I keep hearing people say and seeing people write about the “eye test” that should be part of the selection process for the upcoming college football playoff. And I think that is scary.
College football should be about accomplishment, not about who has the most NFL prospects, who scores the most points, who looks the prettiest, who passes some subjective “eye test.”
It’s fine for that to be part of the process when choosing between two teams with relatively equal accomplishments. But how long before this committee picks a two-loss team that blew out lots of opponents over an unbeaten team that found a way to win week after week? Let’s face it: In any season, the best team at the end might be someone who had a bunch of injuries early, lost three games and won the rest. Should that team really be considered? I don’t think so, but if you are talking about eye tests. …
Strength of schedule and all those things should matter. But in the end, it should be about winning and losing, not about how you looked winning and losing. There aren’t many things I like better about the NFL than college football, but one is that the “eye test” does not matter. A win is a win and a loss is a loss and it doesn’t matter by how much.
Personally, I would have been for keeping the old BCS rankings system and simply adding two teams to the process, though I really dislike computers being part of the process.
There is no way, ever, to make any selection process totally fair. Conferences are different. Opponents are different. When you have a large number of people involved – as in polls – you have a better chance of getting to the right place than with a couple of dozen people getting together and talking about it.
I’m not sure anyone would have been able to put Notre Dame to the “eye test” last season and say they were one of the top two teams in the country. But Notre Dame was undefeated against a representative schedule. It deserved to play Alabama for the championship, even though it was hopelessly overmatched. Was Notre Dame better than Oregon? Would it have passed the “eye test” when compared to Oregon or a handful of others? Probably not, but Notre Dame did what it had to do and those other teams didn’t.
Regardless of the system, there will be controversy. In the BCS, the controversy is between the No. 2 team and the No. 3 team. In the playoff, the controversy will simply move to No. 4 and No. 5. And now, instead of a system for people to blame, there will be individuals with attachments to various schools and conferences. Not good.
Selection committees work well for basketball and baseball, but those tournaments have 64 teams. The odds against the eventual national champion being left out are very long.
Football, with four teams, will be a different matter. The selection committee was a bad idea from the start and I predict it will prove to be a bad idea in the end. I hope I’m wrong.
We will see.