Fans resist infiltration of college playoff system

Oregon’s chances of playing in consecutive championship games could end after its first game.

The Ducks, ranked No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, play No. 4 LSU on Saturday at 7 p.m. in easily the most compelling Week One matchup in college football. If Oregon loses, it will have to bank on zero teams going undefeated this season, something the Ducks won’t feel comfortable with.

Meanwhile, No. 7 Boise State plays No. 22 Georgia in Week One, No. 15 TCU on Nov. 12 and no other teams of significance until its bowl game.

While Boise State has proven to be formidable in past years, it is not fair to consider them among teams from major conferences when choosing BCS title game participants. This is not fair to Boise State, because the majority of top-notch programs refuse to play teams like Boise State, BYU and TCU. Huh?

Perhaps this is why it has taken so long to have a playoff system in Division I college football; if teams aren’t playing similar schedules, how can the voters and computers properly rank the teams into a playoff format?

The idea of superconferences in Division I college football is slowly taking over. Texas nearly left the Big 12 to play in the Southeastern Conference last year before the Big 12 allowed for the Longhorn Network. While Texas arguably has an unfair recruiting advantage with the ability to broadcast Texas high school football games on its network, without the TV deal the Big 12 would have ultimately disbanded due to a lack of funds/interest. Eventually, superconferences will infiltrate college football, and while this may be upsetting for football fans, it will eventually allow for a playoff system.

SEC teams beat on each other, so it’s a fair argument to say a one-loss team from the SEC should play in the BCS title before an undefeated TCU when the SEC is a far more dominant conference than the Mountain West.

With consistent schedules, which superconferences would most likely provide, a playoff system similar to the NFL’s would be more likely.

In the NFL, each team plays its division opponents twice in a home and away. Each team in the conference then plays every team from another division in the other conference. For example, the Bears will play each team in the NFC North at Soldier Field and at every other NFC North team’s respective stadium; every NFC North team will also play each team from the AFC West once.

There is a lack of consistency in the scheduling of college football games. While each team’s schedule is mostly made of conference opponents, nonconference scheduling is completely up in the air.

The main argument against a playoff system is that every week is of monumental importance. “Every week is a playoff game,” BCS supporters say. But for many schools, their first test doesn’t come until after maybe the third or fourth game of the season. As the Week One scores cycle in the top-right corner of your screen, you’ll see final games that read: “56-3,” “73-13” and “49-0.” Riveting.

No. 6 Stanford doesn’t play a current top-25 opponent until Oregon on Nov. 12 in the Cardinal’s last game of the regular season. Meanwhile, No. 1 Oklahoma plays top-25 sniffer Tulsa to open the season, No. 5 Florida State in the Sooners’ second game of the season, No. 21 Missouri to cap their first three games of the season, then plays a tough Big 12 schedule that includes No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 24 Texas. There shouldn’t be such a gap in strength of schedule between the No. 1- and No. 6-ranked teams in the country, even if strength of schedule factors into who plays in the BCS title game at the end of the season.

If there is going to be a playoff system in Division I college football, the disparity between strength of schedule needs to decrease. While Boise State and TCU have proven to be formidable teams in bowl games, major conference teams play too many tougher opponents.

The formation of superconferences will change that.

_Jeff Kirshman is a junior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jkirsh91._