Playoffs? Playoffs? Five is the new No. 3

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
6:30
PM ET
If you believe a four-team playoff will end controversy in college football as we know it, you probably believe that our culture would heal itself if only it could be rid of the Kardashians.

That's a silly analogy, but the point is something that is merely better doesn't mean it will be perfect. Or even much more than theoretically better. (As in: Perhaps there's a family out there that would cause even worse brain rot than the Kardashians if its vacuousness were on display in a TV reality series).

During the BCS Era, the epicenter of controversy was typically at No. 3. While some years things laid out perfectly and there was a wide consensus on the two best teams, many years there was little tangible justification to see the No. 2 -- or No 1 -- team as being any better than No. 3. For example, Oklahoma State was No. 3 this past season, and many would have rather watched the Cowboys play LSU for the title than an SEC West rematch between the Tigers and Alabama.

Well, in a four-team playoff, No. 5 becomes the new No. 3 -- the last team left out. Dennis Dodd goes back and ranks the best No. 5 teams from 1998-2011, and there is plenty of Pac-12 representation. Which means there would have been plenty of Pac-12 consternation.

And, oh boy, the conference would have been in the thick of controversy if there were a four-team playoff based on last year's BCS standings. Notes Dodd: "Look at last season when Pac-12 champ Oregon – fifth in the BCS -- would have not played in a four-team playoff but a division rival it beat (Stanford) would have. The difference? Oregon scheduled tougher."

Sure Oregon fans would have taken that well.

Of course, we still don't know how the four teams will be selected for the future playoff, and it's unlikely it will be the BCS standings as they are currently configured. Know that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will work hard to ensure a more accurate strength of schedule component.

As for Dodd's rankings, they are interesting, though Dodd should reverse the top-two. The 2009 Florida team would have lost to the 2008 USC team by double-digits. Everybody knows that.

Besides USC at No. 2 in 2008, he's got USC in 2006 at No. 4, Oregon in 2011 at No. 6, UCLA in 1998 at No. 10, California in 2004 at No. 11 and Oregon in 2005 at No. 13.

So a lot of different Pac-12 teams would have been frustrated by a subjective system leaving them out.

Further, don't think your team doesn't have dog in this hunt. If the Pac-12 gets left out of the Final Four, all 12 members will miss out on millions. Recall that the conference has equal revenue sharing. If Oregon makes the Final Four, Oregon State still gets an equal share. And if Oregon and USC makes the Final Four, that will mean even more money. If a BCS bowl game is worth $23 million, then just imagine what a Final Four game will be worth. And how it would hurt to miss out.

And if the Pac-12 gets left out a couple of years in a row, then it could find itself at a substantial revenue disadvantage compared to other conferences.

Not to be a party pooper, but there are tangible concerns going forward. Don't pack up your frustration with the system just yet.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

PAC-12 SCOREBOARD