College Football Playoff drought has Big Ten athletic directors pushing for change

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Couldn’t happen to a more corrupt bunch. They and the ACC are to blame for the demise of regional rivalries that were the lifeblood of college sports.
“I’m open to the consideration and looking at it and thinking about it,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said at the Big Ten’s spring meetings. “Anytime our Big Ten champion is left out of the playoff what, three years in a row, that’s something that needs to be discussed. Because I obviously believe that you go through and you win the Big Ten championship in this league you’ve accomplished something that deserves to put you in position to play for the national championship.”

Those championships, however, have not carried a lot of weight recently with the selection committee. In 2016, it was Penn State that didn’t make the field. In 2017 and 2018 it was Ohio State that won the Big Ten, but couldn’t find its way into the field.

That’s three years of an event five years old where the Big Ten’s best did not play for a national championship. The Pac-12 has missed out on the playoffs three of the five years while the Big 12 hasn’t been in the field twice. The SEC and the ACC have been part of all five playoff, with Alabama and Clemson each winning two national championships.<<
 
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Expand the playoff to eight teams. That's where it is headed anyway and it will settle grievances of several conferences. But Michigan would be well advised to keep Warde Manuel as far away from their football program possible. Wasn't he partially responsible for UCONN's rolling coaching debacle.
 
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The Big Ten Champ needed to play better...2018 they were blown out by 29 points to sub .500 Purdue.

2017...they were blown out by 31 points by Iowa.

2016...they make the CFP and are blown out 31-0 by Clemson
 
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College football has basically evolved into a 2 team show. Nobody cares that the Big 10 champ gets left out except the Big 10. Personally I think the current setup is wrecking the sport long term because it has resulted in sidelining virtually every program but 2. And made winning a pseudo championship the be all of the season. But unlike basketball or even the nfl where 10 teams have a shot most have none and even 2-3 so called Power leagues are shut out.
 
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It is a four team show...Much like going straght to a Final Four...if you do not make the 2 team show...well, it was because you lost the game....

...Yeah, eventually they may expand to a three round play off and start with an Elite Eight.

If you went with the Final CFP 8 of this last season..they would be:

Alabama vs UCF
Clemson vs Michigan
Notre Dame vs Ohio State
Oklahoma vs Georgia
 

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Hopefully we end up with:
  1. Each of the five Power 5 conf champ winners. Each conf would retain the right to decide if they want to substitute their conf champ winner for any team within their conf that finishes the season at a ranking higher than their own conf champ winner.
  2. The highest ranked G5 or independent school. G5 and Independent schools will have to meet certain schedule criteria (ie no more than one FCS game)
  3. Two wildcard spots for the selection committee. However, one slot is set aside for any G5 program or Independent program that finishes the season undefeated, but did not finish with a ranking ahead of the highest G5 program. Yes, I want a back door for undefeated FBS programs to get in in the event we have a situation like UCF and Boise (or ND or BYU) both finishing undefeated. Undefeated should always be rewarded as long as no more than one victory was against FCS competition.
 
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Hopefully we end up with:
  1. Each of the five Power 5 conf champ winners. Each conf would retain the right to decide if they want to substitute their conf champ winner for any team within their conf that finishes the season at a ranking higher than their own conf champ winner.
  2. The highest ranked G5 or independent school. G5 and Independent schools will have to meet certain schedule criteria (ie no more than one FCS game)
  3. Two wildcard spots for the selection committee. However, one slot is set aside for any G5 program or Independent program that finishes the season undefeated, but did not finish with a ranking ahead of the highest G5 program. Yes, I want a back door for undefeated FBS programs to get in in the event we have a situation like UCF and Boise (or ND or BYU) both finishing undefeated. Undefeated should always be rewarded as long as no more than one victory was against FCS competition.
I would sign on to that. Sounds more than fair...which is probably why it has such little chance of happening.
 
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I have always maintained that there, in a smallish 8 team field, be an attempt to put the best 8 teams forward...Automatic qualifiers would take the place of a perhaps better team.

Winning 11 games has a different difficulty factor, depending on your schedule/league.

The question is...Is it more important to have "equity" in the playoffs, or put forward the best teams? The very current question of "merit" vs "inclusion" and how that plays out.

I think of the problem like that of the use of SAT scores for college admission. The allowance of "other factors" than standardized tests to determine acceptance in entrance competition.

For instance, last year...

The Sagarin Rating...WIN 50%

The WIN50% is the rating required to win 50% of the games if playing an infinite number of round-robins in the given group at a neutral location.

The SEC West was #1 at 82.97 and the SEC East was #2 at 79.91. As much as we rag on their OOC schedules, their conference is a tough one to win 11 games in.

An 11 win Georgia or 10 win LSU (like last year) would have played a significantly tougher schedule than most...

Georgia #10, LSU #5.
 

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I have always maintained that there, in a smallish 8 team field, be an attempt to put the best 8 teams forward...Automatic qualifiers would take the place of a perhaps better team.

Winning 11 games has a different difficulty factor, depending on your schedule/league.

The question is...Is it more important to have "equity" in the playoffs, or put forward the best teams? The very current question of "merit" vs "inclusion" and how that plays out.

I think of the problem like that of the use of SAT scores for college admission. The allowance of "other factors" than standardized tests to determine acceptance in entrance competition.

For instance, last year...

The Sagarin Rating...WIN 50%

The WIN50% is the rating required to win 50% of the games if playing an infinite number of round-robins in the given group at a neutral location.

The SEC West was #1 at 82.97 and the SEC East was #2 at 79.91. As much as we rag on their OOC schedules, their conference is a tough one to win 11 games in.

An 11 win Georgia or 10 win LSU (like last year) would have played a significantly tougher schedule than most...

Georgia #10, LSU #5.
Any system that doesn’t prioritize conference winners or selecting a single team from a conference means we might as well create a new division of about 20 teams because that’s all we will ever watch in the field of 8.
 
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Yep...that is the problem...

Playing the best...or playing with more variety and equity.
 

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Yep...that is the problem...

Playing the best...or playing with more variety and equity.
For the health of the sport it’s definitely the latter - within reason. Otherwise this sport narrows.
 
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But..say that it was a field of only eight in basketball for the tournament?

Would you feel the same about a strong #2 team in conference not being selected over a weaker champion of a weaker conference?

The equity vs "best" issue is still the same...it just gores a different ox...

I know, basketball is not the same as football because you can actually play more, but the principle doesn't change....
 
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There is always a problem with any strength of schedule rating especially when you have a small sample. A bigger sample doesn’t make it go away. Just reduces it some. Basically it is circular. A win over a bad team in a perceived strong league counts more than a win over a bad team in a less strong league yet both are bad You often see this in the NCAA tournament in basketball when these mediocre teams from leagues like the ACC or Big 10 or old Big East got bids over good mid majors then never survive the 1st weekend and lose to unknowns.

The difference between the basketball final 4 and football’s is that there are 64 other teams trying to get there. In football you don’t even need to win your league. Just be viewed as one of the top tv attractions. Does anyone doubt that if Clemson had been upset in there league they’d have been left out? Or Alabama?
 

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But..say that it was a field of only eight in basketball for the tournament?

Would you feel the same about a strong #2 team in conference not being selected over a weaker champion of a weaker conference?

The equity vs "best" issue is still the same...it just gores a different ox...

I know, basketball is not the same as football because you can actually play more, but the principle doesn't change....
This is not a case of one side is incorrect, its just about what you value. I value a system that gives some purpose for the existence of the full 130 team FBS field and its ten conferences rather than a system that really is just to serve the top 20 teams and top 4 conferences (sorry PAC 12). 5 conference winners, best of the other 5 conference winners and 2 wild cards is equitable and serves the well being of the sport in the long run. A top 8 system might as well result in the G5 forming their own subdivision with its own playoff.
 
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Football needs Cinderella.

The major conferences are against it but the spice of Cinderella brings new fans to the party and excitement to the event. It's one of the reasons the NCAA basketball tourney is far more interesting than the football playoff. An expanded playoff means expanded interest and even more money. The lack of expansion to this point shows the timid, conservative and selfish nature of the game.
 
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Maybe the G5 should have their own playoff as you suggest...

I think that the premise that all 130 football teams are actually competing to be the national champion to be a convenient fiction.

In basketball, we buy that fiction (351 teams competing) whole heartedly, and cheer on the Cinderella team...even if the odds on a team outside UConn and the P6 (counting Big East) winning a NC is pretty infinitesimal.

No team, seed #9 to #16 has ever reached the Final. A #16 did advance one game a few years back...the first to do so.

The odds of a #9 seed reaching the Final Four are less than 1% (.7 %).

It isn't a Cinderella possibly winning the NC, it is the fun of an upset even if we know that stronger programs will eventually prevail.

But, in reality, all do not have a shot at the prize....the #9 through
#16 are just there for the Cinderella effect according to real data....
 
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I think part of the reason for the Cinderella effect in the tournament is that, in basketball, a single loss in the regular season just isn't that much. So Duke loses one early to somebody?

In football, an upset of a top team in regular season can be, and often is, a season changer.

The regular season individual game counts more...every week is a cull...and Cinderella could be any weekend.
 

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If the FBS playoffs expand to eight and seed based on rank only with no respect for conference winners, then yes the G5 should break away immediately. UCF vs Boise St on New Years Day would have drawn eye balls.

You know who losses in that scenario, all the bottom dwellers of the p5 because they will no longer be middle of the ladder, but rather at the bottom of their new smaller ladder, permanently.

The G5 could be fun, like the short lived American Football Alliance.
 
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The bottom dwellers of the P5 don't have a shot at the playoff and are in reality, the bottom dwellers of their own little universe.

The fact that Syracuse and Apallachian State (1st in Sunbelt) would have been a pick 'em game (Cuse -2) probably is less concerning to the Orange than their not making the ACC CG.

The bottom dwellers of the P5 would still be bottom dwellers if the G5 broke away.

The G5 would then be another universe...just like North Dakota State's dynasty in IAA, in their universe, has no or little affect on the G5.

Any distribution of strength in a football universe will fall along a bell curve. A smaller universe will have the top quartile at fewer teams than a larger universe as well as a smaller bottom quartile in quantity...but strength staying relative, the ranking place of the teams will not change...there will be a top, bottom, and mean.
 
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Its taken a decade to wear me down, but I'm come to terms that I am fine with a G5 league that parallel's the I-AA environment. It is what it is, a league sandwiched in between. I'm ready for a final four with Boise St, UCF, App St and Toledo for example. We'd at least get to see a playoff system and someone crowned champion. But I am calling for the breakaway only if the bowl committee expands the playoff in a way the walls off the G5 which would be to use rank rather than conf champs.
 
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We had some interesting G5 bowls last year...

Nevada-Arkansas State was a fun match...close game

Cincinnati-VT was another close game.

So was Wake Forest vs Memphis.
 

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