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College Football Playoffs

December 5, 2017 | NCAAF

By Tony Dos

Is the college football playoff about picking the 4 “best” teams, or is it about earning your way to an opportunity to play for a national championship on the merit of your play? This playoff system has pretty much made conference games meaningless.  Just like last year, a team that doesn’t even make its conference championship game makes the final 4.  I don’t think that’s right. 

The “best” team doesn’t always win the championship in the end. Were the 2016 Cavs the better team than the Warriors that year who won a record-setting 73 games?  Were the 2007 NY Giants better than the previously undefeated Patriots?  Were the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators the “best” teams in the NHL last year?  What does “best” even mean?  Best for 82 games, or in a 7-game series?  Best over13 regular season games, or 1 bowl game?  The only way you know is by playing it out.  It’s about surviving and advancing, being the best when it matters the most. 

All I know is this:  Georgia beat Auburn when it mattered most.  Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama when each were ranked #1.  How does that equal Bama in and Auburn out? Why not undefeated UCF? That should count for something, shouldn’t it?  What about Ohio St.?  They won their conference championship and were 3-1 vs Top 25 teams.  I’m not saying that Bama is not one of the 4 best teams in the country.  Vegas says they are, and that works for me; but they didn’t win when they had to.  They shouldn’t get a do-over because they have more talent than anyone else, or because their coach lobbied the right people. 

Let’s not forget strength of schedule.  The top 5 SOS rankings are:  Auburn, Ohio St., Oklahoma, Penn St, Clemson.  Georgia was #6.  Bama comes in at #10.  TCU, Notre Dame and Iowa also all played tougher schedules that the Tide.  That has to count for something.

Any time there is a ranking system, you will have bias and subjectivity.  College football should take a page from soccer and have divisions.  If you want to be in the big-boy league and play for a national championship, you are in Div 1.  They play each other all year.  No cupcakes.  No excuses.  No what-ifs.  Then we will have a frame of reference and an even playing field.  The next tier of schools is in Div.2, and so on.  Each division has their own set of bowls and a championship game.  This way, the UCFs of the world get rewarded too.