The Rose Bowl last night was a shootout. Watching Penn State trade fire with USC was just downright fun. It’s was a great example of why I love college football. And in light of the garbage decision by the College Football Playoff selectors to elevate Ohio State over Penn State in the playoffs, it’s further evidence for me that this playoff system needs reform. Namely, the playoffs should be the division victors. Revisiting what I wrote a few weeks ago:
The value of division champions is what, exactly, in a world where selectors pick the final semifinalists for playoffs anyway? I saw Paul Clifford, Penn State Alumni Association CEO, share Urban Meyer’s 2006 comment: “If you don’t win your conference, you shouldn’t be playing for a national championship.” I think that’s right—and not just because it would mean Penn State would compete for the national championship this year, but because the current system devalues the division championships.
We’re moving toward a playoff model. In a playoff model, overall wins matter less than performance at key points in the season. The playoff model should allow for the rise of magical and unexpected teams like Penn State has proven to be this year, and who knows who’ll be next year.
An allegedly better team based on feelings rather than on-field play, Ohio State scored no points against Clemson in this year’s playoffs. Zero points. How did Ohio State get into these playoffs? By losing to rival Penn State during the regular season. By losing even its chance to play for the Big Ten Championship. Explain the logic.
When Ohio State won the national championship two years ago I wrote:
I’ve been pro-playoff system since I started paying attention to Joe Paterno’s advocacy for it years ago. I think the last time he spoke out for the playoff system was in 2008, saying “philosophically I think you ought to win it on the field” rather than through an opaque voting system.
So while I loved every minute of last night’s Rose Bowl, I also grew increasingly outraged that such great teams were denied the chance to go any further.