Do We Really Want College Football Playoffs?
by Gus Jarvis
Nov 05, 2008 | 1100 views | 10 10 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Here we are mid-college football season with a couple of huge upsets that have reshaped the top 10 rankings. And here we are again wondering if it is time to initiate a college football playoff system. How many times must we play this broken record? Hell, even Barack Obama told Chris Berman on Monday Night Football that it would be the one thing he would change about the system.

Every year the best teams, like the tea sippers of Texas, start off hot and make it to the number one spot. Then, when it looks like nobody, absolutely nobody can beat them, they lose to an unsuspecting team like Texas Tech. (What a win by the way. It couldn’t have happened to a better team.) Those upsets shake up the computer generated Bowl Championship Series like nobody’s business. This leaves piles upon piles of fan-generated complaints (and from coaches, too), all of which center around the belief that under the current bowl system, college football’s number one team is often never found or proven.

Right now, a national championship means finishing the season without a loss. A team that loses one game is often devastated and out of a national championship.

Look at this week’s top 10 BCS standings. At 9-0, Alabama is number one, Texas Tech is number two, Penn State is number three. Following the Nittany Lions are Texas (4), Florida (5), Oklahoma (6), and then in the number eight spot is unbeaten Utah. Let’s just take a look at that ranking lineup.

This week Texas Tech is facing Oklahoma State and then later in the month they must face Oklahoma. If they are indeed as good as they seem to be after last weekend’s surprise win against Texas, they should win both games. If they do, controversy aside, they should play Alabama (if Alabama remains unbeaten) for a national championship. But if they lose, then what?

Texas Tech will join the rankings of one-loss teams, probably somewhere around number nine or 10. Alabama must still face LSU and Auburn. If we know anything about the SEC, we know that any team in the SEC can beat any (number one) team in the SEC at any time.

And then there is Penn State – my favorite to go the national championship because they have the best chance of staying undefeated. Their last three games are against Iowa, Indiana and Michigan State. The Spartans could be a bump in the road for the Lions, but really, I think not. By the end of the season, we will most likely have one – count them one – undefeated team in college football and it will be the Nittany Lions. But they could be screwed by the computer generated rankings by a one-loss team like Texas or Florida. Why? Who knows. It just may happen. It’s computer generated. I hear you. The current system sucks.

So much pressure is put on college teams to remain undefeated as long as they can, but the notion that you can’t go to a championship game with one loss is really unfounded. It’s the teams that remain undefeated that aren’t guaranteed a national championship berth, even if they are the only one.

So what am I getting at here? Do we need a playoff system to find the best team in college football? Absolutely not. This isn’t the NFL. It’s college football, its own creation. A playoff system in place wouldn’t be perfect no matter how it is organized. We would still have every single one of these questions in the back of our minds and the playoff system would take away the greatest two weeks of football a year – the 25 or so bowl games that are played around the country during the holidays.

And bowls, if you want to get high minded here, are great for schools whose football teams are simply mediocre. A struggling CSU team, if they make it into some God-awful bowl, is a win for recruitment. Bowls, no matter how bad they are, make better football teams because it puts them in the national spotlight that, with a playoff system, just wouldn’t be there.

Finally, we must remember the many, many wonderful corporate sponsors that would lose out with a playoff system. The
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Bryan Thames
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November 11, 2008
Gus,

It's obvious you wrote this before the triumphant win in Baton Rouge and one of the most embarrassing losses in Tennessee, Fulmer's recent history. Had you written this post Saturday morning you may have pointed out that while Fulmer is gone, good ole Joe Green may have salvaged his job at Wyoming after beating Tennessee at home. But in retrospect, I doubt it, as beating Tennessee has become an afterthought, even for a 4 and 6 Wyoming team. I'll admit Fulmer did more good then harm at Tennesse but he should have left in 1999 after his last championship (when his wife asked him to, look it up).

Finally, Alabama does not have a dream coach. They

have a coach who demands more than most that has taken a team that doesn't have the most talent and has turned them into winners, which is what the best coaches do in any sport. Is Alabama the best team in the nation? That remains to be seen. But it will take one hell of a team to beat them, I guarantee that.

Also, good luck against Hargrove Military School (JV) this Thursday night! WTF?!! Maybe they should pick on fellas there own size or maybe they need the practice. Not sure on that one.

Oh, and best wishes on finding a new coach. Maybe Wyoming's coach needs a new home or what about Tuberville, if you can get him. Your best bet is Cutcliffe, but something tells he doesn't want any.

Oh well, no harm done Gus, just good ole college football trash talking. By the way, I'm definitely taking Vandy in the pool this weekend.

Best of luck.
Gus J.
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November 08, 2008
Bryan,

Us Phat men must stick together. Yes, I am facing the reality that this could be the worst season in a long long time down in Knoxville. Besides having a huge winning percentage as a Vol, Phil brought up a program while others continued to flounder at mediocrity. I think the old saying of "too much of a good thing is bad." Well the Vols have had too much of a good thing with Phil. He will be sorely missed.

The Tide is just living the dream right now. But guess what? It is only a dream. Nick Saban is only a dream too. I feel like your emotions are being set up. You can call me anytime you like for emotional assistance the rest of the season.

Don't worry Bryan, I still like you.
Bryan Thames
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November 08, 2008
Oops Gus. You guys already lost to South Carolina. Maybe you can pull off Wyoming, but I'm a little skeptical.
Bryan Thames
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November 08, 2008
Bryan Thames
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November 07, 2008
Gus,

Your probably the only guy on the planet that's sad to see good ole fat Phil go bye bye. Actually, I wish he'd stick around so we could give him a few more poundings. As for the Tide... bring it. I'll be surprised if LSU puts up more than 14. We'll talk to tomorrow. Oh and good luck against South Carolina. You're gonna need it.
Gus J.
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November 07, 2008
Bryan,

I can't wait to see LSU beat the Tide this weekend. I know it's not a night game for LSU but Alabama has yet to really prove themselves and they are going down.

P.S. I am still feeling sad for Fat-Phil

SDL
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November 06, 2008
Bryan, thanks for taking the time to explain this to readers who may not get it. You are RIGHT on the money!
ron-dawgz
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November 06, 2008
I agree with bryan and beanzie. College football does need a play-off system and the Big 10 and Pac 10 need to get a championship game. Teams not making the play-off can still play in bowls gus, just like they do now. Although, I have to say this article does not suprise me, coming from a man who praised the A-11 offense and who said the broncos have a solid defense (football 101). In the future please think about your football articles before putting them to press....yes there are people in Telluride who KNOW FOOTBALL!
Beanzie
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November 06, 2008
I agree with Bryan 100%. Pull your head out Gus. 95% of the country wants to see a playoff. Go hug a tree.
Bryan Thames
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November 06, 2008
Whoa Gus!! No college playoffs? Really? First and foremost is Penn State the best team in the nation? The Big Ten is the worst it's been in years. Michigan, officially, will have its first losing season since 1967. Ohio St. gave up 60 pts. to USC, which got beat by Oregon St., and Penn State’s last three games are against Iowa, Indiana and Michigan St.. I love Joe Pa as much as the next guy but they haven't been tested and if they don't go to the national championship it will be because of a weak conference and (I'm going to write this in all caps) BECAUSE THE BIG TEN DOES NOT HAVE A CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!. Cry all you want Big 10 and Pac 10 fans but the fact is the SEC, Big 12, Big East...etc... all have conference championships. Meaning that not only do you have to beat all your rivals in the regular season, you have to beat the best one, that you may or may not have already played, in a championship game! Plain and simple. It also gives that beast that is the BCS computer one more game to factor in and. let’s not forget, conference championship games make a hell of a lot of money. The Big 10 and Pac 10 can no longer rely on the Rose Bowl to determine the best team in the country. These two conferences are shooting themselves. Guess what, other conferences have caught up and are producing better teams. The Big 10 has gotten spanked in their last two national championship games by no other than the SEC's finest. Okay, back to the playoff argument. Gus you mentioned a number 8 undefeated Utah team. This is a perfect example of a team that will not play for a national championship because of their weak schedule. Here's how they could. You take the top BCS 8 teams, not perfect I know but it's a start, and you put them in a play off with a quarter, semi finals and a championship. Money lost??? Are you out of your mind? Poor ole Chik Fil A and Fed Ex will be fine. In fact you could have a major sponsor for every single playoff. Hell, call them bowls if you want to. So, right now, this means that number 8 Utah would play #1 Alabama, # 7 USC would play #2 Texas Tech, #6 Oklahoma would play #3 Penn St., and #5 Florida would play #4 Texas and so on until there is a clear and decisive winner. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to watch that go down? And that also means a longer season, which means that the greatest sport ever invented, college football, will last until like mid January which means we will only be without it for 6 months which is too long anyway. So, I’ll leave you with this. President elect Barack Obama, as if I couldn't love the guy even more, when asked, "If you could change one thing in SPORTS (not college sports mind you or even football sports just SPORTS as a whole!!!) what would it be, "I think it is about time that we had playoffs in college football. You know, I am fed up with these computer rankings, and this and that and the other. Get eight teams. The top eight teams right at the end. You've got a playoff. Decide on a national champion.” Coming from a guy who’s got a lot on his mind other than college football, well, I think that’s saying something.