Great, because it talked about:
- How much better the playoff system is, even though it hasn't happened yet
- Most of the fun of CFB is arguing about it
- How he was wrong to oppose the playoff format
- The pointless "tradition" of bowl games, and how it's really just about money (I have no problem with how it's about money - I just want to see more football in whatever format)
- He argued that the playoffs shouldn't ever be expanded to 8 teams, or even 6. He then proceeded to use the same arguments that he used last year as to why there shouldn't be a playoff system at all! I should point out that the very first point of his article was admitting he was wrong to oppose the playoff system. So now he's asking you to use the same logic to oppose a slightly larger playoff system, when he admitted he was wrong about that logic? It's one of the poorest defenses I've seen in print, possibly, ever.
The arguments against it are such:
A. It makes the regular season less meaningful.
- The main defense of the anti-playoff people (that, and the "sanctity" of the bowls), which, and this is the entire point of the article, is complete bunk. If anything, the regular season is more meaningful because there are 2 more spots. For example, for the last 3-4 weeks of the season, it's been narrowed down to more or less 10 to 15 teams that are in contention for those 4 spots. This means that only those teams' games are meaningful, and the rest are just for pride. This is better than last year, where only 5 to 6 teams were in contention in November. If we increase it to 8 teams, then around 30 teams would have meaningful games in November. Am I wrong here? I'm seeing the regular season becoming more meaningful with each postseason spot that opens up.
- Some would argue that, fine, 8 is fine, but no more. 16 is just too many! To them, I argue that you could have a tournament of 128 teams and still not devalue the regular season. Why? Because Americans love football. Which fan would be against having more football? Now, 128 teams is ridiculous and that would never happen. But 8? Sure. 16? Maybe! With 16 spots, it would make even the no-name conference games interesting. And who wouldn't want to see Marshall or Northern Illinois upset a Missouri or Nebraska? That wouldn't happen, you argue. It wouldn't? Nebraska almost lost to McNeese St this season, and Missouri actually did lose to a pretty pathetic Indiana team. Those 16 spots would also be about tournament seeding and pairing. Your Alabamas and Florida States might be shoe-ins, but they're still going to play hard every week for that #1 seed and you know that their fans still care about each and every game.
- Teams would schedule more interesting non-conference match-ups. More teams means that losses are less important, which means that more teams would take chances scheduling big names to bulk up their resume, similar to NCAA basketball. You could argue that my point of losses being less important means the regular season is less meaningful. I see your point. Let's go back to the SEC scheduling 20 FCS games a year, instead of Alabama-Oklahoma, Ole Miss-USC, Ohio St-LSU in September. That does sound more meaningful.
- The article argues that (more or less) the last 15 champions have been the best team. I'm sorry, but...what? That's a pretty massive statement to make without any backup whatsoever. You could go through almost every year and determine a team that could have potentially beaten that champion that wasn't invited to the championship game.
- Also, that's not the point of a playoff. The point is...everybody say it with me now...ENTERTAINMENT! When LSU had a rematch of Alabama a few years back for the championship, I could not care less about that game. We already watched a mind-numbing 6-3 game between the 2 not 3 games before, and now we have to watch it again? I didn't even bother watching. By the way, nobody else did either: it was the lowest-watched BCS championship ever. (2002 and 2005 were lower, but it wasn't the "official BCS championship" at the time.) We watch March Madness because there are 64ish teams and it's hugely entertaining. I don't think anybody's ever argued whether the team that wins March Madness is the best team - it doesn't really matter. Could Duke (out in the first round) could have beaten UConn (champion)? Possibly. Probably. Doesn't matter! UConn made it through all the rounds and they are the champs! Are they the best? Doesn't matter! Not the point!
1. Alabama vs. 8. Georgia Tech
4. Oregon vs. 5. TCU
2. Ohio St vs. 7. Boise St
3. Florida St vs 6. Ole Miss
That's right, Ole Miss, with 3 losses, gets in. Why? They beat Boise St, Alabama, and Mississippi St. Yes, they lost, in a shutout, to Arkansas. I've tweaked and tweaked my algorithm, but they beat 3 top 10 teams, so for Ole Miss to not make it, I'd have to lower the value of the strength of schedule, and that would put your Boise States and Marshalls in the top 4. And how about Boise St? The AP rankings have them at 22. They lost to Ole Miss (#6) and Air Force (#35) and have blown away most of their other opponents. You could argue all day about who's better than whom and nobody would be wrong and we wouldn't get anywhere because only 4 teams get in. And neither Boise St nor Ole Miss are in the top 4, so the argument switches from them to TCU vs Oregon vs Baylor. No matter how many teams you have, there will be arguments. That's half the fun. The difference is that the playoff system seeks to conclude on these arguments, whereas the bowl system rarely did, because Ole Miss wouldn't be playing Boise St or Georgia Tech, they'd play Nebraska (#23) or someone like that.
So I would see Bama beating Ga Tech pretty handily, with a good run-D. Oregon vs TCU would be a heck of a game, maybe in the 60s! TCU gets past them. Boise St upsets a short-handed OSU team, and Ole Miss beats FSU. TCU upsets Bama in a barn-burner, and Ole Miss beats Boise St again. TCU then beats Ole Miss for the championship. All these games sound awesome! A 4-team playoff is certainly great, but an 8 team would be even better.
We still have 1 more week of regular season football, with Oregon vs Arizona, FSU vs Ga Tech, Ohio St vs Wisconsin, and Bama vs Missouri. Our top 8, and even top 4, could be shaken up. Isn't this great!?!
I want to end by bearing my playoff testimony: I am thankful for the playoffs, I believe it's the best system, and I hope that it expands to 8, and then to 16 in the next 10 or 20 years. Until next year!