War Eagle once again everyone, and I trust your week is going the way you want it.The biggest news in college football, outside of conference expansion these days, is the post season playoff that is expected by virtually everyone. There are many view points, and I can’t possibly cover all of them, but the idea of a 3 and 1 intrigued me, so let’s look at it.
3 and 1
Stewart Mandell of Sports Illustrated/College Football Online, opined…
“We all know the American Way is espousing whatever best suits the interests of one’s own party. Thus, the issue of which teams should participate in a four-team playoff has become college football’s equivalent of Republicans vs. Democrats. On one side, we have the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and Big East, all of which have endorsed incorporating a conference-champion requirement for most or all of the four teams selected. On the other side, we have the SEC and Big 12, whose leaders made it clear this week they want the top four teams, period.”
Which is how we came across the 3 & 1 proposal in the first place. Basically the theory is to have the 3 highest ranked Conference Champions and a draw. Please read the piece Mr. Mandell has penned, and you will have more of an understanding as to where I stand on all of this.
I’m not against this proposal. It actually makes some sense as to how to add an independent school, insert Notre Dame here, and keep some sort of normalcy to the madness.
The biggest problem with the rankings is that we would be right back where we started. Only, this would cause many a problem with picking the 4th team to play in the post season. If you think the arguments are strong now when naming the #1 team, wait until you see the maelstrom delivered for skipping an 11-1 and 4th ranked Ohio State or Michigan from a playoff when a Big East Champion is the third highest ranked conference champion sitting at 8th. It will happen.
We can surely all agree that using a panel of judges to pick the 4 contestants would be a disaster, right? No?!? Well, I’ll try and convince you as to why this would never work. First, all of your preconceived notions of it working for basketball, are way off base. Grouping the 64 best teams in basketball assures that none of the better/best teams get left out. Any team in the March Madness that is considered a “Bubble” team, would never stand much of a chance at winning the natty.
Football however, has shown time and time again, that making the playoffs with only three or four games to be played can be won by even a “wildcard” team. Which the plus 1 in our little equation, is the equivalent.
Unless the powers that be include a strong contingent of computer rankings in the selection process, we will be left with the human error, plus add the well known factor of “Fudge”. Now, Fudge is the manipulation of the polls by ranking your favorite team a little higher than they actually deserve to start a season, hoping they have a great year, and also ranking an opponents team a little lower that they may deserve to give your team an edge. It happens!
If you think for one minute that a true unbiased professionalism exists throughout the pollsters, including the “Coaches” poll you are sadly mistaken. Not only is it human nature to Fudge in the highly competitive arena of coaching, but in rankings, as well. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you exhibit A- Recruiting. The very best at recruiting, Fudge, by bending the rules to the max without breaking them. So it is with the pollsters. I know this flies in the face of all things Holy and Football, and you may not agree entirely with me about the Fudge factor, but consider this. If I had said not by team, certainly by conference, would that change your mind? Trust me when I tell you this, It Happens!
One thing is certain, there will be more controversy over the 4th “pick” than anything you have ever seen in college football Bowl selections.