Florida State Football: Why a 25 Team Playoff Is the Best Solution

Neil ShulmanCorrespondent INovember 20, 2012

Robbing FSU- and anybody else with 1 loss- of a chance at a national championship is just wrong
Robbing FSU- and anybody else with 1 loss- of a chance at a national championship is just wrongRob Carr/Getty Images

I'm a huge Gator fan, and I make no effort to hide that—I'm putting this article in FSU football for a reason.

You guys don't like Florida, and we don't like Florida State. But there comes a point in time where fans of rival schools have to put aside their differences to create a better solution for a truly unfair situation.

This is probably going to make Florida fans mad, but FSU absolutely deserves a shot at a national championship.

Are they a top five team in my opinion?

No, but then again, they shouldn't have to be to earn a chance at a national championship, not with SEC powers like LSU ahead of them. They have one loss, and multiple teams ahead of them have two.

To exclude a one loss team, albeit with a truly embarrassing loss, is still unfair. 

To everybody who thinks FSU beat up on a weak schedule, maybe you're right.

If you're all so confident FSU would get body slammed by Alabama or Texas A&M or LSU, why not fight for their right to play them in a playoff and actually see it happen?

So, FSU fans, you have my vote. I will wait for the final regular season rankings, then create a new bracket for this year.

But I can assure you, if Florida crushes you and then Virginia Tech embarrasses you in the ACC Championship, you will still be in this playoff.

I do disagree with Jimbo on one thing, though. The big issue isn't how the teams are picked. I actually don't mind the current BCS formula; the problems start when you're picking between equally deserving one loss or even unbeaten teams.

Jimbo's way would involve only a poll. But an alarming percentage of the voters either don't even care much, don't watch football, or have strong biases.

That's clearly not better.

The BCS actually makes an effort to combine the human element with the mechanic element; i.e., the eye test vs. the resume. Voters rarely, if ever, take all parts into consideration, but the BCS formula does. 

Now, I would personally favor a selection committee, like in college basketball. But that's just a very small piece of the issue.

FSU fans, you need to realize that Jimbo was wrong in that sense, because a lot of voters are biased towards the SEC, and being a Florida fan, I happen to agree with that bias.

So with the current system in place to select the top 15 at large teams after the 10 conference champions, the worst that happens in that FSU gets gypped out of a good seed... but at least they would be in the playoffs.

Worry about how the teams get picked later; the first step is to increase the number of teams.

Nobody can seem to explain the BCS, except for one thing: everybody knows it's terrible. So the college football bigwigs put together a four team "playoff" to determine the national champion.

But as a former player whose team this year would have made the ensuing playoff I proposed last year (who asked not to be named) said, "It just pisses off two fewer teams and robs two fewer schools of money and excitement."

This is what a college football postseason should be, not this current garbage or a four team 'playoff'.

In the proposal, I cover everything down to the smallest details, like kickoff times and TV networks. Check it out to fully understand what I'm getting at.

For those of you who are intimidated by the novel proposal, and don't want to spend an hour reading it, I'll quickly break it down for you. 

Twenty-five teams, all conference champions get an auto bid, the top four teams that won their conferences get the top four seeds.

No. 25 and No. 24 would play in a play in game. The games will be played at the home teams' sites, up until the Final Four. 

Though I still stand by most of the above proposal, I would make a few tweaks to it.

First, I would make the top four seeds be the four best teams that won their conferences. I don't want to complicate it with exceptions, so I'll just keep it that simple.

This makes the conference championships mean something, because the top four seeds get home field all the way through.

Second, I realize I was trying too hard to base this off the men's basketball tournament with a Final Four, and instead of a BCS Bowl site rotating to host the games, it would be more like the Super Bowl, where cities bid to host the semis and final.

Third, I'm going to say this even more adamantly: NO EXCEPTIONS FOR NOTRE DAME (or any other independents, for that matter).

I'm sick and tired of hearing their fans brag about how they're so good, they get their own automatic BCS deal. I can handle Notre Dame having its own TV network and even being an independent, but I draw the line at cutting postseason deals for them.

If they're so good, let them go undefeated every year and let them earn an at large spot, and win a game on the road. I mean, they're unbeatable, so it should be no problem, right Irish fans?

Fourth, I would cut out the rule allowing unbeaten FCS teams in. They have their own playoff anyway, so they don't need to be in this one.

Aside from that, I completely stand by every word of it.

A four team playoff does nothing. There's still going to be lots of controversy- maybe even more so than with four teams, because the pool of one loss teams is always far bigger than the pool of undefeated teams.

Can you imagine telling 11-1 Texas, 12-1 Alabama, 11-1 Texas Tech, 11-1 USC, 11-1 Penn State, and 12-0 Boise State that their team wasn't good enough to make a four team playoff?

Four of the six teams above would have been left out in 2008, while only two would join Florida and Oklahoma in that pathetic excuse of a playoff.

An eight team playoff is no better. With eight teams, you start getting complaints about giving conference champions automatic bids.

In 2008, it would have been easy to draw the line at eight teams, since the eight above were clearly ahead of everybody else.

Not so much the case in 2007, where pretty much everybody had two losses and LSU wound up getting the BCS Championship Game spot.

With 16, you're getting close. That's the least I would hope for, but it's a start.

The problem with 16 teams is that now, you almost have to give conference champions automatic bids. If you don't, you still have arguments from schools, and the point of the playoff is to eliminate arguments. 

But with 25 teams, you allow all conference champions to have a shot at earning the national championship.

While nobody would argue Tulsa is one of the Top 25 teams in the nation, its presence as the (projected) Sun Belt champ is paramount to the playoff's importance.

Just like in college basketball, there needs to be some meaning behind the conference championship game, and I am not talking about one of those junk bowl games in Mobile or Shreveport.

They get their chance, they'll usually get knocked out by a bigger conference at large team in the first or second round, and then all the big boys, not just some of them almost randomly selected, get to slug it out. Everybody wins.

And of course, if the Cinderella schools win, they become America's sweetheart... just like in basketball.


Why can't you?

You're telling all of us that swimming, soccer, tennis, archery, badminton, baseball and wrestling ALL don't know what they're doing and you guys do?

No, you realized how mind numbingly stupid your method of determining a champion is, so to shut everybody up, you just added two more teams.

Oh, whoop-dy-do, that solves everything. Except, you know, providing a long term solution, generating lots of money, and giving all deserving teams a legitimate shot at winning a national championship.

So to sum it all up, aside from being fair, the four team playoff is just fine and dandy.


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