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Coach and Athletic Director

Give Me The 4 Best Teams In The Country

By Michael Austin, Editor-In-Chief

Everyone has their grand ideas on how to fix college football and its archaic way of crowning a national champion. I’m not here to breakdown my version of a 16-team playoff or to argue for/against the BCS. It’s time to deal in reality and, by the end of this week, a four-team “playoff” appears to be the logical landing place for college football.

In recent weeks, the conversation has shifted to deciding those four playoff teams and where they should play. It boils down to this—the four best teams should be scheduled in the national semifinals. I don’t want extra accommodation provided to conference champions. I want the best four teams represented. This is the SEC’s position and I agree with the coaches in that conference (I have no allegiance to the SEC considering I grew up in the Northeast, went to college in the Midwest and currently reside on the West Coast).

Sure, there is going to be debate about how to decide those four teams. My best guess is there will continue to be a formula taking into account wins/losses, strength of schedule, rankings, etc., just as there is with the current BCS. While not foolproof, it’s still better than solely relying on the subjective rankings supplied by sports writers or college coaches. Even if you only take conference winners, you still have to decide which conference winners are the four best—you can’t just say it’s going to be the SEC, B1G, Pac-12 and Big 12 because some years the ACC, Mountain West, Big East or C-USA could be in the mix? And, how do you factor in independents?

Making the four-team playoff only available to conference winners simply doesn’t make sense also in that the super-conference system does not allow for every team in a conference to play each other. While great for trophies and celebrations, can a true conference champion be crowned if that team didn’t hold the best record after playing everyone else?

The other part of the debate is whether the national semifinals should be part of the bowl system or hosted by the two higher seeds. I’d be in favor of higher seeds hosting playoff games in an eight- or 16-team playoff. But, when you are down to the final four, I’d rather see those games on neutral fields. The gap between No. 1 and No. 4 typically is razor-thin, so eliminating advantages for one team (weather, partial crowd support) helps in determining who truly is the best on the field that day.

It may not be the big playoff everyone is clamoring for but college football appears finally to be moving in the right direction. Let’s hope they make the best choices now to secure the top teams are involved.


For more Huddle Up columns, visit the Huddle Up Archive.

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