|Unbeaten? Check. Beat several ranked opponents? Check. No unbeaten teams from power conferences? Check. Played for or split the national championship that year? No check.|
One might argue that this is a relatively anomalous pair of years, but I think these would be the rule rather than the exceptions. For example, does the committee take 11-1 Oregon or the 11-2 Stanford team which beat them, or both (leaving out 11-1 Kansas State, plus 10-2 LSU/A&M/Florida/Georgia, or the Lousville Team which beat that Florida team)? Or after the 2000 season, in which Washington, Oklahoma (the eventual champion), Miami, Florida State, and Oregon State, and arguably Virginia Tech all have a strong case for playing in the play-offs.
|A split national championship--just like every other year before the BCS.|
The problem with the BCS is that it promised us the 2 tops teams would play, but then failed to convince many fans that the two teams playing really were the top 2 (sometimes, that either team was in the top 2). Yet, everybody mostly accepts the outcome that the winner of the BCS championship game is the national champion, case closed (the sole real exception is the AP/BCS split championship between USC and LSU). Adding two more teams give the illusion of closing the case, when in fact it will tend to make more teams feel more strongly about being "left out" in a given year. In essence, it leaves us in the same place as the BCS leaves us: picking a champion the same way as before (we've just changed whose vote counts in the polls), albeit with games between the "top" 4 teams rather than 2.
*As is the BCS championship game has been close year after year. More often than not, we get games like last year's and not games like USC-Texas.
But 4 teams is not actually my favored schedule. My actual favorite version of a play-off, and one which has I think 0% chance of ever occurring, would be a variable teams play-off. The committee is allowed to pick between 4-8 teams, with 2-3 rounds as necessary. The pairing would be as usual (1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, etc), but any unpaired team gets a by (so, if 7 teams play, # 1 gets a bye, if 6 then so does #2... and if 4, then only need 2 rounds). In a three-round playoff, the first round is hosted by the higher seeded teams. This means that no really deserving teams get left out (#9 has a much weaker case than #5 in any given year), but also maintains the best teams in any given year. Thus, if there are four clear favorites (e.g. 2011's LSU-Alabama-Stanford-Oklahoma State), then there is no need to add in teams 5-8. On the other hand, if we have a year in which seemingly every team loses once, there is room for 8. Of course, the drawback comes in years when there are 3 clear favorites--do we play 8 teams to give no unfair advantages, or 4 because that's the minimum, and then hope that the #4 seed loses early?
*Speaking of which, suddenly the PAC-12 looks even strong against the SEC: Washington State lost a close one at Auburn, but is sitting second from the bottom of the Pac-12 North. Auburn is now in second in the SEC West.
Meanwhile, in Russia:
Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted by Mrs Jennifer Fulwiler at her Conversion Diary blog.