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The BCS-Playoffs Debate: Determining A College Football Champion

(In light of yesterday's slopfest that resembled a national championship game between the Oregon Ducks and Auburn Tigers, and the fact an undefeated and worthy TCU Horned Frogs squad will be excluded from the final picture of who should be number one, this discussion seems all the more relevant. Enjoy.)

Avinash: So I'm ready for the first round of the NCAA Division I Playoffs! What about eight teams?

Bracket 1
#7 Oklahoma at #1 Auburn (in my playoff I'm going to make sure there are no rematches except in the title game!)
#5 Wisconsin at #4 Stanford

Bracket 2
#8 Arkansas at #2 Oregon
#6 Ohio State at #3 TCU

Or a Plus-One!

#4 Stanford vs. #1 Auburn
#3 TCU vs. #2 Oregon

Or...oh, the stupid system we have right now.

TwistNHook: The question to me is less "Would you rather" because that answer is fairly obvious. It's more, when the BCS ends in 2014, what do you see occurring?

The Bowls don't want to change anything, because they have everybody over a barrel. The TV channels have to pay a lot, so they might want to maximize their investment. Who knows?

Which system would you prefer to watch? The BCS or one of the possible playoff systems? And do you believe a true national champion in college football was determined last night?

Berkelium97: The only thing holding me back from being a full supporter of a playoff system is that I'm not sure who would qualify for the Rose Bowl and how they would qualify. If they keep it a regional bowl (allow the top-ranked, qualified Pac-10 team to play a playoff game there), I'd be happy. If it's the National Championship Game, then Cal's road to the Rose Bowl would become much, much harder.

HydroTech: The BCS is a playoff system. It's a two team playoff system.

Expanding the field to four, eight, or (god forbid) sixteen teams would still pose the very same problem that the current BCS system poses: how do you choose which two/four/eight/sixteen teams play for the national championship?

The way the BCS currently does it is by polls and computers. Fine. Expand the field to four, eight, or sixteen teams, and you still need some way to pick those teams. It will most likely result in using polls and computers again.

Problem solved? Nope!

To me, the only benefit provided by a playoff system is that it will open up the field of participants whom can compete for a national championship (in a sense, every team in the nation is already a participant because if they finish with a very good winning record they will be in contention to be picked for the playoffs). But I don't know if this is really necessary. I think that in most years, you could probably only say that two, three, four, and maybe five
teams are worthy enough to compete for the national championship. Having a huge field of eight or sixteen teams would definitely mean some teams clearly not worthy to compete for the national championship will get the chance too merely because we want to give a few other teams a chance. I don't see this as really worth it.

At the most, I think a four team playoff system may be necessary, or perhaps just a "plus one" system. But I do not think there is a need to really open up the field of teams to eight or sixteen teams.

Kodiak: I think we'd all prefer to have a playoff system. It probably can't be too extensive or the NCAA will start overlapping w/ the NFL playoffs/Superbowl. Considering the Bowl Alliance and the TV networks will do whatever they can to make more $$$...then having at least one more massively televised/hyped/promoted game seems like a no-brainer. "What about the students and the additional time away from their studies?" Hahahahahaha. Good one.

I'm sure it's going to happen when the current BCS deal expires.

atomsareenough: Yeah, duh. I think everyone wants a playoff system. Maybe our discussion should really center around what that playoff system should look like? Is there a proposed format that anyone has thought up or read about that they want to throw out there as a starting point?

We will explore some proposals in tomorrow's post.