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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 21, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Support growing for “Plus One” playoff format

The college football off-season lends itself to discussion of major issues facing the sport.

And this week, commissioners of the FBS conferences are meeting in Dallas to discuss potential future playoff options. Several reports tonight indicate that the one gaining the most momentum is the so-called “Plus One” format — a four-team, three-game tournament.

Left unsettled, however, is exactly how it would work — when the games would be played, whether it would be separate from the bowls or part of them, etc. (And the earliest it would take effect is 2014, so nothing would happen for the next two seasons).

But every report emanating from the meetings indicates the basic idea of the “Plus One” is the way the commissioners are likely to go, apparently tabling — for now — an eight- or 16-team tournament.

Here are a few good overviews discussions from, The Sporting News and the Austin American-Statesman.

While I’ve long been one to generally defend the BCS from the standpoint that I think most years the best team has ended up as the national champ — which is the BCS’s sole job — it’s hard not to like what that system would have yielded this year.

Any such format would almost certainly just have the teams ranked 1-4 and 2-3 play in the semis and then the two winners in the final. This year, that would have meant LSU playing Stanford in one game and Alabama playing Oklahoma State in the other.

Those would have been two incredibly intriguing games and the weeks of intrigue leading up to the games — Andrew Luck getting a chance to lead a team to the national title? The Alabama defense against that amazing OSU offense? — could have been lots of fun.

Of course, a Plus One would hardly placate everybody — the scenario listed above would have featured two teams (Stanford and Alabama) that didn’t even win their conference (though it never seems to bother anyone when teams that don’t win their conference make it to basketball’s Final Four). And any system short of just a full playoff is bound to leave someone unhappy (and even with how much everyone likes the NCAA basketball tournament you hear grumbles every year from the teams that are left out — hard to imagine there will ever be a perfect system.) What seems most important right now is that there is some movement toward a system that would at least give two more teams a shot at the national title every season.

That’s something UW fans might wish had been the case in previous seasons. UW has been ranked in the top four three times heading into bowl games since the beginning of the Don James era — 1984, 1991 and 2000.

In 1984, UW was fourth and in such a system would have played BYU in one semi with Oklahoma (2) and Florida (3) in the other. Given how we know the UW-Oklahoma Orange Bowl played out, Husky fans certainly would have liked a chance at a four-team playoff that season.

In 1991, UW was ranked No. 2 in the AP poll and would have faced Florida in one semi with Miami (1) and Michigan (4) in the other. I don’t think I need to take a poll to find out what UW fans think would have happened there.

And in 2000, UW was ranked No. 4 and would have faced Oklahoma in one semi with Miami and Florida State in the other (that’s the season Oklahoma beat Florida State 13-2 — among the worst national title games every played — to win it all). Given the way that Husky team seemed to always find a way, it’s intriguing to think about what might have happened there. On the other hand, there might be some who think that team’s ultimate legacy — beating a Drew Brees-led Purdue team in the Rose Bowl — was good enough.



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