Wednesday, November 16, 2011

playoff scenarios, for better and worse

Frankly, we've beaten this playoff horse to death here. We've discussed multiple scenarios in this space; we've discussed the trouble with being too inclusive, and so forth. There's really not much more we could say about this topic we haven't already said.
Of course, what else is there to talk about? When you think about it, it's been a pretty boring season: everyone pretty much agrees that Alabama and LSU are the two best teams in the country ... and they already played. Even if they play again, pretty much everybody agrees it would be better if it came in some sort of tournament scenario.

So, with that in mind, let's look at a few playoff scenarios, what they would look like according to the current BCS standings, and how they'd probably play out. Please note: I'm basically making these up as I go, and it's worth noting they probably wouldn't wind up the way I'm thinking. Let's just have some fun here.

Dec. 31
(4) Oregon vs. (1) LSU
(3) Alabama vs. (2) Oklahoma State
Jan. 6
Thoughts: This one is (obviously) the most plausible scenario, if only because you could maintain the current setup and use this without too much of an issue. Moreover, think about the amount of money you could make off a week like this one: That's four programs' fan base, in one location — in my mind, the semifinals and finals would stay in the same city — for possibly as long as 14 days.
That's also the big problem: In the NCAA basketball tournament, a fan's commitment for the Final 4 is basically a long weekend (if your team is in the Final 4, you're there for the semifinal on Friday, and the championship game Monday). But football games can't be played within two days; they require a turnaround of at least 6 days. So if you're a fan of, say, Oregon, you have to consider whether you want to spend the money on traveling to New Orleans, spending (at least) a week there ... and that's not even including the cost of game tickets.
As far as the actual games, how much would LSU be hating life? They get a rematch against an Oregon team that appears to be hitting all cylinders, then (probably) a rematch with Bama in the final. Yeesh.

(Note: This is one I kind of made up on my own.)
Dec. 24
(6) Arkansas at (3) Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
(5) Oklahoma at (4) Oregon (Eugene)
Dec. 31
6/3 vs. (1) LSU
5/4 vs. (2) Oklahoma State
Jan. 6
Thoughts: I made this one up a few years ago, because it seemed like it would alleviate the problem of being too exclusive; because it added value to the regular season (giving the top-2 a bye seems like a pretty significant incentive); because, to be honest, if you can't at least get recognized as a top-6 team, I can't see giving you a shot at a national championship.
Obviously, there's very little shot these matchups would stay the same, since both Arkansas and Oklahoma have pending matchups that will affect their respective rankings. We're just going to pretend  for now. And if these were the matchups, a ton of rematches are once again on the table. Then again, so what? Basketball teams play rematches in the tournament all the time, and nobody seems to mind.
There is one other problem: If you give Alabama and Oregon an extra home game, that's an extra injection of cash into the local economies that nobody else gets. The higher seeds might expect a little something extra to be happy about that.

Dec. 24
(8) Va. Tech at (1) LSU (Baton Rouge)
(5) Oklahoma at (4) Oregon (Eugene)
(6) Arkansas at (3) Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
(7) Clemson at (2) Oklahoma State (Stillwater)
Dec. 31
8/1 vs. 5/4
6/3 vs. 7/2
Jan. 6
Thoughts: Somehow we managed to give two ACC teams a shot at the title. Ridiculous. Let's pretend we did it with (predicted) conference champs, plus 2 at-large berths (rated in order of BCS standing):
Dec. 24
(8) Oklahoma at (1) LSU (Baton Rouge)
(5) Michigan State at (4) Clemson (Clemson)
(6) Cincinnati at (3) Oregon (Eugene)
(7) Alabama at (2) Oklahoma State (Stillwater)
Thoughts: OK, this is even more ridiculous. We just gave Cincinnati a shot at a national championship. Absurd.
(Note: I suppose you could redo this and just seed them by ranking, which would make Cincinnati the 8, Michigan State the 7 and so forth. It still makes a mockery of the regular season.)

Dec. 17
(16) Stanford at (1) LSU (Baton Rouge)
(9) TCU at (8) Arkansas St. (Jonesboro)
(13) Oklahoma at (4) Clemson (Clemson)
(12) Alabama at (5) Michigan State (East Lansing)
(11) Nevada at Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
(14) Arkansas at (3) Oregon (Eugene)
(10) Northern Illinois at (7) Houston (Houston)
(15) Va. Tech at (2) Oklahoma State (Stillwater)
Dec. 24
(Note: In my mind, we'd re-seed after each round, and home fields would be the result, much like in the NFL.)
Quarterfinals (On-Campus)
Dec. 31
Semifinals (New Orleans)
Jan. 6
Championship (New Orleans)
Thoughts: Chaos, man. Whole lotta chaos.

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