Thursday, October 22, 2009

College Football Playoff Objections Answered

Like Barack Obama, Orrin Hatch, and everyone, I think college football needs a playoff. The current system is preferable to the pre-BCS chaos, where the #1 and #2 teams usually didn't meet in the postseason, regularly leading to controversy. But there's tremendous room for improvement.

Apparently one of the big hurdles is integrating playoffs into the current bowl system, as the bowls themselves are powerful entrenched interests. I don't really understand why this is a problem. Why couldn't the playoff just absorb the larger bowls? If you had an 8-team playoff, that gives you 7 bowl games, maybe the Rose, Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, Cotton, Gator, and somebody. They could stick around and keep doing their thing, with the only difference being that the teams playing in the games would be automatically chosen. The smaller bowls could just keep operating along the side like they've always done. If Rutgers and NC State don't make the playoff and want to play another Bowl against each other, nobody's stopping them.

If there's some problem with a large playoff, just expanding to 4 teams from the current 2 would be a major advance. In the current system, there's a solid chance that you'll end up with 3 equally deserving teams looking for the two championship game slots. Then if #2 squeaks by #1 while the left-out #3 dominates #4 in a non-championship game, there's going to be serious argument about who deserves the championship. But in the 4-team playoff, any #4 team that beats #1 and then wins another game is going to be regarded as the legitimate champion, because of its awesome late-season feats.
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