The BCS changes will be the biggest meme this college football off season, well unless another outbreak of expansion occurs.
To say Michigan Wolverines athletic director Dave Brandon is against a playoff is an understatement. He loves bowl games for the student-athletes, and I will let Brandon explain why (Insider but I include the good quotes):
"I'll tell you the other thing. These kids love bowl games. They fly on an airplane and go to a place they don't typically go. They get to play a team that they either never played or rarely play. They get treated really well. Most of these host committees do a wonderful job of showing them around the community and showing them off and letting them see things they haven't seen before. Case in point, the Sugar Bowl. We had kids down there who had never seen New Orleans, never knew what it was about and got treated to food and culture in a place they would have never seen. They got to play a storied football program with a legendary coach that they have never played in our history and may never play if it weren't for that opportunity. They got to play in a completely different venue and got to see what the Superdome was about, where the New Orleans Saints play, and that was very special for those kids and they get to leave with all these memories.
Wow! They get to fly on an airplane -- I am betting Michigan has their own plane for the football team -- and go to a new location, big deal. Playing an opponent that they would not play is a worthwhile experience, but the answer about how it is an experience rather than a game seems off base.
As for why he is against a playoff is because there is no fair way to pick teams:
"This whole notion of a playoff is ridiculous because I don't care what you come up with, it's not going to be a fair playoff. You've got a bunch of teams that don't play one another and play different competition and in different time zones in different conferences in different stadiums in front of different crowds and different weather and suddenly at some point in the year you are trying to arbitrarily decide which one is better and which one deserves to be in a four-team playoff or a six-team playoff.
It is difficult to know who is exactly good from what conferences -- especially the smaller leagues -- and that is why taking two teams is not fair. Heck, we don't even know how good the ACC champ would compare to the Pac-12 champion; we have a good idea who is better but nothing is certain. A better example would be to attempt to distinguish through all the one-loss teams, is Boise State better than Oklahoma State or Wisconsin. It is extremely hard to accurately tells since there are 120 teams and counting and only 12 games.
So, if a four- or six-team bracket is not enough why not go to the plan I suggest where 16 teams go with 11 conference champions with five at-large bids. That is fair and like every other NCAA sport it includes conference champions even the bad ones, but that is not a good idea either according to Brandon:
Wolverine Nation: So you don't like a playoff?
Dave Brandon: "No. Because there is no good way to do it. It's not a playoff. Quit calling something a playoff when it's not. If you're going to arbitrarily pick four teams that never play one another and don't compete against one another and don't play common opponents, if you're going to arbitrarily pick four teams, don't call it a playoff because it's not. You're just arbitrarily drawing a line based on some data that a computer spits out or some vote of a bunch of people, many of whom don't even see all these teams play and you're going to somehow say there is science behind that? Forget it. It's not a playoff. It's arbitrarily picking some teams to play one another."
Let me interrupt here, isn't the point of a playoff at the FBS level to put teams together that don't play each other to see who is better; plus earlier in this interview Brandon says it is great to play teams they normally don't.
Here is Brandon asked about a 16-team playoff:
WN: What if it was 16 teams and every conference got in?
DB: "If there are 16 teams and every conference, their champion goes in, then you're going to have some real lopsided games. You're going to have some people that shouldn't be playing one another and probably someone is going to get hurt just because you're going to have equitable competition."
WN: There are many models out there.
DB: "I know, but put that Alabama defense [from the national title game] out there against the winner of some small, Division I conference, and someone is going to get hurt. I think some judgment around how you create matchups that are fair and challenging and interesting is an important part of the bowl system. If you take that away and start to create seeding of a bunch of conferences that aren't anywhere near equal in terms of their talent level, I don't think that's going to be good for college football or create excitement in the postseason."
The thing about a 16-team playoff is the reward the top seeds receive. They get to play the easiest opponent which would usually be someone from the Sun Belt or WAC and would basically be given a bye and could play their starters for a half and then let the backups get some playing. However, the bigger issue for me comes in the part where he mentions injuries. I get that Michigan has rarely played a FCS, but I have not seen a rash of injuries when Alabama played Georgia Southern. Those FCS teams are in a lower division of football than any team the top seed would play in a playoff, so that argument is not valid.
Or Brandon may not want to see this happen again to his beloved Wolverines:
The amount of games is a joke as well since there are high school teams in certain states that play 17 games if they make it to the state championship game, so it would only make sense that more developed athletes in college could handle a few more games than high school players. Brandon also mention the importance of academics, but he can not say that with a straight face and say its about academics when the basketball team misses about a week's worth of class during the conference tournament or in the NCAA tournament.
Brandon's comments are a combination of played out reasons to not have a playoff, however the injury argument is a new one but is invalid, and maybe he should go back to selling pizza's at Domino's.