Thursday, August 25, 2011

Playoffs? We're talking about Playoffs....

Rev let me take this one since I have a true hatred for any argument against a playoff. I'm a very level headed guy and usually have no problems keeping my emotions in check (even during political debates). But I WILL NOT ever be persuaded that our current system "works" or even a plus one would solve all our problems.

I'm sure some of you have heard about Mark Cuban being the wealthiest person to push an enhancement to the BCS. This is a very interesting idea but it doesn't change the BCS.
Proposal 2011-87 suggests that the NCAA should allow four teams from leagues that don't play conference championship games to play a pair of invitational games. It's not a playoff. It's not an alternative to the BCS. It's only a chance for teams to play a 13th regular-season game that could make for excellent December viewing.
The rub is that if a small school beats a big school in one of these games, it might actually move that school into the BCS title game, hence the ultimate goal of giving the little guy a chance. It could create a few more potentially great games at the end of the season and give David some more airtime, but unless the money is just off the charts, I don't see big boy schools going for it. I think a coach like Harbaugh would love it but doubt Tressel would have gone for it last year (in the Jim Bowl), not that the coaches will have the final say anyway.

Not sure this is the best time to jump on my Stone Mountain sized soapbox, but I'll through out a few Simple thoughts. [Side note: I have been to a few bowls (at least 5 different ones) and they are fun. Also, I'll throw out a very quick rough draft solution at the bottom]

* Bowl greatness - It's a nice vacation/reward for the athletes and some staff members. Half the schools get to head into the off-season with a "W".
Very true but since when are we in the business of handing out participation awards. So the baseball team, tennis teams, soccer team, etc doesn't deserve a reward for all the hard work they put in. All the other sports (in the world) work through tournament style formats which produce only one winner. Pretty sure some of these players ended their high school careers with a playoff loss and they somehow moved on from that.

* Too many games - Football is a rough sport and there is no reason to subject the players to potentially more injuries.
Seriously, other divisions of football have playoffs and NFL plays way more games with a much smaller roster. Yes football is a violent sport but if they are worried about too many games, cut the regular season back to 11 games and kill the conference championship games.....oh wait, can't cut money.

* Travel - Hard to plan travel on short notice, fans won't go.
No one is saying lets play 8 playoff games and go all over the country. If you use home field for better seed, I promise you that the stadiums will be full for a couple games. Are NFL fans wealthier than college fans.

* School - Can't have players missing class or the holidays and this would overlap with finals.
So now it's about school, not money. Again the other sports miss more school because they play during the week and have more games. Think of NCAA basketball and March madness. Those players are travelling to different cities for 3 straight weekends after some of them just traveled most of the week before for a conference tournament.

* Diminishes the regular season - If there's a playoff, the regular season won't mean as much.
For teams like Boise, Hawaii, Utah, how much does the regular season mean now. It kinda sucks knowing that no matter what you do, you will probably never get a chance to play for a title. Also, how much does the rest of the season mean once you lose that first game, then the second. I can come up with plenty of scenarios where playoffs would give regular season games meaning that otherwise would have none. Yes, Michigan-OSU a few years ago and UF-Bama in the SEC title games might not be have been as big knowing that you'll probably both make the playoffs. But if you don't think getting a bye, playing a home playoff game, or just beating a rival means anything, then you don't watch a lot of football. I sure as hell cared about beating Tech last year even though I knew we had nothing big on the line.

I don't have all the answers but please don't give me the normal crap as to why it won't work. I'm not that smart and I can shoot down almost any argument. A small playoff with like 6-16 teams would be fairly easy to work out. We can keep half the bowls and teams not in the playoffs can go to them. We all know there's too many bowls now anyway, 6-6 teams should not be "rewarded" and some of these bowls aren't even half full. The semi's and the finals could still rotate between the bigger 3-4 bowls, all other games played at home stadiums. Depending on number of teams, better seeds are rewarded with bye's. Play on Saturday's during Dec with championship on 1st or 2nd Sat in Jan depending on schedules.

My 2 biggest issues with the bowls/BCS will always be:
1) It is SOOOOOO stupid to have a championship game 4-6 weeks after your last game. The teams aren't the same ones that finished the season and that's just a ridiculous amount of time to have off. I'm okay with 1 or 2 weeks, but that's it. Let's see the same team that just went 13-0. People complain about the Super Bowl having the extra week in between.

2) A team can go undefeated (even in a big conference) and have no shot to prove they're the best team in the country that season. As much as I dislike Auburn, I call this the Auburn rule. If we go undefeated and watch Texas and Florida State play for a national title, how red in the face would you be arguing for UGA. I know I'd lose my mind.


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