Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Playoff Steps

In early 1985 after the University of Miami's stunning upset of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, the coach of the Miami Hurricanes was interviewed while he was, nominally, coaching in a college all star game.  The coach, Howard Shnellenberger, was asked if he supported a playoff system for division 1 college football. His answer was that it could be a good thing, but because of the bowl structure, "it will never happen in your lifetime."

I don't know the vintage of the interviewer, but it has happened and in my lifetime.  It is a long time coming.  Those who read my blogs know that I believe that the BCS which determines the champion in division 1 football (until 2014 when the new playoff system will begin) should remove the C to aptly describe its method.

What has happened and will happen again for the next two seasons is that a committee decided who were the two best teams to play for a championship.  This eliminated the opportunity for teams to compete head to head on the field for the right to play for a championship.

The new system is better, but only marginally so. In the new system four teams will compete for the championship.  These four teams will still be determined by a committee.  Since there could easily be more than four teams with the exact same records, some teams with legitimate chances to be champions will be unable to compete for the championship.  Six or Eight would seem to be a more reasonable number.  In Division 1AA, 2, and 3, many more teams are invited to participate in the tournament.

Still, this is better than the absolutely meaningless end-of-season exhibition games that are currently played during the holidays. The argument that an increase in games will increase chances for injury--particularly concussions--can be addressed.  The NCAA could simply reduce the number of regular season games. Typically division 1 teams play a division 1AA team during the season to sweeten records.  These contests could be eliminated if concerns regarding injury are legitimate.

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