Playoffs? You Wanna Talk About Playoffs?!
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!