Will the 12-team college football playoffs lift the non-conference schedule?

Joe Castiglione likes the 12-team college football play-off project. Here is what he really love it.

Schedules outside conference. The OU sporting director said a 12-team playoff should motivate athletic departments to play better schedules.

Joe C. is optimistic about the protection of the regular season.

“This should spur the programs in such a way as to bolster their non-conference schedule,” Castiglione said. “It should have more value in assessing a team’s profile, and it will most certainly be widely adopted by the fan base, as there should now be reasons to have more meaningful games in the game. out of conference. ”

Georgian coach Kirby Smart is also in this camp.

“I think a lot of it is going to come down to the strength of the schedule,” Smart told ESPN Radio. “For a long time, we have been trying to build our future calendar force, because it is not the losses that will kill you; it’s not about playing the best teams.

The Scissors Tales of Tramel:SEC football schedules mirror the schedules of the Big 12, which is not a good thing

Hope these guys are right. I will raise this banner.

But tell me as a skeptic.

Seven years of playoff selections show that the committee’s main criteria is the number on the right side of the Gain and Loss ledger.

OU sporting director Joe Castiglione has said an enlarged field for the college football qualifiers would lead to a better schedule, but there are reasons to be skeptical.

Will the programs be motivated to flesh out their schedules, knowing that with a 12-team format, two-losing teams will fill the range and that one or two quality wins could stand out? Or will the schedules do the math, realize that the surest way to have a two-game losing season is to avoid rattlesnakes and keep their schedules flexible?

I’m guessing the latter. The fierce competitive spirit of college football is rare.

“We tried to program major Power 5s into our programming system all the way in the hope that it would give us the opportunity to go and play against some really good teams,” said Smart. “And losses won’t kill you when you start talking about the Top 12. You have to have a busy schedule and go play against good teams.”

Good for the Bulldogs, who have indeed paved the way for better schedules. In recent years, Georgia thought some playoff expansion was on the way and welcomed all comers. For example, Georgia from 2029 to 2031 has scheduled Texas and Clemson, Ohio State and Clemson, and Oklahoma and Ohio State, in addition to its annual game against Georgia Tech.

Florida jumped on that train. The Gators appear to be keen to be promoted to the NFC South – in 2031, Florida scheduled Texas, Arizona State, Notre Dame and Florida State for their four non-conference games. Alabama has also started to plan better.

The Scissors Tales of Tramel:Why college football playoff expansion won’t stop at 12 teams

Yet most programs have not followed suit. OU has stuck with its traditional programming model – a top opponent in three non-conference games – and this is also true for Southern Cal and Louisiana State, Penn State and Michigan, Texas and Oregon.

It was about time, college football teams were playing quality matches on a regular basis. The idea of ​​programming an outdated opponent, let alone two or three, was frowned upon.

But economic forces prompted sports departments to seek more home games, which meant fewer two-game streaks between quality programs. And now we have most of the SEC, the premier league in the sport, playing schedules that only include one of four games against other Power 5 opponents.

Greg Sankey, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, smiles as he addresses reporters after the college football playoff meeting Tuesday in Grapevine, Texas.

The advent of the four-team playoffs didn’t help. Former Baylor coach Art Briles admitted he saw no reason for the Bears to risk a loss in the non-conference, saying if Baylor could go undefeated in the Big 12 he would qualify for the playoffs.

This theory cost Baylor in 2014, when the Bears were 11-1 ranked fifth in the final committee standings, just outside the range. But it was a dominant theory.

“There has been a long-standing perception that a team must go undefeated to qualify for the playoffs, although that myth has been debunked, with several examples,” Castiglione said.

“It still sticks in the minds of some of the scheduling officials at various universities. They don’t want to schedule good non-conference games because they feel that if they can end their non-conference undefeated and can navigate their conference undefeated or with a loss, that makes them available for the playoffs. This is not necessarily true.

Did the committee appreciate the strength of the schedule over the years? Hard to say. Committee chairs have spent so much time defending their picks with discussions about attacking and defending – who cares how teams win? – this strength of the calendar was not a major subject. Although clearly, Baylor’s 2014 trio of SMU, Northwestern Louisiana State and Buffalo took their toll on the Bears.

Tramelle:Mike Holder and Joe Castiglione give positive reviews to 12-team college football playoffs

But not counting the odd Covid season of 2020, when some teams played six games and others played 11, only once did the committee classify a team at one loss ahead of a team at no loss. Alabama and Oregon were ranked 13-0 ahead of Florida State in 2014.

And using the top 12 in each final ranking, the committee averages about once a year a team broken down in terms of losses.

Outgoing OSU athletic director Mike Holder is not a fan of games against Division I-AA opponents, but rather replacing them with better opponents, he suggested cutting the season down.

2019: Wisconsin 8, 10-3, edged Florida and Penn State 10-2 and Utah 11-2.

2018: Georgia, 11-2, edged Ohio State 12-1 and Washington State 10-2 was behind three-game losing streak Washington, Florida, LSU and Penn State.

2017: Ohio State, 11-2, edged Wisconsin 12-1, and Auburn, 10-3, edged Southern Cal, Penn State, Miami and Washington, two losses.

2016: No team was down.

2015: Stanford, number 6, 11-2, edged out Ohio State number 7, 11-1.

The 12-team playoff “definitely opens up the possibility for teams with two losses to continue to be considered for a playoff opportunity,” Castiglione said. “And that should send a signal that better schedules help teams build a more compelling profile.”

No Big 12 program has announced future games that change their current model.

Tramelle:Why a 12-team college football playoff puts Rose Bowl in a bind

A few others have it, including Louisville, Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Purdue, in addition to these SEC powers.

Louisville, for example, in 2026 scheduled Georgia, Kentucky, and Notre Dame.

The state of Oklahoma has stuck with its planning model so far. Outgoing OSU athletic director Mike Holder is not a fan of games against Division I-AA opponents, but rather than replacing them with better opponents, he suggested cutting the season down.

“I think the regular season is too long,” Holder said. “It would be very easy to eliminate some of these games that don’t match to begin with. Just victories masquerading as non-conference opponents.

As Castiglione mentioned, better times would be an improvement for season ticket holders. But Holder responded with a different increase for the tickets. The 12-team proposal includes first-round matches at campus venues.

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said a 12-team playoff should motivate athletic departments to play better schedules.

“It’s good for ticket sales on every campus,” Holder said. “You know you better have a season pass if you expect to get a ticket to a playoff game. ”

What seems clear is that the four-team playoffs, announced in 2012 and instituted in 2014, have had a limited effect on the lineup. The SEC mandated at least one Power 5 opponent for each member, but it was still only one in four matches.

Could the 12-team playoffs inspire schools to plan better? It is too early to know.

Apparently no one suspected the 12-team proposal was coming – the four-man committee that produced the idea, including Big 12 commissioners Bob Bowlsby and Southeastern Conference Greg Sankey, kept the secrecy as s ‘it was Coca- The recipe for Cola.

The Scissors Tales of Tramel:OSU and Texas still reportedly haven’t made the 12-team playoffs in the past 7 years

The regular season of college football has been a scam game for years. Considered the best regular season in sport. If so, that’s an indictment of the other regular seasons.

The 64 teams in the Power 5 conference will play a total of 180 non-conference games this season. Fifty-three of those games are against Division I-AA opponents, and 69 against mid-majors outside the top tier of Group of 5 conferences. In other words, outside the Brigham Young crowd. / Central Florida / Cincinnati / Houston / Boise State / Coastal Carolina.

That’s 112 discrepancies, out of 180 games.

Hurry, 12-team playoffs. Save the regular season if you can.

Berry Tramel: You can reach Berry at 405-760-8080 or [email protected] It can be heard Monday to Friday, 4:40 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. Support his work and that of fellow Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.


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