The Failure of College Football

The College Football Playoff is not working. Okay, I will admit, it is interesting. As a College Football fan, I have never been more drawn to watch every Top 25 match-up. More teams than ever have a chance to play for a National Title. The Playoff is allowing for more inclusion and a more accurate champion, but it is not good enough. The issue is the committee. The 12-person selection committee is failing us. Their job is to select the 4 best teams to compete in the playoff, but are they really doing that? Or are they just giving us the 4 biggest brands to generate revenue and debate?

Last night the committee released another ranking that is highly questionable. North Carolina has won 11 straight games, the 3rd longest active FBS win-streak and is ranked 10th. I am not advocating that UNC should be in the playoff, but is their resume not better than Notre Dame’s (currently ranked 8th)? Notre Dame’s best win is a home win against a USC team that had just fired its head coach. This is not to say Notre Dame is not a high quality team, but do they really deserve to be ranked higher? You will hear the argument that North Carolina played 2 FCS opponents, so their schedule is “weak”.

This tweet, from David Hale of ESPN, tells you all you need to know about FCS teams in comparison to the bottom third of D1 college football programs. So why would it be so much better if North Carolina played Buffalo and UNT?

The committee has also told us the vote for the #1 Ranking in the poll has become tight between Alabama and Clemson. How? Clemson has 2 top-10 wins by their own rankings. Alabama has zero top-20 wins and a loss to go along with it. The committee’s ranking do not make sense.

The committee is too small and too easily biased. It has reduced College Football polls to gymnastics judging. Instead of getting a large group to vote on who the 4 best teams in the country are, we ask them to use a set of irrelevant criteria to crown “deserving” teams. A conference championship is not what makes one team better than another, because conferences are not equal. The make-up of the team and results of the games they play should be how you judge them, not the title gained from some regionally-based conference championship pitting 2 teams from politically determined divisions against each other. Take 2011, the 2 best teams in College Football were Alabama and LSU. They both played in the SEC. The lack of a conference championship should not take away from how good the teams were. In College basketball, if the two best teams are from the ACC, then both will be #1 seeds in the tournament. Why do we judge college football differently?

The best way to reduce the bias of the committee is simple science. Expand the sample size of opinions by going back to the old BCS computer ranking system to generate the 4 best teams. The BCS took input from all polls and generated it’s own unbiased ranking. You can even keep the committee and allow them to create a poll that contributes to the computer rankings, but do not give them the final say. We have trusted the AP and Coaches Poll for decades, why stop now? Did they become dumb over night? The fact of the matter is that the sum of all 3 polls is better than any individual poll, especially if that individual poll is the smallest group of individuals and has the least amount of experience when it comes to ranking teams. Demand for change, because College Football deserves better.

Read more about the importance of the questionable polls here

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