Conference Champions Should Be Required for Football Playoff


It’s finally going to happen. Everyone’s complaints of the college football postseason comes to a close in 2014 with a “Final Four” system, taking the best four teams of the year and send them to two national semifinal games hosted in BCS sites. Then the highest-bidding city (likely Jerryworld in Texas) will host the national championship game.

But does that really end all the arguments? Take a look back at his last season, the Oregon Ducks would have been involved in arguments of whether them or Stanford should have gotten that last bid in the four-team playoff.

The BCS final standings would have represented a non-controversy. LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, and Stanford finished 1-4 in all three parts of the formula. Despite winning the Pac-12 Championship, the Ducks would have been left out of the equation and two teams that didn’t win their conference would be in the playoff. There was over a five percent difference between Oregon and Stanford in the overall BCS percentages.

According to an ESPN report yesterday, the committee “would consider certain criteria such as conference championships and strength of schedule.” According to the Sagarin SOS rankings, Oregon actually took a dive after defeating UCLA in the conference championship game, dropping four spots to 29th. This was due to the southern division being dominated by USC, but were ineligible for anything past regular season play. The Bruins essentially backed into the game. Stanford had an SOS of 33rd after their season was over.

Would Oregon playing a bad UCLA team actually hurt their chances of making it, even if they did win a conference championship AND that’s what the committee will be looking at?

To avoid problems like this,  they have to consider a requirement to have a school be a conference champion. If there isn’t, debates of having two schools that didn’t even make a conference championship game in the playoffs just makes these championship games worthless. Just picking between Stanford and Oregon is too difficult. Yes, the Cardinal had one loss in the regular season – to the Ducks. Oregon lost to LSU and USC.

No one is going to be happy, but having a format in place is better. If conference championships are required to be in the “Final Four,” then Stanford would have missed out on their opportunity by losing to Oregon. That’s the fairest way to solve the debate.

Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Autzen Zoo, follow the site on Facebook and Twitter. Read his other work on the lacrosse blog, Watson Talk.