A Four Team Playoff is Simply Not Enough

On November 10, 2013 by Ryan

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This season has already been quite controversial when it comes to the ranking systems college football has in place, and it could get worse.  The final season of the BCS is looking to be the most confusing, with 4 undefeated teams and a 1-loss Stanford all jockeying for position to make the National Championship Game.  If things stay the way they are we would end up with a Florida State vs. Alabama NCG, Ohio State vs. Stanford Rose Bowl, and Baylor in another BCS game.  Assuming the rankings are taken into effect when the selection committee takes over next year, that would put the four team playoff as FSU, Bama, OSU and Baylor, with Stanford on the outside looking in.  This is the way it should be, because Stanford has a loss, it’s as simple as that.  But there are plenty of arguments to be made that they could compete with any team in that top four, which I would tend to agree with.  Teams have bad games, but the system we currently have does not allow for a single slip up in the regular season.  The problem with the 4 team playoff is that it likely won’t allow for that either.

It’s more than likely that every year the four team playoff is in place there will be a team or two, or even three, that has a loss when it enters this new system.  The problem is going to be selecting the correct one loss team.

Let’s assume everyone wins out and there are 4 undefeated teams.  This would be the ideal situation for a 4 team playoff.  The odds of that are pretty close to zero.  So then what?  Say Baylor loses to one of its quality opponents left, let’s say Oklahoma State.  Then you have a one loss Baylor competing with a one loss Stanford for the final team to get in.  Does Stanford get in because their loss came earlier in the season or does Baylor get in because their loss is to a higher quality opponent?  It’s almost impossible to make the correct decision there.  Logic would say Baylor, because Stanford’s loss to Utah shows much more weakness than a loss to a team like Oklahoma State.

What if Ohio State loses in the Big Ten Title game to a likely Top 10 Michigan State squad to end the season?  Do you put Stanford in over Ohio State if the loss is close to MSU?  Stanford lost to Utah, as compared to a one loss MSU.  How do you make that decision?

The issue coming up next year can be plainly seen this season; 4 teams is simply not enough.

Take a look at the projected BCS top 8.

1 Alabama 9-0 SEC 1
2 Florida State 9-0 ACC 2
3 Ohio State 9-0 Big Ten 4
4 Stanford 8-1 Pac-12 5
5 Baylor 8-0 Big 12 6
6 Oregon 8-1 Pac-12 3
7 Clemson 8-1 ACC 7
8 Missouri 9-1 SEC 8

Now some will say that this leaves out Auburn, a very deserving team to be right in the mix of this playoff, and that’s true.  But they still have to play Alabama, which could cause chaos or make this top 8 more legitimate.  Missouri is likely to change as well, as they will play Bama in the SEC title game if they win out.  So this is purely hypothetical.

I think this looks like a great line up of 4 bowl games to happen January 1st and 2nd.  Alabama would play Missouri (again, this would change because of the SEC title game, could even be a 2-loss MSU if the B1G title game is close), FSU against Clemson again, OSU versus Oregon and Stanford vs. Baylor.

The next week you would have the winners play on the 10th and 11th or both on the 11th if you wanted.

hi-res-180325270-view-of-the-bcs-national-championship-trophy-during_crop_northThen “The Geico College Football Championship Game brought to you by Bud Light” could be played on the 17th.  This adds all of one extra week to the season.  The traditional big-name bowls are played as the 4 games they normally are.  If you want to keep them with teams from their traditional conferences do so, assuming there’s teams from those conferences in the top 8.  If there aren’t teams from those conferences, screw the tradition for the additional integrity, the revenue will make up for it.  The next two rounds of games should be played somewhere relatively neutral, and I wouldn’t even mind if this rotated year by year as well.  You could hold these games in cold weather cities like the Super Bowl does as long as there was a dome.

The final game should be played in the freezing cold at Ohio Stadium.  I kid, I kid.  But this could also be rotated just like the previous two games.  Again, the revenue would be tremendous, the fans would love it, and it really wouldn’t make the season much longer than it already is.

Forget the traditional bowl system, it’s broken and that is clear.  Let’s make teams like Missouri, Stanford and Oregon get their shot to show their slip-up during the season doesn’t show what their team is.  Every team is likely to benefit from this eventually, and it really is the only way to be sure we’re awarding the best team in the nation the title of National Champion.

7 comments
Buckeye Empire
Buckeye Empire

Again, BCS conferences. You're also forgetting the MAC, Sunbelt, C-USA (Also AAC, which would take out the Big East). You would have an endless debate of who to include, again. So just take BCS rankings, put in the top 8. When was the last year anyone thought the #9 team could compete for the title at the end of the season?

Jay Waugh
Jay Waugh

Big 10 .... Pac 12 .... Big 12 .... ACC ..... SEC ...... Mtn West .....Big East ..... Independents ....

Buckeye Empire
Buckeye Empire

There are only 6 BCS conferences, and obviously that doesn't equate to a playoff situation. You could add in 2 at-large bids for an 8 team playoff, but then there would be controversy on who to add.

Jay Waugh
Jay Waugh

Make it a play off between all Conference Champions ......

Ben Amstutz
Ben Amstutz

Their probly just seeing how this works if it works they'll tweek some things .. If Stanford loses to Utah they shouldn't jump us but u never know

Buckeye Empire
Buckeye Empire

If we were keeping the BCS ranking system, and just taking the top 4 I'd tend to agree more than I do now. What if this selection committee decides that Stanford has proven more than us, and that it should be Bama, FSU, Baylor and Stanford? There's no saying that's not going to happen. The BCS rankings aren't bad until computing the top two. So I'm saying give some room for error and make it 8. Rarely is the #9 team at the end of the year going to be someone who has a gripe about being in the National Title race.

Ben Amstutz
Ben Amstutz

It's a start in right direction though

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