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Push for Playoffs
Picture yourself playing for a college football team. You just finished the season without losing a single game. You are undefeated and at the top of your conference. The only problem is you aren’t ranked #1 or 2 and will not get a chance to play for a national championship. The only reason is because the conference you play in is not respected or recognized as a BCS conference. This has happened almost every year since 2006. Having a playoff system in college football is a more effective way to decide who is the best team in the country.
Boise State, from the Western Athletic Conference goes 12 and 0 in the regular season. They are ranked #9 in the nation with three “2 loss teams” and four “1 loss teams” ranked ahead of them. Instead of being allowed the chance to compete for a national championship against Ohio State, (the only other undefeated team in college football), they are matched up with #7 Oklahoma. Boise State ends up beating Oklahoma and this fuels the argument of whether or not to have playoffs in college football. Questions come up like, “What if Boise State played in the national championship?” and “How do we know if Boise State is not the best team in college football?” The only way people would have known the answer was if there were playoffs.
In 2008, Utah, from the Mountain West conference had a perfect season at 12 and 0. Going into the bowl season they were ranked seventh behind six one loss teams. Instead of getting the chance to play in the title game they were matched up with #4 Alabama. Utah made a statement by beating Alabama 31 to 17. Again, questions were asked on who really was the best team in college football. Experts put Utah in the number two spot after the bowl games, but that was a little bit too late.
Only BCS conferences have made it to the championship game in college football history. College football has six main conferences which are considered BCS. These include the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Pac 10, the Big 10, the Big East, and the Big 12. The biggest tier two conferences would be the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), And the Mountain West. These conferences aren’t as respected and will not be able to put a team in the title game, even though they have shown the ability to compete against bigger conferences. An idea has been proposed to combine the two conferences into one Great West conference by taking the top teams from each conference. This includes Hawaii, Fresno St., Boise State, and Nevada from the WAC and BYU, TCU, Air force, and Utah from the Mountain west. These teams would combine with the teams of the existing Great west Conference. This would bump the conference up from division II A to division I A. This would also make the conference into a BCS one, thus preventing any confusion or the need for playoffs.
Unfortunately, the propose idea above is very far off from happening. This only strengthens the need for playoffs. Last year, more than 75 percent of college football fans said that they would prefer a playoff system in college football. One proposal is to just take the top 16 teams in the standings, and have them play. This would cause the same amount of controversy as having no playoffs at all. People would argue about who deserved the sixteenth spot and how they decided who gets in, because let’s face it; college football chooses which teams are good, and which aren’t. The SEC and the Big 10 both receive 22.2 million dollars a year. The other four major divisions each receive 17.7 million a year. Then college football pays the other five conferences 24 million dollars to split up. 9.8 million goes to the mountain west, and 7.8 million goes to the
WAC, which leaves the other three conferences to divide 6.2 million. This money goes to funding for recruiting, coaches, and other things that make a school dominant. If a team manages to go undefeated on such a low payroll, many would think the least you could do would be to give them a chance.
Two tier 2 teams from the 2009 season were able to do just that. Boise State from the WAC and TCU from the Mountain West both went undefeated. They were ranked 5th and 4th in the country. There was a controversy on whether or not to let two non BCS conference schools compete in the major BCS bowl games. These include the Sugar Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the BCS Title game. Instead of placing the two teams against quality opponents so they could show that they could compete against the big dogs, they placed the two teams against each other in the Fiesta Bowl. To me the NCAA was saying, “Take that for trying to be a good team!” The two teams were never able to make a statement and show the world how good they really were.
One proposed playoff idea, and a favorite to many takes the 11 conference champions and 5 at large bids so teams like Notre Dame and runner ups in their conferences. Then they get ranked based on how good they are, and play it out. Whoever comes out on top will be unarguably the best team in college football. You would still have outside bowl games and you would still have 3 Major bowl games because of the quarterfinals and the Championship. This makes the most sense because the NCAA still gets all of the money it makes on bowl games and provides a sane way of determining the best team in college.
The final idea that I have stumbled upon while navigating the internet is to have a 64 team playoff. This is very similar to college basketballs march madness. This would provide a good way in determining who’s #1, but it also has its downsides. This would add up to five games to the schedule for some teams so the regular season would have to be shortened. This would cut a lot of non conference games for teams, which would make it pretty hard to judge the seeding for the brackets. This idea is one of the most far off possibilities and would probably cause more harm than fixing anything.
College football definitely needs a playoff system. The problem is what kind and how much it changes college football. The solution seems to be pretty far off, but it more people spoke out and pushed for a playoff the answer will get a lot closer.
Web. 11 Mar. 2010. <http://football.about.com/od/bowlchampionship/i/bcsvsplayoffs.htm>.
Web. 11 Mar. 2010. <http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/bowls07/bracket>.