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College Playoff

Discussion in 'College Football' started by Oh8ch, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member Bookie

    Noticed that one of the other threads was turning into a discussion of that ever popular message board topic - a playoff for CFB. I thought this board should have a thread dedicated to the topic, so here goes -

    I have very strong feelings on the issue. I think anything more than a four team playoff has the same effect it has had in every other major sport - it diminishes the importance of the regular season. CFB is the ONLY major sport where every game every week is important. A playoff system would change that. I honestly do not understand what folks think we are getting in return. Certinaly playoffs are exciting. If you want to ignore CFB until the end of December and then watch a 'tournament' a playoff is perfect.

    I like watching the entire season knowing that the Miami-West Virginia, USC-California, and OSU-SDSU games held the NC in the balance.

    How can you improve on a 16 week playoff system that starts the end of August and includes hundreds of games?
    Buckeyeskickbuttocks likes this.
  2. Hubbard

    Hubbard Administrator's Staff Member Bookie

    I would hate to see playoffs!!! That is part of the fun of D1 College football watchign the other teams to see if they lose. If the games didn't mean anything I wouldn't look forward to Saturdays in the fall as much.
  3. daddyphatsacs

    daddyphatsacs Let the cards fall... Staff Member

    I'm for a 14 team playoff system. You still keep the BCS formula that is around today. Here goes.....

    All major conference champs get an automatic birth into the playoffs. The conferences that particpate would be Big 10, Big 12, Big East, ACC, MAC, Conf. USA, Pac 10, SEC, WAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt. That would leave 3 at large bids available, those would go to the highest BCS ranked teams. Also it would eliminate the bitching of those small schools who feel like they get shafted.


    The 1 and 2 ranked BCS teams get an automatic bye week one. The seeding would comprise of the final BCS standings. The first week would be played on the home turf of the higher seeded team. Week two would be played on the higher seeded team's home turf. Week 3 would be played at neutral sites, I'm thinking of a rotating BCS stadium scenario. The same thing would apply for the national championship game, for example this years title game would be played at the Sugar Bowl.

    You still could play the conference championships and start the playoffs around the week of the 13th of December (in this year's case).

    Any teams that are left out of the playoff scenario would still be eligible for any bowl games. This is a radical idea that would totally overhaul the college bowl system. How fun would it be to watch this all unfold? The only problem is that any bowl tradition would be thrown out the window for the most part.

    Money would not be an issue because these guys would pack the fans in.
  4. LightningRod

    LightningRod Senior

    A major issue that needs addressed is what the universities will do with the length of the regular season schedule. Div 1-AA teams play a 10 game max regular season schedule. Will the Div 1 schools likewise reduce their regular season schedules to a max of 10? 11? A reduction in the number of games would most likely come from the OOC schedule. And for most of the larger Div 1 programs, OOC games tend to be home games. The end result is a great deal of lost revenue for the schools that at least do not make the playoffs. Given the fact that in a great number of cases football revenues support the remainder of a university's athletic programs, there will be quite a bit of resistance by many universities to reduce the number of regular season games.

    It would be easy to say the Div 1 schools could keep th eregular season as it is with a chance of some teams playing up to 16 games when factoring in playoff games. That is going to be a hard sell to the administrators.
  5. sacs- The problem with making so many of the games on home turf is that you will run into "blizzard" like games. Part of the reason that so many fans travel to bowl games is the fact that most of them are in sunny Flordia or Arizona. Most fans don't want to sit out in that kind of cold in the begining of December and you know all of the southern and cali schools would complain of the weather and travel across the nation in just a week. The "midwest" is about half way any which way you look at. Domes make it nice and comfy. Let me put a disclaimer here, FOOTBALL WAS MEANT TO BE PLAYED OUTSIDE IN THE ELEMENTS. But you know that TV, and some conferences are going to gripe about having to be outside in that.
    My thoughts on the smaller conferences, play better competion if you don't want to get left out. It happened to Miami a couple of years ago for scheduling McNesse St instead of a decent school. That is also going to mean that you are most likely going to have to trade a 2 for 1 but look how much better that turned out for SDSU, they made money as do tOSU. I am not even suggesting scheduling tOSU or even the "big dogs" but would people have felt worse for TCU this year if say they had even a MSU, or OkSU on their schedule beat them and then lost in their conference. The approach that I like best is to be the best you have to play the best.
    The problem though that I have seen in my plan in the prior thread that this is talked about in is cutting the season. The AD and admins don't want to give up that $$$ that they get guarnteed to get with a home game say at the Shoe or even the Swamp.
  6. daddyphatsacs

    daddyphatsacs Let the cards fall... Staff Member

    diehardbuckeye,

    You bring up some great points. I just kind of cooked up a system that I had sitting in the back of my head for a while. There are many, many flaws with my scenario. The December thing is an excellent point. In fact, Bowling Green and Miami, OH will be finding out first hand what its like to play football in Ohio in the month of Decmber tomorrow night.

    It all comes down to money in the end.
  7. gbearbuck

    gbearbuck Herbie for President

    I vote for playoffs (wen it matters what my vote is, send me my ballet and I'll vote for playoffs :tongue2: )

    In the short term, I think putting the #4 and #1 BcS team into one bowl game and having the #2 and #3 into another bowl game, and have a final bowl two weeks after the new year that matches the two winners...

    that would at least be a start... and we might actually see that come to fruitation in a few years... think baby steps...
  8. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye Pork cue pine Staff Member

    LR: Div I-AA are not limited to a 10-game regular season. YSU just played a 12-games season (5-7), as did Illinois State (and that's just in the Gateway Conference...I didn't check other I-AA teams). YSU played 15-game seasons (including playoffs) six times in nine years and they fared OK.

    I think the playoffs should be a 16-team format just like I-AA, II, and III. If they start in the middle of December, they could use some of the lower/mid tier bowl games as venues for the first rounds (I'm sure that the Music City Bowl and Poulan Weedeater Bowl would prefer to have #1 vs #16 or #8 vs #9 rather than two unranked 7-4 or 6-5 teams). Second-round (quarter-final) games would be played in the higher-tiered bowls at least a week before New Year's Day. The semi-finals would be played on New Year's Day at two of the four current BCS bowls, while the other two get "consolation games" (losers of the quarter-finals). The title game would be played at a rotating venue (like the Super Bowl). I originally thought out about having one of the four BCS bowls host the title game, but they most likely would not want to move their bowl to the second week of January.
  9. LightningRod

    LightningRod Senior

    Brain cramp on 10. I recall reading an article over a year ago discussing the season length being a major stumbling block in the playoff discussion. Hopefully I can find it.
  10. daddyphatsacs

    daddyphatsacs Let the cards fall... Staff Member

    Mil you and I agree on the same concept. I love the idea of a bigger bracket, winner take all scenario.
  11. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member Bookie

    Help!!! This happens every time this topic comes up. The first two posts argue against the idea of a playoff. The next post addresses how we would do it and the rest follow suit.

    May I ask the playoff supporters why they want a playoff. Is it because ....

    1. The excitement of a season ending tournament outweighs the loss of emphasis on regular season games.

    2. The National Champion should be any decent team that can get hot and win three or four straight games rather than prove itself over the course of a season. After all, it is really cool when wild card teams that can't win their own divisions win the Super Bowl or World Series. Can't wait until the third place team in the SEC takes home the Circuit City trophy.

    3. Season ending games are 'magic'. They really 'prove' something, while regular season games are just exhibition and should be viewed as such.

    4. That's the way people do it in PS2.


    The only thing an 8 team playoff proves is that if you divide 8 by 2 four times you get 1. A 16 team playoff takes five times. The teams can play well or poorly. The refs can be good or incompetent. Payers can be injured or not. Somebody will win 4 or 5 games and be crowned champion.

    Simple fact - upsets happen. Putting more teams in a playoff ABSOLUTELY decreases the chances that the best team will be crowned NC - not the other way around.
  12. bigtimebuck4

    bigtimebuck4 Newbie

    best idea yet! (im biased,lol)

    here's my crackpot scheme:

    i say we go back to the traditional Bowl matchups, Big Ten/Pac 10 Rose Bowl, SEC champion the Sugar, Big 12 in Fiesta and so on.....
    with the 6 major conference champs going on to those, and the other 2 spots filled by the 2 highest ranked BCS teams who dont win a major conference title. The winners of the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl play in the "west Regional final" in San Diego or wherever the following week and the Orange and Sugar Bowl champs play in Atlanta or Jacksonville in the "East regional final" and then those winers play in a rotating championship game.


    I like this because it puts a value back on the conference championships which now dont mean a whole lot, Big Bowls mean something again (OSU's goal is no longer the rose bowl, its the title game, which is a tad depressing) and every game is still important because there r only two at large bids for the other 11 teams that dont get auto bids.

    your thought are appreciated.
  13. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye Pork cue pine Staff Member

    Oh8ch: "May I ask the playoff supporters why they want a playoff. "

    1. It gives a team that has a bad game in the regular season a chance to prove itself again.

    2. It makes teams that play [Mark May]ty OOC schedules and even [Mark May]tier conference opponents earn the championship against teams that have proved themselves over the entire season.

    3. Every other frickin' major team sport, including all divisions of college football, except for I-A, have playoffs. The NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB all have playoffs where many times the "best" team doesn't always win. Has anyone ever asked to eliminate the playoffs because of that? No. True champions make it through.

    Remember a few years back when the Minnesota Vikings went 15-1 during the regular season only to lose at home in the first round of the playoffs? How about the Seattle Mariners who tied the all-time records for regular season wins with 116, only to get beat and not make it to the World Series? If those systems weren't scrapped, why should anyone be upset with trying to start a playoff in college football?

    As a YSU fan, I found the I-AA playoffs exciting, where each game was do-or-die. There was not "well, we can lose late in the season and still have a chance at the title". You lost, you were done. Plus playoffs give a chance to teams that may have been overlooked by those enamored with high-profile teams. Case in point was 1994 when Alcorn State was being given hum-jobs by every sports writer in the country because of Steve McNair. Alcorn State promptly got ass-raped by YSU 63-20 in the playoffs, showing the nation that Alcorn State wasn't anything like the media portrayed them.
  14. LightningRod

    LightningRod Senior

    Is the BCS killing the Bowls?
    Is BCS killing the Bowls?

    Good background article on BCS computer polls.

    NY Times - Who Programs the Computer Polls

    In the College Bowl Race, the Crucial Players Are the Programmers
    By COREY KILGANNON

    Published: December 4, 2003

    HIS weekend will mark the end of the regular season in college football, and barring upsets of the top-ranked teams, there will be a tight race for the No. 2 spot in the nation.

    So who would then help determine which team - Louisiana State or Southern California - would play top-ranked Oklahoma for the national championship, and which would be consigned to a lesser bowl game?

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    Why, an astrophysicist, of course; and an immunologist and an M.I.T.-trained mathematician from Indiana, not to mention a math professor from Virginia.

    Granted, this is only part of the puzzle, but a crucial part nonetheless. Although games are won and lost on the field, the big-picture results come well after the last interception, fumble or field goal, when rankings derived from elaborate computer formulas are factored into the race known as the Bowl Championship Series.

    Each week, seven PC's - scattered in various bedrooms, living rooms and offices around the country - calculate rankings of the nation's teams after being fed the same game results. Each week, each computer ranks the teams differently. And that's when the arguing begins.

    Ask the fans of Georgia - No. 5 in the polls of sportswriters and coaches, but brought down to No. 7 by its lower computer rankings. Or figure the computer science that elevates Miami of Ohio to No. 4 in two computer rankings but leaves it at a more terrestrial No. 23 in another.

    What comes out of the computers, it seems clear, depends on what's being put in. But you won't get much help from the computers' operators in divining what that is.

    "Now you want to look under the hood of my car," said Jeff Sagarin, whose computer rankings have been published in USA Today since 1985, deflecting an inquiry about his own formula.

    Computers have been cranking out football rankings for a generation - The New York Times has published its version for college teams since 1979 - with the notion of injecting some objectivity into a weekly ritual otherwise based on polls of sportswriters and coaches. For most of that time (and for pro teams, even now), it has been merely an intellectual exercise. But since the advent of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, the computer rankings have been a major component, along with the polls, in determining the matchups of the top four bowl games - and the split of about $90 million.

    Fans (and even officials of the conferences involved in the B.C.S.) know very little about exactly how these computers make their choices, where they are based and who is behind the programming. As it happens, the seven computers used in the bowl race are not run by large institutions or organizations (except for this newspaper), but by mathematicians and statistics geeks who also happen to be sports devotees.

    The computers make their selections not just on victories and losses, but also on such peripheral matters as the records of a team's opponents. They are based on the same statistics, but use them differently to assess teams, assigning different priorities to different pieces of data - considering whether a team was playing at home or away, or weighing its recent games more heavily than earlier performances.

    Take Dr. Peter Wolfe, who has a system employed by the B.C.S. that uses what he calls a "maximum likelihood estimate" obtained partly from comparing how teams performed against common opponents. His system gives no importance to whether a team plays at home or away and weighs all games equally, regardless of when in the season they are played. That's about all he will reveal about his recipe.

    "The more you specify," he said, "the more you annoy the readers."

    Mr. Wolfe, 49, is a Harvard-educated immunologist in Beverly Hills, Calif., who specializes in AIDS research. But his weekends belong to college football.

    He grew up in Pittsburgh during the heyday of the Steelers and attended Pitt in its football glory days. His love of sports statistics drew him to Strat-O-Matic Baseball, a board game based on the records of real-life players. He began doing computer rankings in 1984, writing a program on an early Macintosh using the Basic code he learned in high school and a few self-help books.

    As his rankings have become part of the Bowl Championship Series calculations, he has become used to vast amounts of nasty e-mail about his results. "I don't take it personally," he said. "It's understandable."

    And as if to prove that programming is an art, some rankers produce multiple versions of their work, with varying results.

    Mr. Sagarin, for example, has a set of rankings called Predictor, which he considers his most authoritative. But they emphasize a team's margin of victory - a factor disallowed since last year in the bowl race, to avoid giving teams an incentive to run up the score. So he supplies an alternate version.

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    "The B.C.S. just wants wins and losses, rankings that look the best when you're looking back at the teams' final records," he said. "But the old-timer beer-and-cigar sports fans want to use the rankings as predictors, so they look at point spread because there's a difference between winning 3-0 and winning 79-0."

    Mr. Sagarin, a 55-year-old statistician who lives in Indiana and who majored in math at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has worked as a statistician for the Dallas Mavericks pro basketball team, devising a computer program to calculate which lineups produce the best results and determining the best free agents to sign.

    He began using computers to rank teams in 1972, adapting his program from a system used for chess players. To arrive at his formula, he said, "I basically look at who you played, where you played them, and the game result."

    Not all rankers emphasize the home-away component, but Mr. Sagarin does. "It's a huge advantage to play at home," he said. "Playing an away game is like running a sprint with a grand piano on your back."

    So how does he allow for it in his rankings? "Let's just say I factor it," he said with a chuckle.

    Kenneth Massey, 27, a math instructor at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., whose rankings are also used in the bowl series, says his system basically assesses each team on its record and its opponents' strength. And like other computer systems, he said, "it has no ego, so it has no problem correcting itself week to week, unlike poll voters, who might form loyalties.''

    The only computer rankings used in the bowl race whose formula is made public - in fact, posted online at www.colleyrankings.com - are those of Wesley N. Colley, 32, a University of Virginia professor who works on missile tracking technology for NASA. But unless you are a mathematician - or have a doctorate in astrophysical sciences from Princeton, as Dr. Colley does - you might have some trouble parsing it.

    "It's basically a linear equation with 117 dimensions," he said. "The program analyzes the data until it comes up with the self-consistent solution. Solving it by hand for one team would take a year."

    Dr. Colley said that his approach, which modesty does not prevent him from calling the Colley Bias-Free College Football Rankings, "adjusts for strength of schedule, but without bias toward conference, tradition or region."

    With a résumé that lists not only academic work at Harvard but also the 19 stadiums where he has attended major college football games, Dr. Colley acknowledged, "It's a funny marriage, the football fan and the astrophysicist." He defended the computer rankings - "at worst, the computers provide a sanity check against the pollsters; at best, they're telling you something objective and counterbalancing the humans" - but he is certainly aware of their critics.

    "People e-mail me saying, 'How much are they paying you?' " he said. "The answer is zero. I can't even get the free tickets to the games." (For the record, he's a Georgia fan, though his own rankings put the Bulldogs at No. 9, lower than most others.) Not every team's fans, of course, would resort to sending e-mail to take issue with a computer. Some pick up the telephone.

    "Nobody ever calls to say they're happy with the week's rankings," said Marjorie Connelly, who oversees the rankings at The New York Times. "People calling seem to think there's a human interaction in the system, that someone at The Times makes these picks. It's not like, once the season starts, we see a team in our rankings and say, 'Ooh, we have to fix that.' "

    The Times system, created by sports editors and computer experts, initially used a mainframe computer, though it now it runs on a Compaq PC sitting on Ms. Connelly's desk. She said the system had changed little since its inception, with results "factored slightly" for home or road appearances and more importance given to games played later in the season. ("If you're going to lose," she advised, "lose early.")

    Ms. Connelly, a staff editor in The Times's news surveys department, also conducts political and public opinion polls for the paper and is not a football fan. "I have no vested interest in who's No. 1," she said, "just that it's done properly."

    Ranking teams by computer "is as much an art as it is a science," said Jerry P. Palm, 39, of Schererville, Ind., an independent computer analyst who runs a Web site called collegebcs.com, which keeps tabs on the computer rankings and publishes standings.

    Mr. Palm said that in addition to Dr. Colley's, the other computer formulas should be open to scrutiny. "As it is now, nobody knows the other six criteria," he said, "so how can you know if they make a mistake?"

    Meanwhile, heading into the season's final weekend, Dr. Colley has a question of his own. If his laptop crashes, he said, "what'll happen to L.S.U.?"
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2003
  15. daddyphatsacs

    daddyphatsacs Let the cards fall... Staff Member

    oh8ch,

    I'm not sure what you mean by that statement. I play PS2 but do not play in any playoff scenario. Think of all the great matchups that you would get with a playoff. As Mil stated earlier, it truly makes you earn your championship. You state that if a team gets hot in late season then they can win it all. Go back in OSU football history, how many times would we have been in the playoffs following a season ending loss to Michigan? You still play for all the marbles during the regular season because you have to earn the right to get into the playoffs, kind of like every other major sport in the USA.

    You say that a scrub could win it all........I highly doubt that. It takes a truly great team to beat 4 good/great teams on a consecutive basis. A playoff would play into our hands, instead of playing in the Orange bowl for pride we would be a lower seed in the playoffs playing for a title. We may not win, but I think that it would create a lot of excitement in Columbus and across the country for that matter. Where else would you see 4 straight weeks of monumental matchups?

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