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TQ - Should College Football Have A Final 4?

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 8, 2008


After a Final Four with all four No. 1 seeds facing off, did it make a “Plus One,’ or four-team college football playoff, seem like a better or worse idea?

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Pete Fiutak     

Q: After a Final Four with all four No. 1 seeds facing off, did it make a “Plus One,’ or four-team college football playoff, seem like a better or worse idea?

A
: Right idea, wrong application.

I love college basketball and you love college basketball, but we seem to be the only ones.

Here you had one of the greatest Final Four matchups in history, at least when it came to the seedings, and it barely registered a yawn on a national scale. The ratings weren't like they should've been and there simply wasn't a buzz like a Final Four like this should've had. And why? Because while the tournament is huge, college basketball is a dead sport.

The tournament, for a few weeks, is now as big as the Super Bowl, but that's because everyone has a bracket; no one outside of the biggest sports fans can actually name any of the players. Go to work tomorrow and ask someone to name a Kansas Jayhawk. You'll get a lot of "that guy who hit the shot."

What happened to the great sport? The regular season got destroyed because of the importance placed on the tournament, and all the good players left early for the pros. Part two is unavoidable, while part one needs to be preserved in college football if there's ever going to be a football Final Four.

Imagine four college football studs playing it off for a national title after having gotten there because they earned it in the regular season and not after some fluky tournament. Yeah, I know that last year it would've been Ohio State, LSU, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma, with Georgia, West Virginia and USC being left out, but that's part of the deal; if you can't get into the BCS top four, you probably blew it at some point during the season. Expand things to more than four teams and it diminishes the regular season and it diminishes the sport. Just ask college basketball.

So is a college football Final Four or a Plus One a better idea now than it was a few weeks ago? Yeah. And that goes for college basketball, too. Remember, if you wee so happy to have seen all four No. 1 seeds in San Antonio, then shouldn't you want a smaller NCAA Tournament field? Shouldn't you want it limited to just conference champions to make the regular season matter? College football can take what happened last weekend and run with it and make it even bigger than the hoops' showcase.

Richard Cirminiello      

Q: After a Final Four with all four No. 1 seeds facing off, did it make a “Plus One,’ or four-team college football playoff, seem like a better or worse idea?

A
: This one is, well, a layup.  The Final Four that just ended made a four-team college football playoff seem like a much better idea than even a week ago.  Why?  Well, if the current BCS system was the governing body of college basketball, the odds are that Memphis would never have had a shot at playing for a championship Monday night.  For that matter, Kansas may have been denied a spot in the title game as well.  Conventional wisdom said that North Carolina was supposed to face UCLA, but the Jayhawks and Tigers had something else to say about that over the weekend. The point being that as much as we think we know who the top two teams are, we never really know until it’s decided on the court/grass.  Kansas and Memphis drove that point home over the last couple of days, a lesson that the football’s fat cats may never comprehend.  Today, the Jayhawks are national champs after knocking off North Carolina and Memphis in the span of 48 hours.  If this was college football, instead, they might be reluctant Fiesta or Orange Bowl champs, going back home with an empty feeling that they never got a fair chance to prove they were the nation’s top team.


Matthew Zemek

Q: After a Final Four with all four No. 1 seeds facing off, did it make a “Plus One,’ or four-team college football playoff, seem like a better or worse idea?

A
: Better, better, better.
 
Did I say "better"?
 
Better.
 
BETTER.
 
BETTER!!!!!!
 
To the point: In college football, we're almost always left, at the end of a season, wondering about a few more matchups that didn't take place.
 
Last year, it was USC-Georgia and Oklahoma-Virginia Tech.
 
After the 2006 season, it was Michigan-Florida in particular, but also USC-Florida and Boise State versus anyone other than Oklahoma.
 
After the 2004 season, it was USC-Auburn and Utah against anyone.
 
You get the drill.
 
In college basketball, upsets often create imbalanced matchups, but when you get a Final Four composed of nothing but heavy hitters, it's so refreshing--even with blowouts--to be seeing matchups that weren't left on the cutting-room floor of possibility.
 
We got to see what actually happened when UCLA played Memphis. Speculation became reality. An argument was settled.
 
We were able to witness a real-life game between Kansas and North Carolina. Idle talk turned into live action. Another argument was settled with something other than a poll vote or a political process.
 
This year's Final Four is doing what an extended playoff system--even just a plus-one--would do for college football: not (necessarily) eliminate all arguments, but substantially reduce the overall number of (particularly contentious) arguments. That's healthy for a sport--small wonder the NCAA Tournament is the best sporting event ever created.


John Harris

Q: After a Final Four with all four No. 1 seeds facing off, did it make a “Plus One,’ or four-team college football playoff, seem like a better or worse idea?

A:
I like the plus one concept, but this Final Four weekend hasn’t helped or hurt the cause to be quite honest

Sure, we all wanted two sublime semi-final games with a championship game that was one of the all-time greats, but we didn’t get it.  So be it.  That doesn’t mean anything to me as it pertains to a football ‘plus one’ concept.  The only thing consistent between the two sports is the word college. 

The key thing in college hoops is that the four top teams had a shot at winning a championship on the court.  No matter how the games turned out, it will be settled there and not on a voter’s ballot or someone’s computer.  That much I know about college football – let the best figure it out on the field.  Is that accomplished with a plus one concept?  Maybe, but this weekend’s Final Four won’t convince one way or the other.