A College Football Playoff That Works

January 14, 2011
Is it fair to have a one loss team in the College Football National Championship game, while an undefeated team from a “non-power” conference is sitting at home watching the game? This format of college’s largest revenue creator is a hot topic for debate nowadays.

The BCS created a group of eight computers in 1998. These computers were designed in order to rank teams based off of statistics, to decide the participants in the National Championship game. While taking into consideration a team’s stats, what the computers do not see is the team’s record against certain opponents, and strength of schedule that the teams played. In the polls, a team's score is its point total divided by the best possible point total for that poll. In 2010, there are 114 Harris voters and 61 coaches voting, which means that the best possible score for the Harris poll is 2850 (114 voters x 25 points for a first place vote). The team ranked #1 in a computer ranking will get 25 points. The #2 team will receive 24, and so on, down to the #25 team in a computer getting one point. Each team's computer scores (after tossing the best and worst) will be added and divided by 100 (the best possible score) to give the computer average. Then, the three numbers will be averaged for the total BCS score, highest being better.

This is not how the NCAA should decide its men’s National Champion for football. Is it preposterous? Absolutely. This is not a fair way for all the athletes who spent time in the off season working towards the goal of a National Championship. To have an undefeated record, and not even be in consideration for the National Championship game is not right. For Example, in 2000, Florida State lost one game all year, to Miami, who had also only lost one game. In fact, Miami was voted to be the second-ranked team in both of the human polls, while FSU was third. However, when the computers cranked out the numbers, FSU got to play in the title game and not Miami, creating a possibility for a split national championship if FSU and Miami had both won their bowl games. To a basic sports fan, that screams conflict. To have a team that beat another team, yet the team that lost gets ranked higher than the team that won is not the way the National Champion should be decided. Another Example, last year, Marshall went undefeated with a team that featured quarterback Chad Pennington, who finished fifth in the Heisman voting and was drafted in the first round by the New York Jets. The year before, the team had future NFL superstar Randy Moss. But the BCS “kingmakers” said: No, you are not invited to our party. Go beat BYU. So the Thundering Herd went to the Motor City Bowl and beat BYU 21-3.

Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State quarterback said, "It should be a 10-team playoff. The four BCS games should be the first round, with the two highest-ranked teams getting a bye. Then play a bracket from there." The teams all play very well throughout the season; therefore they deserve a reward.

The top 8 teams should be put into a playoff format, having the highest ranked team face the lowest ranked team in the first round and so on. The playoff will be single elimination, which will eventually decide the true National Champion. Is this fair? Absolutely. Creating the playoff format will create the most exciting spectacle in sports. College football is the most watched sport in America, and to have excitement of single elimination each week would be a joy to sports fans in this country.
After years of consideration of implementing a playoff, the BCS committee made their decision: there would not be a playoff format.