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Dr. Saturday

Michigan’s AD still hates the idea of a playoff

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Count Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon among those who are against a playoff in major college football.

In an interview with Wolverine Nation, Brandon said that no version of a playoff would be fair because there would be no fair way to pick the teams. A computer or group of voters would arbitrarily vote the four or six teams involved and most of those voters, Brandon said, would have never seen all of the teams play:

"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.

"No matter where you draw that line, you're going to have controversy and people who are honked off because their team got cut off."

Brandon also scoffed at the idea of a 16-team playoff that included the winner of each conference because of the discrepancies between the level of play in the major "BCS" conferences versus the non-BCS leagues:

"… 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."

While there might be some argument that, say, a Sun Belt team might have a tough time with an SEC team (just look at the non-conference record between those two leagues), teams such as Boise State, TCU, Utah and others have proven that a school from a smaller conference can match up against a team from a larger one and that the playing field is starting to level out a bit. It was just four years ago that Utah won at Michigan as part of an undefeated campaign the Utes capped with a win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Overall, Brandon said he likes the bowl system for a number of reasons, including the experience of going somewhere new. He cited Michigan's Sugar Bowl trip this past season and the experience the players received by seeing the different culture of New Orleans and tasting the cuisine — though for some reason, he left out the enriching experience of Bourbon Street. But Brandon also thinks a 7-5 record should be the threshold for bowl eligibility instead of the current 6-6 (or 6-7, if you're UCLA). Brandon said only including teams with winning records would eliminate some of the weaker, unattended bowl games.

BCS reform is coming. It's just a matter of when and in what form. The way college football chooses its national champion will probably be different from the current system, as will the structure of the bowls. While there are a handful of people, like Brandon, who are perfectly happy with the current bowl system, the consensus is that the system is broken and in need of repair. Whether that repair creates an equitable system suitable to Brandon's liking remains to be seen. But Brandon is right on one thing: No matter how college football decides to change its postseason, there will always be teams unhappy with the outcome.

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham

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