Saturday, January 1, 2011

To Playoff, or Not Playoff

As John Lennon said, another year over and a new one just begun. I could have gotten by without snow up to my rear, but as the saying goes, it's that time of year.

Sifting through the various college football bowl games naturally brings to mind the idea of a playoff for top-tier teams. Many have said much about this, and a few like Mark Cuban have backed the idea with cash, so I may as well chime in, although even as I type this I realize that the more I think about it the less I care. But what is blogging for if not spouting off about subjects like this?

The most obvious idea is something similar to what is done in the other divisions; a straightforward playoff bracket. I think 8 teams would be sufficient, and they could use the BCS rankings to determine who gets in. There would still be plenty of argument about that last spot, but I think most people would agree that one of those 8 who beat 3 others in 2 weeks would be deserving of the championship trophy. This could be done in the same time frame as the others, early December. This would allow the bowls to continue to do their thing and create the possibility of intriguing match ups, such as a championship rematch or a chance for a team that thought it got hosed out of the playoff to prove it by beating the champs or another playoff team.

A variation on this would use the existing bowls. Again, 8 teams, 7 games, two weeks. This would allow more bowl games to have real meaning, as opposed to now where only one game has the championship aura. It would also have a trickle-down effect on the other bowl games, since only 8 teams instead of 14 would occupy the top 7 bowl games, leaving better teams for the others. It could still be done in the current bowl season.

Again, the more I ponder this the harder it is to get really excited. The existence of a Division 1-A football playoff system really isn't that important. Indeed, it could be argued that the absence of a playoff lowers the stakes and keeps the game in something closer to a proper perspective, although anyone who follows the game knows that isn't actually the case. I haven't heard anything to indicate that any real change is in order, so I guess the best thing to do is just enjoy the games for they are and not worry about it.

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