Playoff Idea - Plus One
Cirminiello: 4 Teams, No Automatic Qualifier
Sallee: Plus One
Harrison: Top Eight
Johnson: Just 4 Teams
With college presidents, professors, and NCAA
bigwigs currently considering playoff ideas, here
are a few of our own.
TQ: What's your dream playoff scenario?
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
Just saying that “we need a playoff” with reckless abandon can get you into dangerous territory.
College football isn’t logistically set up like the NFL, so just assuming that it should mimic the NFL’s postseason is lazy. A poorly-executed playoff would be significantly worse to college football than the current BCS system.
What’s a “poorly-executed playoff?” Any system that incorporates automatic bids for conference champions.
The goal should be to preserve the importance of the crystal football, while crowning a “true national champion.” Rarely, if ever, do more than four teams have a legitimate gripe for the national title at the end of the season, so why should we include teams that don’t in a playoff? We shouldn’t; otherwise the regular season - the most exciting three months in sports - would become compromised.
I know, I know; the next retort will be that the regular season would remain important because teams would be fighting for home field advantage, or bye weeks, or whatever.
The difference between fighting for home field advantage and fighting for any shot at all is enormous. Would Baylor’s win over Oklahoma in 2011 have been such a big deal if we allowed conference champs into a playoff? No. That loss ended Oklahoma’s hopes; but in a playoff with automatic bids for conference champions, the Sooners would still have been alive.
Even if you don’t have automatic bids and just take the top eight, 10 or 16 teams, would that work? No. Was Kansas State national championship-worthy this season? No. The Wildcats got run by Oklahoma at home. What about No. 9 South Carolina? Nope. The Gamecocks lost to a mediocre Auburn team at home. Again, not national championship-worthy.
That’s why, if we change any aspect of the college football season, we should implement a Plus 1. It doesn’t matter if it’s seeded, with structured semifinals and championship game, or an unseeded Plus 1 that selects the best two teams after the bowl games. A Plus 1 would keep emphasis on “earning it” throughout the regular season, while also crowning a “true champion” in the postseason. It accentuates the positives in college football, and eliminates some of the shenanigans that we don’t like.