Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On a College Playoff

Let me start by saying I'm a yoooge fan of Every Day Should Be Saturday; at its absolute best, my writing here is a pale imitation of their least inspired posts (which are few and far between). It's a site that's required reading for lovers of college football, comedy, and college football and comedy. That being said, I take incredible exception to something I read there today: namely the fact that college football could benefit from a four-team playoff.

Any sort of playoff in college football is a Pandora's box. Sure, a four-team system might help in a situation that's described in the story (what to do with an undefeated Penn State team if both Texas and Alabama were to finish their season's - conference title game and all - undefeated), but that system would just beg the question of who would be the fourth team if, say, Utah, Boise State, and South Florida finished 11-1. Who would get left out? Or would all of them if USC or Ohio State finished 10-2? It would only take a few seasons of that before playoff advocates were clamoring for a six-team, then eight, then sixteen-team playoffs.

Admittedly, the current BCS system has its flaws. For instance, early season losses are much less detrimental than late season losses due to the influence that the Coaches poll has in the BCS calculations and a drop in said poll is much easier to make up if a one-loss team's loss is suffered in early September instead of late October. However, as has been argued before on College Football Resource, the beauty of college football is that every week matters (factoring in my last sentence, re: unweighted losses). Oregon State's upset of USC was electric, but it wouldn't have been nearly so fun if USC was still a front runner for the National Championship game (that they're still, actually, a second tier front runner might dilute this argument a bit, but, maybe consider instead Texas beating up Missouri or Oklahoma...). Very few games could be described accurately as having National Championship ramifications.

There's a reason that college football's regular season is so much more compelling than college basketball's: the lack of a tournament. While March Madness is one of the best events sports has to offer, it severely lessens the importance involved from November to February.

So while there might be scores of reasons to want Big Ten commish Jim Delaney fucked in the ear, standing against the idea of a playoff is not one of them.

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