Dublin Saab

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Dublinsaab inaugural FBS playoffs

First let me lay out my vision for a FBS (formerly Div I-A) playoff.

The playoffs would consist of 16 teams, the 11 conference champions and 5 At-Large slots. The 5 At-Large slots would go to the top 5 teams in a BCS style ranking system, for this hypothetical I will go ahead and use the current BCS rankings. This puts the top 12 teams in the BCS in to the playoffs.

Then the teams are seeded, again using some sort of BCS style ranking. For this I will use the actual BCS for the 14 teams ranked in the BCS and the CBS Sportsline120 ranking for the other two teams. This gives us the following as the seeding.

This gives us a 1st round, quarter finals, semi finals and the TRUE Championship game. In this system the higher ranked team has home field advantage for the 1st round, quarter and semi finals with the Championship Game held at a neutral site.

In order to ensure the neutrality of the Championship Game the attending schools will be given the same number of tickets and the total number of tickets given to the school will not be below 90% of the seats in the host stadium. This won’t ensure that the stadium is evenly split on game day, after all Georgia is going to bring more fans than Hawaii – if that ended up being the championship game – but at least the schools start out on an even field.

Things like how many games should be in the regular season, when the playoff games should be held, etc. are nothing more than logistical concerns that can be worked out, they are not impediments. This is my vision.

There are however those who would disagree with my vision for a playoff, not in the particulars but rather they stand athwart the very idea of a playoff for FBS. Let’s review the main arguments;

Academics: This argument states that most players are not going to ever even get a sniff at the NFL let alone get a big payday so forcing the “student” athletes to play and extra 2 or 3 games in a playoff could cause irreparable damage to their education and harm them later in life. This is a high sounding argument that has some truth to it, the truths being a) most won’t ever play in the NFL and b) extra games could hurt a player’s grades. The big short coming of this argument is that it isn’t so much an argument against playoffs for the FBS as much as it is an argument against playoffs in all collegiate athletics. Further weakening this argument is that the primary pushers of it are the very same college presidents that willingly signoff on playoffs for all their other varsity programs. Do all basketball players in the field of 64 make it in the NBA? Are the students playing in all other sports including FPS (formerly Div I-AA), Div-II and Div-III football all Rhoads scholars and only the players in Div I-A football having trouble with studies? This twisted thinking leaves the proponents of this idea looking like either giant hypocrites, if they apply it only to one sport at one level or silly fools if they apply it to all sports. Argument defeated!

Regular Season: There is an argument that worries that a playoff system would lessen the value of the regular season. Now it may be that in some playoff proposals this could be true, but I have no interest in defending the plans of others. I do feel that in my system not only will the regular season not be lessened, but rather it will be made even more important as a conference championship gets an automatic bid to the playoffs. In the current system you lose a few early season non-conference games your season is over for the MNC, sure you could come back and win your conference but big whoop, especially if your conference doesn’t have a BCS tie-in, and remember 45% of conferences in the FBS do not have a BCS connection. In my system more teams stay in the hunt longer creating more excitement. The proponents of this argument would counter that for the elite programs like a Florida or Ohio State a few loses don’t mean anything because they can still make the playoffs. I would reply with, “Home Field”. Having a chance to win a spot in the playoffs keeps schools who currently are no the outside looking in excited. Having a chance to claim the Home Field keeps the big boys pushing for an undefeated season. In my system the regular season becomes even more important that it is now. Argument defeated!

Bowl Tradition: This line of thinking goes that the FBS has a rich and unique tradition in the bowl system and moving to a playoff would ruin all that makes big time college football great. This is however, nothing more than Buggy Whips and Vaporware. Buggy Whips in the sense that it attempts to protect something that has outlived it’s usefulness. After all the first bowl game was played 105 years ago when the US only had 45 states and was still fighting the Indian Wars, Germany, England and France were vying to be the top world empire, women weren’t allowed to vote and the Greeks were still fighting the Ottomans for territory. In the past 105 years much has changed and the game of college football has passed the bowl system by, demanding to hold on to it is like demanding that the government protect Buggy Whip makers from bankruptcy in a world were everyone is driving a car, not a buggy. Replacing the MNC with a playoff won’t ruin the FBS, it will enrich it. Then there’s the Vaporware aspect of the argument, the idea that we shouldn’t mess with the tradition of the bowls. What tradition? For the first few decades there was only one game, the Rose Bowl, then by 1940 there were 5, by 1950 there were 8, by 1970 there were 11, by 1980 there were 15, by 1990 there were 25. Today there are 32 games… THIRTY TWO. This means that 64 of 120 FBS teams will be playing in “richly traditional” bowl game, more than half of the teams. What is so special about the current system? Let’s get more into this tradition we don’t want to mess with. There are 32 games this year. There are 50 defunct, out a business bowl games. With the exception of a few biggies bowl games come and go with more frequency that a banana republic, where’s the tradition? Bowl games once all had great names like “Blue Bonnet” and “Boot Hill” but today all but the Rose either put a corporate name first like the “Tostitos Fiesta Bowl or have one outright like the “Capitol One”, “Outback” or “Chik-fil-A”. Again, where’s the tradition. Bowls used to be played in December with only the Rose in January, then there were a small hand full in January making a “January Bowl” a special thing, but today there are 11 games in January. There is no tradition, outside of the Rose Bowl, in a single bowl game. We shouldn’t protect that which should be part of the past and we should hold steadfast to that which doesn’t exist. The proponents would, seeing their world collapse around them reach out for the claim that a playoff would lead to the death of the bowl games. Really? First do we really need the PetroSun bowl between two 6-6 teams? Second, the NIT seams to be getting along fine in the face of the NCAA March madness tourney, so why couldn’t the 3 hour corporate infomercials, otherwise known as a bowl game, be able to continue. My system certainly wouldn’t outlaw bowl games, just render them meaningless to the national championship debate, which it should be stated they all ready are since the MNC is now taking place in a separate game and not part of any bowl rotation. Argument Defeated!

Now that I have defeated the 3 major arguments against having a playoff I will address the reason why we won’t. Money.

Under the current flawed silly system we have the school presidents control who gets the money from the TV contracts, bowl game and everything else around FBS football. This is in difference to all other college sports where the NCAA controls the purse strings. The college administrators will never agree to give up control of the money to the NCAA, even more so considering that football has more revenue than all other college sports combined, including basketball.

So, there you have my proposal, my refuting of the arguments against it and the reason it will never happen.

Enjoy the bowl season!


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