A Real Playoff Is The Right Thing To Do

Taylor is at it again and I’m beginning to think “Taylor” is just an alias for Bill Hancock. The only people I’ve ever heard of to be this stubbornly against a playoff are those who work for the BCS. Let’s address his points and see where he may be a little misguided.

First of all, we both agree a playoff is necessary. I believe it should be 16 teams. He believes it should be 2. Neither of us thinks you can just name a champion after the regular season. So we both actually believe in a playoff, we’re just arguing which playoff system is better. Based on merit alone, I’m not sure how anyone can possibly believe a one game playoff is better than a real tournament, but to each his own.

Rather than copy and paste specific lines to address, I’ll just go through the blog post with my reactions. Feel free to follow the link above to the original post to see specifics of what Taylor said. Now, on to the good stuff.

You bring up a good point, why should we reward teams who get hot instead of those who play well all season long in basketball? You bring up Butler as an example, I’m glad you did. You think I’m way off base to claim Oregon wouldn’t have been a top 5 team had the football season been 119 games. Let’s look at your claim for a second.

Oregon won 12 straight games, the entire length of the regular season. Butler has now won 29 games and lost 7. You say Butler isn’t a top 2 or top 4 team, so you feel better teams got slighted by not being able to play for the championship. Why exactly do you say Butler isn’t a top 2 or top 4 team? You point to the entire body of work all season long and say “Hey, they lost 7 games, clearly they aren’t better than Ohio State, Kansas or Duke.”

Might I point something out to you? Butler has now won 15 straight games after going 14-7 to start the season. What if the college basketball season was like the college football season? If it was just the last 12 games of the regular season, Butler would be undefeated and riding some great momentum into the postseason. Would you then say they are not a top 2 or top 4 team? No, because you are telling me right now that Oregon was a top 2 team in college football last year.

But WHY? Because the season is a measly 12 games! The extended season of college basketball gives us a much better idea of which teams are better than others because so many play each other and they have so many opportunities to showcase themselves. That makes it easy for you to declare Butler as not being a top 4 team. But chances are you would have ranked Pitt and Florida higher than Butler too, and we saw how those matchups turned out.

My point is that if you made the seasons the same, Butler would have been considered a top undefeated team. You claim they aren’t by virtue of the fact that they played so many other games. What this means for college football is that the regular season hardly tells us anything. It tells us nothing more than who the best teams are in each conference, not in the whole country. Probably why we need a tournament with all the conference champions to see who the best really is.

Let me clarify a point here. The BCS cannot possibly pick the two best teams to play each other. This is impossible as you cannot know who the best two teams are after only 12-13 games. All the BCS is designed to do is pick the two teams with the best regular seasons. And it fails at this because in almost every year since its inception it has been impossible to determine. So what is the deciding factor? Vote on it! It doesn’t strike you as just a little misguided that the two best teams are decided by a simple vote? The BCS tries to say who had the best seasons, but it does a terrible job as you simply cannot determine this fairly each year.

You’re telling me to deal with the 12-13 game schedule? My system is the one that deals with it, not yours! The BCS cannot handle a 12-13 game schedule. If you claim to know the two best teams in the country, you need at least 25 games to figure that out. The BCS would be a fantastic system if the season was extended to 25 games so that all teams had a healthy non-conference schedule to go with their conference schedule. I’m sure then you would have less controversy at the season’s end as to who the two best teams are.

And excuse me, did you really say this: “Everyone knows how many games they have going into the season (and some realize the possibility of a conference championship game), and Oregon did all they could.” Really? Seriously? So what did TCU do? What have nearly a dozen teams done since the BCS began that got snubbed? They did all they could! They won all their games! And what did they have to show for it? No championship game. Great system. Reward one team for doing all they can and snub the other for doing exactly the same thing.

You think votes are based on a team’s performance? Why then was Alabama still ranked ahead of South Carolina last year in spite of losing to them and having an identical record? The same has been true countless times over the years and has been documented on this very blog. Voters ranked teams higher than those who beat them all the time, even if they have identical records. Tell me what that game meant exactly? Did it influence the voters?

Voters vote based on how good they think a team is, period. Look at the fact that there are rankings before a game has even been played. What is that vote based on?

You’re right, TCU and Boise State’s seasons have not meant nothing. They have served as great ways to build up those programs. But think of how ridiculous this sounds. In 2008 we had only one undefeated team. At the end of the season, this undefeated team was not the national champion. It was still a very successful year.

We celebrate inequality in college football! Yeah, they got totally screwed by the powers that be, but still a good season. The very fact that these seasons are considered a success is a mockery to all of sports. Imagine an undefeated college basketball team not going to the March Madness tournament. Would they call their season a success still? Yet we celebrate these situations in football. How backwards is that.

Let’s look at facts, then shall we? The BCS schools, in 1998, scheduled FCS teams in 9% of their non-conference games. In 2009, that number had jumped to 21% of all their non-conference games. 1-5 non-conference games for BCS schools is against an FCS foe. Tell me what you think about cupcake schedules before the BCS, but the facts are plain as day. The BCS has spawned the ultimate cupcake schedules. Teams need easy wins to make the championship game. If winning your conference is all you are concerned with, then you don’t worry about lame FCS teams and easy wins anymore. You focus on your conference. This would open up more big matchups in the non conference which would be great for the sport.

You think they wouldn’t be must wins? There are only 5 at large bids in the playoff. How you perform in your non-conference games will influence who gets those as well as your seeding dramatically. They still matter. Teams would just be more willing to schedule good matchups instead of FCS teams as often as possible.

And why do you think Duke schedules such cupcakes in basketball? Because the season is endlessly long and still has a huge tournament at the end! I think the basketball season should be shorter since there is such a big tourny at the end anyway. That’s just me. I would rather see a few exhibition tournaments, a month of some non-conference games, then conference play with no conference tournament. Go straight to the big dance. Just me though.

You clearly know nothing of the process on selection sunday. I suggest you read up on it and try to understand. If you compare the selection sunday process to the process of the coaches poll then you have no idea what you are talking about. Half the coaches don’t even do their own poll. The committee on selection sunday is no doubt biased and I hate that, but they look at many factors and study out all the teams in depth. No such thing happens in college football polling, not even close. The committee and selection process could be better in my mind, and football would do it right if we had it, but that’s the best way to do it.

Um, no, people are not “coming around” when it comes to the BCS. It is not growing in popularity. No other sport would even consider such a ludicrous and unfair system. The BCS is less fair, less profitable and less exciting than a postseason tournament. The only time it might be fair would be to decide the world series, as after 160 games it is pretty evident who the top teams are. Since no other sport even has barely half that number of games, we’ll stick with real playoffs.