Friday, November 27, 2009

College football playoffs: 3 divisions already do it

Let me first state that all levels of college football should have playoffs. If you disagree, you won't like what I'm about to write.

Playoffs in 3 of 4 levels

There are four levels of college football in the United States today. Sure, there are only three divisions, but the upper division actually has two sub-divisions. So, yes, there are four levels of college football.

Division III has a 32-team playoff tournament. Most teams in Division III play a 10-game schedule. The two teams that make it to the championship will have played up to 15 games when the title is decided.

Division II has a 24-team playoff bracket. It's essentially a 32-team bracket with the top 8 seeds (actually, the top two in each of four regionals) getting first-round byes.

Most teams in Division II play an 11-game schedule. The two teams that make to the championship game will have played 15 games (or 16 games, if not one of the top two seeds in a regional) when the title is decided.

Then, there's Division I. And that's where things are a huge cluster... of trouble.

Division I is broken out into two parts: the Football Bowl Series (formerly Division I-A) and the Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA). I'm going to use the older terms (I-A and I-AA) rather than the current designations (FBS and FCS) because, well, I feel like it.

The reality is that I-A/FBS teams are a different level than I-AA/FCS teams. They are both officially Division I, but you and I know better. The I-AA powers -- like Montana, Villanova, and Appalachian State -- are usually considered better than middle-of-the-pack I-A teams, but no better than, usually, top 40 or top 50.

Division I-AA (FCS) has a 16-team tournament. Most teams play 11 games, which means that the teams playing for the title will have played 15 games when the championship is decided.

Number of games

Let's focus on one aspect of all of this right now: the number of games played.

The teams that make it all the way through the tournament, in all divisions (I-AA, II, and III) plays 15 games. That's two teams playing 15 games. Two other teams play 14 games (draw it out, you'll see). Four more teams play 13 (again, draw it out). And eight teams play 12.

Got it? In the three smaller divisions, a few teams play more games. And the season for those few teams is extended into December.

Now, if you think that holding a playoff tournament is a problem for Division I-A, then maybe you should be spending your time fighting against the NCAA for their Division I-AA, Division II, and Division III playoffs.

But, if you are open to extending the football season into December for Division I-A teams as part of a playoff tournament, then stick around. I'll have this year's version of my call for playoffs coming up soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please choose a Profile in "Comment as" or sign your name to Anonymous comments. Comment policy