One of my cousins and facebook friends posed a question that was essentially “For those favoring a college football playoff system, do you believe that the best team wins the NCAA basketball tournament.”
My answer was “No, not necessarily. But it gives every team a chance to win.”
His response was that it would diminish the value of the regular season.
Now, to some degree, he may be correct. The great thing about college football is that every game does matter.
For most teams. But not Boise State, Auburn, Utah, or Penn State (if you count before the BCS). For some teams, winning every single game doesn’t matter when it comes to the national championship.
The one objection I think I will always have to the current college football system is that you can do all the right things and not get your shot. There have been seasons with multiple undefeated teams, and there have been seasons with an undefeated team who gets left out. The determination of who plays is based on a lot of subjectivity.
However, the importance of regular season games for most teams is still a concern. While I believe the primary goal of a sports league should be to determine a champion in a fair way – and not necessarily having the most significant regular season games – it is still a worthy issue to raise.
I don’t see having a playoff system and a significant regular season as mutually exclusive, although it is a balance. The easier it is for a team to get into the playoffs, the less significant the regular season. Major League Baseball has about 160 games, but only 8 teams get in. I hate the idea of expanding the NCAA basketball tournament to 96 teams, because right now the 7th and 8th best teams out of 12 conference teams get in with 65. What does that say of the talent with a 96 team pool?
So, to keep the regular season games as significant as possible, a college football system should have the conference champions of all 11 college football conferences. No wild card teams. By having only the conference champions, there is no debate about wild card teams. Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman had this idea of 11 teams (among others I’m sure), and I blogged about it before.
Will every regular season game be as significant with this new system? Honestly, the answer is no. Late season games for teams who already have their division or conference wrapped up will have less meaning. Texas would have not had their national title hopes dependent on playing A&M last season. However, that is a change I’m okay with, because it means other teams will have national title hopes to begin with.