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DonRocks

The College Football Bowl Playoffs (CFB, 2014-), Four-Team Playoff To Determine the National Champion

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Here is why people will *always* object to the CFB system. (Note: This is *not* a pro- or anti-CFB posting; it's merely an observation of the way things are.)

The reason the CFB formed was (in theory (see below)) to determine a "legitimate" National Champion via meritocracy, i.e., a playoff, rather than the whims of a coaches' poll.

Yet, the CFB Poll *is* a poll, just as subject to whims and prejudices as any other poll. And it's a legitimate point that the Power Five consists of 5 conferences; not 4 - so say many critics of the current CFB system without a wild-card game for the 5th conference (however, ten years from now there might be a "Power 3," or a "Power 6," or whatever).

But the CFB wasn't developed to determine the #4 team in the country; it was developed to determine the #1 team in the country.

Regardless of whether there are 4 teams, or 64 teams, there will *always* be controversy about who gets in at the bottom. Imagine: "It's ridiculous that TCU, at 6-5, didn't make the 64-team playoff this year!"

But there is a lot less controversy now about whether or not the "best" team gets in: They will, nearly 100% of the time.

And if you expand the playoff to any more than 2 games, there's always the risk of injury, or some ridiculous upset - it's nearly impossible to go undefeated in college football, or any other level of football.

Alabama was, without any question, the best team in college football this season. And they're in the playoff - they deserve to be ranked #1; they don't deserve to need to beat 5-more great teams in order to prove it - 2 is more than enough ... in fact, it might be 2 too many.

But, as MLB got diluted in 1969 with Division champions vying for League championships, the best team over the course of 162 games now had to prove it again in the playoffs - instead of "The World Series," there were now multiple series that needed to be won. Why did they do this? Because of money, of course (the exact same reason they developed the CFB Playoffs).

In baseball, the best, purest championship would come from all the teams being thrown together into one pot, and letting the entire course of the regular season determine the champion. But that wouldn't provide any thrills (or dollars), so in 1903, The World Series began (1 post-season series), in 1969, the League Championships began (3 post-season series), in 1994, the three-division format began (5 post-season series), and in 2012, the wild-card team was added (7 post-season series). It kept getting harder-and-harder for the "best" team to actually be the champion. 

Just like the first three Super Bowls, which featured the NFL Champion vs. the AFL Champion, MLB was fascinating up until 1997, because no inter-league play occurred during the regular season, and The World Series was like "Earth vs. Mars" - you might see two teams play only once during your lifetime. Yes, frustrating, but also fascinating when it happened, and a truly wondrous occasion that provided for unbelievable rivalries (think of the Yankees vs. the Dodgers, Cardinals, Giants, or Pirates - there was always that "monster in The Bronx" that the NL Champion would need to defeat in order to become world champion.

College Football is merely following in the NFL's footsteps. Unlike baseball, football is so physically taxing that they cannot have a lot of playoff games, or people will get injured.

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Here is a *perfect* example of what I'm talking about.

"Increase the College Football Playoff to Eight Teams. Lose Conference Title Games." by Des Bieler on washingtonpost.com

Before I read this article, I never knew there was an "urgent reason" the CFB needs to expand from 4 to 8 teams. :rolleyes:

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I'm not disagreeing with you, Don. But this year kind of highlighted the flaw of the current system. The top three teams, more or less, are pretty much consensus -- Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State -- so the Committee was obligated to pick the 4th team from among Washington, Penn State, and Michigan, with maybe Oklahoma bringing up the rear.

Gee, wouldn't that have made for an interesting 8-team playoff format?

Instead, they selected Washington, the PAC 12 winner, over Penn State, who won the BigTen -- arguably the best conference in the country. But in winning the BigTen, Penn State lost by a lot to Michigan, right before going on a 9-game winning streak where they looked like the best team in any conference except Alabama. Washington lost to Southern Cal, who Penn State will probably play in the Rose Bowl. If Penn State wins the Rose Bowl and finishes 12-2 with a 10-game winning streak, will the Committee after-the-fact say that Penn State deserved to be in the playoffs over Washington?

There is no perfect system, and NCAA football makes billions of dollars for its universities and the television networks, so changes are unlikely.

(In all of this, why is nobody wondering why Alabama year-in-year-out is the best team in college football? They collect 5-star high school football talent like few other teams, and none of these kids are going there to attend classes.)

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17 minutes ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

(In all of this, why is nobody wondering why Alabama year-in-year-out is the best team in college football? They collect 5-star high school football talent like few other teams, and none of these kids are going there to attend classes.)

Your probable answer is "Nick Saban," who went 2-6 when he arrived in 2007, and has since gone 111-12.

Take a look at Florida State over the years - they're pretty jaw-dropping as well.

P.S. The only thing that really matters is that Clemson doesn't have to play Alabama in the semi-finals.

In all seriousness, I think a legitimate case can be made that Alabama should be ranked #1 if they make it to the finals, even if they lose.

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This is fascinating - there is a website called shoowin.com that is "selling" face-value tickets for the "Clemson national championship game" at $210 each.

You may have realized that Clemson needs to first defeat Ohio State to even *reach* the national championship game.

So what if they lose to Ohio State, and don't make it to the championship game in Tampa? 

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From their FAQ:

What happens if my team does not qualify to play in the game?

If your team does not qualify for the game, you will not receive a refund for the price of your Reservation nor will you have the right to purchase face value tickets to the game.

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So, in essence, you're "betting" that your team will win, and shoowin.com is "betting" that your team will lose. Just like when you take out a life insurance policy, the insurance company is "betting" that you're going to live ... and you're betting that you're going to die!

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