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The last 4-team playoff

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Among the football bloggers on this site, I am the only one who is more invested in the league where they play for [direct] pay, and by a substantial margin. (I have been paying more attention thus year because of the season my favorite team is having, but even so the white-knuckle Apple Cup and PAC-12 Championship wins were roughly as stressful for me as, like, a regular season Seahawks or Flames game in a season where the team has some expectations of competitiveness.) So perhaps it’s overdetermined that I’m inclined to share in what seems like a near-consensus that the decision of the relevant committee to put Alabama in the football playoff over Florida State is outrageous. The idea that if the Colts finish with a better record than the Bills a committee should come in and say “nah, the Bills are a better team, we’re going to let them into the playoffs instead,” or that the 49ers should forfeit their playoff spot if Brock Purdy gets hurt, is completely alien to me. As the debate is sometimes framed, “deserving” should, to me, obviously trump “best.”

I am curious, however, how real NCAA fans feel about this. There is an flaw in the analogy with the NFL, in that the sport involves more than 200 teams playing at most a 13 game pre-playoff schedule, with some of the games being chosen by the teams themselves. So if you’re going to have a 4-team playoff, I suppose some kind of discretion is necessary. And whatever one thinks the rules should be the committee is instructed to try to identify the best teams, so I can see a case for Alabama (who indeed obviously have a better chance of winning the championship than FSU giving their current rosters.) The most clear upshot here is that the 12-team playoff is a much better idea than the 4-team one.

On the third hand, the team getting screwed is DeSantis State, so viva le arbitrary discretion by unaccountable overlords!

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