Wednesday, July 11, 2012
We want brackets on the left and the right side. The President wants to fill one out on television. We claim that playoffs decide things on the field, or court, or what ever. What of the games played during the regular season? Perhaps we just love the mindless nature of a playoff. Someone has to win, and we don't even have to think about it!
Once you step outside of the two team format, you leave the security of knowing the most deserving teams are playing for a championship. This leads to the uncomfortable situation of telling a clear number one team that their regular season accomplishments only warrant an opportunity to play their way into a championship game. They could be the only undefeated team, from the best conference in the country, a clear number one. Yet, they are only worthy of a chance to play in a championship game.
Part of the movement towards a playoff in college football is disdain for polls. The polls have occasionally been biased, corrupting the process of crowning a champion. However, the move towards a FBS playoff did not take place until the polls did the ethical thing and chose the two best teams, despite pressure to do otherwise. Compare the pre-BCS college football polls to recent playoffs in most sports and the credentials of the champions produced. I think you'll find that the polls, as biased as they might have been, still got things right more often.
In my opinion a fairly objective poll is a suitable way to determine if a team is championship worthy. I concede the imperfection of the process, and that is why the BCS Championship Game works. You tell each team you thought they were championship worthy, then give them a chance to prove it. A larger playoff deviates from this (even a four team format) by refusing to accept that a clear #1 deserves to play in the championship game. It promotes #4 (at best) to the same status as the #1 team. I understand this most years concerning a #1 vs. #2 match-up. But, #1 vs. #4? You must live in the land of unicorns and fairies to believe them equally qualified.
We're told playoffs are an infallible method for determining a champion. They make a process in which every team but one loses. I understand the allure, but we once believed in unicorns. We imagined this creature that could only be tamed by a virgin, and even Leonardo seemed to be convinced they existed. We now choose to vilify a method, which by objective standards (computer polls) has done a fine job, far better than larger field playoffs. Our treatment of the BCS has become a witch hunt.
I'll consider two scenarios that these “infallible” playoffs produced and have a conversation with myself (that's normal for me):
Team A is the champion! Why Team A? They beat Team B in their last game! Didn't Team B beat them earlier? Yes, but Team A won their last game! Didn't Team A lose six times as many games as Team B? Yes, but you see none of those games counted!
Team A is champion! Didn't team A lose 9 games? Yes, they are the best team in all the land! Didn't they go .500 in conference play! Yes, but they won a tournament, and it was on TV and everything! Did they beat the #1 overall seed? No, but they won when it counted! Did, they beat any of the top seeds in the tournament? No, the highest overall seed they beat was #6. They won! They're the champions!
It's hard to consider these "champions" and pretend a playoff is more legitimate than watching teams play and picking who you think is the best. I accept that a two team playoff has a place. I might accept more under some circumstance. I do not agree that a #4 team should have an equal opportunity to play for a championship as a #1 team (with statistics to back this up). Once you go beyond the head to head match-up, you cloud the results. If we use the beat the team that beat the team logic, Vanderbilt in 2008 was better than Florida because Vanderbilt beat Ole Miss who beat Florida. Anyway, let’s all hop on our unicorns and fill out our playoff brackets in 2014.
Posted by KrAzY3 at 1:53 PM