A college football playoff would decrease importance of Alabama-LSU game

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If there has been a topic more talked about than SEC dominance in recent years of college football, it is the idea of moving toward a playoff. While I indeed see the reasons for a playoff and the arguments against the current BCS system, the unavoidable fact of moving toward a playoff is that a playoff would absolutely decrease the importance of the regular season. Specifically, it would decrease the importance of games like Alabama vs LSU on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

With a four-team playoff in 2012, Alabama could likely lose this game and still win out and get in. There’s a chance that LSU could even lose the game and get into the playoff as a two-loss team. A playoff reduces the importance and urgency of this early November matchup.

With an eight-team playoff, you essentially guarantee that this game isn’t that important. In an eight team field, if you’re undefeated Alabama with LSU as the only major challenge left on the schedule, you could essentially coast, knowing you’re going to get in as long as you don’t take the rest of the season. Want to know what this looks like? It looks like an NFL team sitting their quarterback for the last few weeks of the season as they coast into the playoffs.

Now, some might be quick to point out that the Alabama-LSU game last year in the regular season didn’t matter because both teams got in and played a rematch for the national championship. This is true, but it is the rarest of circumstances, and most of us would argue that the system actually worked correctly in picking both teams as the best two teams in the country.

More importantly, going into that game last year, nobody knew that there was a chance those two teams would play each other again in the BCS. There was no diminished importance of the game at the time that the game was played, and that is the key difference. Urgency and a must-win environment is what makes the college football regular season so amazing, and this is what is completely lacking in the regular seasons of most other American sports.

Whether or not a college football playoff should be implemented should not be dictated by the annual Alabama-LSU Game (in fact, the entire debate is somewhat irrelevant at this point since the playoff is coming). In 2011 and 2012, we have the pleasure of watching two powerhouses play in the same division in Alabama and LSU. This isn’t about this particular matchup. Down the road, it might be two completely different teams, but the situation will be the same.

This will be the third matchup in a year between these two teams. At the time of each game, there was only one loss or less between the two teams. Watching the best teams in the sport play eachother for the highest stakes is what college football is all about. The beautiful thing is that we get these high stakes matchups in September, October and November rather than just a single day in January.

Enjoy the game tomorrow night. This game is bigger than just Alabama vs LSU. It represents everything we love about college football: a dominant team rolling into Death Valley under the lights with everything on the line. These types of games might not be the same in the future.

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COMMENTS

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  • I saw an article the other day on the 7-0 Atlanta Falcons. Their coach said something like “We don’t care if we’re undefeated because it doesn’t matter until we’re in the playoffs”. That’s the difference between college and the NFL. Besides if Fantasy Football wasn’t even a part of the NFL, no one would watch it except for the big games. We must protect the integrity of the college football regular season, because it’s literally win or go home every single week.

  • I have been in recent years very pro playoff, but I’m not so sure anymore. MAD is right about the regular season being do or die every week. I’m coming around to hoping that the four-team playoff is as far as we go. It still leaves the utmost importance on the regular and gives us a “playoff” type atmosphere in the two final games. I get that. But the BCS has gotten it right every year except 2004 with Auburn. I have mixed opinons.

  • The college playoff concept sucks. It’s driven by media who think they are a voice for the “little guy” like Bowling Green or Marshall or something. It’s stupid. We have a playoff. It’s called winning your division. Then your conference. Then the BCS.

  • I thinka 4-team playoff is fine. Just don’t go to 8 teams. For instance, right now you would have 1 Alabama vs 4 Oregon and 2 Kansas State vs 3 Notre Dame. That would be pretty cool. Although, this likely won’t be this clean cut a month from now.

  • Kevin, How can you write one article that does everything you can do push for a Bama/LSU rematch and now one that says the Bama/LSU game doesn’t mean anything. How would a playoff change that?