by Ken Reed
Ohio State’s win Monday night was the end of a very successful first year of playoffs. Without the playoffs, Ohio State doesn’t get a chance to even compete for the national title.
However, this year shows that you need at least an eight-team playoff (I still prefer 16 but will gladly take eight to start). TCU deserved a chance every bit as much as Ohio State. In fact, they were ahead of Ohio State until the last rankings came out. They were bumped out of a chance to play for the championship on the last weekend after beating Iowa State 55-3. How fair is that?
Here’s an interesting scenario: If Ohio State only beats Wisconsin 34-10 (still a convincing victory) in the Big Ten championship game instead of 59-0, would TCU have been in the playoffs and Ohio State out? I think so. And Ohio State never would’ve had a chance to play for the national title. Strong cases could’ve also been made by Baylor, Michigan State and others. I think almost every year you can find eight teams with a legitimate shot to win it all in a postseason playoff system.
Another reason to expand the playoffs is the pathetic bowl attendance this year. Most bowl games had stadiums about a third full if lucky. Nobody cares about these bowl games. They exist because they provide programming for ESPN and games for gamblers to bet on.
The bowl system is archaic. Can we finally move forward? With an 8-game playoff you’ll need 7 games. For nostalgic reasons name those 7 games after traditional bowl games (Eg Rose, Cotton, Sugar Orange Fiesta, etc) If some minor bowls want to keep going and pick up teams left out of the playoffs — like the NIT in basketball — let them but let’s get an 8-or-16 team playoff in place asap and stop worrying about the bowls.
A 16-team playoff is the most fair, fan-friendly and player-friendly post-season option (all 10 FBS conference champions get in, along with six at-large teams).
If the beef is a 16-team format makes the season too long and/or is too many games for the players involved (despite the fact lower NCAA football divisions conduct 16-team playoffs), then drop the conference playoff games. With a 16-team playoff you don’t need league championship games, all the top teams would be in the tourney field.
A four-team playoff is good. Eight is better. And 16 is best.
Thanks to Ohio State’s win as a four-seed that barely snuck in the tourney, the momentum toward a 16-team playoff in which all FBS (formerly known as Division I-A) teams get a fair shot is picking up steam. And that’s a good thing.
–Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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