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Playoff expansion Could balance out college football


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PLAYOFF EXPANSION COULD BALANCE OUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Opinion Article written by MavGrad99

College football has become too predictable over the past 20 years.  You can name 6 teams any given year and likely score on all 4 playoff teams.  This has devalued college football at its highest level.  The topic now becomes, how do you fix it?  Should you fix it?  What are the risks?

Let's start with the "should we fix this?"  or the "Why?"  Since the start of the "true champion" BCS National Championships, we have seen a monumental shift in power.  That power has favored the SEC, Big 10, and ACC.  Let's dive into the BCS era.  Nick Saban figured out the BCS formula and used it to establish his Alabama team as an essential lock in the playoffs, and a huge portion of the BCS championship games.  Other schools were forced to catch up.  If any regular season SEC team managed to beat Alabama, it basically boosted their BCS formula rating so high that they were a lock.  However, during that period, Nick Saban was been able to recruit nationwide essentially hand picking any player he wants to create some of the greatest collection of talent we have ever seen in college football.  College football acknowledged that the BCS system was flawed and they must fix it!

Phase 2 of the real college championships arrive.  Let's have some influential football people and athletic directors from schools across the nation rank and anoint the 4 "best teams" to compete in our college playoff system.  This won't hold any bias, they are reputable people.  Despite many efforts by undefeated teams, they have been able to penetrate the college football playoff.  This has been an exclusive playoff for half of college football, leaving the other half looking out at the Cinderella Ball from their basement feel inadequate and unequal to the rest of their "peers."  The exclusiveness of the Playoff has now shifted all of college football's power to about 10 school leaving the rest trying to spend to catch up.  

Case and point 3 of why we need to expand the playoffs is this:  recruiting.  Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football.  It is what makes programs who and what they are.  Great teams usually recruit the best players from the high school ranks.  Kids who have always won.  Kids who will always want to win.  In today's system, only 4 teams win any given year.  If you look back through our short playoff history only 11 teams have made the dance.  That is only 11 teams over 7 years...  11 teams have taken up 28 spots over 7 years.  Let me repeat that in another way, 39% of the spots taken in the playoffs are by the same 11 teams.  I decided to dig a little further into this, out of the top 100 2020 recruits, at least 60% of them have chosen a school that has made the CFB playoff.   Yes, I am telling you over 60% of the top athletes are choosing schools that have finished in the top 4.  That doesn't leave a lot of great recruits for everyone else does it?

Now how to fix it?  It's easy.  Expansion.  The method doesn't matter too much to me.  The "top 8 teams" with all Power 5s represented works.  We would have had Cincinatti, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oregon (illegitimate P12 champ, but that is their business.) That is great football!  That would also be 8 more teams sitting at the table.  16 at Large?  We would add Georgia, Iowa St, Northwestern, BYU, Indiana, FLorida, Coastal Carolina, Louisiana, and Iowa to the mix.  Sure, Iowa getting crushed by Bama would be horrible to watch, but BYU vs Ohio State?  Sounds like it has the potential to be great?  Add these 16 to the recruiting playing field and all of a sudden Nick Saban actually has to work to be good again.  Dabo doesn't just urinate greatness.  It also adds enough teams where regionalized recruiting can become a thing again likely resulting in less transfers.  Currently, we can see a DFW kid go as far as Ohio State and Michigan.  If Texas A&M or Texas have solid shots at making the playoff yearly, I believe we see that kid stay home. 

Going bigger also removes a lot of the bias in the selection committee.  I believe 2020 is the perfect storm that exposed the bias and money grab of the NCAA Selection Committee.  Making exceptions and not setting standards to enter the playoff allowed the perfect storm for Ohio State to get that preferential exemption into the playoff.  Texas A&M who withstood a fantastic 11 game season got left out in the cold.  While many will argue that Texas A&M should have been in over Notre Dame, Notre Dame also showed exceptional football over an 11-12 game season.  You can't ignore that in comparison to Ohio State's fluffy cupcake 7 game schedule.

Now for my final point.  What are the risks?  The risks would be simple.  First, you would risk offending your money-laden Blue Blood schools.  That is Ohio St, Alabama, Clemson, etc.  Your regular 4 and their conferences would stand the most to lose.  Without a guarantee of massive increased revenue and sustained reputation, they would oppose this.  Secondly, your schools that get that "shot," make a mockery of it and not use the boost in revenue and reputation to improve their facilities, schedules, and recruiting.  If you are going to give them a seat, you want them to strive to make it as nice as the rest.  Finally, the NCAA's risk is having to admit that they have been wrong about college football for my entire lifetime and many years before it.  They simply refuse to admit that they are not good at managing and dictating big money football in a fair manner that pleases all of the schools they supposedly represent.

This is my call for change.  I am not sure that this article, rant, etc. ever leaves Smoaky.com, but if it does, I hope it lands in the right hands and is read with the right eyes.  Fix college football.

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12 minutes ago, DB2point0 said:

8 is all that’s needed

I don't care how many is "needed" to fix the problem.  I want the NCAA to acknowledge there IS a problem.

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The only thing I'm going to argue here is the recruiting part. Did the recruits go to those schools because they made the playoffs or are they making the playoffs because they recruited those kids. Chicken before the egg type argument that could go either way. 

When you have momentum its typically takes a coaching change to lose it in modern football. Same thing goes for gaining it. It typically happens through a coaching change. Considering that the playoff era is still relatively new, the elites haven't really changed coaches that often therefore haven't lost the momentum. 

The system needs changes for sure, but I'm but I'm not sure that changes the parity of the game. Nobody is upsetting the power balance until they kick down the door or a coaching change for the elite 2-3 programs slows their momentum. 

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Is there any other sport/league that has such an arbitrary and convoluted method of determining the champion? 

Seems simple. All the teams are in different divisions/districts/conferences/whatever. Teams win their conferences/division/district/whatever and then they  "play off" against each other. The winner of that "play off" is the true champion. 

You can say it's about tradition or money, but the fact is that you're losing both if you don't fix this soon. 

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27 minutes ago, LOL said:

Is there any other sport/league that has such an arbitrary and convoluted method of determining the champion? 

Seems simple. All the teams are in different divisions/districts/conferences/whatever. Teams win their conferences/division/district/whatever and then they  "play off" against each other. The winner of that "play off" is the true champion. 

You can say it's about tradition or money, but the fact is that you're losing both if you don't fix this soon. 

I can agree here. You can be competitive or you can be keep the. Traditional powers good but its very hard to protect both. 

Id even go further and say things like punishments are a problem as well. Irrelevant schools get the hammer while "power" schools get to self impose meaningless sanctions or a slap on the wrist.  That is also a problem with parity and why some teams can't make the push through or some of the dirty ones stay on top. 

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3 hours ago, WETSU said:

I can agree here. You can be competitive or you can be keep the. Traditional powers good but its very hard to protect both. 

Id even go further and say things like punishments are a problem as well. Irrelevant schools get the hammer while "power" schools get to self impose meaningless sanctions or a slap on the wrist.  That is also a problem with parity and why some teams can't make the push through or some of the dirty ones stay on top. 

I’ve pondered if the g5 should just be their own subdivision and have their own playoffs and national championship.  I wonder if that’d appease them?  You know my thoughts on it, just the highest ranked g5 champ should get a bid with the p5 teams.  I could get on board with having a g5 champ maybe 

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6 minutes ago, DB2point0 said:

I’ve pondered if the g5 should just be their own subdivision and have their own playoffs and national championship.  I wonder if that’d appease them?  You know my thoughts on it, just the highest ranked g5 champ should get a bid with the p5 teams.  I could get on board with having a g5 champ maybe 

I've always thought the best way to fix this would be to split the G5 into their own national title all together. 

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It’s never going to be equal unless you make all of the things that happen off the field equal. 
 

The sport is built upon exclusively.

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It's not a playoff unless all 10 conference champions are in....10 conference champions + 6 at large = a TRUE playoff........

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22 minutes ago, RETIREDFAN1 said:

It's not a playoff unless all 10 conference champions are in....10 conference champions + 6 at large = a TRUE playoff........

This is the correct answer. 

By allowing all conference champions you (mostly) eliminate the appearance of partiality, and with a handful of at-large bids you can allow for highly-ranked runners-up across various conferences. This incentivizes top recruits to at least being open to the possibility of going to a non-traditional power, instead of Alabama/Clemson/Ohio State/TBD getting all the top recruits. 

Granted, you can still seed the different conference winners in order of which league is believed to be stronger, but that sort of thing can still at least be settled on the field, instead of a smoke-filled backroom. 

Imagine a post-season where #1-seed Alabama had a bye, but #2-seed Ohio State had to play #16-seed Cincinnati in the "Steel Bowl" at Riverfront Stadium in Pittsburgh? Do you think most of North Carolina's stars will opt-out if they get to play #4-seed Notre Dame? Etc. and etc. It'd be like March Madness, but in December! You telling me the ratings, attendance, and media hype wouldn't be awesome? GTFOH! 

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29 minutes ago, LOL said:

This is the correct answer. 

By allowing all conference champions you (mostly) eliminate the appearance of partiality, and with a handful of at-large bids you can allow for highly-ranked runners-up across various conferences. This incentivizes top recruits to at least being open to the possibility of going to a non-traditional power, instead of Alabama/Clemson/Ohio State/TBD getting all the top recruits. 

Granted, you can still seed the different conference winners in order of which league is believed to be stronger, but that sort of thing can still at least be settled on the field, instead of a smoke-filled backroom. 

Imagine a post-season where #1-seed Alabama had a bye, but #2-seed Ohio State had to play #16-seed Cincinnati in the "Steel Bowl" at Riverfront Stadium in Pittsburgh? Do you think most of North Carolina's stars will opt-out if they get to play #4-seed Notre Dame? Etc. and etc. It'd be like March Madness, but in December! You telling me the ratings, attendance, and media hype wouldn't be awesome? GTFOH! 

Exactly....like THIS....

 

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1 hour ago, RETIREDFAN1 said:

Exactly....like THIS....

 

It’s amazing that they can do it correctly in EVERY OTHER NCAA SPORT, but not football

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3 hours ago, RETIREDFAN1 said:

It's not a playoff unless all 10 conference champions are in....10 conference champions + 6 at large = a TRUE playoff........

Playoffs are earned right?  In high school and nfl you have to earn a spot, not get picked.  In your scenario 6 teams would get in off speculation.  I think the term playoffs needs to be dropped.  

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1 hour ago, DB2point0 said:

Playoffs are earned right?  In high school and nfl you have to earn a spot, not get picked.  In your scenario 6 teams would get in off speculation.  I think the term playoffs needs to be dropped.  

Wildcards........plus 16 works better mathematically than 10.......

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1 hour ago, DB2point0 said:

Playoffs are earned right?  In high school and nfl you have to earn a spot, not get picked.  In your scenario 6 teams would get in off speculation.  I think the term playoffs needs to be dropped.  

I would argue that conference champs are like district champs in tx hs football. The winner of the Wac shouldn't be in over 2nd place in the Sec, big 12, etc. I would love if they were in a 16 team playoff, but the extra 6 need to be at large. 

I think more likely is 8, 5 p5 champs and 3 at large.

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57 minutes ago, trashyhound said:

I would argue that conference champs are like district champs in tx hs football. The winner of the Wac shouldn't be in over 2nd place in the Sec, big 12, etc. I would love if they were in a 16 team playoff, but the extra 6 need to be at large. 

I think more likely is 8, 5 p5 champs and 3 at large.

This is how it should be, really. 

That way, some of those undefeated G5 teams can make it, and we can still represent each conference. Think about the Big 12... By like week 3 all of their teams were essentially eliminated from playoff contention and the rest of the season is kinda whatever. If you put the Big 12 champion in the playoffs, the ISU/OU Championship game would've had MUCH bigger implications.

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1 hour ago, trashyhound said:

I would argue that conference champs are like district champs in tx hs football. The winner of the Wac shouldn't be in over 2nd place in the Sec, big 12, etc. I would love if they were in a 16 team playoff, but the extra 6 need to be at large. 

I think more likely is 8, 5 p5 champs and 3 at large.

The highest ranked g5 should get the 6th auto.  Then it’s as fair as can be.  If you leave them out it’s gonna be called invitational still.  There’ll just be 3 invitational spots available 

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Just now, DB2point0 said:

The highest ranked g5 should get the 6th auto.  Then it’s as fair as can be.  If you leave them out it’s gonna be called invitational still.  There’ll just be 3 invitational spots available 

I wouldn't have a problem with that, but some years that team could be significantly worse team that other p5 options. 

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2 minutes ago, trashyhound said:

I wouldn't have a problem with that, but some years that team could be significantly worse team that other p5 options. 

That's true, but some years some conference champions are significantly worse than other conference #2 or #3 teams too. Like Oregon this year (PAC champ) being worse than the Big12 #2 ISU.

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Just now, JohnnyFootball said:

That's true, but some years some conference champions are significantly worse than other conference #2 or #3 teams too. Like Oregon this year (PAC champ) being worse than the Big12 #2 ISU.

Roger that, true more often than not! 

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6 minutes ago, trashyhound said:

I wouldn't have a problem with that, but some years that team could be significantly worse team that other p5 options. 

Same could be said for any of the p5.  They have down years too.   

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2 hours ago, DB2point0 said:

None of it matters until the conferences are set up the same, disallow the fcs games and all play the same amount of p5 opponents 

That's why I actually like the human committee deciding who goes. They can factor those things into their decision.

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