Today the college football conversation continues, where I continue to advocate that only conference champions be eligible to compete in a national championship tournament.
Let’s once again look at the previously discussed rankings and examine them as if that were the end-of-the year rankings under a 4 team playoff system in which only conference champions were eligible. The rankings in our previous example were:
- Kansas State 10-0
- Oregon 10-0
- Notre Dame 10-0
- Ohio State 10-0
- Alabama 9-1
- Georgia 9-1
- Florida 9-1
- LSU 8-2
- Texas A&M 8-2
- South Carolina 8-2
How would these rankings translate into the my proposed system in which which conferences should be represented in a playoff tournament as much as which individual teams?
1. Kansas State – Would represent Big 12.
2. Oregon – Would represent PAC 12.
3. Notre Dame – Not in a conference. Would not be eligible.
4. Ohio State – Pretend for the sake of analysis that Notre Dame was in a conference and did take the third slot, leaving one remaining seed in a four team playoff. Would the Big 10 champion get the fourth seed? In this example, no. The Big 10 has had a down year this year (2012). Nebraska and Ohio State would be represented in the Big 10 Championship. The league, not just individual teams, would have to point to strong out-of-conference wins in order to make a case to be represented. The Big Ten conference has no strong out of conference wins this year.
5. Any of the other six SEC teams in the Top 10 – Yes. Under my proposed system the SEC would represented in the playoff because the strength of the conference schedule would be taken into account. The debate would be which conferences should be represented as much as which teams. The SEC conference champion would make the cut under this system. And, I should also note, that it wouldn’t matter which SEC team is represented in the National Championship because, after having a month to recuperate, they would win. I will gladly take my chances with Bama, Georgia, or Florida against Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame, or Ohio State.
Only conference champions should be eligible to enter the playoff. The debate should be which four of the eleven conferences should be represented.
SEC fans, by lobbying against a conference champion only rule, you are setting the stage for the SEC being left out of the playoff in the future. There could easily be a year where the SEC has several teams that could win the national championship, but they don’t make the top 4 due to BS pageantry reasons.
ADDENDUM–ONE TEAM PER CONFERENCE
As an addendum, I am posting a letter I sent to ESPN journalists Ivan Maisel and Gene Wojciechowski in fall of 2011. What I propose makes SO MUCH COMMON SENSE. What these academics have done to our beloved sport as they have unrealistic debates behind closed doors laughable. I would love to know what Dan Wetzel (author of the famous Wetzel Plan) thinks of my line of reasoning.
Again, the letter below was written over a year ago in 2011.
Assume an unexpected moment of sanity overtook the BCS commissioners so that they finally yield to reason and support a “Plus-One” playoff format. In the new Plus-One system, would you support a rule that states only conference champions are eligible to enter the Plus-One mini-playoff tournament? (ie, each conference could only send one team to the National Championship Tournament).
Initial thoughts about such a rule:
- With such a rule, playoff critics could not claim that the playoff detracts from regular season games or traditional rivalries. Had such a rule existed for this season, the excitement and drama of the regular season games would have been enhanced—not harmed.
- With such a rule, in addition to the SEC championship, three other conference championships would still be relevant for national championship purposes. (Stanford would still be in the hunt Ivan.)
- With such a rule, Georgia could potentially proceed to the tournament to represent the SEC.
- In such an event, LSU and Alabama fans should not blame the BCS for not being fair, since the SEC had 13 games to fairly and objectively determine who it would send to the championship tournament. (They would complain of course, but they should voice their complaints to the SEC office–not the BCS.)
As a college football fan it defies all logic that the SEC had 13 games to determine which team was the best out of it’s 12 teams. Yet here we are at the end of the regular season and it can only limit the list down to 3 teams. We could potentially have LSU as the AP National Champion, Georgia as the SEC Champion, and Alabama as BCS National Champion.
It defies all logic. Another year, another BCS fail.
I will be very disappointed if we move to a “Plus-One” format and one conference can send multiple teams to the Plus One tournament. 13 games during the regular season is enough for each conference to pick one team, and one team only, to represent it.