Proposed 12-Team FBS Playoff Has its Flaws

On Thursday, the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A, of NCAA college football announced a likely expansion of its postseason tournament from four teams to 12, as recommended in these lines two and a half years ago.

But two of the key recommendations contained in that article look as if they will not be included in the plan.

First, there will be fixed brackets, thus no "re-seeding," which would involve, for example, the 12-seed being forced to play the 1-seed (the top four seeds getting first-round byes) in the quarterfinals in the event they upset the 5-seed in the first round.

And second, there will be no home-field advantage for the higher seeds in the first round or the quarterfinals, as the aforementioned column makes the case for.

Shouldn't there be every incentive for teams that are obviously going to make the 12-team field with one or even two games remaining to earn as high a seed as possible?

For example, Alabama is playing Auburn on November 27.

What if the Crimson Tide are already safely in the playoff by then, while the Tigers need a win — and maybe even some help in the form of some other team or teams losing — to get in?

If Alabama is battling for the top seed, they won't rest their starters and let their bitter rivals make the playoff by fiat.

Then there is the issue of "AQ" versus "non-AQ" conferences: the "Group of Five" non-AQ conferences — the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, and the Sun Belt Conference — is guaranteed to see at least one of its champions qualify for the 12-team field. Moreover, not all five champions of the "AQ" conferences are guaranteed a berth (Pac-12 champion Oregon would probably not have gotten in last year).

This is grossly unfair. All five champions of the "AQ" conferences, along with at least one of the "Group of Five," should receive automatic bids (more than one of the latter should get in if the situation warrants).

In any event, the integrity of the game — even if it does involve so called "student-athletes" — must be preserved to the exclusion of anything and everything else.

This is why both re-seeding and home-field advantage for the first two rounds (the semifinals and the championship game to be held at pre-determined sites) — must be part of any new format.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site