Hitting it again and again with a stick will not cause it to erupt with NCAA Football Fan candies or any other assorted goodies.
It's a dead horse my friend. It is ridiculous you keep beating on its carcass with a limp noodle. It's just not gonna move.
1. No support
I am not talking about the support of the throngs around you waiting their chance to take a swing at the carcass.
I am speaking of the support of those who actually get a vote in deciding the fate of an NCAA Football playoff.
The Big 10 and PAC 10 have long announced their opposition.
The Big 12 finally ???fessed up they had discussed and decided to oppose the presented playoff option 1 month before the lieutenants of the 6 families met. The Big East released a similar statement. They both blamed it on the format presented. BS If they really favored a different format, they could have presented it. Certainly the SEC would have supported it, and the ACC would have considered it, wouldn't they?
Well, 1st put down your stick. Thank you. Now I will tell you the truth.
The ACC and SEC said they were "Anxious to bring the model to our conference for discussion." That's your adamant supporters. The other 4 conferences had already discussed and rejected the idea, but these 2 (1 of which proposed it) haven't? Who are they kidding? Well, apparently more than a few of you. They won't admit they discussed and rejected the idea - otherwise they would have paraded their support.
Not a single conference supports ANY playoff structure.
With the proliferation of BS around the subject, it is not certain which (if any) programs support a playoff. Not to pick on UGA, but 2 years ago they were vocally against a playoff - are they that pliable, did these guys pulling down 6 and 7 figure salaries just not think it thru, or are they collecting press and appeasing their financial supporters knowing that it will never come to pass? When you are opposed for 2 decades and suddenly have a change of heart the year a Plus 1 would have benefited you, I am a bit cynical.
Not convinced they are feeding you BS? The proposal was called a Plus 1 by name. It was a seeded 4 in design. There is a substantial difference. If they weren't trying to mislead the press, why not call it a seeded 4?
Need more? An FSU official announced a playoff was inevitable. What was buried was that he also said not in his lifetime at FSU, and not until the problems were worked out. Well, duh... it is the problems that are preventing it from coming to pass. Below are a few to start resolving. Like I said, a proliferation of BS around the subject from those who make the decision.
Side note - give some credit to the 2 reps who told you the truth early on. Their reward was to be chastised. Nice job.
Late addition - just in case you think you know more of how the conferences really feel about a playoff - if this link still works, this is the primary reference I used for the support issue.
2. Financial Reality
Many of you (though obviously not all) understand it is a financial decision, but do you realize just how big a financial decision? I will give 1 case example (admittedly OSU is the extreme) but you could find similar results from most programs of the major conferences.
Athletic Department $110M budget, 36 varsity teams, nearly 1,000 athletes. Renovations, expansions, maintenance, security, and operating costs of facilities to rival or surpass those used by their pro and Olympic counter parts.
University $12M paid in scholarships and aid, $1.7M to the Academic Support center, $5M donation to the school library, $9M in logo merchandise royalties - excluding scholarships and 1 time donations like the library, an average of over $200 per student attending the University. Not included are donations solicited by the University academic departments at sporting events (do you think most of the donations for a new building comes from phone calls and brunch?).
Local Businesses and Governments $100+M yearly from the sports department and fans, a decent chunk goes to local taxes. Not included is the revenue from other events attracted to the venues financed by the sports teams, or more distant business sales (how many souvenir shirts are represented by $9M in royalties)?
Other Div 1 Conferences A game with a team from the major 6 can account for 6-12% of the budget for a team from a smaller Div 1 conference - frequently grossing more than a bowl appearance! Revenue sharing is in the neighborhood of $2M per team for the major 6 conferences - for smaller programs nearly 4% of their entire Athletic Department budget.
Other Sports The funding from football and basketball fund 34 other varsity programs. In budget cut backs these other sports will be hit the hardest or eliminated, decreasing coaching and training facilities of athletes hoping to compete internationally or even at the Olympics.
Other Financial Factors The government is cutting back funding for universities. Businesses are in a slump. Local government revenues are dropping. The athletic departments don't just need to be self sufficient - in the era of cable TV and cheap airfares the sports departments have to fund facilities to attract and develop the best talent for you, their fan. They have to focus on the bottom line to maintain a competitive program for you, themselves, and many other entities.
Now you understand why I think you would have to be an arrogant fool to put forth a financial argument for a playoff believing you know more than the Sports department heads about financing an organization this substantial. They have access to ratings broken down by team, geography, and time. They have staffs constantly looking to increase revenue. You have no where near the same info available.
Now when you say ???We" need a playoff you understand why I consider you short sighted at best, given that "We" excludes entities far more significant than fans wanting a playoff.
This is not some conglomerate or large company we are discussing. If the budget was cut back, all would feel the pinch, but the varsity athletes would feel a loss in revenue the most.
The reasons a playoff results in a net financial loss is a blog all of its own. Keep this in mind - you are comparing revenue streams from over 500 regular season and bowl games of 65 teams against 3 to 7 games in a 4 to 8 team playoff (and in most formats most of these aren't all new games, they are incorporating existing bowls). The bowl system is currently saturated on the supply side. As interest shifts towards a playoff, it is pulled away from the other bowls. If losses are less significant in a bowl system, the regular season games are devalued and ratings drop. A playoff isn't big enough to deliver more than it will trickle away from other revenue streams.
Need more? Late addition from January 2009 (link died, so copied text)
Brown, who has worked at ESPN for 21 of the network's 29 years, is... the person to talk to if you want to know if there will ever be a playoff in major college football. The answer, at least for the four-year duration of ESPN's recent agreement to broadcast the BCS bowl games, is a definite no. "The next four-year cycle is done, so a playoff is not a consideration at this point," Brown said. "I wouldn't want to see the bowls changed because I don't want to create meaningless games during the regular season. I don't think that would be good for college football."
Filling in the blanks - broadcasting revenue is a huge part of NCAAF revenue (perhaps the largest). All Brown cares about is overall ratings - from his perspective ratings are what is "Good for college football." If a playoff could generate more ratings (revenue) he would be all over it, but to the list of ADs you can add a major network executive who believes the overall ratings (revenue) would take a drop. Not to be crass, but does anyone still believe they know more than the ADs and a major network executive when it comes to overall fan interest (= ratings = revenue)?
3. You have a playoff
You just don't like it because your team doesn't do well in its structure, and you hope they will do better in a more forgiving format. It is called the regular season and conference champion.
Of the 13 teams to have the best record and were champions of a major 6 conference, 12 played in the National Championship game - that's more than 92%. The only team not to play was Auburn - not the best argument against the BCS structure given that they were 3rd in all voting and computer polls. The polls may not have liked who played, but neither man nor machine thought Auburn should have played for the title.
It is false to say there isn't a defacto playoff structure in place.
4. Schedule Easy
I will use 2007 as a case study.
OSU didn't make the NC game because they scheduled light, they made it despite their schedule. They were among if not the last undefeated team to be ranked in the top 2, then the last 1 loss conference champion to be ranked in the top 2.
USC and WVU weren't left out of the NC game because they played a hard schedule - they were left out because they lost to teams that finished in the bottom 2 of their conference.
LSU got the nod in no small part because they defeated the champion from another major conference.
Need more? Undefeated Auburn missed their shot at the title because they did not garner respect from the voting or computer polls for having an extremely light non-conference schedule.
A playoff encourages scheduling easy teams. Without the need to point to a game to settle which of 2 or more teams with identical records should fill 1 open spot in a limited field, there is no need for teams to schedule harder non conference games. In a larger playoff, the chance of getting jumped by a team that finished lower in your conference because they had a better record against lesser competition is more likely than getting a nod for the few if any at large spots.
You are the primary reason for teams scheduling weak. You remove the main reason for scheduling harder teams - to garner poll respect - when you exalt a team that scheduled weak, or brush off your conference playing a weak non-conference schedule.
8 team playoff -They went to 64 teams in basketball, and it still isn't enough to quell the controversy. There's room for champions from each of the 6 major conferences, but you still have a larger controversy over the remaining spots. Don't agree? Keep in mind the existing dispute should be narrowed to no worse than the 4 conference champions that didn't earn 1 of the 2 spots, but it is broader - what will it be when you have more arguing for 2 spots?
4 team playoff - At least 2 conference champions get left out, and you still have all the gripes from teams that didn't win their conference.
Plus 1 - controversy #1 - who got a BCS invite, controversy #2 - how the teams were matched, controversy #3 - which 2 of the 5 BCS winners get the invite.
Need more? Now 2 loss UGA who finished 2nd in their division (3rd or 4th in their conference) is considered a controversy because they weren't in the top 2 to play for the title. They were a 2 loss team that didn't win their conference that didn't get the nod ahead of 5 other conference champions with the same record. If this is a controversy, than imagine if you expand to a playoff and put more teams equally close.
Controversy grows with larger playoffs, not diminishes, because of a simple equation:
more spots = invitations to teams with more losses = more teams with a claim = more controversy, not less.
If you look for a gripe and you aren't particular about its merits, you will always find it. Not only would a playoff fail to end controversy, it will increase.
6. The Plus 1 and 4 team structures are a mute point
Plus 1 may seem like the easiest version to implement. Start a plus 1 and controversy quickly revolves around which 2 of the 5 BCS victors advance. It is a valid argument - does an invite go to the game that featured 2 of the major conference champs? Do we ignore a team didn't win their conference because they had a convincing BCS game? We haven't even touched on wehat to do with a Boise State that wins in a blowout and has 1 of the 2 bst records. A plus 1 format would quickly lead to an 8 team format, either directly or via a 4 team seeding intermediate structure.
The 4 team structure seems like it has the fewest drawbacks. In a 4 team format at least 2 conference champions get left out. Which 2? Using 2007 as an example, 5 had the same record. The one that looked to be next - Oklahoma - didn't look like a champ in their BCS game. 2 others that looked good in their BCS game lost to teams than finished in the bottom 2 of their conference. To maintain support, each of the major 6 conferences would want 1 spot guaranteed. The NCAA, learning from the BCS model, would want to open the possibility of an impressive team from a lesser conference. If you are already at 7, might as well round it out to 8.
All lead to at least an 8 team playoff which has far more drawbacks than the smaller structures. It is a slippery slope and there is reason to believe it won't go even larger.
The major conferences have stated that they think a playoff would expand past a plus 1 and 4 team to an 8 or 16 team format creating other problems - they're right.
7. Realistically a playoff won't deliver your team a title
There's the obvious - they will at least get a 2nd chance (or more) to redeem a letdown (or 2) during the regular season. Then there's reality.
1. You have to get an invite. Not so easy in a 4 team format.
2. In a 4 team playoff, you have to beat a top 2 team. In a plus 1, you have to get to the BCS, hope you draw a good team and perform well to get some respect from the polls, and be among the 2 of the 5 BCS winners to get invited back.
3. "All" that is left is to win in the title game against a top 2 team, or team that beat someone who was ranked in the top 2.
This after a season when your team already had a let down (or 2). In a 4 team playoff, if you didn't start in the top 2, your chances are well under 7% (depending on how you calculate the odds).
Your chances will be better than if there wasn't a playoff, but they will still be slim. Your team needs to step it up a notch more than they need to pin their hopes on an expanded playoff title game that will never come to pass.
8. A playoff would not be "Fairer"
If you're not in the title game, there's a 92+% chance you didn't survive the regular season. For the other 8% (Auburn) you didn't play a non-conference schedule to garner the respect from the pollsters.
Is it "Fairer" to the teams that survived the season to have them play an additional game against a disappointment looking for a season redeeming upset (because they had an earlier let down) than it is to tell the disappointment "Try harder next year"?
The fairness argument can be played out both ways. You just chose the fairness argument that favors your desired final result - nice reasoning. In fact, in most years, the fairness argument goes to the current structure. This doesn't make it a valid reason against the playoffs, but fairness isn't a reason for a playoff either.
9. December madness
NCAA Basketball - the tourney is great, but individual regular season games mean little. Have a let down and it means nothing. Fail in non-conference play and you get another chance in the conference. Fail again in conference play and most will still get 1 last shot in the conference tourney. You don't have to win your conference or tourney - just finishing within view of 1st is fine. Spend the regular season watching games whose outcome will likely mean nothing in and of themselves.
A playoff would diminish the regular season - a lot. Here's an abbreviated list of games that wouldn't have meant anything in a playoff structure in 2007:
Oregon over USC
Stanford over USC
Colorado over Oklahoma
Texas Tech over Oklahoma
USF over WVU
Pittsburgh over WVU
BC over VT
LSU over VT
The actual list is much longer since this doesn't include all the 2 loss teams that were kept out of their conference championship, or games that seemed big at the time but were later irrelevant.
It gets worse as the structure gets larger. In 8+ format 3-1 in non-conference will be good enough. Loosing a conference game doesn't matter so long as it doesn't cost you the division/conference championship. Even if you don't win the conference, you can still hope for 1 of the other 2 spots. When you go to 16 they mean even less. What a "Great" regular season a playoff would make as our cups overflow with... apathy.
It is detrimental to give up the significance of dozens of games to make 3 more important, or hundreds to make 7 more important. A playoff in any format diminishes the importance of regular season games.
10. Here's how you guarantee you play for the NCAA Football National Championship
Succeed at 3 things and historically there is a 100% chance your team will play for the title. In the order of their importance:
1. Win a major conference.
2. Win out. A Champion from another conference with a better record will get the nod from the pollsters over your team. A big win will get you moved ahead of teams with the same record but it won't negate a loss.
Accomplish these 2 and historically your odds are already above 90% to play for the title.
3. Schedule some decent non-conference competition. You need the attention of pollsters outside your region. Consider this Auburn's hard lesson.
That 2nd one is a bear, isn't it? Historically, the tough part isn't winning the big games, it's consistency - beating lesser teams. Just ask USC, WVU, and Oklahoma why they missed the title game in 2007. Injuries, backups, depth, play calling, penalties, weather, road games, upsets, let downs and much more is part of the sport. If you have a weakness, there's a team or a scheme to exploit it.
11. Determining a valid champion
Above I just listed 3 requirements to guarantee a spot in the NC - not at all an unreasonable standard to keep the title National Champion meaningful.
If you meet these, you will play for the NC. If you don't, you don't have a strong claim to the title. I have no problem declaring the winner of a game whose participants were selected by the coaches and sportswriters to be National Champions in the absence of another team meeting my reasonable requirements to have a strong claim to the title game.
The teams who should play for the title do play. In the past they didn't, so the BCS fudged the formula until they were certain they will meet.
Calling the winner "Invalid" is just sour grapes from fans who have lost perspective and whose teams had yet another disappointing year. It is a strong sounding word from sports writers attempting to garner attention, and frustrated fans who have ran out of other arguments, using it to vaguely cover the real reason for their emotional distress, manifested in a nominally substantiated verbal assault. The powers that be will pay no more attention to you than I will. You water down and hurt the argument for a playoff, not strengthen it, and are partially to blame for it not coming to pass.
Off topic note: 1 of the great ironies of the debate is that it is largely lead by the sportswriters and the coaches - the same people who select the teams to play later write columns and provide quotes griping about the teams that played. If we aren't happy with the teams who play, shouldn't the brunt of the blame fall on the shoulders of those who selected them? (Lets see them answer that 1 in their next column or quote - accountability is a *itch, eh?). Now, back to the regularly scheduled program.
12. Will the best 2 teams play?
Define best 2 teams. What is your criteria?
2007 - Many thought Oklahoma until they lost big to WVU. USC and WVU certainly didn't look like the best when they lost to teams in the bottom 2 of their conference.
Personally, I don't care about your athletes, coaching, play calling schemes, or hype. I don't care if every starter goes in the 1st 2 rounds of the draft, you win every recognition trophy for 6 consecutive years, and you get coach of the year 15 years running - if you can't translate that into consistent regular season wins, it doesn't matter if you are the "Best" by your selected criteria.
Was NY the best team in the NFL? The larger the playoff, the greater the chance the best 2 teams will not make the title game, because the opportunity that a lesser team will pull an upset increases. If you think that's good and admirable, then I wholly agree - don't wait until a playoff - continue to count upsets in the regular season and use them to dwindle the field. (Though if you aren't fast enough to keep up, you have just abandoned the argument that the best 2 teams don't meet in the title game.) In this argument, you are arguing against heavily counting upsets in the regular season and for upsets in a playoff - that's a rather fine line to walk.
A playoff diminishes the chances of the best 2 teams meeting in the title game. Anyone can get an upset in 1, 2, or 3 games. Just reference Stanford and Pittsburgh - they showed they were at least capable of beating a playoff caliber team and winning a playoff round, but nobody is calling them the best.
The wimpy approach isn't opposing a playoff structure.
There's nothing easy or forgiving in the philosophy "Go undefeated, schedule non-conference tough, or risk missing the game," stomaching loosing a shot because you suffered a let down, expecting any loss to cause you to loose your shot in a full season of elimination games. It is far harder in 1 of the major 6 conferences to survive the 12 games of the regular season undefeated than to string together 1 or 2 wins at the end of the season in a playoff.
Classify this with comments like "Invalid" and see item #10 above - this is just a last bastion emotionally driven assault of someone who has ran out of arguments.
14. Fault in the Analogy
So lay down your buggy whip, the horse is dead. Clearly its carcass is not a Pi??ata.
...Though in reality it was stillborn. Scroll back and look for the underscored comments to find out why, though all you really need to know is item #1.
An NCAA Football playoff should have been a passing thought and a few sports columns which falter under the bigger picture, but instead grew into an idea that won't succeed or die.
You can place the playoff concept next to perpetual motion - concepts which will never come to pass pursued by those unaware of the reasons against them.
15. My position on the playoff proposals
You can come up with some very good arguments to have a playoff. If you don't see the disadvantages you aren't looking, choosing instead to stick your fingers in your ears and chant "La La La La La." This is only an abbreviated list. I haven't seen enough pros to outweigh most of the cons I listed.
1. There is NO support for a playoff at the conference level from people who make a living running these organizations - that should set off some alarms.
2. There is no valid financial argument for a playoff.
3. You do have a defacto playoff system in place.
4. A playoff system rewards teams that schedule easy.
5. A playoff won't decrease the controversy, it will increase it.
6. Realistically, there is only a slim chance it will help your team win a title.
7. A playoff does not make the system "Fairer"
8. A playoff diminishes the significance of the regular season games.
9. Play in a major conference, play a notable team or 2 in the non-conference schedule, and win out and I guarantee you will play for the title. Is that really too much to ask for a guaranteed invite?
10. Since revamping the BCS formula, teams that should play for the title do play for the title.
11. A playoff does not increase the chances that the best 2 teams will meet in the title game, it decreases them.
12. Claims of validity, toughness, being afraid of a playoff, screaming about money, pointing at other entities, and so forth not only won't get the powers to be to move towards a playoff, they water down the valid arguments to the point they will never be heard. In this endeavor, the group around you beating the carcass with a stick as well as your local sports writers aren't your ally, they're your biggest hindrance.
I used to favor a 5 or 6 team playoff until I read the arguments people made FOR a playoff (not quite the effect they were intending).
I still favor a 4 team playoff so take all your mindless unsubstantiated reasoning to some place that cares about hearing it - reading the above I have likely considered it, measured it, and in all but the 1 reason below, it was found lacking in substance and merit.
My support persists because there might come a season that 3 teams meet my requirements for sympathy noted in item #10 above. This is the 1 and only reason I see to overcome all the negatives. With easier non-conference scheduling the candidates to garner my sympathy are getting fewer and fewer, and it is likely there will never be a season where 3 meet the criteria and with that prospect I will likely change m mind in a few years. Sure, I would like to watch a playoff, but there is a limit to the price that should be paid for a few games.
16. The real reason people want a playoff
In the end, none of the usual reasons given are the real reason most people want a playoff. I already outlined 3 reasonable requirements for a guaranteed shot. Here's an abbreviated list of the real reasons:
1. The reason for is rather simplistic to explain, the reasons against are many but take a bit more to understand. You see lots of people supporting a playoff in a void of opposition because the reasons are more complex than people want to admit.
2. Proponents just say "Playoff." They don't specify a specific format. Each type of format brings its own problems to bear and looses support of a group of would be supporters. Omitting this gains the broadest support without having to face the criticisms of any particular model, but it doesn't make it valid or balanced. As above, opinions are formed void of knowledge or debate.
To 1 and 2 I say, until you understand the entire issue, you will not be in position to persuade the decision makers that do.
3. Their teams don't do well in the current format. A playoff gives fans of teams that have perennial let downs the belief they could be NC if only they were given another chance... and another... and another.
4. It improves their chances of sneaking in. Winning out a 12 game season is hard. Stringing together 2 or 3 upset wins at the end of a 10-2 season seems doable.
5. The playoff is a shortcut to success. Recruiting coaches, instilling discipline, scheduling and beating other great teams in non-conference play in pursuit of an undefeated season is a lot harder than winning your conference and stringing together a couple of upsets (or in the case of larger playoff formats, not even winning your conference...)
To 3, 4, and 5 I say, your team needs to improve a notch more than they need a playoff.
6. They don't like the teams that do play for the NC.
To you I say, get some perspective.
7. They see a playoff as a nice summary at the end of the season. You don't need to follow the regular season closely. You don't need to follow all the other Div 1 teams. Watching NC hopefuls play do or die in the season is a lot to follow. Watching them play do or die in an abbreviated playoff is easy.
Sorry to break it to you, but NCAA Football is financially dependant on fans who boost the ratings and follow the teams for the entire season - you are not their target audience and only a small portion of its recent success.
To all of you I say, if nothing else, it is time to stop whipping the dead horse. There is no playoff on the horizon. This is not "Brave New World" - repeating the same statements 46,800 times will not make the decision makers believe it to be true. You need NEW compelling arguments free of background noise to ensure they are heard, or you need to bury the horse's corpse and move on.
17. What you can do to get a playoff
1. Quit drowning out the voices of those with valid points. Screaming that the champion is invalid, ridiculous claims opposing a playoff is wimpy, etc. does nothing but hurt the chances of adopting a playoff. The people making these decisions are earning 6 and 7 figure salaries - they aren't going to provide more than lip service or false support knowing others will can the idea for them. It is condescending except that most fans aren't smart enough to realize it.
2. When you have an official voice support, demand more than lip service. Start a list of quoted supporters and hold their feet to the fire. Sooner or later the majority in 1 conference will make supporting comments and we will have ?? of the needed votes, then the same will happen in other conferences.
3. While you're at it, hold the sports writers and coaches accountable for their choices. If they don't like the teams that played, it was their choice that was at fault. Force them to do more than make ridiculous inflammatory remarks - force them to propose solutions to the problems with a playoff.
4. Vocally advocate your team scheduling harder non-conference games. This is your best chance of getting a playoff. Bring about several years when 3 or more teams have a valid claim based on equal records and convincing non-conference wins and you force their hand. In the interim, you improve your chances of making the title game.
5. Pick your battles. Battles such as arguing UGA should have played for the title does nothing to further the cause.
6. Pick the format. Plus 1 is the easiest to implement, seeded 4 has the fewest counter arguments. It won't matter because within a few years after implementation both will lead towards an 8 team playoff anyway.
7. Until then, if you want your team to have a shot at the title, you know the 3 things you need to do to guarantee your invitation to the title game.
18. Last Note (finally) is entirely a personal opinion
Do we really want to loose what we have?
The hunt for the NCAA Football National Championship Title is a pursuit for perfection unforgiving of let downs, a drive for an undefeated record against the best athletes who play you like their season depended on it, a gauntlet of highly developed schemes designed to reveal and exploit your weakness no matter how minute, and a quest which can come to an abrupt end on a single play.
It is sports' hardest award for success to achieve outside of Olympic gold.
It is dam near poetic. It can qualify as epic.
It is tough. It is supposed to be tough. It is for the NCAA Football National Championship Title, and it should not be made easy, forgiving, or watered down lest it become something less.
Before you leave an idiot comment
I didn't mean to pick on any specific teams here, they just happened to be the most recent or most frequently cited examples.
You might want to follow the link below and scroll down to the section that relates to idiocy you are about to spew. Most people reading this blog have already read the blog listed below. I have no desire to see anyone rush in and make themselves look the fool, nor do I get any great satisfaction showing the ignorance of complete strangers.
Friendly Reminder - This is a Prove It blog, not a bastion of free speech. As a courtesy to my 6 readers, leave an idiot comment and I will zap it or trash you with facts as the mood hits - either way, at best you're wasting your time, at worse you are stepping on an uneven field. Thanks for reading.