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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    If This Isn’t the Sign, Then What Is?

    Ever since the origin of the Bowl Championship Series, used to rank teams at college football’s highest level, Division I-A, there has been heavy criticism of how they’re determining who gets to play for the national title, as well as calls for a playoff system, instead of the seemingly arbitrary rankings currently used. These rankings are based on a combination of polls and computer calculations. As it is now, there are 32 bowl games, allowing 64 teams to see the post season.

    What I-A football needs to have a legitimate champion is a playoff. Several systems get tossed around in the media. One is to add a national championship game after the current bowls. The problem is that either you preselect the two bowl games you take the winners from, you essentially have a four-team playoff. If you don’t, then you’ll never satisfy anybody with which winners you’ll pick.

    Another option discussed is a 12-team NFL style playoff. The teams with the bye week have an advantage. Also, how do you determine who gets the byes? The best option seems to be a 16-team playoff. It would handle the parity of seasons like this one, and provide as equal a playing field as the ranking system allows.

    Every time the ‘p word’ is mentioned, there seems to be a laundry list of reasons why there shouldn’t be a playoff, and they always seem to come from people with a stake in the current system. They always seem to be the schools that top the rankings, the cities that host the games, and the TV networks that broadcast them. Nobody will watch the regular season games, just as they don’t for basketball. It isn’t fair to everybody who wouldn’t make the ‘postseason.’ It’ll disrupt the students’ studies, running through finals.

    A playoff is good enough for every other level of NCAA football, and for every other sport, for that matter. 64 teams is far too many for the postseason in any sport, anyway. As for finals, basketball season runs through both the fall and spring semester, and they seem to do just fine. People will still watch regular season games. Basketball’s problem is that its season is way too long, going from November to the beginning of April. Not to mention the possibility of three undefeated teams. How do you determine which two get to play for the title?

    Then again, they don’t even have one unbeaten team playing this year. Hawaii had a perfect season, but because of the rankings, and the voters not caring about Hawaii, they won’t have a shot at the title. And while we’re on that subject, if Colt Brennan doesn’t win the Heisman this year, they’ll be able to hear my screams from Honolulu. As it is, they’ll play #5 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, the other bowls are filled with one- and two-loss teams. They should be ranked higher than #10, perhaps even getting to play #3 Virginia Tech. They should, however, get a shot at the title through a playoff.

    Considering that most of the teams ahead of them have two losses, I’m not convinced that they’re stronger than Hawaii, despite the ‘strength of schedule’ factor. USC lost to Stanford, and they’re ranked #7? Oklahoma is only ranked #3, despite destroying the then-#1 Missouri, which is still ranked #6. There will undoubtedly be questions to answer if Hawaii wins, and some of the teams ahead of them suffer big losses.

    This year could be the one that proves the need for a playoff. Then again, last year was the one that proved the need for a playoff, with the controversial Sugar Bowl and BCS championship matchings ending in blowouts.

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