Posted 11/23/2010 at 02:47 PM
With baseball likely moving towards expanding the playoffs in the near future one has to wonder when the NFL will consider such an expansion more seriously. With marginal teams like Seattle and Jacksonville leading divisions currently it might be tough to make a compelling argument to add more teams to the postseason but with just two wild card teams in each conference it is still very difficult to make the postseason and each year good teams get left out.
If the playoffs started today two of the hottest teams in the NFC, Green Bay and Tampa Bay, would need to go to the fourth tiebreaker to decide the final wild card spot. That #6 slot will be a coveted spot in the NFC as that team will get to face a very weak NFC West champion that will likely be 8-8 at best. The NFC East will have a very tough time getting a wild card team in the playoffs and every year there will be divisions that are much stronger than others, creating inflated records for some teams that get to face a much weaker schedule.
In the AFC the Colts and the Chargers, two perennial playoff teams and Super Bowl contenders would not sniff the playoffs in the current standings. The AFC East features two 8-2 squads meaning that the rest of the conference will be fighting for one playoff spot outside of the division winners in all likelihood. Adding a third wild card and only giving the top seed in each conference the advantage of a bye week would improve the playoff outlook in many ways and solve some of the problems with the late season weeks featuring meaningless games. It would also create an incredible wild card weekend of football with triple-header days Saturday and Sunday, much like the current Thanksgiving Day format we’ll see this week.
Speaking of playoffs, the college football picture could take a historic turn on what will be a huge Friday of college football with the top three teams in the polls all facing very tough tests. While it is too soon to reliably map out the bowl picture given that one key loss will have huge side effects there are going to be quality teams left out of the BCS picture. It will be very tough for the BCS bowls to include both TCU and Boise State should Auburn and Oregon finish in the title game and the group of high quality one loss teams will feature a few teams being left out. There is a very good chance that a team that finishes in the top five in the BCS standings fails to get a BCS bowl invite which should certainly create uproar.
With conference title games coming next year in the Big Ten and the Pac-10 some of the problems will be solved so the current system will improve but there is still the automatic inclusion of each conference champion which in the Big East this year is likely to be a very marginal team. With the increase in conference title games there will also be a much greater likelihood of an upset leading to a sub-par BCS bowl team with several losses taking away from the value of the final picture for that opponent. All the controversy and arguing does create interest in college football leading up to the bowl season so even with its flaws the BCS system may be good for the game, even if the end result is often unsatisfying. Best of Luck, and on to this week’s slate…