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Old 06-26-2012, 10:23 PM    (permalink
jballa838
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Default Why the 4 team play-off is sensationalist garbage

This proposed 4 team play-off is the definition of sensationalism, essentially. We have 2 crazy years over the past 3 and all of a sudden the system is broken. I looked at it subjectively and found that only 3 years had a controversy on who is the unanimous #1 and #2, but twice that number of years saw the AP and BCS disagreeing on who the top 4 teams in the country were, in whatever order. It was never both at the same time, though. The following is a year by year account on the battle between a traditional system and a 4 team play-off, with a traditional boxing scorecard on the bottom.

1998: Tennessee is the unanimous #1 with a 12-0 record, and Florida State (11-1, 2), Kansas State (11-1, 4), and Ohio State (11-1, 3) round out your field. UCLA and Arizona both finished with 11-1 records, and Arizona was #5 in the AP, with UCLA as #6. An argument could be made either way, really, but let’s call this one a unanimous decision between the BCS and AP.

1999: Florida State and Virginia Tech would be your unanimous #1 and #2 in both and matching 11-0 records, and Nebraska (11-1, 3) is the only other school featured in both the AP and BCS top 4. The battle for the 4th seed is dicey though, with Alabama (10-2, #4 BCS and #5 AP), Tennessee (9-2 #5 BCS and #6), Kansas State (10-1 #6 BCS, #7 AP) and Wisconsin (9-2 #7 BCS, #4 AP) really being all candidates for that 4th spot. But, Randy Moss and Chad Pennington are another undefeated team and they deserve a shot, right? Could anyone stop Moss that year? This situation is made worse by the play-off, and a basic 1v2 would have been a huge money maker this year. Why risk losing one of two undefeated teams in a 4 team play-off if you care about making money?

2000: Oklahoma was the only undefeated team in America (12-0), and there were 5 other teams that were all one-loss teams, so who else gets in? Florida State (10-1, #2 BCS and #3 AP), Miami (11-1 #3 BCS and #2 AP), Washington (10-1 and #4 in both), Virginia Tech (10-1, #5 BCS and #6 AP), and Oregon State (10-1, #6 BCS and #5 AP) all have reasonable claims for 3 spots. So 2 of those teams get left out. (Note: Miami and Washington became split National Champions this year, what if one was left out?) Even though this was a unanimous 1-4 selection and I can’t argue against it, there would still be controversy.

2001: Miami (11-0) was the best team in America this season. Nebraska (11-1, #4 AP) and Colorado (10-2, AP#3) would be your 2 and 3 seeds, and that would have been a rematch from the Big XII title game and Oregon would have been your 4 seed. I do think a 4 team playoff would have been advantageous for this situation.

2002: Miami and Ohio State were both undefeated and unanimously 1 and 2. Why complicate things with Georgia (12-1, #3 BCS #4 AP), USC (#4 BCS, #5 AP), and Iowa (#5 BCS, #3 AP) all going for the remaining 2 spots? A play-off makes this worse. Remember the how McGahee’s knee got destroyed this game? That happens in the semi’s, why watch the final?

2003: Oklahoma (12-1 #1 BCS #3 AP), LSU (12-1 and #2 in both), and USC (11-1, #1 BCS and #1 AP) would have the top 3 seeds and all have legit claims for the 1 seed. Who gets the 4th seed? Michigan was 10-2 and #4 in both polls, but Texas also had a legitimate claim (10-2, #6 BCS and #5 AP). I think a play-off is good here, and this was unanimous in the top 4, but not the top 2.

2004: USC (#1 BCS and AP), Oklahoma (#2 BCS and AP), and Auburn (#3 BCS and AP) were your top three, 12-0, and Auburn was consensus the worst of the 3. Here is where it gets interesting: California (10-1, #5 BCS and #4 AP) sat in 4th with a week to go, and Texas jumped them (10-1 #4 BCS and #6 AP) when neither played. Imagine that happening today and tell me twitter and ESPN wouldn’t simultaneously combust. Utah (11-0, #6 BCS and #5 AP) also has a claim to that 4th spot. A playoff makes this worse.

2005: USC and Texas were your unanimous #1 and #2 with identical 12-0 records. Why complicate things with a 3 and 4, with Penn State (10-1 #3 in both) and Ohio State (9-2 #4 in both) getting those seeds in the tournament as fodder to USC and Texas. Why is Ohio State more qualified than Oregon (10-1 #5 BCS and #6 AP) and Notre Dame (9-2 #6 BCS and #5 AP)? I have no idea. Even though this was unanimous, it shouldn’t have been.

2006: Besides Ohio State (12-0 #1 in both) there really is no clear cut seeding. Florida (12-1 #2 in both), Michigan (11-1 #3 in both), LSU (10-2 #4 in both), USC (10-2 #5 BCS #7 AP), Louisville (11-1, #6 BCS #5 AP), Wisconsin (11-1, #7 BCS #6 AP), and Boise State (12-0 #8 in both) all have legitimate claims on the 3 remaining spots. With how it shook out, it would have been Big Ten vs. SEC. Awesome way to crown a national champion, right?

2007: Ohio State (11-1 BCS and AP #1) and LSU (11-2 BCS and AP #2) solidify your top 2 spots, and there really is no question. Virginia Tech (11-2 #3 BCS and #5 AP), Oklahoma (#4 BCS and #3 AP), and Georgia (10-2 #5 BCS #4 AP) are all going after 2 spots, and with how it went down (Georgia falls to #5 on an idle week) chances are people would be screaming until the next September no matter who got in. A play-off really makes this a worse situation.

2008: Every team from the top 9 from a major conference had 1 loss while Boise and Utah crashed the party with unblemished records. Oklahoma (12-1 and #1 BCS and AP), Florida (12-1 #2 in both) and Texas (11-1, #3 in both) all have legit claims to be in the play-offs, right? Texas beat Oklahoma, but Texas Tech (11-1, #7 BCS #8 AP) beat Texas. Meanwhile USC was 11-1 and #5 in the BCS, but #4 in the AP. Throw in Penn State (11-1, #8 BCS and #6 AP) and you are looking at a huge mess. What do you do solve this, because the old system and a 4 team play-off really does nothing for anyone.

2009: Alabama and Texas were both 13-0 and a unanimous #1 and #2, respectively. Cincinnati (12-0, #3 BCS #4 AP) and TCU (12-0 #4 BCS #3 AP) would round out your field, but a case can be made for Florida (12-1 #5 BCS #5 AP, lost to #1 Alabama) and Boise State (13-0 #6 in both) to get in over either of those teams. Another huge mess, but it doesn’t get better with a 4 team play-off.

2010: Auburn and Oregon were your unanimous #1 and #2 at 13-0 and 12-0, respectively. TCU was 12-0 and unanimously the #3 team. Those 3 spots are locked in stone, really. So who gets the 4th spot? Stanford (11-1 #4 BCS and #5 AP), Wisconsin (#5 BCS and #4 AP), Ohio State (11-1 #6 in both), Oklahoma (11-2 #7 BCS and #9 AP), Arkansas (10-2 #8 BCS and AP), Michigan State (11-1 #9 BCS #7 AP), and Boise State (11-1 #10 in both) all have a legit claim at the 4th spot, so people are going to be mad. This doesn’t end well for them, in this hypothetical situation.

2011: LSU (13-0 #1 BCS and AP) was unanimously the best team in the country. Alabama, Oklahoma and Stanford all had identical 11-1 records and were #’s 2, 3, and 4, respectively. This one is relatively easy, and that’s why we have this busted system.

If this was a boxing match, I’d score this 135-131 for the traditional setup, with the 4 team playoff picking up 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2011. 2009 was a tie round, and the traditional system won the other 9 rounds. Still like the idea?
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