Why Are College Football Authorities Against Playoffs?
By Nishan Wilde
As an avid college football fan, I have been wanting to address this issue for a while now. My question is this – why is there no post-season playoff in college football? There has been much speculation over the past few years that points to the eventual implementation of a playoff, but so far nothing has come to fruition. With so many reasons for a playoff, I simply can’t fathom why college football authorities are so against playoffs. What reasons you ask? Well, here are just a few:
1. Every other sport in America does it. Why do you think that is? Because it makes sense! What playoffs provide that the current bowl-game program does not is a clear-cut winner. There is never any debate as to who deserves the title unlike in the BCS bowl series.
2. Sometimes the polls disagree over who should be in the title game. Currently, three polls are used to determine the championship match-up – the AP poll, the BCS poll and the Coaches poll. In the past, these polls have disagreed about rankings. If these supposed flawless, algorithm-run super computers can’t decide on the top two teams, how are we supposed to know?
3. Scheduling – There are only 11 or 12 regular season games for each team during the college football season. This means that some of the best teams in the country simply don’t have enough room in their schedule to play other great teams. If they don’t ever play each other (like they would in a playoff), then there is no way to know who is the best aside from mere speculation.
4. Every year some team or another gets left out of the title race because of the limited number of teams (2) vying for the No. 1 spot. Last year, Boise State went 13-0, but were snubbed for a chance at the championship. Now, were they as good as Ohio State or Florida? Maybe, maybe not. But we can’t know for sure. This is just one more reason why there should be a playoff – so teams with perfect records can square off against each other in order to find out who is really the best.
5. Last but not least, let’s forget about being fair and giving all the deserving teams a shot at the championship. Why should there be a playoff? Because it would be the most exciting event of the year, that’s why. Just think about the matchups – USC vs. Oklahoma, LSU vs. Wisconsin, Florida vs. West Virginia, and Texas vs. Michigan. Who wouldn’t want to watch? I am on the verge of drooling just thinking about it.
To sum up, without a playoff we can never really know who is the best team in college football. We can know who is the better of two good teams, chosen by computers to compete in the championship game. But we can never know who is the outright best in the entire country.
On the other hand, there have been certain arguments against a playoff in the past. But as I see it, these arguments do not hold water anymore. First, it used to be true that the NCAA didn’t want the season to go past January 1st. But seeing as how the bowl games go well into the first week of January, that argument can be thrown out the window. Second, college football authorities are worried that an extension of the season to accommodate a playoff would make the season too long, subjecting the players to an overly rough season. But even in a playoff system, only 4 teams would play more games than they do now. Furthermore, half of those would play only 1 more game. Come on!!! College football players, especially the ones who play for the best teams in the nation, can handle an extra game or two.
And here’s the kicker – more games = more money.
I just don’t see a downside. Implementing a playoff structure to college football would bring in more money for those involved and more attention to the game as a whole. Conversely, the changes (# of games and length of season) would hardly be noticeable. I think that college football does, in fact, have a playoff in the future. However, the powers that be need to hurry up and do it already. There are so many reasons for a playoff and none against it.