Experts Discussion ... BCS vs. a Playoff
Boise State CB Kyle Wilson
Boise State CB Kyle Wilson
Posted Jul 10, 2008

Make your case why the BCS is better than a playoff (without using the "every week is a playoff" cliché).

Preview 2008 - Experts Roundtable

Part Six - Why Is The BCS Better Than A Playoff?

CFN is honored to once again get the thoughts and opinions on some of the hot topics from some of the most talented, influential insiders in the college football media, while getting to know a little bit more about them.

Along with
Pete Fiutak and Richard Cirminiello from CFN in the discussion are ...

- Charles Davis, NFL Network/FOX Sports
- Dennis Dodd, - College Football Columnist

- Bruce Feldman, - College Football Columnist
- Steve Greenberg, The Sporting News - College Football Columnist
- Teddy "Mr. Media" Greenstein, Chicago Tribune - College Football Columnist, Media Columnist
- Stewart Mandel, - College Football Columnist

- Part 1 What aspect of college football should you care about, but really don't?
- Part 2 Should a two loss LSU team really have won the national title?
- Part 3 How should college football be more like the NFL?
- Part 4
Your college football guilty pleasure
- Part 5 How/why did you get into covering college football?
- Part 6 How/why is the BCS better than a playoff?
- Part 7 I'm not buying into ...
- Part 8 Just how bad is the Big Ten?
- Part 9 Do you have any problems with Tim Tebow winning two Heismans?
- Part 10 Give the 2010 Rankings for: Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska & Notre Dame
- Part 11 How much do you care about non-BCS teams?
- Part 12 When Should Players Be Eligible for the Draft?
- Part 13 The Next Really Big Superpower Will Be ...
- Part 14 The Best & Worst Interviews You've Ever Done
- Part 15 Quick Hitters, Part 1: Greatest Players & Greatest Games

- Part 16 Quick Hitters, Part 2: The National Champion & Heisman Winner

2007 Roundtable Discussion  
- Part One The BCS, tweaks, and college football's biggest problem
- Part Two On-field and off-field changes, steroids and cheating
- Part Three Overrated, underrated, 10 years from now, & what fans don't understand

6. Make your case why the BCS is better than a playoff (without using the “every week is a playoff” cliché).

Stewart Mandel:
Because a playoff would turn the sport into a facsimile of the NFL, where, instead of rewarding greatness over the course of an entire season, it's about whoever gets hot over a three-game stretch. See: the New York Giants.

Bruce Feldman: I can’t. I’d rather wear a Petrino for President shirt around Atlanta for a month.

Steve Greenberg: It isn’t better. But the best part about it is it serves and protects the size, shape, feel and history of most of the biggest rivalry game more so than a playoff system would. I still greatly prefer the regular season to the bowls season.

Teddy Greenstein: I've written about 73 columns on this subject. Cliché or not, the No. 1 reason is that from the first snap of the first game, every moment counts.


Here are some others:


- Fairness. People say a playoff would bring fairness to the system. Really? In 2005, only USC and Texas finished the regular season undefeated. Would it have been fair to them to include 9-2 Notre Dame or 9-2 Ohio State in an eight-team playoff? And if you have an eight-team playoff with six conference champs, how do you fairly select the two at-larges? The cluster of teams ranked between 6-12 every year makes it nearly impossible.


- The tradition of bowl games. No one would pay attention to non-playoff bowls, and that would hurt the players involved, the communities that host the games and the vacation-seeking fans.


- The season is long enough as it is.


- The uniqueness of the system. No one is trying to change the Final Four or six-week NBA playoffs. Leave college football alone.


- What's this great need for "finality"? What's wrong with a healthy debate over who's No. 1?

The fluke factor is diminished. If the goal is to have the two best teams playing for the championship, then college football gets it right more than any other sport. If Boston and Los Angeles were the No. 1 teams in their respective conferences after the regular season, then why the need for the NBA playoffs? The New York Giants didn’t even win their own division and lost, at home, to New England, so all of a sudden they’re the champions because they went on a hot run at the end of the year? Are we supposed to throw out what happened in the regular season? I have no problem with playoffs if they’re only made up of conference champions. Once you throw wild-cards into the mix and teams that finished second or lower in their conferences, the regular season has become devalued. More often than not, college football has the best two teams in the title game after they earned their way in.

Richard Cirminiello: Although a plus-one system would be tailor-made for my taste, I’ve never been a proponent of a full-blown, 16-team playoff.  It’s unnecessary for determining a national champion and would diminish the importance of some regular season games.  Who wants LSU getting routed by Arkansas the day after Thanksgiving, yet still qualifying as the No. 12 seed?  If you want to find some beauty in the bloated bowl system, there is something to be said for a few dozen schools finishing the season with a W.  The BCS is surprisingly close to be a really crisp system, if only the powers-that-be could agree on one additional game after the bowls have been played.    

Charles Davis: Ambivalent about the BCS vs. Playoff…no case to be made…my only passionate argument is against the Plus One game. I believe that some years it will get it right, while others will penalize a clear cut top team…right now that argument can be made against the current system, but if the idea is to improve things I don’t believe a plus one model does it at all.

Dennis Dodd: I'm not sure it is. Better to call it a steppingstone -- though a flawed one -- from the traditional bowl system to A national championship game. Prior to 1998 we never had one unless it was by fluke in a bowl game. The BCS title game might not be the game you want to see but it's a hell of a lot better than what we had.

There are as many problems with even a modest four-team playoff as there are with the current BCS system. I'm starting to fall in line with this so-called Plus-One Play-In that was proposed a few years ago. If it all changed tomorrow I'd be OK with it. But last season was the best ever, in my opinion. It would not have been possible if NOT for the BCS.

Any playoff raises the ugly possibility of a coach playing it safe -- i.e. playoff position -- instead of going balls out to win the game. I can foresee a day when, say, Jim Tressel rests his quarterback against Michigan because a playoff spot is clinched.