen and it would be 4. That would lengthen the season by an entire month. And with finals taking place in December they'd have to allow for time for that too.
So I just can't see it going beyond 4 and for sure not beyond 8. JMO.
I agree with REDSTAR.
Either thru political correctness or thru financial greed,
the likelihood of playoffs expanding is more than 100%.
At that point all of the games diminish in importance.
Soon each game has the importance of 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'.
(No offense intended toward kids everywhere...)
Our goal should be to work hard to prevent future expansion of playoffs.
Last edited by Ole Man Dan; November 22nd, 2012 at 08:34 AM. Reason: format
I personally am anti-playoff. Expanding the field is just a way to appease the teams and conferences who were not good enough to get a spot under the old system...instead of playing better football, they found it easier to change the system.
The University of Alabama: Class of 1997
Oklahoma State University: Class of 2005
There is a fine line between being a "die-hard" fan and just another critic!
Fascinating thread. I would add that not every structure is best in every dimension, so it is worth considering which areas are improved by a playoff and if/where the costs fall.
In which structure does Alabama win the most championships? I'm inclined to say that the larger the playoff, the more it benefits the "smaller" programs with the easiest schedule. I'm not sure where the inflection point is, probably a 4-team playoff is sufficiently exclusive of small programs.
Which structure offers the most regular season excitement? Probably, the setup with the smallest playoff. But there is always a "cusp", and on the cusp there is excitement as the season closes out. However, for the elite programs with championship hopes, currently the early games are just as exciting and deadly as any playoff game.
Which structure offers the most post-season excitement? Well, obviously, a larger playoff. Seems like the trade-off between regular season and playoff is a bit of a zero-sum game. My preference is for regular season, but I will enjoy playoffs if/when they arrive in force.
Which structure is the most unique in all of sports? That would be the current system. A 4-team playoff stays fairly close to the formula. In this I agree strongly with RedStar that playoffs always expand. At some scale, a large playoff absolutely must impact regular season excitement.
I'm taking a "wait and see" approach.