Barry Alvarez on the CFP Committee and the Current Playoff Format

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GunnerBuck's picture

I know it's probably unpopular but I like 6 more than 8. Give 1 and 2 a bye. have 3 vs 6 4 vs 5 and so in. That will get every worthy P5 conference a shot and 1 other spot as well.

I also see it as giving a single team a "hiccup". Like it 2015 when we slept walk through the whole season, got beat by MSU and then shit housed UM and ND. Theres almost always 1 example of those teams that we know is good and probably deserves to be in the playoffs but a dumb loss keeps them out. It also keeps everyone it to essentially a 1 loss criteria if you want a guaranteed slot.

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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Urban_Can_Recruit's picture

The SEC and ACC would always have a 1st round bye even if their conference champ was 9-4 or 10-3. That’s why it is unpopular 

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GunnerBuck's picture

Thats hyper bole. Do better. 

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Hyper Bowl. Great name for a postseason game.

Bobbing for french fries.

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MD-PAbuck's picture

Good name for early season Mich and ND games, all hype and hyperbole

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Invictus Buck's picture

No time outs, no commercials the game only last 45 minutes, hyper fast.

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logamaniac's picture

The only refreshments available being Mountain Dew or red bull. 

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mmp15f's picture

I think it'd be simpler to just go with 8, and I think some coaches and fans would have a problem with #1 and #2 getting a bye. Still, that'd be better than 4 teams picked by a committee who isn't following the guidelines.

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GunnerBuck's picture

I don't know why they would have an issue with it but I know they would. 

Shit, I'm getting to the point where I think should just do it like the NFL does it. Cut out 1 OOC game and/or give an extra bye week if needed (max 2).

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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mmp15f's picture

I think an 11-game regular season followed by an 8-team playoff would be the best, but that's just my view. 

If it stays at 4 teams there needs to be clarity and consistency when it comes to picking one particular team over another for the last spot(s). I also don't think an undefeated ND should ever get in over a Power-5 champ with 1 loss. 

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The Rill Dill's picture

It will be a joke until there is clear-cut, black and white criteria, that is followed.

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High St Heismans's picture

GunnerBuck

I know it's probably unpopular but I like 6 more than 8.

I agree,the playoff would have to start sooner to accommodate the extended season.I can see more players NFL bound maybe sitting it out to protect themselves.IMO 6 should be the limit,if they have a bitch with that just STFU and win your games

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FTWinfrey08's picture

What reasons make expanding to 6 better than 8?  If you expand, just go straight to 8 so two teams don’t get an unfair advantage with a Bye week.  

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GunnerBuck's picture

the top 2 seeds dont get an "unfair advantage" they're the top seeds. They're the "best teams", they've earned the bye week. In theory. 

By only expanding to 6, you're ensuring you still have to value the regular season. You're getting 1 2 loss team in with a 6 team while you're almost guaranteed to get 3 (Keep in mind 2 of the last 4 years #8 also had 3 losses which should not by ANY means be considered a playoff team) in with an 8 team playoff. You're also limiting the games still since that's what people like to talk about as an issue with being an "overload". Instead of 7 games, you're playing 5. 

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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swobuckeye's picture

Who gets to say who the two best teams are?

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GunnerBuck's picture

The same people who say who the 2 best teams are now? Is that a serious question?

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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swobuckeye's picture

Yes, it was a serious question.  Why put it into the hands of people to decide who the best is, or 1st or 2nd, and not have it decided on the field?  

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

I think the committee defines "comparable" differently than you are.  A 2-loss team has twice as many losses as a 1-loss team.  Over a 12-13 game season, that's 8.3% losses for a 11-1 non-conference champion team versus 15.3% losses for an 11-2 Conference Champ.  The Committee can make a legitimate claim that those teams aren't "comparable."

Even S&P+ and other advanced metrics formulas had the Buckeyes out of the CFP the past two years. They had way too many close games against far lesser opponents (IU, Maryland, etc.), gave up too many points to objectively awful teams (osu, Maryland, etc.), and suffered ugly losses to teams that were barely bowl eligible.

The Committee got it right.

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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mmp15f's picture

Well the committee did put a 2-loss UGA over us in the final rankings before bowl season. They must've compared the 11-2 non-conference champ UGA team with a 12-1 conference-champ OSU team to come to that conclusion.  

I think the committee got it right in 2017, but wrong in 2016 & 2018.

Penn State beat us and won our conference in 2016. No way we couldn't be compared to them.

In 2018, ND also had plenty of close games against mediocre/bad teams (Ball State, Vandy, Pitt, USC). We had more impressive wins against our two common opponents, and a conference title. Definitely comparable teams, 

Also, part of the committees voting process is listing who they think are the top-6 teams in no particular order (https://collegefootballplayoff.com/sports/2017/10/20/voting-process.aspx). That tells me all teams in that top-6 are comparable on some level. Obviously Clemson and Bama were undefeated Power-5 champs and would have been excluded from that discussion last year, but I think OU, ND, UGA, and OSU were all compared with each other.

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saintstephen11's picture

We would have beat ND by 3 touchdowns last year if we had played them.  They were a shit team that got exposed once they had to play someone good.

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NorthBerg's picture

From an OSU perspective as to qualifying for the playoffs:

  • Do not lose to Sparty on a windmill field goal.
  • Do not lose to Iowa and lumbering tight ends.
  • Do not lose to Purdue's engineering nerds.

The committee got it right as it pertains to our beloved Buckeyes.

Too much time spent at the North Heidelberg rather than the classroom. SSD 68-72

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oztintacius's picture

FWIW - Those "lumbering" tight ends are both about to go in the top 20 of this year's draft.

I'll take a few of those on my team please.

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

Yes, but other than that, what did Iowa really have going for them?

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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JohnnyKozmo's picture

5 ints

You're too stupid to have a good time. -Dalton

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niblick's picture

JT Barrett and a shit ton of INTs

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BeatMeechigun's picture

How is this getting down-voted? (Unless there are some offended Purdue grads on this board, this is spot on).

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The Rill Dill's picture

Leave the Buckeyes out of it. Alabama was gifted a berth in’17. Because they won it, doesn’t change that.

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chris's picture

Your first sentence seems to double as a recent rallying cry of the committee.

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BeatMeechigun's picture

ANY team added in 2017 for that 4th spot would have been gifted a birth.  There were 3 teams with deserving resumes and two talented teams that underperformed.  The committee chose the underperforming team with 1 loss instead of 2. 

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mmp15f's picture

There were 3 teams with deserving resumes 

Yeah, you're right, and guess what? An 8-team playoff would have allowed all three teams to compete

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buckeye_in_WI's picture

The problem with the committee is that they wrote in their protocol the ability to bypass the criteria. Here's the section copied from the Selection Committee website:

"Establish a committee that will be instructed to place an emphasis on winning conference championships, strength of schedule and head-to-head competition when comparing teams with similar records and pedigree (treat final determination like a tie-breaker; apply specific guidelines).

The criteria to be provided to the selection committee must be aligned with the ideals of the commissioners, Presidents, athletic directors and coaches to honor regular season success while at the same time providing enough flexibility and discretion to select a non-champion or independent under circumstances where that particular non-champion or independent is unequivocally one of the four best teams in the country.

When circumstances at the margins indicate that teams are comparable, then the following criteria must be considered:

Championships won
Strength of schedule
Head-to-head competition (if it occurred)
Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory)"

There's enough soft language in here to allow the committee to pretty much do whatever they want, particularly the parts "when circumstances at the margins," and "under circumstances where that particular non-champion or independent is unequivocally one of the four best teams in the country".

So for your 3 scenarios where you state the committee didn't follow their own guidelines: in 2016-2018 the committee could simply have said "tOSU/Bama/ND is unequivocally one of the four best teams in the country", and the comparisons end there. So in essence, they have been following at least the written explanation of how the select the 4 teams, because the way its written it allows them to bypass the criteria if they feel strongly one team is definitely a top 4 team.

My problem with the committee hasn't been that they aren't following their own rules, or that the teams they've selected each year have been egregious mistakes, its that IMO 4 is simply not enough to objectively choose based on the sample size of the season, and it will always come down to subjectivity of the committee. If you take last year as an example, I disagree that you can unequivocally come up with a ranking of OU/ND/UGA/tOSU based on their resumes before bowl season. You can easily say "I think" or "X is probably better than Y", but its no where near unequivocal, and it rarely is year in and year out. There's always 5-8 teams in the fold causing enough doubt.

I also hate the beauty pageant feel the committee has made the sport of football. It feels wrong; this is football not figure skating or american idol. Figure out a way to let them settle it on the damn field, but also allow a path for non-P5 conference teams to compete. No system is perfect, but 8 does that significantly better than the current format.

I think 8 is coming, probably not anytime soon, but certainly within the next 5-10 years. Until then, I will just have to put up with the circus show this CFP committee has turned the sport I love into.

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mmp15f's picture

You make a good point about the "soft language", and I essentially agree with everything you said in your last three paragraphs. 8-teams is the only way to actually make sure the best teams are all in. I want multiple conferences to be represented, but I also want the best teams and this would allow for both.

I just don't think anyone could say that we were unequivocally one of the best teams in the country in 2016, just like I don't think anyone could say that about ND last season. Like you said though, it's just subjective at that point.

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allinosu's picture

First of all they took bids on 8-16 team playoffs and the money wasn't there to make it worth it. ESPN wants chaos so they dropped the bid significantly (and because sponsors dropped their bids because their data reflected that only a handful of fanbases would travel past 2 games) for automatic bids and additional rounds. For example the Rose was bid at 80+ mil for 4 and dropped all the way down to 45mil for additional rounds. Both sides wanted as far away from the NFL model as possible so they wanted NO home playoff games or byes(NCAA was DEAD set against home games and said they would not risk home playoff games in places like Madison Wisc. in late December for amateur athletes).  Both sides came out and said even if there were more than 4 teams there would be NO automatic bids. Sure it's easy to design an 8 team playoff but getting someone to pay for it is another matter. On top of everything else Bill Hancock said that no one is considering just how tightly the current system is contracted. The NCAA would have to be willing to shell out millions to buy out the 4 team CONTRACTS to accept less. Not going to happen until 2025 and since it's considered an overwhelming success, I wouldn't count on it then. That said, there is nothing wrong with hoping for more.

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45has2's picture

How many bowl games are poorly attended? Most of them, because there are too many. The money is in TV revenue not attendance. The money wasn't there then. It's 5 years in and the numbers may be different now.

Censores irrumasti.

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allinosu's picture

That's the point. It takes money to find out what would offered and that took 4+ years on the current contract. Sponsors would have to bid and before that they would have to research before putting up their end long before anything else was done. Like I said above sponsors don't want half empty seats in stadiums(when they are putting up that kind of money.) and only a few fanbases would travel to 3 games. Their words were that fans would pick and choose games they would attend. They were the ones lowering their bids past two rounds significantly. 

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Kangarooman's picture

As well they should. A 3 game playoff fundamentally alters the college game. And why mess with an incredibly successful product that has been mostly immune to ratings fluctuations. The guys running the show and the sponsors have always understood that college football is great how it is.

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Buckeye06's picture

I just don't think anyone could say that we were unequivocally one of the best teams in the country in 2016

I can and do say we were unequivocally one of the best 4 in 2016.

We dominated the Big 12 Champion OU at their house.  We beat a top 10 Wisconsin at their house.  The next week, we had a road game against PSU when they were coming off a bye, and we statistically dominated them (413-276 yards, 19-13 first downs, 37 Minutes TOP), where they needed a blocked FG and Punt to squeak out a win.  We beat a top 5 Michigan team they got blown out by to end the season.  PSU also lost to a bad Pitt team, which gave them a second loss.  They don't just weigh all 4 of the factors equally and say, well PSU had head to head and won the conference.  They say, OSU had 3 wins over top 10 teams, and according to game control, dominated PSU as well.  We think those factors weigh in favor of OSU

OSU didn't play well in the Fiesta that year; you can't take the results and use that as a reason why the committee was wrong.  Same reason why you can't say they were right in 2017 or 2018 about leaving OSU out.  They could have been, but you can't use results to justify it after the fact 

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

I agree that the Buckeyes were one of the 4 best in 2015, and should’ve gotten in. 2016, I’m not convinced. 

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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BeatMeechigun's picture

The 2015 Bucks weren't even close.  They finished 7th behind TWO Big Ten teams and a 2-loss Stanford.

Most talented team in the country?  Absolutely.  But until that Michigan game they didn't do a damn thing to show that they were.  Results matter and that team and staff did not produce until after they lost to MSU.

Duke by most measures was the most talented basketball team this year, but they didn't make the Final Four.  Ultimately talent has to produce results.

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PRO8's picture

The main reasons we don't have 8 teams are the bowl tie ins and the added length to the season and they both boil down to money. Shortening the reg season would cause to many teams to miss out on needed revenue and lengthening it would put to much stress on student athletes of a few teams. The bowls and tradition are another issue along with the  money from the bowls and adding more games would just cause a bigger outcry for paying players is another issue.

They should have done the 8 team playoff to begin with but a compromise was made so it would happen with  four teams to keep all these issues out of the picture. It was simply a bad compromise, at least the end result but the best they could come up with. I'm sure the idea of having some games played with 8 teams required using home team sites for the higher seeds and weather was also brought up as the sites for 4 team playoff games are in domes or what are considered good weather areas. They seen what FCS teams did but they could not pull the trigger from what was already established for the FBS, it was just to much of a shakeup that they could not get enough folks to buy into it.   IMO

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BuckeyeBulldog's picture

It either needs to include all power 5 conference champs and have a clearly defined and adhered to system for ranking teams in the current format and whatever may come. Period.

Giving a numerical grade to criteria such as conference/divisional championships, strength of record, offensive and defensive rankings would be a good place to start. IE there has to be a clearly and consistently delivered reason to put a 1 loss conference champion behind a 2 loss non conference champion or a 1 loss non champ in front of a 2 loss champ.

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mmp15f's picture

I doubt they'd be able to rank certain teams the way they do for clear reasons that are consistent with previous years though, based on what I've seen. If they could somehow establish that consistency, I'm fine with 4 teams

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allinosu's picture

You hit it out of the park with that statement.

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BuckeyeBulldog's picture

To clarify, I think the committee wrongfully helped and hurt us in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
We got in over PSU because they couldn't justify putting a 2 loss team in the playoff. Which is a clear criteria but one that should be considered along with PSU winning in one of the toughest divisions and our awful offensive production often times that year.
However this past season UGA had no hard evidence to justify being ranked above a power 5 champ with 1 less loss, and only subjective "eye test" reasoning was given. Although the point is mostly moot since it was 5 v 6 it pointed out a major flaw in the committee's selection process.

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mmp15f's picture

Agree with everything you've said. 

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BuckeyeRealist13's picture

As long as the get the four teams correct, I don’t care. So far they’ve gotten it right every year 

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mmp15f's picture

So far they’ve gotten it right every year 

This is your opinion, but it can't be concluded

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BeatMeechigun's picture

Based on the hypothetical BCS results it can.  Every year.

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mmp15f's picture

I don't think it could be concluded the ND, OU, and UGA were all better than OSU, like the committee said in their final ranking before the post-season, without seeing games between the teams.

I don't think conclusions drawn by algorithms or any other advanced systems should just be accepted without question for this matter

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BeatMeechigun's picture

I agree, but ultimately all those teams you mentioned were flawed.  Some years there will be one elite team, some years two elite teams (like last year with Clemson and Bama), some years three.  History tells us the idea of 4 or 5 undefeated conference champions is unlikely.  Beyond those elite teams it is up to the committee to determine the leftovers.

We can argue all we want that 2017 OSU should have been the leftover pick instead of Bama, but the formula is clear: win out and win your conference and you are in.  There simply isn't room to lose in blowout fashion to Iowa or Purdue.

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BeatMeechigun's picture

As frustrated as I am that Alabama got in two years ago despite losing their final regular season game and failing to win their conference, I have to admit without hesitation that the committee has gotten it right EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

The idea of Ohio State over MSU in 2015 is a prayer at best.  They beat us on our own turf and won the conference as we looked lackluster for most of the year behind inept play calling.

The idea that a two-loss Penn State deserved in for 2016 over OSU is an ESPN debate point (not saying much) at very best.  The Nits lost to Pitt and got their wheels blown off by Michigan.  OSU lost at PSU on a blocked FG in a game the Bucks looked better in all aspects but special teams.

2017 gets trickier as there were 3 deserving teams based on resume and it came to a filler debate between OSU and Bama.  But its basically the OSU-PSU debate from the year before all over again as it's hard to take a 2-loss team that had their wheels blown off in a game over a 1-loss team.

Last year was straight forward as much as I hate ND.

Hypothetically, had TCU made it in 14, OSU over MSU in 15, PSU over OSU in 16, OSU over Bama in 17 or any single scenario like that, we would STILL be having this debate, only with more firepower.  The committee has nailed it each year.  The problem is not the committee, the problem is that we 100 different views on how a season resume should be built.  The Big Ten believes in a November gauntlet of conference games, a premier OOC opponent, and stretches of 4 or 5 straight weeks of play.  The SEC believes in a max of 3 straight Saturdays of football before a bye or FCS opponent, believes in passes in November before significant games, and only plays 8 conference games, ND doesn't believe they have to play by the same rules as everyone else.  Those are the problems.  Until each conference schedules similarly, there will not be an even playing field.

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mmp15f's picture

ND doesn't believe they have to play by the same rules as everyone else.

You listed this as an issue with the current system, which it is, but you still think it was right to put them in last season? All that decision did was reward them for taking a shortcut

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BeatMeechigun's picture

I hate ND, but yes.  A resounding "yes" in fact.  They ran the table playing P5 competition, why wouldn't they be included?

If I had my say, the committee would have specified "the four best conference champions" from the start and when ND asked "what about us?" they could have responded with "find a conference".  But unfortunately that didn't happen.  So without conference champions being a pre-req, then yes, an undefeated ND team absolutely deserves in.

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mmp15f's picture

If I had my say, the committee would have specified "the four best conference champions" from the start and when ND asked "what about us?" they could have responded with "find a conference". 

The committee still should've responded with "find a conference" this past season.

Running the table with a 7-pt win over Michigan at home in Week 1 being your best win isn't anything impressive, especially after we beat Michigan by 23.

A P5 team could possibly go 12-0 and then lose their conference championship game. If you put a 12-0 ND in over a team in that situation, you're rewarding ND for not playing in a conference

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hetuck's picture

ND played two non-P5 teams, Ball State and Navy. OSU was one of six teams that played eleven P5 opponents. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

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oztintacius's picture

ND lost to us via the "eye test" in 2018, no doubt. Everyone knew they weren't that good, but undefeated means something in the college game. I'm fine with them getting in.

If they run the table again in 2019 and have victories over Georgia, Michigan, VT, Duke, Stanford, and USC they should be in again as well.

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saintstephen11's picture

4 best vs. 4 deserving. No one in their right mind thought ND was one of the 4 best teams last year. Vegas would have had them a huge dog against OSU if they played at the end of the year. They were one of the 4 most deserving though. So did the committee get it right?

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oztintacius's picture

Absolutely.

imo, The "best vs deserving" is a debate for the "losers" - not the undefeated P5/ND team. Without that golden ticket in CFB, you break it and turn it into an ESPN-driven beauty pageant even more than it is now.

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BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Nobody in their right mind thought anybody but Alabama or Clemson were the best teams in the country...still needed four though 

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mmp15f's picture

If they run the table in 2019, they shouldn't be automatically in--it would depend on the surrounding circumstances. What if there are four P5 champs who are 13-0? 

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Darksungm's picture

The only issue with the three best teams without a conference championship is the first round of games would be repeats of the conference championships.

Negativity is a choice.

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mmp15f's picture

Not likely. This year, the teams in other than the five Power-5 champs would've been ND, UGA, and UCF. UGA wouldn't have been matched up with Bama in the first round.

In 2017, Bama would've been in over Auburn (who played UGA in the SEC championship), and UCF would've been in again. Wisconsin would've probably also been in, but they wouldn't have been matched up against us in the first round

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Sloopy1976's picture

8 is much simpler. You have 6 conference champs and 2 at-large teams. Put solid, logical criteria on the the 2 at-large slots and there will be little controversy. 

I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but the 4 team playoff is a joke based on two stats: 

1. Four programs (OSU, OU, Bama, Clemson) have accounted for 70% of the playoff births over the first five years of the format.

2. Three programs (OSU, Bama, Clemson) have accounted for a staggering 87% (13 out of 15) playoff wins. The only two games these three teams didn't win were the Rose Bowl in year #1 (Oregon vs. FSU) and the Rose Bowl in year #4 (UGA vs. OU). Also, these three programs have never lost a playoff game to anyone but each other (Bama has lost to Clemson and OSU, Clemson has lost only to Bama, and OSU has only lost to Clemson). 

We need more parity and to give more teams an opportunity to get into the tournament and to have success. The 4 team format is monopolized by a handful of programs. 

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BeatMeechigun's picture

8 is a disaster plan.

2016 - Michigan loses the game vs. OSU and not only gets in but OSU is put in a position where they have to beat them (they would have been seeded 3) and 6) in back-to-back games.  Wisconsin lost every meaningful game they played that year and still would have gotten in the field.

CCGs become irrelevant as both the winners and losers would make the field.  Teams would be better off resting their starters than battling for a CCG such as Bama and UGA last year.

Division winners are penalized with a CCG, division runner-ups are rewarded by getting a de-facto bye week before the tournament.

2017, UCF ran the table and STILL would have missed the playoff based on where the committee ranked them. 

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Kangarooman's picture

This guy gets it. Mind if I add a point?

College football's best aspect is that it has the most important regular season in all of sports. Keep every game important and stick to 4.

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mmp15f's picture

Everyone has a preference, and no format is perfect. 

It's cool that the regular season means so much, but it also kinda sucks. Many teams are on a completely different level in Week 12 than they were in Week 1. I'm not saying that performance & losses shouldn't be taken into account, but I am saying that teams make mistakes and I think that they should have the chance to make up for one mistake. 

All I know is the OSU team I saw against Mich, Northwestern, and for the first 2 & 1/2 quarters of the game against Washington was better than Oklahoma and ND. Should the Purdue loss and rough performances have been ignored? No. Would an 8-team playoff that gave the higher seed home-field advantage in the 1st-round be a fair chance to make up for that? Yes. 

Going with 8 teams also gives the Group-of-5 a chance to at least compete. I never really cared about that honestly, but watching UCF claim a national title changed my mind

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BeatMeechigun's picture

Again, UCF would NOT have been included in an 8-team playoff that year despite going undefeated.  The committee rankings are available and even (then) 2-loss Auburn was ranked ahead of them.

And the OSU team that played the last 1.5 quarters of the Rose Bowl was worse than OU.  Washington was nothing special and we had to hold on for dear life.  From an entire season of work (that includes at Maryland, Nebraska at home, NW in the BIG CCG, looking rough against Minnesota, porous defense against lowly Oregon State, etc. etc.) that team and especially that defense was not in position to compete with Bama or Clemson.  Scoring 62 on M was amazing, but our D also gave up 39.

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buckeye_in_WI's picture

2. Three programs (OSU, Bama, Clemson) have accounted for a staggering 87% (13 out of 15) playoff wins. The only two games these three teams didn't win were the Rose Bowl in year #1 (Oregon vs. FSU) and the Rose Bowl in year #4 (UGA vs. OU). Also, these three programs have never lost a playoff game to anyone but each other (Bama has lost to Clemson and OSU, Clemson has lost only to Bama, and OSU has only lost to Clemson).

Nice work with the statistics. I think including us in with Bama/Clemson though is over-stepping things. While tOSU/Bama/Clemson account for 13 of the 15 playoff wins, Bama/Clemson account for 11 of those 13.

Which is important to note when you're talking about more parity needed because the playoff era thus far has really been the Bama/Clemson era. tOSU kicked things off though.

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NoVAsmitty's picture

A point of clarification is in order. In 2016, the Committee did not put in Ohio State over Penn State. We were #3. The Committee put UW in over PSU (4 vs 5). 

Another argument in favor of expansion to 8 - IMO the final 4 is also resulting in recruiting advantages and is concentrating highest levels of talent at mainly two schools. 

“I intend to make Georgia howl.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

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mmp15f's picture

I understand, but I'm just referring to the fact that the champion of our conference--a team that beat us--was left out while we made it in 2016. That also leads to the question of why the committee put us above Washington though. Washington beat multiple ranked teams throughout the year and won their conference

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elitesmithie's picture

4 spots for 5 major conferences plus whatever ND is bound for stupidity. I don't care if Alabama gets to play an 8-4 Washington; Every conference champion should be in. Then you can NEVER say you don't know the right team won. Win your conference then you have a shot. Side benefit, better OOC games because you won't be paranoid about adding a loss. Your SOS can be used for seeding purposes so you still need to win but it is insane to leave conferences out. Clemson will be playing 8 Minnesotas next year for their conference games. 

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Sloopy1976's picture

Agreed, their conference schedule is a joke. Unless we have schedule equality (which is impossible with 130 teams) a four-team playoff won't work. Win your P5 conference and you're in, its that simple. And if you're a G5 school, schedule the best P5 teams that are willing to take you on and run the table, then hope for the best. 

Schedule equality is a big issue in college football, and I think if we went to 8 teams, I agree with you that you will see better OOC games because they are basically money-making games that don't hurt your chances of making the playoff as a P5 champ. As it stands, Clemson's schedule is a joke. They play one tough OOC game and the ACC is hot garbage. In addition, Bama has a bye before going at Texas A&M and another bye before hosting LSU, then they play Western Carolina the week before playing Auburn. Coincidence? I think not. The 4-team format encourages this type of scheduling and makes for a predictable season.

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Kangarooman's picture

"Agreed, their conference schedule is a joke. Unless we have schedule equality (which is impossible with 130 teams) a four-team playoff won't work. Win your P5 conference and you're in, its that simple."

You just made the perfect case for why winning your conference shouldn't guarentee an automatic bid?

HS
mmp15f's picture

Agreed. First of all, the 10-3 (before the Rose Bowl) Washington team last season lost 3 games by a total of 10pts. I would've picked them in a hypothetical matchup with ND, and they would've given Oklahoma a run just like they gave us a run.

The focus on # of losses makes sense, but it shouldn't hold more weight than every other consideration. In 2007, LSU went 11-2 and still made (& won) the BCS championship game back when it was only 2 teams because they were clearly the best team.

The eye-test is subjective, so the best way to go about it is to just go to 8 teams reward the P5 champs. There's still room for 3 other teams, so it's essentially guaranteed that every real contender will get their chance

HS
Kangarooman's picture

So what happens when a mediocre 4 loss team from a shitty division pulls a conference game upset? That's fair to you?

HS
mmp15f's picture

Yes because it allows teams more of a chance to control their own destiny.

Let's say, hypothetically, Pitt had upset Clemson. Pitt would've gotten in, which would've kinda sucked but Clemson would still have been in the playoff in that situation. Besides, you did say you want regular season games to count so why not make the conference title games count as much as possible also?

Is a 4-team playoff system where ND doesn't play in a conference fair to you? I mean if they would've just joined the ACC instead of doing this whole deal they have where they play a certain amount of ACC teams every year, the blowout loss to Clemson would've happened during the season and we wouldn't have had to waste a Semi-Final game with that. 

I just see 8 teams as the only way to ensure that the 4 most competitive teams are actually in

HS
Kangarooman's picture

"Besides, you did say you want regular season games to count so why not make the conference title games count as much as possible also?"

I think you struggle with logic if you dont see the multiple ways putting that much weight on the conference championship doesnt take away from the regular season.

And I think youre incredibly naive if you think turning non-conference games into exhibitions will make them more exciting. Schools will avoid big time opponents or rest stars to ensure healthy players for the conference season.

HS
mmp15f's picture

Okay so in the current system if Clemson had gotten upset, what would've happened? You have a 14-0 SEC champ Bama, a 12-0 independent ND, a 12-1 Big Ten champ OSU, a 12-1 Big Ten Champ Oklahoma, and a 12-1 non-champ Clemson. If you leave Clemson out but put ND in, you're rewarding ND for not playing a conference championship. If you leave OSU out but put Clemson in, you're saying that conference championships don't matter at all.

Reward the P5 champs, and there's still room for the 3 best teams other than those 5. 

I think you're incredibly naive if you think the 4 best teams have been in the playoff each year, and that the system is working. You also realize that an 8-team playoff would allow teams room to mess up, so they'd be more likely to schedule a strong OOC game, right? 

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Kangarooman's picture

There is no world in which a Northwestern team who lost to Akron and Duke should be one win from the playoffs. Arbitrary conference and division lines do not equal fairness.

And you're just wrong regarding non-conference games. Teams will value healthy players for the now all-important conference games and will value avoiding the loss just like they do now.

Your scenario also opens up the possibility where teams rest players at the end of the year after divisions are clinched.

HS
mmp15f's picture

And you're just wrong regarding non-conference games.  

 We may view that differently, but it's a hypothetical and neither one of us could possibly be "wrong" about this particular matter.

Your scenario also opens up the possibility where teams rest players at the end of the year after divisions are clinched.

Teams already do this...Pat Fitzgerald admitted to doing it this past year. Divisions also aren't always clinched weeks in advance, and I also highly doubt many teams would be willing to rest players and place their entire playoff birth on one game especially because many teams play rivals in the final week of the season.

I can honestly live with the 4-team playoff, but I can't live with the unclear criteria that the committee uses to rank teams. Beating UM and Northwestern by more than ND did, winning a P5 conference, winning @PSU, and having a highly-ranked offense/Heisman contender (the reason they gave for OU over us) wasn't enough to make up for the Purdue meltdown and get in over ND?

Obviously it wasn't, and it has seemed over the years that the committee values # of losses more than anything. But if that were the case, why was UGA ranked ahead of us also?

If you think 4 teams is the best way that's fine, but you're not going to tell me the current system itself is the best way.

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buckeye_in_WI's picture

When has this actually happened? I hear the "what if a 4 loss/undeserving team wins their conference?" argument a lot but I've never seen anyone back it up with facts how that could have happened.

The reason I think is because it rarely has happened. And I'd happily trade the rare risk of potentially allowing a 4 loss team in a playoff if you gain significant objectivity of a playoff system.

Also, you could easily prevent this by writing in that conference champions must have less than X losses to earn an auto-bid, otherwise that conference's auto-bid is forfeited for an at large bid.

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mmp15f's picture

Thank you. 

People use that argument as if it's gonna happen every year but I can't remember the last time I've seen an upset in a conference championship game, unless you count a #10 MSU team (11-1) beating us in 2013, which wasn't a scenario where a 4+ loss team made the playoff.

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2morrow's picture

Have stuck to this since 2015.

8 team playoff.
Round 1 - 2 weeks after the conference championship games.
Semifinals and finals to be played as they are now.

Top 5 teams are conference champions only, and seeded 1-5 by the committee under strict guidelines, or go back to the old BCS computer model to seed them. Teams 6-8 chosen by the rankings as the #6-8 teams.

Round 1 - 1 vs 8 at the home of #1; 2 vs 7 at the home of #2, 3 vs. 6 at the home of #3, and 4 vs 5 at the home of number 4.

 

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mmp15f's picture

Yep, it's not hard.

We have five P5 conferences, the continuous possibility that ND goes undefeated or 11-1 with a quality loss, and we frequently have a Group-of-5 team who goes undefeated. No way 4 teams is enough

HS
Kernfan's picture

I have always wanted an 8 team playoff since growing up with 4 major bowl games on New Years.  My current plan would be 5 major conference champs.  I would want to put in best G5 school if ranked somewhat high (top 16?).  Top 2 other schools, but no more than 2 schools for any conference.  I would also like altered seeding if needed to avoid 2 teams from same conference play each other first round (so if OSU were #1 and PSU were #8, PSU would move to #7).  Seeding could come out of committee or BCS formula.

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buckeyearchie76's picture

I agree that if the playoff is expanded a 6-team playoff seems ideal.  The NFL is known for lots of screwy things.  But they use the 6-team playoff system to perfection.  The 6 teams are seeded 1-6.  1 and 2 draw first round byes.  Then, they reseed after 3,4,5,and 6 play their games.  And that becomes your Final 4 for the division championship.  This system really creates lots of excitement in the NFL during the last 3 or 4 weeks.  Usually the top 1 and teams are set.  But, there is usually a log jam of 6 or 7 teams that "could" still make the playoffs.  Look at the AFC Central the last two years.  Two years ago, all Baltimore had to do was beat the Bengals the last game.  They did not and they were out.  Last year the Steelers had to beat the Bengals and Baltimore had to lose and the Steelers were in.  They Steelers beat the Bengals.  But, Baltimore also won and therefore the Steelers were eliminated.  That system creates excitement for many fan bases.  And the same thing could happen in the college playoff.  Then the playoffs would be decided on the field and not in some office by humans.  College football is, in my opinion., the greatest game going.  But, the playoff selection is far from being fair.  And I agree, OSU got in one year that they should have not.gotten in.  And they got the shaft in a year they should have been picked.  GO BUCKS!

Louis Haynes

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NoVAsmitty's picture

Sigh. I’m allowing myself to be drawn back into one of these threads again. 

Expansion to 8 teams “will ruin the regular season” is a straw man argument. Heard that prior to 2014 as well.  “A 4 loss conf champ will get in.”  We can cross that bridge if we get to it. But I guess an 11-7 conf record Auburn SEC champ ruined March Madness and the men’s b-ball Final 4 this year. 

And that's all the proof anyone should need to expand to 8. You can rely on all the data and analytics you want, but ultimately games are won or lost on the field or court so shouldn’t championships be as well?  Expanding to 8 takes most of the decisions away from “the experts” and their “data points” or “eye tests” and puts it back on the field and actual outcomes rather than predictions. All “the experts” had Duke winning it all. Or Kentucky. Or Gonzaga. Even the Selection Committee and Lunardi and Palm only got one of the Final 4 correct. Not one of them had Auburn or Texas Tech. The data and eye tests backed them up. And they were at a minimum 75% wrong. 

“I intend to make Georgia howl.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

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BeatMeechigun's picture

Straw man argument?  8 teams with CCGs would stink.  Here's why:

2015: Clemson was ranked 1 at 13-0 and 2-loss ND was ranked 8.  Clemson beat ND head-to-head and as division champion was required to play in an additional CCG.  WHY should ND be rewarded for losing their biggest game of the season and WHY should Clemson be punished by requiring them to beat the same team twice?

2016: Ohio State beats Michigan in 2OT.  Michigan's punishment for that loss... they are rewarded with a playoff appearance as a 6-seed who will play 3-seed Ohio State.  WHY should Ohio State have to beat them twice?  Michigan would have had 2 losses in their last 3 games and still made the playoffs.  Wisconsin is even worse... the Badgers lost to Ohio State at home, at Michigan, and lost the Big Ten CCG to PSU, but they still would have made the playoffs as an 8-seed based on the rankings.  WHY should a team with 3 losses that lost every meaningful game they played be in the playoffs?  There would have been 4 Big Ten teams that year.  I don't care if it's the SEC, ACC, or Big Ten - no conference deserves 4 playoff teams, let alone 3.

2017: The year everyone justifies an 8-team playoff because UCF was deserving.  One big problem.  UCF wouldn't have made it: they were ranked 12th in the final CFP rankings.  Then 10-3 Auburn would have been in...gross.  Additionally you have a huge problem with the CCGs.  Both the winners and losers of the SEC (UGA vs Auburn) and Big Ten (OSU vs Wisconsin) CCGs would have made an 8-team playoff.  So why risk injury in these meaningless games when you'll be facing an 11-1 Bama team that had a week to rest?

2018: Michigan, who just lost 62-39 would have made the playoffs as the 7-seed.  

An 8-team playoff with CCGs accomplishes one thing: it rewards the teams that lose their most important games of the year by allowing them to skirt the CCG and punishes the teams that win those meaningful games by requiring them to play an extra CCG and even potentially requiring them (2015 Clemson-ND and 2016 OSU-Mich for example) to defeat the exact same team twice.  Everything about the idea stinks. 

There is only one 8-team format that could work.  Scrap CCGs and take the highest ranked division champions.  But that would mean giving up CCG $ and forcing ND to join a conference and those two things aren't happening any time soon unfortunately.

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NoVAsmitty's picture

Good points, but easily solved.  I doubt the "Committee" spends much time or thought after the CCGs ranking 5-8 (or 5-25 for that matter).  If anything, they are ranking just for purposes of which teams go to the NY6 bowls, and it didn't matter (except for fan bragging rights) whether UGA or tOSU were ranked 5 or 6 last year.  All that would be necessary is to have a rule that teams from the same conference can't play each other in round 1 or even round 2.  The Committee would still be tasked with seeding.  Just because a team wins one of the P5 CCGs doesn't mean it would be ranked in the 1-5 spots.  An at-large team could be ranked 1, for example, even without winning its conference.  As someone else said above, do what the NFL does and re-seed after round 1 to avoid what you point out.  I'm pretty sure college teams and fans can figure out travel arrangements just as NFL teams and fans do every playoff season.  

“I intend to make Georgia howl.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

HS
buckeye_in_WI's picture

I'll bite

2015: Clemson vs ND occurred Oct 3rd. Teams are very different by end of December. Rematches happen all the time in other sports and nobody shrieks. It would be no big deal because it never is. And ND isn't "rewarded" for losing their "biggest game", they would be rewarded for winning enough games to get an at large bid, if that ended up happening in this hypothetical scenario.

2016: Again, you're using one game as an example of "punishment/reward." Teams are not put in the playoffs because of 1 game, they are put in the playoff because of their season. And you could easily change how seeding is done to avoid the rematch between tOSU and ttun. Top 5 seeds go to conference champs, then seeds 6-8 are the at large. So in 2016 the top 5 seeds would be: 1 Bama 2 Clemson 3 Washington 4 PSU 5 OU 6 tOSU 7 ttun 8 UW. See? no problem at all. Also, UW getting in at 8 would be a product of no other team having a better resume. That was a good Wisconsin squad in 2016. Their 3 losses were all by 1 score. They beat a good LSU team early in the season. They deserved a top 8 ranking when you look at the competition.

2017: UCF could get in by writing in that an undefeated non-P5 champ gets a 6th auto bid. So problem solved. Seeding for the playoff doesn't have to strictly follow top 8, thats another benefit of expansion. You take away the archaic ranking system which relies on what people think and lets the teams play it out and decide it on the field. A 10-3 Auburn team isn't gross, considering they pummeled both UGA and Bama that year (both of which were in the championship game), and 2 of their losses were close games to top ranked teams Clemson and LSU. They had a great resume and in fact were ranked #2 in then nation with 2 losses headed into conference championship weekend. Lastly, why risk injury in the CCG game? because you're talking about guaranteeing a spot in the playoff vs hoping for an at-large bid, and improving your seed so your 1st game isn't vs a top 4 team. If we take the matchups you listed, UGA vs Auburn with UGA winning, they get the #3 seed and get to play #6 while Auburn gets the #8 seed and has to play #1. tOSU and UW would end up being #4 seed playing #5 compared with #7 seed playing #2. So there still is motivation because it guarantees your spot vs relying on the at large selection and it improves your seeding, on top of the pride of saying you're conference champions. There is PLENTY of motivation to win that game and it is in NO WAY meaningless.

2018: ttun wouldn't get in. Seeds 1-5 would go to the champions (Bama, Clemson, OU, tOSU, Washington), ND and UCF get auto-bids for being undefeated taking seeds 6 and 7, and the 8th seed would go to UGA. Problem solved.

In my opinion, an 8 team playoff would have improved each of the 2015-2018 4 team playoff, and pretty much mitigate all the concerns you raised about it making the playoff "stink".

HS
BeatMeechigun's picture

The fact that rematches happen all the time in other sports and not typically in college football is why college football is so much better.  Every game matters.  An NFL team can drop 6 or 7 games and still win it all if they get hot at the right time.  Contrast that with college football which is as close as it gets to a single-elimination regular season.  So maybe "rewarded" was the wrong term, but they are essentially "forgiven".  Their slate is wiped clean and it's as if the October 3 game never happened.  I don't want that.  Years like 2002 are so amazing because years like 1996 and 1998 happened.

That may have been a good Wisconsin squad in 2016, but they were not great.  They lost all 3 meaningful games, not one... all three.  Let's not pretend they deserved a shot to be National Champions. 

8 is completely saturating the system with any team with a pulse.  Washington may have been a conference champion last year but they were a 3-loss conference champion.  That is not National Title worthy.

It's simple.  Run The Table.  Period.  Run the table and your team will have a shot at the NC.  Anything short of that, even as close as 1 loss and that opportunity may be gone.  That's what stings in years like 1996, 1998, and 2015, but that's also exactly what makes every single game so damn meaningful.

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BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Beat - I only read the first sentence of your post, but that's all I needed to read. I 100% agree. Sports are allowed to be different from one another, and should be celebrated for their differences, rather than be forced to operate their seasons the same way. I'm glad in the NFL the Browns can lose 6-7 games and still win a division championship, in the same token, I'm glad that in CFB the Buckeyes have to win nearly every single game to have a shot at the post seasons.

It's ok to be different. 

Also, in my opinion, every sport has something that should be protected at all costs. In the case of CFB it is the regular season that should be protected at all costs. 

HS
buckeye_in_WI's picture

I absolutely respect your opinion on why you like the current format. But what you're saying is is that you enjoy severely limiting the playoff so only teams who you/the committee/the masses feel are "deserving" of a shot at a championship.

But that goes against what, in my opinion, is what makes sport great, which is to decide it on the field. You cant analyze two teams matching up and only 1 coming away with a win.

You say a 3 loss Washington shouldn't get a shot at a NC presumably because you feel they dont deserve it. I say, if a 3 loss team beats 3 of the top 8 teams and wins the championship, well they just proved you wrong.

But I've gotten in enough discussions on this topic that I know I wont change your mind. It's totally cool though, I can respect that you have a different opinion on what makes sport good or not.

HS
NoVAsmitty's picture

argumentum ad absurdum

In the five years of the CFP, there's been one undefeated national champion (in 2018).  Clemson and Alabama have played for the national championship three times in five years.  I call two of those rematches (and they've played four times total, so make it three rematches).  Oklahoma has been in three of the five CFPs and has won exactly zero games.  I'd say the system is in need of a little saturation.

Your whole argument seems to boil down to the question of whether the #8 team in any given year would have been worthy.  And since in your view the #8 team has never  been worthy, ipso facto expansion to 8 "stinks" in your words.  Of course, if the CFP is expanded to 8 teams, everyone will be arguing about whether #9 was more worthy than #8.  But that's also a logical fallacy as a reason to not expand.

FBS college football is different for a number of reasons, but none of them have anything to do with this comparatively new five year experiment we call the College Football Playoff.  

“I intend to make Georgia howl.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

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BeatMeechigun's picture

My primary reason against expansion is not the 7th or 8th-seeded teams may not be of similar caliber to the 1st and 2nd-seeded teams (though I see that as a secondary reason), but rather that expansion renders the best regular season matchups as only seeding factors rather than elimination games.

2015 Ohio State - MSU was an elimination game.

2016 Ohio State - Michigan was an elimination game.

2017 Ohio State - Wisconsin was an elimination game. 

2018 Bama - UGA was an elimination game.

Take away the elimination factor and these games become the equivalent of a November Big Ten - ACC Basketball Challenge game - exciting to watch, but meaningless in regards to end of season title opportunity.

HS
NoVAsmitty's picture

I'll beat the dead horse at least one more time.  LOL.  And I confess I've gone back and forth on 4 vs 8, usually when I get focused in on the analytics.  But, here goes nothin'.

The 2017 and 2018 games you posted were CCGs, not regular season games.  Ohio State was already eliminated in 2017 after OU and Iowa losses.  It was an elimination game for Wisky, but not a regular season game.  I doubt 2018 Bama-UGA SEC CCG would have been an elimination game had ND lost the week prior.    

I think proponents of 4 over 8 give too much weight to the regular season, especially given the lack of scheduling uniformity.  As we know, on that rainy and windy day/night in 2015 when Ohio State played MSU the week prior to The Game, Alabama played the mighty Charleston Southern Buccaneers per usual.  Why is the regular season so sacrosanct when SEC teams schedule FCS and multiple G5 teams and only 8 conference games?  UGA only beat 8 P5 teams last year.  There were two teams last year that beat at least 12 P5 teams - Clemson and Ohio State.  I just don't agree that so much value can be given to the cherished college football regular season given the scheduling disparity and when, in my view, schools in the SEC (and ACC to an extent) treat it with such disrespect with how they schedule while primarily schools in the Big Ten and Pac 12 are expected to die at the holy alter of the regular season..   

Personally, I also believe that Ohio State should have been in for 2015 (probably over OU), and 2016 was a make up call by the Committee in the Buckeyes' favor.

“I intend to make Georgia howl.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

HS
BeatMeechigun's picture

Completely agree with you that the lack of scheduling uniformity is a major issue.  Had the Big Ten stayed at 8 conference games maybe OSU wouldn't have been on the road at Purdue and Iowa the last two years.  Purdue was our 8th straight Saturday of play with 7 of those 8 against a P5 opponent.  Meanwhile Bama never played more than 3 straight weeks of P5 opponents, having bye weeks and cupcake opponents (3 for them vs 1 for us) sprinkled throughout their schedule.

While I like 4 because it places so much value on the regular season, I'd love to see more aggressive scheduling with all conferences playing 9 games, and with a maximum of only one non P5 school per P5 program schedule.  I also think one P5 OOC true road game/year should be a requirement.

Where I could stomach 8 teams, would be if CCGs were dropped and expectation was set that the playoff field would include the "top" 8 division champions.  That would take out the subjectivity, ensure a single conference wasn't loading the playoff field, and would all but ensure no rematches.  It would mean some talented teams would be left out (2015 OSU, 2016 OSU, 2017 Bama) but would emphasize the importance of winning your division keeping value on the whole season.  CCG weekend would be on-campus games for round 1, the 4 champions would play on New Years Day, the NC Game would be a week later.

HS
BuckeyeRealist13's picture

I am personally fine with the playoffs staying at four. If it were up to me though, the playoff would be ran in the following way...

- 8 team playoff
      - Committee would continue to rank the teams as they do now, using the same criteria, but for the last rankings, the committee would select 
         the five major conference champions, the two highest rated non conference champion P5 teams, and the highest ranked Non P5 team,
         and the teams would be seeded, 1-8 in order of where they finished in the final rankings. 

- First round of the playoffs is played at the higher seeded teams home campus, with the semi finals and NC game locations decided exactly
  how they are now

HS
buck62's picture

The playoff system will expand eventually, probably to 8 teams. Our current version of the playoff was a good first attempt but there is obvious room for improvement: 5 P5 conferences and 4 playoff spots. No realistic hope for the G5. Way too much subjectivity and unequal conference schedules. Something like P5 champs + 3 at large is probably what they'll do. 

HS