In a phone interview with the New York Times last Friday night Larry Scott spoke in depth, for the first time, about his postseason preferences. Scott somewhat echoed the sentiments of the Big Ten as he believes that a two team playoff is not enough to silence the critics, but an eight team playoff would be too difficult to fit into an academic calender. Every indication seems to be pointing to a three game playoff come 2014.
The part of the conversation that caught my attention was in regard to his philosophy on who would be eligible to play in those three games.
“So much of the passion of a move to a playoff is to see it earned on the field,” Scott said. “What more clear way to have intellectual consistency with the idea of a playoff than to earn it as a conference champion? It would de-emphasize the highly subjective polls that are based on a coach and media voting and a few computers.” He added that any formula “based more on results” would be good for the sport.
Only conference champions can play for a championship? Hooray for Mr. Scott. I love this idea as it does several things.
1. It puts, as Scott says, less emphasis on the polls. Any effort at taking the power out of the coaches hand is a good effort.
2. It makes winning a conference mean something. It drives me crazy when I hear proponents of the BCS system tell me that the regular season means more in college football than any other league. Perhaps, but if it all still comes down to a vote, and you can still win a championship even if you didn't win in the regular season, then I still say it is flawed.
3. The quality of non-conference games would improve. When teams can worry less about an early season loss and worry more about preparing a team to win a conference, the non-conference match-ups should surely improve. We may see top teams play in the pre-season and less FCS schools. This could be huge for Utah as they only have a couple of games to schedule anyway.
4. You have to be in a conference to be a conference champion. This means that when it comes down to selecting the four teams that play for the championship, they will be taken from a pool of ten. With the new landscape of football it will realistically be a pool of six. Not bad odds. This also means teams that are independent will most likely have to find a home, much like what happened in basketball. I can't help but find that thought funny.