Monday, March 22, 2010

Subtraction by Addition

Normally, when I go to Dawg Sports, I allocate a solid thirty minutes for reading a post.  It usually takes that long to look up all of Kyle's big words.  Not that I mind, Kyle is among the most insightful and respected bloggers on the Interwebs.  It is just that I have never been published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy [T. Kyle King, Close but No Cigar: A Reply to Professor Graglia, 25 Harv. J.L.& Pub. Pol'y 369 (2001); just to show I can still Blue Book], so I don't have the command of the language he does.  But you knew that already, right?

So when I clicked over late last night to find a post about a college football playoff, I didn't expect to spend nearly as much time as normal when I saw it wasn't Kyle's post.  I was wrong.

Go read it.  Scared?  You should be. Vinyarddawg puts together a college football playoff bracket using bowl eligible teams from 2009 (see below the bracket I openly scammed from Dawg Sports).
Who wouldn't want to see the thrill of Temple over Cincy on December 7th or Stanford beating Florida in the second round?  That is better for the fans and college football? Oregon vs. Georgia Tech is a valid national Championship game, as long as it is settled on the field, right?  I mean, who cares about a game on November 28th, when you've got to win six more for the season to mean anything?

Even Stewart Mandel gets this point, as evidenced by his Twitter post about Kansas' basketball season vis a vis KState's season (h/t The Senator).  The number one overall seed, winning the Big 12 and beating KState three times is irrelevant.  KState making the Sweet 16 and Kansas losing to a directional school in the second round is the narrative of history for the 2009-10 basketball season. You think Boise State fans would rather lose to Navy in the second round than win the Fiesta Bowl? To play devil's advocate, how about in the first round of a 32 team bracket or Georgia Tech in the first round of a 16 team bracket? 

Can't happen, you say?  I don't see why not.  Vinyarddawg actually put together a fair bracket (I'd put Boise State in the West, to play in the Rose Bowl and Bama in the South to play in the Sugar, but beyond that...).  The thing about his methodology is that it doesn't end the reliance on the polls, as it would be in real life if we ever get to a playoff.  He seeded the teams 1-25 based on the coaches poll.  Since 64 teams get in, all conf champions were represented.  I don't think he should have avoided power conf teams playing each other in the first round as much as he did, but hey, I didn't take the time to put this together.

Finally, anyone that thinks a playoff would be ok at just 8 or 12 or 16 or 20 or 24 or 32 teams, there will always be someone else (think the NCAA and college presidents and their TV partners) making the argument that the 'possibility' exists for more great match-ups if we just add another round.  By "great match-ups" they mean more money.  Putting aside the slippery slope arguement, there remains one final question:  How will we decide who gets those last two seats at the table, regardless of size of tournament?

Until that question gets answered, we will continue to have the same discussion about the fairness of selection process.  You know, the discussion we are having about the fairness of the selection process for the current one game playoff system.  My bet would be against anyone thinking the selection process for a tourney is any fairer than it is for that one game now.  We'll just have more teams thinking they are eligible for their shot.


  1. At the risk of sounding too political...more and more we live in an entitlement society. Everybody's entitled to whatever they want.

    The average college football fan today not just wants their team to win the Nat'l Championship, but believes it's their God given right to witness. As soon as frickin' possible!! No one's satisfied with winning seasons. Hell, there's a contingent of Dawg fans that think Mark Richt is the worst coach in our history. Probably even below Ron Jirsa.

    I enter each August with dreams of a MNC just like the rest of the college football world. But my boxer shorts don't bunch up on me when my team loses out on the opportunity. I know more want to see a 7-5 team enter a bracket with a chance than I do a Rutgers/Texas A&M Midwest regional final.

    I'll admit I jumped on the Playoff Bandwagon back when it was the really sexy thing to do. But when you slow down and think about's unrealistic and should be unnecessary. And when someone like Vineyarddawg puts this together it becomes crystal clear.

    At least to those who are satisfied with some semblance of sanity.

  2. While it is hard to argue with your sentiment, the fact remains, more kids play basketball and schools have fewer basketball scholarships to hand out.

    Football talent would not spread near as far as basketball talent has. Upsets would happen, but they would not be as prevalent.

    In the end, I still believe you have to win the post season games, they matter the most.

    With 120 teams subjective opinion voting may have to be a factor, but it should not have the power to eliminate all but 2 teams.

  3. An 8-team playoff solves everyones needs except mid-major teams that would GET help from it but probably not as much as they want.

    Teams will still have to value the regular season as much as they do now. The Championship games for the Big 5 conferences matter even more now. The BCS decides the other 3 teams and if you look at the last few years, they are still Top 5-6 teams so everyone needs to be as HIGH as possible

  4. How insulting to know that you have to win 3 games for the privelege of playing in the Holiday Bowl. Nuff said.