College Football Playoffs Schedule Scam

Schedules are the biggest scam in college football. The College Football Playoff Ponzi scheme, and the SEC is Bernie Madoff, same as the BCS was. All the Power 5 conferences do the work, but the SEC collects the rewards. The SEC (Bama in particular) deserves credit for winning the tournament, but often as a whole conference is severely overrated. When the CFB Playoff was formed we were told teams would be ranked based upon schedule quality and quality of wins over being undefeated. This has not been true. The curtain has to be lifted so fans can watch the season with open eyes. Isn’t it time that fans get the games we want to see and the undeniable four best teams in the playoff games? We are all being had by ridiculous schedules that manipulate who makes it to the playoff. Teams only get 12 guaranteed games per season. So why on earth should teams be rewarded for playing 3 non-competitive non-conference games per year?? Nobody really wants to pay to leave games at halftime. In 2018, Alabama and Georgia are were top 5 teams but were in the top 10 for easiest non-conference schedules. As fans, we spend our time, hard earned money, and devote our Fall lives to college football. We should we never waste an entire Saturday watching bad games!

College Football Committee Can’t Do Its Job Properly

The notion that the College Football Playoff Committee can accurately and fairly decipher who the top four teams in the country are is outrageous. How can they, when these schedules give us so few quality common opponents between conferences? This is the committee’s fault though. We will NEVER see schedules get better until the committee punishes teams that don’t win their conference or play competitive non-conference games. As a college football fan, you should absolutely be frustrated with the quality of the games we get. I’m assuming that all of you are like me and love college football and enjoy watching good games and debating other fans. If that’s the case, there is no way to be ok with a team that didn’t win their conference and played a bad non-conference schedule to be in the top 4.

The committee has essentially said that it is acceptable to lose your conference, play eight conference games while playing three non-power 5 teams, including an FCS team and get into the playoffs. Do not give me the “everybody does it” line. Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame, USC, Miami, Cal, and others managed to schedule at least 2 power five non-conference games. That means everyone else can do it as well.

I’ve long said that college football schedules are consistently manipulated by the SEC and ACC, who have an advantage. Pac-12, Big XII, and Big 10 teams have a significantly smaller margin for error when trying to compete for championships. Let me explain how this works by using this table:

College Football Playoffs Ponzi Scheme

You can clearly see why the ACC and SEC have a win-loss advantage. Notice that there is a seven-loss difference between the ACC/SEC, and Big 10 which all have 14 teams. Seven more losses mean an additional game for each team in the BIG 10 against a team that could beat you. Imagine how easy the path to the championship would be if Ohio State could sub out that Iowa game for Mercer. Now, let’s compare those numbers to the Pac-12, which has 12 teams and 54 total conference losses. That is only two losses less than the ACC and SEC, despite having two more teams.

If that was too complicated, an easier way to explain all this is by looking at the average number of losses per team in each conference. SEC and ACC teams will lose a half-game less than all other conferences.

In theory, all this would not be a big deal if the conferences made up for that conference game with a competitive non-conference game. However, in most cases that is NOT what happens.

One of the biggest conversations when comparing teams is comparing how many losses each team has. However, all wins are not created equal. I’ve heard the argument that the Big XII, Big 10, and Pac-12 “play themselves out” of the playoffs by losing too much in-conference. The reality is playing 8 conference games instead of 9 conference games creates a systematic advantage for the SEC and ACC.

Now that we are all on the same page regarding wins and losses, I’ll explain the manipulation of the committee rankings. The current formula to manipulate your way into the playoffs is: play eight conference games, one mandated power 5 team, two non-competitive FBS games, and 1 FCS team. That FCS game often presents itself in November. It is commonly referred to as a “November Cupcake,” which is a glorified bye week against teams like Mercer, Citadel, or Wofford. The “November Cupcake” is an important component for highly regarded SEC teams to move up in the playoffs because of timing. When other conferences have ranked matchups in November, SEC teams play “November Cupcakes.” This gives them an opportunity to move up the rankings without playing a competitive game, and one of the teams from the other conference has to lose. This is the formula how you consistently end up with top 10 matchups amongst SEC teams late in the season, which makes the conference appear stronger.

Even Nick Saban (Alabama’s Head Coach) agrees with me when asked about college schedules and teams being deserving of playoff bids:

“I think it’s subjective to some degree because we don’t all play each other. I could get into my theory on this. I personally want to play all Power 5 conference teams every week. I know people say we played Mercer College and we couldn’t get a game with anybody else. All right so…  If we all had to play twelve teams from the Power 5 conferences, we would have a better feel for which conferences were the strongest and there would be more crossover play… and maybe even play more conference games.  Fans would like it better. You guys [the media] would like it better. You’d have a better inventory to show people. We wouldn’t have these games that people don’t really want to come to, players don’t really want to play in. And I think you’d have a better idea of who the best conferences and the best teams were.”

-Nick Saban on “College Football Playoff Selection Show” (December 3, 2017)

The Solution

  1. Change the college football playoffs to eight teams.
  2. Take the five power five champions and three at-large teams.
  3. One of the at-large teams has to be the highest ranked non-power 5 team.

There are two solutions to solve the scheduling imbalance and increase the greatness of college football for fans:

  1. 9 conference games, two power 5 games, and one FBS non-power 5 game to continue to give money to the little guys.
  2. 8 conference games, two power 5 games, one FBS non-power 5 game, and one FCS game to continue to give money to the little guys.

Both of these options would give the fans a much better game experience and generate more revenue for athletic departments. Teams would be more encouraged to schedule home and home non-conference games against good teams. This would make selling season tickets much easier

This would also alleviate a lot of the nonsense discussion about resumes and strength of conferences when choosing playoff teams. The committee would have more data because teams would have played more common opponents. My plan would cause television ratings and revenue increases as well. That’s more money for the NCAA, coaches, sponsors, and athletic departments to keep out of the hands of the players. And isn’t that the #1 goal of college football?

Am I Wrighster or am I wrong?

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  1. How about play all teams in your conference and it will already produce a conference champion. I would rather see my Buckeyes play all teams rather than skip a Wisconsin or Nebraska for a cupcake MAC team when we are required to play all teams in the division.

    • couldn’t agree more!

  2. I agree about the 8 team playoff and your format for doing so. But I don’t agree with your proposal to take a away the right of teams to make their non-conference schedules whatever they want them to be. Remember, not everything in college football are the playoffs. Some teams are not realistically pushing for that goal in a particular season. Some teams are just trying to get bowl eligible in certain years. And forcing them to play non-conference schedules that are not of their liking could severely affect their ability to even get bowl eligible (because they have too many non-conference losses). Teams should have the ability to schedule whomever they want in non-conference play. It’s not about giving the fans more exciting non-conference match ups. It’s about making a balanced schedule based upon what the coaches and athletic directors of any particular team think they can manage in any particular year. For example, Utah. The Utes have a murderer’s row in Pac-12 conference play this season (they happened to draw all three of the potential best teams in the North Division). Their schedule is already really tough. So, why exactly should they be forced to overburden themselves by being forced to schedule two ADDITIONAL P5 opponents to go on top of their already difficult Pac-12 9-game conference schedule? Especially since they’ve have a difficult time staying healthy due to the week in week out grind? If they did that, they’d severely limit their ability to get bowl eligible consistently, thus negatively affecting both recruiting and the program overall. They NEED to be able to control their non-conference schedules because that’s what creates the ability for them to create balanced schedules that aren’t too difficult or too easy.

  3. Why would you give an automatic playoff spot to the highest ranked G5 team?

    Let’s look at who those teams would be over the past 5 years in the final CFP rankings:
    2017 – #12 UCF (they deserved a shot, and were under-ranked)
    2016 – #15 Western Michigan
    2015 – #18 Houtson
    2014 – #20 Boise State
    2013 – #15 UCF (Final BCS ranking)

    Let’s take 2014 as an example. 2-loss 20th ranked Boise State would get in over 2 loss 8th ranked Michigan State.
    In 2015, 18th ranked Houston would get in over the following 2 loss teams: 8th ranked Notre Dame, 9th ranked Florida State, 10th ranked North Carolina, and 11th ranked TCU.

    Why would we give a G5 team a golden ticket for playing a weaker schedule?

    If they get an auto-bid, make them earn it by being ranked in the top 8 or even top 10.

  4. You may want to check the date on that Nick Saban quote. That date hasn’t occurred yet.

    • you mean to tell me you don’t have a delorian? thanks for the heads up. it’s corrected. It was 2017.

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