clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Playoff System Without Home Field Advantage Should Have Cold-Weather Teams Crying "BS"

It's that time of year again - worldwide wailing and moaning about the BCS method of picking who gets into the big national title game. Someone, say...oh, like our brother SBNation blogger Carolina March will come up with a great idea for a playoff system. Oh, wait, he has. It includes the major bowls, so that the bowl people will remain happy. There's one huge problem.  Playoff systems that include the existing bowl structure do nothing more than continue the decades-old concept that teams who play in the North must go to warm places in the South to play football at the end of the year.

Let's see how this proposed playoff system would work for a Northern team like Ohio State.

Ohio State starts out playing in the Bluebonnet Bowl against Wake Forest on December 17th. They win, advancing to the next level, and go to the Orange Bowl to play on Christmas Day. They beat Louisville, and advance to the Rose Bowl to play USC which has advanced from the other side of the bracket.

At this point, everyone in the Ohio State fan base should be screaming "bullshit". In order to advance to a national title game, Ohio State will have had to travel to a different Southern location three weeks in a row, and then end up beating a warm-weather team on their home field. If we get a playoff system like this, you can count on never seeing a Northern-based national title winner until that playoff system is dismantled.

Any of kind system that would employ the existing bowl system continues the major screw job that's been perpetrated on the cold-weather teams since 1947 - the first year that the Rose Bowl started their tie-in with the teams that make up the Big 10 and Pac 10 conferences. How many years did a top-ranked Big Ten or Big Eight team going to the Orange Bowl watch their national title hopes go up in smoke playing against warm-weather teams like Miami or USC on their own turf?

If a playoff system is supposed to all about what's 'fair' then let's make it fair. Home-field advantage is how Division II and III play, right? They have a playoff system that works. Why not emulate that?

Let's watch Urban Meyer run his spread offense in the wind at Iowa City, when catching the football is going to feel like catching a flying brick. How 'bout the speedy USC Trojan offense in Ann Arbor in late December? USC traveling to Columbus for a national title game in early January? There'd still be plenty of controversy as fans throughout the South would whine about the lack of domed stadiums and how it's so unfair that the weather determines the outcome of theoretical playoff games.

The day may come that a playoff system comes to NCAA Division IA football, but be warned that if it's accepted by Northern (cold-weather) teams it'll be a much larger fiasco than what we currently have. As the good book says "Ask and Ye Shall Receive", and as a final caveat "I'll add "so be sure of what you're asking for."