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Tuck: 4-Team Playoff For College Football

Posted By Mike Tuck On February 8, 2012 @ 2:19 PM In 1080 Sports,College,Insider Main,main feature,TO - Tuck and O'Neill main | No Comments

“All of the Big Ten athletic directors are comfortable exploring the possibility of a four-team playoff,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Four is better than two.”

Progress.  At last.  It isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the correct direction.

I am certainly on-board with the idea to play the semifinal games at higher seeded teams stadium, but that might be as controversial as deciding on who gets the final spot.

Determining who #2 is would be as debated as it is now.  Trust me.  It would be more fair, but it would be as heavily argued.  Can you just imagine half the nation saying Oklahoma State got screwed having to travel to Alabama instead of the other way around?

So yeah, we’ll still have arguments.  The battle for the final spot, or perhaps the final two spots would be heated.  Stanford, Oregon, and Wisconsin would probably all want to lay claim to that #4 seed.

The point is though that we would avoid leaving out teams equally deserving on a title shot.

A fun practice is to go back and review how things would have played out differently if we had a 4-team playoff in place instead of the BCS.  As Stewart Mandel points out at CNNSI [1] we would have been better served with a playoff at least 10 of the 14 years.

There are certainly other things that should change in college football, that probably won’t.  There are things changing in college sports that probably should not.  We can’t have everything, but hopefully those in charge can make the best of a bad situation.

The bowls are struggling.  Schools are losing money, ratings are down, and stands are less filled.  Those are facts.  Eliminating bowl games appears to be a real option (and I believe the correct decision) based on the conversations about increasing the win total from 6 to 7 as a minimum to appear in a bowl game.

When Mississippi State can line up Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee State as their non-conference opponents next season and all but guarantee 4 wins, then something needs to be adjusted so that 2-6 conference seasons aren’t rewarded.  And yes, that is really their schedule next year.  The worst I’ve ever seen by a BCS school.

My hope is that a 4-team playoff will happen.  And a committee, not a BCS will select the field.  And that the number of bowl games is reduced.  And those bowl games will promise spots to champions of leagues, and then have their choice as to who fills out the match-ups.  No more BCS, and the bowl games get who they want, to sell their product.

And then we evolve from there.  After years of questionable seeding and leaving out deserving conference champions that finish #5, #6, or #7 then we grow the field to 6 or 8 to eliminate more errors.

All sports have seen their playoffs expand through the years.  Going to a #1 vs. #2 has led us to this conversation of going to a 4-team playoff.  Once the ball gets rolling, it’s hard to stop.  Fans rejoice.

 

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[1] CNNSI: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/stewart_mandel/02/08/bcs-vs-four-team-playoff/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_wr_a1

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