College Football: Solving the Playoff Dilemma

By Matt Green

It appears that the people are going to get what they want. For the better part of a decade, college football fans and pundits alike have been screaming for a playoff system to be instituted. Many of us simply dismissed the idea, realizing that it probably was never going to happen, and doing our best to accept the ridiculousness of the BCS. But apparently that won't be the case anymore. So, is a playoff solution the best possible scenario for the game? Let's investigate.


4 teams battling it out for the title. In this scenario, the top four teams are chosen based on the current BCS Standings, and are thrown into a playoff scenario where 1 plays 4, and 3 plays 2. The upside is that we are getting the probable 4 best teams in the land playing each other for the championship, something that we all desired from the beginning. The downside, however, is that this essentially takes conference affiliation out of the mix entirely and conferences would no longer be important, which is ironic considering the recent craziness involved in the conference shuffling. Ultimately, I believe that this is the system that will play out and ultimately, we will see this in action every January. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. In fact, I don't think it IS the best. But we will get to that momentarily. Right now, let's talk about...


Same idea as the last solution, but all based on conference merit. Shocking that the SEC officials are the ones that do not want this. This scenario would only allow for one team from each conference (most likely) to reach the playoff. However, I'm sure that there would be some sort of bi-law that a team could not reach the playoff, even if they were a conference champ if they were not in the top-6 or 8 of the standings. This system would cause by far the most controversy. First of all, there would be the SEC and Big 12 supporters who would claim that an ACC champ did not deserve a shot at the title over the 2nd place team from the aforementioned 2 conferences.

USC Nickell Robey tackles UCLA Johnathan Franklin
USC (21) Nickell Robey tackles UCLA (23) Johnathan Franklin during an NCAA football game between the UCLA Bruins and the University of Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA.

Then there's the question about the Big East. Do they ever deserve a bid? What about the Pac-12? And how are we doing this? The top 4-ranked conference champs get in? Well, what if the SEC champ has 2 losses, it' still the best conference, but the champ falls just out of the would-be playoff. Disaster. And don't even get me started on what would happen with the non power-conference teams, even though the quality teams of that category are diminishing. Let's move on to...


My favorite idea. For the bowl games, we go back old-school where every bowl game has specific conference ties, similar to what the Rose Bowl still has with the Pac-12/Big-10 connection. The Sugar Bowl could take an SEC team along with maybe a Big-12, while the Fiesta also takes a Big 12. I don't know exactly how it all would work out, but they'd make it happen. Finally, to the trouble of the national title game. We go through the whole regular season, have the bowl season the old way and THEN we get to the decision of picking two teams to fight for the national championship. I believe that this would be the best idea because it would satisfy the older generation with the old-style bowl season, but also satisfy the new generation that has its mind set on a playoff system. It essentially makes the entire bowl season a playoff. It's genius.

After looking at all the options and evidence, it's clear that no system is perfect, and all will be accompanied by their fair share of controversy. However, it's hard to deny that any of the new ideas would be an upgrade over the old system.

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