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Playoffs? You Wanna Talk About Playoffs?!

By on December 7th, 2017 in Football 7 Comments »

Here we are folks, towards another end to a playoff-era football season.  First off, I want to congratulate Acid for his continued efforts as well as those of the many other contributors to TET.  It has been a wonderful forum to retreat to with like-minded folk where we can share thoughts, comment and debate in a civil manner.  I need to take a moment now to discuss the elephant in the room, this year’s playoff scenario.

I want to expand on a Facebook post I made on the heels of Saturday Down South’s article, The SEC helped to create the College Football Playoff.  Will it now help create an expanded Playoff?  Here’s my contribution.
Expansion was always the suggestion from Day 1. I don’t think that’s the fallacy. If you play within a conference, then your conference should have a championship game. The winner of that championship game would be the only team within that conference eligible for a top 4 playoff spot. That takes some of the human element out of selection. Once that is done and you still want an expansion, see above. There are 10 conferences (?). That’s ten teams to pick from for the playoffs.
“Well my team plays in a weak conference.”  Then schedule top-tier out-of-conference games and win them.
“Well, we may not have won our conference, but we had a more difficult schedule than another conference winner.” See above.
If winning a conference championship is not a requirement for a playoff spot, then why have conference championship games?


Lose the championship games, expand the playoffs? Expand to include championship games as play-ins so anyone not in those games cannot advance?

Don’t get me wrong, what happened this year happened, and kudos for those that got in, however “they” got in.  People are debating the UAT/OSU slot while no one has chimed in on the “what if Auburn didn’t have to play that championship game in Atlanta” and the playoffs were decided without that extra loss?  Would it even be worth discussing voting on the top 4 playoff teams ahead of the conference championship games?  If only selecting conference champions doesn’t matter, then why slight conference runner-ups and defer to teams that didn’t have to play in those games?

Sure, Auburn had two losses going into that game.  Imagine if the Tigers had no losses and then lost the conference championship game (see below), Auburn would likely be in the top 4 still.  It’s all debatable, but it’s so subjective when the rules are riddled with human decision making.  What’s to stop boosters from (illegally) paying off playoff panel members to favor their programs?  It happens, see FIFA.  I’m not suggesting that did happen, but when there  clearly are insufficient clear-cut standards in the rules, there will be errors, human errors.

A final word: Gus just got PAID! If we return enough of this year’s group and keep the coaching staff together, next year is primed to be remarkable.  Gus has vocalized not only next year being Auburn’s year but also some years ahead.  Stidham had a rough first game against a great Clemson team that is poised to win it all, so that loss is easier to swallow. An LSU-type loss in the future will be inexcusable with Gus’ pay, his statements and our talent moving forward. Here’s to next year! Cheers!!

War Eagle! Beat the Knights!


  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I kind of had my doubts about a playoff "committee," from the get-go. On the other hand, see 2003, when Oklahoma was top seed thanks to formulas, even after getting NUKED in the Big-12 championship game, 38-14 by Kansas State.

    …..Thanks so much for reading! I'm not an insider, with any connections. I'm just like any fan with an opinion. However, I do read what is reported. When I get to sit down at my computer, my first stop is the weather for the day. ( Then it's my Auburn feeds. Then if I have time, I'll check mainstream news to see if the world has ended.

    ……I'd like an 8 team playoff, just so that every power-5 conference could get their champion in. I think a rule should additionally be in place that two "group of five" teams get in. Basically the best of the MW, MAC, Sun Belt, C-USA and American champions. Then, maybe one wild card big time school, that didn't win their conference. That seems the most fair, to me.

    …..I'd also like to say that I shed no tears for Ohio State, this year. In three previous years, those guys got in twice without winning the B1G. This year, they didn't. Stop crying, and stop getting blown out. If an undefeated Power-5 team gets left out, then we'll talk about "unfair." In the meantime, if you lose a game, playoff position is in jeopardy, as it should be.

  2. AETiger AETiger says:

    Acid- i like your playoff expansion plan, except no automatic qualifying for the “Group 5” teams. This year that would mean UCF and Memphis (ranked 20th) would get in over Penn St, Wisc, Miami (assuming we got in).

  3. Tigerpharm says:

    Good article Jonathan. I think most would agree, that the playoffs should mean something towards the NC. Felt bad for Penn State when Ohio State jumped them that year.

  4. neonbets says:

    A Playoff expansion is the last thing college football needs.

    Right now, in sports (extend to the rest of the culture if you choose), college football is about the only thing that leaves its fans wanting more. It’s the only major sport where the regular season still matters. With an 8 team playoff, the last several Saturdays in the SEC are completely different. They are flat. Sure we hope Auburn wins the SEC Championship–but really, it’s not that big a deal. The same goes for OSU-Wisconsin, etc., etc.

    Everywhere else you look in sports, the suits in charge push too far. They optimize too much and they get too greedy. They push fans right to the line of finding something better to do with their time and money. Even if the fans stay, they do so grudgingly. The thrill is gone, and the leagues turn to corporate boxes for revenues and Fantasy Sports to cull more interest.

    Take the NFL…it’s tanking is not tanking because of the National Anthem–that’s just the final straw. No, the NFL is tanking because of dilution. There are too many games on too many different nights (and mornings) in too many different countries.

    Yes, the teams on the outside of the playoff wish they were in. Some are annoyed and feel ripped-off. But so what? A little anger and frustration is good for the game. In fact, it’s much of what sustains our passions. Expanding the playoff will be awesome the first couple of years. But after that, it’s gonna get kinda old…getting to the playoff just won’t be special. And the regular season will be little more than an endurance test. No, expansion is a terrible idea.

  5. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    Maybe they should let the fans vote on the final playoff committee members from a pre-selected pool of qualified candidates?
    Yes, it does seem that expansion could be a never ending solution.. expand to 8 then expand to 16 then expand to… where does it end?
    Set more clear-cut rules on who gets in. Starting by saying you have to win your conference to be considered is a good start IMO.

    Thanks for reading!

  6. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    Well written – glad it was bumped up to the”front page”. I agree with the entire “committee” issue. I wish I had the perfect answer but I’m afraid there isn’t one.

  7. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Good article. I don’t think it would be all that hard to make a 6-8 game playoff work. one thing that needs to be done is make the conference playoff games count toward CFB playoff. It should not come down to who a few people think should be in the final group.