College Football Playoff: Why Four Teams Aren’t Enough

No. 1 Mississippi State remains in the driver's seat to be the top-ranked team int he playoff (Photo: USA TODAY Sports )

No. 1 Mississippi State remains in the driver’s seat to be the top-ranked team int he playoff (Photo: USA TODAY Sports )



“Four teams aren’t enough.”

I said that the second I heard that a four-team playoff was introduced to College Football. I was met with the expected response that the teams would sort it out and there would only be four deserving teams at the end of the year. I laughed. We must not have been watching the same sport for the last 10 years.

And here we are.

The season is coming to a close and there is absolute chaos. Florida State has been struggling, but looks to remain undefeated and a miracle season by Duke could have them and FSU with one loss at the end of the year. Baylor and TCU both have one loss and have already played each other (plus the Big 12 has no championship game). Alabama and Mississippi State could both end the season with one loss. Ohio State or Nebraska could end the season with one loss, as well as Oregon or Arizona State. All of this is happening and there are only three weeks left.

Let’s get into why exactly more than four teams should be in the playoff.

There are five power conferences.

Power conferences are not made alike. Using the eye test alone, the pass-happy offenses of the Big 12 are much different than the rushing attack-oriented Big 10. Each conference has its own flavor, as well as its own strengths. Who is to say that Florida State wouldn’t get a loss in the Pac 12? Who’s to say that 2-loss Kansas State wouldn’t have one loss in the Big 10? We simply don’t know because the conferences don’t really play each other. If a conference is a “power conference,” its champion should be in the playoff. There should be some sort of requirement, however, to ensure that the conference champion is one of the best teams in the nation. An example could be that the champion has less than three losses or maybe it is ranked 12th or better. If a team wins a conference, it is the best team in the conference and it did enough to prove that. Let the conferences sort it out. With a six-team playoff, there is an extra spot for Notre Dame, a BCS buster, or possibly a second team from a big conference. An eight-team playoff would remove even more doubt.

The Baylor-TCU situation from this season.

This was a conundrum I saw coming from a mile away. What happens when two one-loss teams play each other and the team that won that game loses to a sorry opponent? The team that won between the two will be devalued due to a bad loss and the team that lost that tiebreaker will have a better loss (TO THE OTHER TEAM). Couple this with the team that lost the head-to-head playing better football when the playoff comes around and the problem appears. For instance, this year, Baylor and TCU both have one loss, but Baylor beat TCU 61-58 when they played. Baylor followed that win with a horrible 41-27 loss to unranked West Virginia. Because of this, TCU is ranked higher than Baylor in every national poll despite losing to Baylor. In many mock playoff selections, TCU has been popping up, but not Baylor. If both teams win out, this is going to be a a sticky situation.

The Alabama-LSU situation from 2011 or Alabama-Auburn situation from 2013

In 2011, Alabama missed four field goals during a 9-6 loss versus LSU. In 2013, A last-second Alabama field goal didn’t go far enough and was caught by Auburn’s Chris Davis, who then returned the now technical punt 100 yards for the game winning touchdown. I can’t think of two other games in College Football history than left viewers staring at the screen more unsure if the better team won the game. With a 4-team playoff, neither loser of those games should get another chance. The 2011 National Championship between two SEC teams was the most pathetic joke I’ve ever seen in sports (How can a team that couldn’t win its own half of its conference deserve to fight to be the best team in the nation over other conference champions?) However, in a 8-team playoff, it’s fair-game and that losing team would still be in. The better team lost on that given day? Prove it in the new bigger playoff.

When a conference champion loses a game because of injury but regains form come playoff time.

This is a specific example, but it is one that affects Ohio State and Arizona State, none-the-less. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was knocked out for the season due to injury 11 days before the season started. Freshman back-up J.T. Barrett came in and looked awful. Ohio State looked sloppy against Navy, then lost against Virginia Tech. Barrett was shaken and couldn’t do anything right. Seven games later into the season and Ohio State is unstoppable and Barrett just dismantled Michigan State, which was statistically one of the best defenses in the nation. OSU also has gained at least 49 points and 533 yards in six of its last seven games Obviously this argument only works for a conference champion, but it is obvious that this is not the same team that lost to Virginia Tech. Because the Virginia Tech loss is the worst out of all of the contenders, this four-team playoff system will leave Ohio State and all of us will miss out on a potentially great team competing for the trophy.

Arizona State also fell victim to injury and lost starting quarterback Taylor Kelley for three games. In backup QB Mike Bercovici’s first game, ASU looked awful and turned the ball over four times. UCLA throttled them 62-27 in a game that is hardly representative of the team that just beat No. 10 Notre Dame 55-31.That 35-point loss is going to keep being brought up if ASU wins the Pac 12 and analysts are looking for every reason why certain contenders shouldn’t be in the playoff. Like Ohio State, Arizona State now is not the same team that played in their lone loss.

A four-team playoff is better than the two-team National Championship of last year, but it still isn’t enough. It is better to have all of the real contenders with a couple pretenders, just like the systems of every other major sport. The current system leaves teams that have proved they’re among the nation’s best sitting at home. The sport, the teams, and the fans would all be better off with a playoff that features more than four teams. That’s my opinion.

-Marty F. Nemec

Busy, busy!

I hate to beat a dead horse, but… wait, what? Why is that an expression? That’s horrible!

Anyways, I’ve been very busy lately. I’ve been doing an unpaid internship here at Axia Public Relations for over three months and I’ve been trying to get an entry-level PR or marketing job here in Jacksonville, Fla. I just can’t seem to find one right now, but I am going through all of the job boards every couple days with a magnifying glass (not literally) and I have been applying to things that are relevant to me. Plus, college football season started and I’m probably the biggest fan you’ll ever meet. Being a sportswriter is why I majored in journalism, although that is not my end-goal anymore. Go Buckeyes!

I know I will get my break soon. I’m too smart and I work too hard to not be getting paid. Haha. Other than that attempt at confidence, I also have bills and student loans to pay off. I’m glad I’m in a situation where I can at least get experience, but I am definitely going 100 percent to try to start my career. I will write a few posts soon about the things I’ve learned during this internship.

To those who read this, thank you! How have you been? Any new developments in your life? I hope all of you are doing great!

-Marty F. Nemec

Will the Ohio State Buckeyes Go Undefeated in 2013? (PODCAST)

The Ohio State Buckeyes just came off of an undefeated season, but the stakes are much higher this time around. (Photo by: Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports)

The Ohio State Buckeyes just came off of an undefeated season, but the stakes are much higher this time around. (Photo by: Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports)

A lot of my new PR followers don’t even know I enjoy posting about sports. Here is a podcast about whether the Ohio State Buckeyes can go undefeated again in 2013:

http://martinfranknemec.podomatic.com/entry/2013-07-01T14_55_35-07_00.

If you liked the band featured in my podcast, go add them on Facebook here.

-Marty F. Nemec

A really good quote on sports in today’s market.

I really liked this quote by Eric Deggans, a TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times in Tampa, Fla. It rings true to sports journalists and it is definitely something to think about.

“It’s simple industry math: sports is the form of television most resistant to the forces dismantling big audiences elsewhere. Fans want to see it live, which reduces use of DVRs, keeping viewers from fast-forwarding through commercials. And it’s the last big meeting place for viewers of all stripes, still setting audience records at a time when TV networks are losing 10 percent of their audience every year.

Which leaves staff positions as the best place to make cuts, especially if the company can use the instability to trade experienced, higher-salaried employees for younger, less-expensive ones. And if the jobs on the line are mostly held by folks who don’t appear on camera, fans may not notice anything. At least, not at first.”

The whole story, as well as his professional bio, can be found here. I take no credit for this quote or linked story in any way.

Sports writers and viewers, what do you think about this quote? Is it true? What are you thoughts?

Marty F. Nemec

ESPN football recruiting class rankings (CFB)

The biggest surprise class up there is easily Ole Miss ranking at fifth. The Rebels nabbed a lot of big name players, including the top overall pick, Robert Nkemdiche.

1 Alabama
2 Florida
3 Ohio State
4 Notre Dame
5 Ole Miss
6 Michigan
7 LSU
8 Texas A&M
9 Florida State
10 Georgia
11 Auburn
12 UCLA
13 Clemson
14 USC
15 Texas
16 Oklahoma
17 South Carolina
18 Washington
19 Virginia Tech
20 North Carolina
21 Miami (FL)
22 Vanderbilt
23 Nebraska
24 Penn State
25 Mississippi State

-Marty F. Nemec

#9 Texas A&M vs. #11 Oklahoma

I don’t have any time so I can’t really get into the analysis of my AT&T Cotton Bowl pick, but I’m calling a Sooner win after a very close game. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones’s senior experience will be too much as he shows the young Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel, that there is still more to learn in the quarterback position as a passer. Jones has let Oklahoma down in many big games through his career and this is his last chance to make a bang for his loyal fans.

Oklahoma 31, Texas A&M 28

-Marty F. Nemec

#4 Oregon vs. #5 Kansas State

I really dropped the ball on that Florida pick, but so did 95% of the country! Regardless, I need to pick it up on this next game.

Oregon and their high-flying offense has been unstoppable. The Duck offense ranks second in the nation scoring 50.8 points per game. Their defense has been better than recent years, but still has been lacking against quality opponents. The 22 points it allows would still be enough even if the offense produces half of its average. Oregon overwhelms its opponents with speed and trickery and Kansas State definitely hasn’t seen anything like it.

Kansas State is much more traditional, but just as deserving of its top-five ranking. Quarterback Colin Klein has been an efficient dual-threat that has done whatever his team has needed to win. Kansas State’s offense has scored over 40 points per game and the defense, although not great, has been better than Oregon’s allowing 21.1 points per game. Kansas State is a physical team that loves to scrap out a close game.

I respect Kansas State and I do think they have a shot at winning, but I have to go with Oregon. Oregon barely lost 17-14 to Stanford in a game that they simply didn’t look hungry. Kansas State was thoroughly outplayed in their 52-24 loss to Baylor. Oregon won’t make the same mistake against the Wildcats, who will get its undivided attention.

Oregon 35, Kansas State 24

-Marty F. Nemec

BCS Rankings- Week 14(CFB)

RK TEAM RECORD
1 Notre Dame 12-0
2 Alabama 11-1
3 Georgia 11-1
4 Florida 11-1
5 Oregon 11-1
6 Kansas State 10-1
7 LSU 10-2
8 Stanford 10-2
9 Texas A&M 10-2
10 South Carolina 10-2
11 Oklahoma 9-2
12 Nebraska 10-2
13 Florida State 10-2
14 Clemson 10-2
15 Oregon State 8-3
16 UCLA 9-3
17 Kent State 11-1
18 Texas 8-3
19 Michigan 8-4
20 Boise State 9-2
21 Northern Illinois 11-1
22 Northwestern 9-3
23 Oklahoma State 7-4
24 Utah State 10-2
25 San Jose State 10-2

-Marty F. Nemec