by: Keith Aksel
Effective playoff systems in sports have two main characteristics: 1) the format must be agreed upon by all participating teams, and 2) the format needs to provide a completely clear route to the championship. In this sense, the “best” postseason format is whatever format is decided by all parties at the outset of the season.
are clear to all parties at the outset, questioning the
outcome of any playoff format is just sour grapes."
The exception to this rule is the College Football Playoff.
By Keith Aksel
The College Football Playoff only reduces the ambiguity surrounding which teams can compete for the title. A selection committee weighs pros and cons of each program’s season in order to subjectively select four playoff participants. In the event that six teams go undefeated, no fewer than two would be prohibited from competing for a championship. In this way, the path to the college football championship is still translucent at best, and is ultimately an unsatisfactory way to select a champion.
How do we eliminate that ambiguity?
For fans still possessed by a tendency to question the validity of a 2007 Giants Super Bowl win, or a 1985 Villanova NCAA basketball championship, we could consider a wider variety of postseason formats. Soccer leagues in nearly every nation abroad eliminate the postseason altogether, awarding their championship to the team that accumulates the most points after a two cycle round robin regular season schedule. What would we lose if we eliminated playoffs in the US altogether? What would we gain? Perhaps that is the next debate fans should engage in.