Followers of college football have been clamoring for a playoff so that a true national champion can be crowned.What’s puzzling is that some fans, media and athletics administrators believe the playoff field should include only conference champions. That seems out-of-touch in light of what has transpired the last two years. Here is a partial list of the teams that won world or national championships in seasons they didn’t win their own division:
· St. Louis won the 2011 World Series (they finished 2nd in the NL Central);
· Green Bay won the 2011 Super Bowl (they finished 2nd in the NFC North);
· Dallas won the 2010-11 NBA Championship (they finished 2nd in the Southwest);
· Alabama won the 2012 college football championship (they finished 2nd in the SEC West);
· UCONN won the 2011 college men’s basketball championship (they finished tied for 9th in the Big East);
· Los Angeles & New Jersey are currently competing for the Stanley Cup (L.A. was 3rd in the Pacific and N.J. was 4th in the Atlantic).
Requiring a conference title for playoff admission in college football could be awkward.
Let’s say LSU wins the SEC West with a 9-3 record and undefeated Georgia (12-0) wins the SEC East. Let’s say UGA also registered a non-conference road win vs. a nationally ranked team and defeated LSU during the regular season.
Then, the Tigers defeat the Bulldogs by a field goal in double overtime of the SEC Championship game. If only league champs advance to the playoffs, it would mean a 10-3 team gets selected over a 12-1 squad with a much stronger full-season resume.
There have certainly been many conference, league and division winners who have gone on to the win championships. But, there have been others (non-champs) who got hot at the right time and made worthy championship runs, too.
Saying that conference champs only can make the playoff really means you want to limit the number of schools from any one league or division. That could eliminate a worthy contender if more than one great team competes in a division or conference.
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