Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A 4-Team Football Playoff Is Good!

It's good that that the presidents of major football universities have gotten together and adopted a 4-team playoff. It's the option I wanted!

Some people want more teams in a playoff, but 4 is enough. With a 2-team championship game, it's possible that the #3 team might be almost as good as the #2 over the regular season, and then crush the #4 team in a bowl game while the #2 beats the #1 in a close but poorly played contest.  This leads to the legitimate complaint that the #3 team was denied a championship by factors totally out of their control.  This would get especially bad if the #3 team is unbeaten.

The 4-team playoff solves this problem. Even if the #4 and #5 teams are really close in quality over the regular season, the #4 will have to beat the #1 and then beat either the #2 or the #3. After two season-ending victories against top opponents, the case for the superiority of the #4 team over the #5 team should be clear.

Of course, there will still be complaints about who was ranked #4 versus #5 and got a chance in the playoffs.  But any system is going to have problems with that. In NCAA basketball, there are 64 teams in the playoffs, and people complain about not getting in if their team was on the margins. The point is that after everything is done, you get a much clearer answer as to which team did the best on the field over the course of the entire season.

Meanwhile, all the little bowls continue to exist on the side (as far as I know). They're fun and there's no reason to get rid of them. 

In other college-president-related news, Teresa Sullivan has been reinstated as President of the University of Virginia. Awesome!  
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