The Postseason

There are 10 divisions in Ideal College Football, and nine of them will be playing a postseason.  There will be 48 schools from each of these divisions participating in the playoffs.  Every division will be arranged in four brackets of 12 teams each, with the top four in each bracket (the 1-4 seeds) receiving 1st round byes.  For Division 1 we will be incorporating the bowl games.

As for Division 10, the one division that will not be conducting its own postseason, here is where those conferences will be slotted into the postseason picture:

  • The Trans America will be included in the Division 3 playoffs
  • Deep South and Piedmont will be included in the Division 5 playoffs
  • All of Group XXIX (South Coast, Blue Ridge, American North) will be included in the Division 9 playoffs
  • All of Group XXX (Atlantic Sun, Metro North, Eastern) will be included in the Division 8 playoffs

Whereas in real life, inclusion in the 4-team playoff (CFP) has oftentimes been controversial, that will not be the case with Ideal College Football.  Starting around midseason, I will be posting updates for every division as to the state of affairs as it relates to the postseason.  These will be of a “if the playoffs started today” nature, so that fans can gauge where their teams stand.  Are we in?  What is our projected seed? 

And let me say this right up front: the criteria for inclusion in and seeding of the postseason will be a straightforward affair: no politics, no backroom deals, no consideration of television ratings and revenue.  Simply put, the most deserving teams will make the playoffs.  This leads to a conundrum faced by selection committees when evaluating teams for the postseason: the strongest vs the worthiest.  Do we take teams primarily from the power conferences, as they are the only schools generally considered able to actually win the tournament?  Or do we select teams with the best records, those who annihilated their competition, but who probably have little chance of actually winning a national tournament?  The answer, obviously, is a combination of both approaches.

The clearest analogy is the NCAA basketball tournament, where annually we are treated to the rite of Bubble Watch.  While quite a sporting affair in its own right, I am often dismayed when the field is announced and a 28-win mid- or small-major is left out in favor of a high-major school barely above .500.  If School A is 18-14, and School B is 28-4, in anything other than extraordinary circumstances School B is the one that should be included in the tournament.  They are the more deserving candidate.  And yet we regularly see School A make the tournament instead…but I digress.

With football, the difference in records is going to be much smaller.  And in Ideal College Football, the adoption of balanced scheduling will make the entire process much easier to sort through.  I have developed a system whereby every team’s performance and true strength are accounted for when selecting the playoff field, and in seeding that field.  Quality of wins and quality of losses are both taken into consideration; the entire season is taken into consideration.  As an example, let’s take this hypothetical: the 6th place team from the SEC is almost certainly going to be stronger than the 3rd place team from the MAC.  Yet that 6th place SEC team will probably lose more games than the 3rd place MAC team, based on the nature of their schedules.  The system I’ve developed takes all of this into account, meaning that at the end of the day the most deserving teams will be making the playoff field.

Incidentally, this bears mentioning, and some of you have probably already picked up on it.  Y’know how, in the NCAA, even mediocre teams manage to win six or seven games and sneak into a bowl game, with the result being some pretty unappetizing bowl match-ups?  That won’t be happening in Ideal College Football.  When a team here is mediocre (or just downright bad) you’re going to know it.  This is due to the balanced scheduling.  Teams will not be able to hide behind a schedule filled with cupcakes and home games.  These schedules are brutal.  The idea, after all, is to separate out the most deserving teams, then match them up on the field to determine true champions.

We’re going to have fun with this.  Toss your cynicism in the trash heap, suspend your disbelief, put your imagination front & center and let’s see where this goes.