Dan Wetzel is the Smartest Man Alive

May 1, 2012 at 11:14a    by Johnny Ginter    
53 Comments
53 Comments

Comments

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Thanks for the link, Johnny. Wetzel absolutely demolishes the arguments against home field semifinals. Hopefully, the various alumni groups, ADs, presidents, etc., become better acquainted with these arguments.
Bottom line: Slive is a sleaze.

Johnny Ginter's picture

one thing to keep in mind about slive is that he was the guy pushing for playoffs in the first place

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Fair point, and he deserves some credit for that, but he wasn't promoting a playoff out of the goodness of his heart. And he's definitely not fighting against home field semifinals because he's got such a soft spot in his heart for the collective cfb community.
The SEC pays their coaches & assistants (and occasionally a few of their players?) the highest salaries. They have a great deal from eSECpn, but divided over 14 schools, it's not as a good a deal as that enjoyed by Big Ten schools. There are more t.v. sets, alumni, far better academic institutions in the Big Ten. The eSECpn product might be hitting some market oversaturation.
Slive understands that the Big Ten (and by extension it's P12 partners) still have a stronger position overall than the SEC. If he can cut a new deal that keeps 65 percent of the playoff games in his backyard, reduces the importance of the Rose Bowl, and sort of blesses the arrangement by which the SEC dips into the big playoff $ kitty to the tune of 1.3 - 1.5 shares per year, they can solidfy their current (artificially strong?) position, which is sort of running on fumes at this point.  

Johnny Ginter's picture

keeping bowls in the playoff picture is definitely in his self-interests, but playoffs sure as hell aren't. i'm not saying he's some kind of saint here, but he position he championed for was essentially for the BCS to die and i'm pretty okay with that no matter what form it takes

cplunk's picture

Gotta disagree with #1. Should be conference champs only. The first round of the playoffs is therefore winning your conference.
The argument over schedule strength differences that he makes doesn't hold water if you're only taking four. It's valid at 6 or 8, but with 4 teams PERCEPTION of conference strength is not a valid reason to take a non-conference champ over a conference champ, particularly among the big conferences (SEC, B1G, P12, B12, ACC)
 

NW Buckeye's picture

I agree with your opinion.  Narrowing it down to conference champs in essense makes the conference championships very much a part of the national playoff process. 

Johnny Ginter's picture

really? you'd take an ACC champ over an undefeated non AQ team?

William's picture

I'd rather see an 8 team playoff where you take the winners of the Big 6 conferences plus the top 2 nonAQ teams/ top 2 AQ teams that didn't win their conference.

slippy's picture

Yea that doesn't make a lot of sense.  So last year 9-3 Clemson makes it in over 12-1 LSU?  That's garbage.

cplunk's picture

Umm, no. LSU won their conference

slippy's picture

My bad, I meant Alabama.

NW Buckeye's picture

That would never happen.  The odds of a major team going undefeated and not going to and winning their own conference championship are practically non existent.  And, an ACC (or any conference)  champ with 3 or 4 losses is definitely not going to be in the top 4 conference champs.  Name the last conference champ with 3 or 4 losses that was ranked ahead of conference champs with 0 or 1 loss.  And, what does the AQ have to do with it?  If they go to a playoff, the AQ's are out the window.  The proposals are to take the top 4 teams - period.  AQ or non AQ.  I just think it should be the top 4 conference champions. 
Wetzel makes a case for not making this similar in any way to basketball or baseball because it is, indeed, a different sport.  Limiting it to conference champs would be unique and completely different than the other sports.  Once you start opening it up to non conference champs you may as well embark on the March madness path because that is where you will end up.  As Wetzel points out in his reasoning for on campus semi's, D1 college football is unique.  Let's keep it that way. 
The only trouble with this is that it eliminates ND and BYU right up front.  Too bad.  Let them join a conference so they can be in the playoffs.  Neither one competes independently in basketball or baseball.  They can join a football conference at any time.  The choice is theirs.  Just don't let the two of them dictate what the other 120+ teams should or should not do. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

To be honest, the eSECpn scourge might skew how non-SEC fans look at that question. With the SEC expanding to 14 teams, the schedules are getting watered down there, yet the perceptions of SEC dominance continues to grow. Thus, the prospect of what almost happened last year - 3 SEC teams in the top 4 of the rankings - are an ever-present threat.
Take this year's SEC schedules, for example (although the playoffs wouldn't start until 2014):
UGA's non conf slate is Buffalo, FLA ATL, G Southern, G Tech, and they pick up Mizz in the SEC East this year; they don't play either Bama or LSU.
FLA plays LSU, but not Bama, Ark, or Auburn.
Bama plays Tenn and Mizz from the east.

Orlando Buckeye's picture

I though AQ/non AQ was a thing of the past.  Therefore the only teams left in the cold would be the independents.

mln330's picture

Before I read this article, I agreed that it should be conference champs only, but the idea of a playoff between the 1, 3, 5 and 10 ranked teams seems silly. But then if you're doing it only based on rankings, what happens if the SEC or another conference has 3 teams in the top 4? It may not be likely, but it could happen. 

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

You have to look at why those teams are ranked 1, 3, 5, 10.... those ranklings are very biased. If you include a cofnerence champ rule, then you disincetivize bias.
And in a reply to a post above (not yours MLN), an undefeated non-AQ team is almost always going to be in a four team playoff if it's conference champions only. If it's NOT conference champs only, you run the risk of putting in two loss teams over an undefeated non AQ team, since they generally finish outside the Top 4 even when they're undefeated (TCU 2010 was a rare exception).

omahabeef1337's picture

If you want to win the national championship, you should need to be the champion of your own conference. Simple as that. I do NOT want to see regular season rematches. You're likely to get those if you can be in the "final 4" and not be a conference champ.

old_rasputin's picture

Wetzel is right; we need the four best teams play in the playoffs.  Conference affiliation should not have any forbearance on this system, IMO.  If one of the four best teams in the nation in any given year is say...Brown University (a perennial football powerhouse by any Ivy League standard...) then let Brown University play one of the other three best teams in the nation.  The idea of picking four teams who win their conference's championship excludes the Notre Dame's and the Army's of College Football, and personally, I would prefer to see some of these guys rewarded for their football excellence, rather than simply not rewarding them because they do not participate in one of the conferences.  IMO that would be a disaster on par with the current (soon former) BCS system.

"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Rasputin: I'm not taking a position on conference-winners-only, but I'm sure if they go in that direction, they'll stipulate "team must win conference only IF the team is in a conference." ND, Army, other indies would be eligible.  

old_rasputin's picture

Sure, but if I were to play devil's advocate here, what if there are two teams from the same conference that are two of the four best teams in the nation?  Even then taking the conference champs would not be the best situation.  I am not saying that there is an easy solution, but Wetzel proposes that there ought to be a set criteria by which all teams are judged.  It is what the BCS system has attempted to do.  I do not think that the BCS criteria now is a good indicator of the two best teams in the country, and I also do not think that drawing four conference champs out of a hat is a good way of doing it either.  FWIW.

"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

hodge's picture

In my opinion, the biggest problem with the BCS formula is its reliance on the coaches' poll.  When Nick Saban can help vote himself into the National Championship game, you have a serious conflict of interest.  Get rid of the coaches' poll, and bring the AP poll back.

cplunk's picture

My point is that you don't know two of the best four teams are in the same conference. You have no idea who the best four teams are. It's all perception. Limiting it to conference champs eliminates some of that perception problem. Win your conference or you really don't have a complaint other than "I think I'm in the best times and want your perception to agree with mine."

old_rasputin's picture

Yes, the conference championships would give us a standard by which a team could be judged, so you pick four of the 12 champions (including independants).  What about the other eight champions?  In the end, no system is perfect, and I know that this is crazy and impractical for CFB, but how about a 12 team conference champion playoff?  Again, it is a logistical nightmare, but at least this way there would be a fair representation of all of the best teams in the nation.

"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

btalbert25's picture

There were no other conference teams better than Alabama last year.  Like it or not, last year the BCS got it right for who the 2 best teams were.  LSU would of destroyed Oklahoma State and would of won the national championship even though they weren't the best team in America, that's a problem for me.  
This wouldn't even be an issue for some people if it weren't the SEC that had 2 teams in the finals last year.  Wetzel is right, the only people who want conference champs only want it to be that way to limit the SEC to just 1 team.  If it were 2 B1G teams no one would be bitching about it and I don't believe anyone on this site would honestly tell me they'd have a problem with an all B1G title game.  
I would venture to say, many who are so against non conference champs making to a playoff were also outraged when Michigan didn't get a 2nd crack at the Buckeyes in the BCS title game. 

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

This wouldn't even be an issue for some people if it weren't the SEC that had 2 teams in the finals last year.  Wetzel is right, the only people who want conference champs only want it to be that way to limit the SEC to just 1 team.

 
I can't speak for everyone, but I have been for conference champs only for years now. I think you're aware of that BT. I will acknowledge that my sentiment has become more mainstream since this past season's title game. But in fairness to other's who have held my view, this opinion - especially in the Buckeye community - has been somewhat mainstream since Tressel stated "I always thought you should have to win your conference if you want to win a national title" on the Sunday after the 2006 Michigan game.

spqr2008's picture

Absolutely Conference Champs.  That way a really good Big East, Mt West, or Whatever other conference team should have a shot.  Plus, SEC, you guys, except for Kentucky and Missouri, lost the Civil War, get over it already.  You don't get two teams in a four team playoff just because the media biases the coaches and the press against other conferences.  If that hurts your school monetarily, I have zero problem with that.  The conference of oversigning has enough advantages already.

hodge's picture

I want to make out with Dan Wetzel.  What a beast.

Nappy's picture

The points he lays out makes the most sense.  Top 4 overall based on a selection committee using pre-existing criteria.  On campus semi-finals and a bid to the Championship game.  Or rotate the title game amongst the existing BCS bowls.  But I'd love for Indy or Chicago to host a title game. 

Fan of bacon since 1981

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I can live with that format - best we can hope for. What we don't want is most of the semifinal games to be played in the SEC's backyard with 2-3 SEC teams in the semifinals every year.

Nappy's picture

I agree I don't want to have to play in the south every year but if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.  And if that means 3 of the 4 best teams in the country are from the same conference, then so be it.  It's time to put up or shut up. 

Fan of bacon since 1981

Doc's picture

Brilliant!  He nailed this argument shut IMHO.  Taking the top four teams is the best scenario until the field is expanded to 8 or 16.  Playing on campus is a no brainer and allowing the bowls to take the "leftovers" is fine.

"Say my name."

btalbert25's picture

If there is a playoff, the best teams need to play, period.  Who cares about conference champions.  The SEC had a 3rd place team in one division better than the ACC, BigEast and arguably the Big 10 champs.  Give me the best teams.  That way in 2006 Michigan could of played in the final four still, and you know what, the Game would of still be incredibly important as it may have been the difference between going on the road or staying home for the first round.
I HATE the conference champ idea because it doesn't matchup the best teams.  I absolutely think, they need to revamp the BCS formula and possibly even use a selection commity.  At the very least a new formula that takes into account strength of schedule, rewards tough non conference schedules, and even has a margin of victory aspect to it would make for a great formula. 

cplunk's picture

How do you know who the best four teams are? 
Thats the reason for conference champs. It eliminates some of the opinion bs. It's the opinion bs that gave us the ap poll and the bcs. 

btalbert25's picture

Also, a playoff that doesn't use conference champs reduces the need for superconferences and adding teams like Maryland or Rutgers to the B1G.  Sure there's still the TV aspect of things that drive a lot of it, but it would of been great 10 years ago to have this idea come out then the conferences would largely still be intact.  Boise and TCU would of been given opportunities to win a title.  Maybe the B1G still makes the jump to 12 so they can have the money grab also known as a conference championship game, but it's likely we never know what a Super Conference is. 

Another Jason's picture

My problem was this: I mostly agree with BOTH arguments. I think that a conference champs only system eliminates some of the impact of bias and increases the importance of the regular season.  I also cannot imagine a system where a #10 team (regardless of what biases may have placed them so low, it's virtually impossible to argue that a #10 ranked team in ANY system is one of the four best in the country) is playing for a national title.
Then I read this from Frank the Tank's Slant. It's probably the best idea I've read in a looooooooong time.  Basically (for the tl;dr crowd) the idea is this:
Top 3 (by whatever system, even the current BCS) are in automatically.
#4 is in IF they are a conference champ or are independent (necessary concession, not a bad deal really).
If not, then #5 (if conference champ) or #6 (same) is in.
If neither #5 or #6 is a conference champ, then #4 is in.
It's really the best of both worlds.  It prioritizes conference winners, but also makes concessions to highly-ranked non-champions and independents.
Every system is imperfect, but I think this is a great way to make a 4-team playoff a little more perfect.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Interesting suggestion - worth some thought. It's funny you mention it because I was kinda on the fence about conference-winners-only and was thinking that I couldn't split the baby on the issue. Well, Frank the Tank found a way to split the baby . . .

Nappy's picture

That doesn't suck too bad.  The thing about conference champs tho, imagine Va. Tech plays Boise, Mizzou, East Carolina and Akron out of conference and go 1-3 in those games.  Then go undefeated in the ACC and win the conference. Do they deserve a shot over say an SEC team with 1 close conference loss?  I think the conference champs angle devalues the out of conference schedule.

Fan of bacon since 1981

Another Jason's picture

That's why The Tank's way works.  There's no way that VT team is in the Top 6, so it's not an issue.  Under his system, all four teams could be conference champs or all four teams could be non-champs (although this is highly unlikely as it would mean no conference champ is in the top 6) and everything in between.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

If we ever get a Division II or Division III style playoff, then absolutely--allow non-conference champions to compete. But if you're going to limit it to only four teams, then I think you have to stay with conference champs only, to be determined by whatever means the conference itself deems best.
A four-team playoff with no more than one team from any conference would lend a truly national character to a national championship playoff. And really, what would be so bad about a playoff matching up the #1, 3, 5, and 10 teams? We had a basketball Final Four in 2011 made up of four teams that began the tournament outside the Top Ten, but no one complained it was illegitimate. Think of the process by which the teams that were #2 and #4 last season were eliminated from the national championship picture as akin to regionals in the basketball tournament.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Kyle's picture

Why does anyone care about Notre Dame at this point?  They can't even qualify for a BCS bowl bid much less contend for a national championship and we are worried about making if "fair" for them (and other non conference teams).  You choose to not be in a conference. 
 
Sorry but I think winning your conference ought to carry some serious sway with whatever body chooses the top 4.  That's not to say the SEC or B1G runner up should automatically be eliminated (as in this past year with Bama and LSU or in 2006 with OSU and Michigan) but winning your conference should matter and if you choose to not be in one tough shit.

yrro's picture

Even given last year's weak conferences and the stupid biases of the BCS, the seeding looks reasonable enough to me:
1. LSU (Ranked 1, beat #2 Alabama @Alabama)
2. Oklahoma State (Ranked 3, which was bullshit)
3. Oregon (Ranked 5, beat #4 Stanford @ Stanford)
4. Wisconsin (Ranked 10, had the same record as 8 schools ranked above it)
I don't think that giving Stanford a shot over a team that beat it for the division championship is a better injustice than including a Wisconsin team with the same record, who won their conference. And even in this case, if Boise managed to win their conference you avoid the problem entirely.

3cent's picture

I think that the top 4 conferences champions should get in the playoffs over any non conference champ provided that they are in the top 8 in the final BCS poll (or similar formulated poll). If there is not 4 teams that meet this criteria then an "at large/wildcard" spot should be given to the higest ranking non conference champ. So last year the teams would have been #1 LSU, #3 Ok State, #5 Oregon, while #2 Bama would have gotten in because no other conf champ cracked the top 8. Stanford at #4 would have been left out for not winning the PAC12 along with #10 WISC (B1G10 Champ), #15 Clemson (ACC Champ), #23 (WVU BE Champ), plus all the other conf champs who did not crack the top 8. I think doing it this way still makes the regular season mean a lot, plus winning your conference does, too. In addition it adds more intrigue to the last week of the season.

Hoody Wayes's picture

Only conference champs in the playoffs. Get rid of the polls.

btalbert25's picture

Here's the problem I have with conference champs only, what happens when K-State upsets Oklahoma?  Three teams in the SEC west were better than Georgia last year, if Georgia pulls that upset off in the SEC title, despite having a much much easier road than the 3 teams in the west, it would be a crime for them to go play for a national title and leave Bama and LSU as well as Arkansas sitting at home. 
You could have a weak assed team from the PAC12 South or west whatever their divisions are, the SEC East, or the Big 12 North.  I personally think it would be horrible TV to see Georgia or K-State get throttled by someone the following game because they don't belong.
I don't care about how basketball is set up, 1 team in basketball can carry out several upsets back to back. In football you may get lucky once but it ain't happening for 2 or 3 weeks in a row.  Clemson didn't belong in the BCS last year, I'd hate to see that same Clemson team in a Final Four simply because they were a conference champ.

William's picture

That's what makes each game so exciting, one slip up and you may have ended your shot at a title.

btalbert25's picture

It's not exciting though, when one side of the conference plays a murderous schedule and the other side's toughest game is South Carolina.  All things are not equal there.

SaintTressel's picture

That is an argument people use against a playoff, not for it

William's picture

It's an argument that would still be validated by a conference champ only requirement.

rampageripster's picture

It's a simple fact really... how can you be national champion but not champion of your own conference???? Makes ZERO sense...
LSU was the best team in the SEC but Alabama was the best team in the country?  I call bullshit
Now, I am realistic.  No one is going to agree to that because the big boy conferences are licking their chops at a chance to send two teams to the playoffs (SERIOUS $$).  With that in mind, I like the idea of a double limit.  So, essentially how it would work is that the top 4 conference winners are in unless there is a non-conference champ that is ranked higher than half the ranking of the lowest conference champ.  So let's take a look at last season...
#1 LSU - conference champ... in.. hosts first semi
#2 Bama - not a conference champ, out
#3 Oklahoma St - conference champ... in... hosts second semi
#4 Stanford - not a conference champ, out... since they are out and we are past double the rank of Bama, Bama is now in, goes to Ok St for second semi
#5 Oregon - conference champ... in... goes to LSU for second semi
So, as you can see, if the non-champ is #2, all the need is for one of #3, #4, or #5 to be a non-champs.  That probability decreases the further you go.  For #3, two of #4, #5, and #6 have to be non-champs.  For #4 all #5, #6, #7 and #8 have to be non-champs.  This makes winnign your conference very important, but also prevents situations where teams that ashould very clearly have a shot get passed over for teams that really have no business in the semis.

Cause I couldn't go for three

Another Jason's picture

That's interesting... I like the idea of not getting to host if you're not a conference champ.

rampageripster's picture

if there are any champs in the top four, those two would get to host... it places a premium in winning your conference, but doesn't shut out teams that should clearly get a shot (like Bama this year)

Cause I couldn't go for three

OldColumbusTown's picture

I also see the argument from both angles here as to the conference champ only/non-conference champs included.
I do think it is necessary to prioritize the teams based on whether or not they are/are not conference champions, but still not exclude a team from the semifinals based solely on the fact they were the second/third/fourth best team in the country, but only the second best in their conference.  My initial idea is there needs to first be some formula concocted to measure strength of schedule in a reasonable manner, and not necessarily based on the foundation of your conference strength.
I haven't thought this through completely, but I would think you could measure the overall SOS, conference SOS, and out of conference SOS.  You would have to weight these accordingly (someone smarter than me can come up with an algorithm to do this properly).  This is one measurement.  Another measurement would be some sort of factor to reward conference champions.  Again, there would need to be a measure used with a weighted average.  Lastly, there would be a factor to include penalties for losses, which, again, would probably need to be weighted based on the opposition.
This could help prevent a 9-3 conference champion from making the semifinals over an 11-1 non-champion who played a tougher schedule, and lost to a better team.  It could also help prevent a semi appearance by a 10-2 or 11-1 non-champion from a "power conference" who played Northern Illinois, Chattanooga, Youngstown State, and Florida Atlantic in their non-conference slate, losing their one or two toughest in-conference games, over an undefeated non-power conference champion who played "up" in their out of conference schedule.
The goal here is to make it feasible for each team to have a chance to make it to the semifinals and therefore have a chance to win a NC.  Currently that is not the case, and if any type of polling system continues to be used, it will remain that way.