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A playoff devalue college football's regular season? An expert says no

628x471The SEC Title Game 2.0 that passes for a Fake National Title game takes place tonight when No. 1 LSU plays No. 2 Alabama for a pretty glass ball and a truck load of cash, some of which Vanderbilt will receive.

The debate over the BCS officially bores me, but I am curious about this increased chatter over adding a plus-1 after the end of this inane bowl schedule to officially crown a real champion. If such a plan existed last year, TCU would have played Auburn for the national title last season.

I digress ... part of the argument from both ESPN, BCS and others is that a playoff devalues the regular season. To that I call total and complete garbage. Football is smart enough to feature a limited number of games thus maintaining value to every game played. It's math. It's funny how no one ever says Week 1 of the NFL's regular season is a waste of time because there is a playoff.

Spare me the comparisons between the NCAA tournament devaluing college basketball's regular season. A 30-game schedule and early-NBA departures does that.

If you insist on not taking my word for it, fine. Be that way.

I spoke with Sam Houston State head football coach Willie Fritz, whose Bearkats just finished the Football Championsip series with a 17-6 loss against North Dakota State on Saturday in Frisco, Texas.

His team played four playoff games. Did the playoff devalue the meaning of the regular season?

"Not at all," he said. "That's how you get to the playoffs."

Fritz is a fan of the playoffs, even though his team lost its final game of the season. But even he admits a playoff has its flaws, too.

"There are a few things that are not as great in this system, the bid system," he said. "Playing at home and not playing at home. Who ranks these teams. It's going to be hard to get any sytem that is completely fair but you have it as close as you can. ... There has to be a way they can do it by using the bowl system and having some of those big bowls be the quarterfinals; there has to be a way to do it. That long break (between the bowl games and the regular season) is different for us. We never had a 3 week break between games. It’s a good system." 

Fritz is like anyone else who follows college football. He only remembers one from the 2010 season - Auburn's win against Oregon in the national title game. When you watch nearly every bowl game but about five you see more empty seats than occupied ones. 

"We had a packed stadium for our games. In the national title game, we had two teams that were fairly evenly matched and the crowd was split down the middle," he said. "I've watched some of these bowls and you could fire a shotgun in the stands and not hit anyone."

The bowl system is really good for the college coaches, athletic directors and bowl officials who receive the checks. The rest receive a pretty "SaveMoreMoney.Com Bowl championship t-shirt.


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Today the 8 FBS conference commissioners and the AD of Notre Dame are supposed to meet to discuss changes to the BCS. Here is my idea:
1. 8 team playoff.
2. The 8 teams are the 8 conference champions. (Sorry Notre Dame there is no place for an independent. Join a Conference!)
3. Use the last two saturdays of December to determine the National Championship game.
4. All "major" bowl games move to using the 2nd place teams as their conference teams.
5. Use all previous rules for bowl eligibility allowing for all the other bowl games.

My primary idea is to remove any subjectivity from the system. There are no voters, no computers, and the regular season is made absolutely important because every game matters if you want to be national champs beacuse you have to win your conference to qualify for the tournament.

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