Friday, December 09, 2011

The problem with an 8 team playoff

The fundamental issues with the BCS is that it provides an unfair advantage to several conferences, and that individuals can skew who is involved in the championship. Ultimately, the game wouldn't be decided on the field, as it allegedly is in other sports.
With the onslaught against the BCS rightfully underway once again, many people are proposing their self described perfect solution of an 8 team playoff. Most of these solutions involve selecting the top 8 BCS teams, or the BCS conference champions, and the top two at larges. In those cases, the tournament would include either a set of LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon, Arkansas, Boise State, and Kansas State, or LSU, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Wisconsin, Clemson, West Virginia, Alabama and Stanford.
So I ask you, what exactly have we solved with EITHER solution? Via the first method, the SEC gets three teams, a Boise State team that couldn't even win the MWC gets in, the Big Ten gets left out and it's overly reliant on early season perception that tends to favor certain teams regardless of their quality. The second solution, again, gives unfair advantages to certain conferences. West Virginia, because they won a terrible Big East would get in ahead of TCU and Southern Miss, who were possibly better teams in what may have been better conferences.
So, no, you can't just stop at 8 teams. If you want to create a tournament with the purpose of fairness across college football, an 8 team tournament is a failure. If you create a tournament, the only way to go is to include all 11 conference champions as a starting point. The advantage of a bye week will subsequently be transferred to the best teams, but at least teams that have done what was asked of them, by winning their conference, will have a shot.
I'm generally opposed to at-large additions to a tournament, because it introduces the possibility of objectivity in helping to decide a national champion, but if the desire is there for a 16 team tournament, then I would be on board with this far more than I am with the oft proposed 8 team ideas.
And YES, this is an introductory post to the Victoria Times football simulation, which will be underway within the next week or so (as soon as Whatifsports has their 2011 rosters online). As a very brief reminder, it is a simulation of an idealized NCAA where conferences are geographic, and consist of 10 teams each (12 conferences total) with every conference champion entering into a post season tournament, ensuring that everything is decided based on what happened on the field. Look forward to that over the next month or so.

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