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The Four Team Seeded Playoff How the committee should work
E-mail Pete Fiutak Follow us ... @ColFootballNews
It’s finally official -– there will be a four-team playoff.
Now get ready for the fight to put together a committee to make it happen.
The 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick officially and finally put out there what everyone already knew. They want a playoff. There will be four teams. It has to be approved by the presidents and higher-ups for approval and to finalize the details, but for now, all the conferences are and the same page and they’ve all agreed that they’d like a four-team playoff in 2014. “At our meeting with the Presidential Oversight Committee next week, we will present our views so the presidents can make their decisions,” said BCS director Bill Hancock. “On many issues we have achieved widespread consensus; on some issues, important and valuable alternatives have been suggested.”
“We have developed a consensus behind a four-team, seeded playoff, while recognizing that the presidents will certainly present their views, including a discussion of a Plus-One. We also discussed various selection methods and look forward to having these discussions with the presidents.”
So what does this mean? The BCS system might not be totally dead -– it might be kept around as a starting point for the rankings -– but it likely won’t be a deciding factor when it comes to which four teams end up in the playoff.
When all is said and done there will almost certainly be a committee formed to decide the teams that make it. The semifinal games will be played in existing bowls, while the national championship will change yearly like the Final Four and the Super Bowl.
Practically, this set-up gives all the main players what they need and want. Initially the SEC and Big 12 wanted the top four ranked teams to get into a playoff, while the Big Ten floated out the idea of a Plus One format or a way of putting in just conference champions. With the plan that’s being pushed forward, there’s the flexibility to do both.
If the four deserving teams are from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, more than likely the committee will make sure the Big 12 and SEC –- no matter what the ranking, because there’s a difference between ranking and seeding –- will play in the new bowl game created between the two leagues, and the Big Ten and Pac-12 will almost certainly play each other in the Rose Bowl. At the same time, the SEC will get what it wants with a fallback in case it has two juggernauts like it did in 2011.
If there is a committee, then it’ll work factors like winning the conference championship as well as strength of schedule into the equation. It’ll also take into account the conference tie-ins, allowing the Big Ten and Pac-12 to get their wish of keeping the Rose Bowl relevant with one or both of those two almost assuredly to end up in Pasadena.
And then comes the issue of the committee.
For this to work, there has to be absolute, 100 percent transparency with each of the committee members needing to be able to explain in detail why each one chose each of the four teams.
Part of the problem with the current polling system is that almost no one believes that the voters know enough about every team they’re voting for. Coaches aren’t able to watch more than just the game they coached that day, and the Harris Poll is covered in a cloud of secrecy. Most fans will buy what the committee –- if there’s a committee –- will sell in terms of the top four teams as long as it makes sense.
More often than not the top two or three teams should be obvious, and while there will usually be some sour grapes by a few teams that don’t get in, as long as the conference titles are taken into account –- if, for example, Oregon would’ve made it in this year instead of Stanford –- at least it will appear to be reasonable.
This way, if there’s a killer team that didn’t win its conference title, like Alabama, then it can be accounted for. If the far-and-away top team –- like LSU was at the end of the regular season -– gets upset in the conference championship, this system would account for that, too, as long as there’s reason to believe that the committee voters didn’t just vote based on their eyeballs and can come up with some sort of reason or evidence for voting the way they did.
The other big question will be the committee itself. For this to work, there can’t be any former coaches involved. Bobby Bowden has already said he’d like to be a part of it, but fickle college football fans will scream and yell if it comes down to Florida State and one other team for a No. 4 spot and he picks the Seminoles, or if he picks against Florida.
There can’t be any former players. Even the most objective ex-jock analysts have an issue when it comes to public perception.
There can’t be anyone remotely involved with ESPN. There are way too many conflicts of interest considering the TV money that’s at stake.
It can’t be a panel of dozens or hundreds of media members who cover the teams or work locally, because regional biases would get in the way. If you thought the Heisman voting was broken down by where the voters are from, just imagine what will happen if the fourth slot comes down to Oregon and Alabama.
Not just to dream the impossible dream of being a part of a committee, but using national writers and columnists would work –- trust me, most of the national scribes you can think of would be the most objective voters –- if for no other reason than to keep all of us from ever dogging the system or the results. However, there are way too many egos involved and way too many big players who’ll demand to have a say for that to ever happen. The conference commissioners aren’t going to come this far and not pick and choose exactly the guys they need to help their individual causes.
In a perfect world, the committee will be made up of people who have no ties to college athletics whatsoever. The panel would be given objective facts -– again, conference titles, strength of schedule, the timing of key wins, etc. -– and would then vote accordingly. Again, that would never, ever happen because of just how big this will be and how many dollars would be at stake.
Whatever the committee and whatever the format, the criteria should be cut-and-dry easy.
1. Conference champions. Any and all reasonable efforts have to be made to include a conference champion over a team that didn’t win its league title.
2. Strength of schedule. The NCAA strength of schedule isn’t exactly perfect –- based purely on wins and losses –- but the second an outside source is used, the process will start to suffer from the same criticisms from those who don’t like the computer side of the BCS formula.
3. Road wins and neutral site wins. The committee should take the NCAA strength of schedule and then look harder at where the big wins came from and when. Oklahoma State losing to Iowa State might not look good on a spreadsheet, but the overtime loss combined with the barely-missed field goal in the final seconds, and with the tragedy surrounding the plane crash the day before, would be taken into account if the team was on the bubble. Wisconsin losing on the road on two bombs would be different than a team losing by 14 at home, and Alabama losing in a nip-and-tuck war against a juggernaut LSU team would obviously be weighed differently than Stanford losing by 23 at home to Oregon.
Unfortunately, the commissioners still didn’t make everyone happy, with the Twitter world immediately blowing up with fears that the SEC will dominate in this new format from here on, but there will be a playoff and, my fellow Americans, our long national BCS nightmare is over.
No, this might not be the perfect solution, but it will be better.
I like it.
This is Michigan, fergodsakes.
I'm just not sure how they are going to make up that committee. No former coaches or players, what's next no one with a degree because they are biased. No local guys because they have regional affiliations. No division 2 writers because they will always route for the under dog....it just seems no one will be happy with who is selected
I'd rather they only took the top 4 teams in the AP each year, but I know that that also has it's issues.
And this is why I think the 4 team playoff is just as bad as the BCS system we have now.
Yeah I agree. It takes prestige from the bowls and still has the same problems
Although I don't hate having a playoff either.
Yeah i don't hate it. The 4 team playoff just doesn't really solve any of the problems that the BCS has in my opinion. I would rather see a 8 team or 16 team playoff.
exactly, because that should include most deserving teams.
but that would destroy these bowls i love. The bowls help make college football what it is.
I think 8 is perfect, 16 would take too long.
I feel like when you are getting beyond 4 or 5 teams that you are getting to teams who don't have much of an argument as the best team in the country.
Teams like the LA Kings laugh at this statement....
Its a 1 game elimination anything can happen.
This post was edited by MichaelHardenII 22 months ago
I think an 8 team would be by far the best. The 4 team will just be a different flavor of BS.
That's what I dislike. If the number 8 team somehow got lucky with other upsets and won it all, would anybody actually think that they were, hands down, the best team in the country.
Why wouldn't anyone? They proved they were. If Butler beats Duke 2 years ago would anyone have doubted them? If so, who cares they have the hardware. If a team beats every team they faced in the playoffs, there's no debate they deserve the respect.
I would, that would mean they beat 3 of the top 7 teams in the nation along the way.
But say that a 10-2 team beats a 12-0 team in the finals out of luck or injuries. Who would say that the team that was 14-1 was worse than the 13-2 team? I would just prefer that the regular season still maintained more weight than the playoff.
I guess that a better way to say what I'm trying to say is this: Should a team that loses 2 games in the regular season even get a chance to prove themselves as the best? If you can't get it done in the regular season then you shouldn't be able to get it done in a playoff.
LSU 07 did....
Thats what happened when Bama beat Texas with Colt McCoy out of the game
I agree....4 teams is the best approach. When you open it up to 8 teams, teams with 3 losses are on that threshold to make the playoff. When you start having 3, and possibly 4 loss teams in a playoff, the regular season become diluted. I say just keep the BCS for rankings sake (I think most can agree the BCS has atleast gotten the top 4 teams correct in every year, if not every year please let us know), and that gives you the top 4 teams in the playoff. Then the only potential controversy would be is the #5 team more worthy then the #4 team, a situation that is infinitely better then the current one, and one that I wont lose sleep over, because under the current system, team #4 would be on the outside looking in.
My problem with the 4 team scenario is that it doesn't solve the problem the BCS has now. Clearly defining who is the number 2 team based on on field results instead of a vote. There could be years where the #5 team has just as strong a case for being #2 as the #2, 3 and 4 teams.
A 4 team playoff does solve the BCS in its major flaw. The main problem with the BCS has been the controversy of who should be #2 and play in the NC, as many deserving teams over the years were stuck at #3 based on computer algorithms/other reasons and making the system imperfect. With a 4 team playoff, that controversy is assuaged.
I would rather have a straight up ranking/poll system to determine the 4 spot playoff rather then a committee...So many potential bias, political, and overall arbitrary criteria, and certain criteria that is only admissible in certain scenarios sounds like a circus. No ex coaches or players will be on the committee, nor top media members, so are you going to outsource positions on the committee to foreigners with no appreciation or affiliations to the sport, and if not it would need to be those who look at criteria objectively.....
It doesn't solve it if there is 1 team undefeated and 4 teams with 1 loss. All 4 of those teams would have a claim as the second best team and 1 would still be left out of a 4 team playoff.
The #8 seeds first game will be against the #1 seed. They win that, then they would be playing the winner of the #4/#5 game, and then the winnner of the bracket that holds the #2, #3, #6, and #7 seeds. Any team that runs the table under that scenerio, deserves to be call the champions, imo.
On mobile so bear with me, but the first round matchups would be like this.
A. #1 vs #8
B. #4 vs #5
C. #3 vs #6
D. #2 vs #7
Round 2 (semi-finals) matchips would be the winners from the previous round,
E. Game A vs Game B
F. Game C vs Game D
Championship matchup would be the winners from the previous round,
G, Game E vs Game F
When a team runs that table, they deserve it.
To put it into perspective, using last years BCS final poll, this is how an 8 team playoff would have looked,
A. #1 LSU vs #8 Kansas State
B. #4 Stanford vs #5 Oregon
C. #3 Oklahoma St. vs #6 Arkansas
D. #2 Alabama vs #7 Boise State
I have no problem calling any of those teams the best in the country if they win a playoff out of that group.
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