New college football playoff system hardly better than BCS

Although the unpopular BCS system has been outlawed, the new playoff system is not perfect either.  In college sports, due to talent spread throughout the conferences, or lack thereof, just going by records is not a way in which to judge teams and their talent.  Only in professional sports, in which the teams compete in a level playing field, records alone determine which teams make the playoffs  and which teams don’t.  Therefore, you have a very consistent, and logically correct system.  Sure they have minor changes, like two more wild card teams being added this past season in Major League Baseball, but overall the format and concepts are the same.  But, college sports are much different than this.  Teams are not even, don’t play even schedules, and therefore cannot be judged just on winning percentage, as they can in professional sports.

Keeping all of this in mind, fans cannot act like the new college playoff system is the “savior” of college football.  The change is not even as large as people seem to think, with only two more teams being added to the National Championship picture, and all other bowl games remaining the same.  Take this season for example.   If this system was in place, the final four teams in the National Championship “tournament” would have been Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, and Oregon.  Not included in these rankings are Georgia, Kansas State, Stanford and  few other teams who arguably had just as impressive of seasons as Florida and Oregon.  Some could argue that Georgia was negatively affected because they were good enough to play for the SEC title, while Florida was rewarded for not playing in a championship game.  Stanford would be in the same boat; except for they won their conference championship game.  Kansas State lost only one game, as did all three teams in the tournament besides Notre Dame.   Unrealistic SEC fans may say Texas A&M and Georgia should have made it in in front of Oregon and even Notre Dame, basing their argument purely on strength of schedule.  As valid or invalid as these arguments may be, how are these any different than the arguments that take place when only two teams were in the title game?  If anything there will be more argument and controversy with this system, because they are dealing with more one or even two loss teams. 

Controversy is good for a sport in that it draws attention, but if the goal is to prove who the true National Champion is this new system will fail as well, just as the “dreaded” BCS.  It is just like when the NCAA tournament was expanded from 64 teams to 68. The arguments and accusations of “whose in and whose out” continued as more and more teams were considered “on the bubble.”  The advantage of having 64 or 68 teams is all the teams that are considered to be in the hunt for a title will for sure make the tournament, leaving no elite teams out of the race.  Obviously a 64 team playoff would be impossible in college football, but I don’t think a four team playoff system gets the job done either.

As stated, until college sports teams can be judged on solely record alone (which obviously is impossible) there will never be a perfect way to come up with a true National Champion in college football.  The argument of “well what would’ve happened if so and so would’ve reached the final four team” will continue no matter what college football does.  Is this system better? Absolutely.  But is it the system that everyone is looking for in determining who the best team really is in college football year in and year out?  Absolutely not!

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Connor Doyle

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