What a REAL football playoff looks like

I spent the weekend researching how NCAA Division II handles their football playoff. I learned a lot. First, a bit of background. If you already know this stuff, apologies.

The NCAA has a championship committee for each division. Each sport has a committee for the purpose of recommending to the championship committee who should compete for the championship. In Division II, there are 7 required criteria, all objective, that the sports committees look at. Additionally, each sport can choose up to 3 additional criteria from a criteria pool. All but one of the additional criteria are objective, that is, based on data, although one is an index and another is an ‘indicator’ and neither is used by football. The one subjective criterion is only used by Women’s Rowing so I am not concerned about it here.

For playoff purposes, the sports committees totally disregard the opinion poll, AFCA, I think it’s called. Instead, all 160+ D-2 schools are divided geographically into 4 regions. Each region has a sports committee for each sport who rank each team in the region according to the criteria for the sport - 7 required and up to 3 more from the pool.

The first such ranking for any sport comes out late in the season after enough contests have been completed to provide good data. At the end of the season, the top teams or individuals are selected for the championship. For D-2 football, 7 teams from each region make the playoffs. The number 1 seed gets a first round bye.

And off they go. In a few weeks they have a champion that no sane person can argue with. That’s 27 total playoff games that could very easily be worked into the existing bowl structure, maybe alternate the semi’s and championship game among the big bowls so no one gets their wallets hurt. I know there are 41 bowls, so the 14 left out will have to find a way to survive or just die.

Here are the criteria used for picking the championship teams for D2 football. All of the pool criteria are listed so you know what they AREN’T using. Nowhere in the criteria does winning your conference come in to play. I like that.

Division II Football Playoff Selection Criteria

The 7 required criteria are 1-7 below, the 3 additional criteria, 8-10.

  1. Availability of Student Athletes
  2. Application of Nullification (use of ineligible athlete)
  3. Overall Division II In-Region Winning Percentage
  4. Overall Division II Winning Percentage
  5. Overall Division II Strength of Schedule (Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage and Opponents’ Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage)
  6. Division II Head to Head Competition
  7. Results Versus Division II Common Opponents
  8. Division II Record on the Road
  9. Division II Results Versus Teams with .500 Record or Better
  10. In-Region Division II Non-Conference Won-Lost Record

Here is the pool of all available ‘Additional Sports Specific Selection Criteria’.

  1. Division II Record on the Road
  2. Division II Results Versus Teams with .500 Record or Better
  3. Division II Results Versus Teams with a Winning Record
  4. In-Region Division II Non-Conference Won-Lost Record
  5. In-Region Strength of Schedule (Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage and Opponents’ Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage)
  6. Late Season Performance
  7. Performance Indicator (PI)
  8. In-Region Rating Percentage Index (RPI)
  9. Results Versus Division II In-Region Common Opponents
  10. Results Versus Ranked Division II Opponents (this is a ranking compiled by the regional sports committees using the criteria for that sport. It shows, if the playoffs started today, who would be in. It is first published well into the season)
  11. Other Comments (Only Sport using this criterion is Women’s Rowing)

NCAA.org lists Fairness as one of their 3 priorities. Here is what they say:

Maybe the UH lawyers out there can comment on the merits of filling suit against the NCAA for not providing equal opportunity for ALL D-1 FBS student athletes to earn a championship.


I’m a fan of the 8 team playoff with 5 auto bids for P5 conference winners, top ranked G6 team, and 2 at larges. Top 4 seeds host opening round then go to bowls like now. 2 at larges can’t be ranked in top 4 must be ranked 5-8 so they can’t host home game.

This year it would look like:

(8) UCF vs.
(1) Clemson

(5) Alabama** vs.
(4) Ohio State

(7) USC vs.
(2) OU

(6) Wisconsin**
(3) Georgia

** at large

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Who does the seeding? Who picks the at large teams? What if a P5 Conference Champ isn’t one of the best 8? NCAA needs an unbiased (not based on any opinion poll), fair (meaning ALL teams have an equal shot to get into the championship brackets), and definitive method of crowning the NCAA D-1 Football Champion. What you propose, although an improvement, is far from what should be implemented.

I spent the weekend eating way too much mexican food and drinking beer. thanks for saving me the trouble here. It was on my to do list.

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It is so simple it takes three minutes to write it down.
10 conferences? = 10 spots
To make a 16 Teams playoffs you need to add six Teams. That makes it six at large.
You might ask why six at large? To appease the no good, over hyped, back stabbing SEC, small12, ACC, BIG10 and PAC12 prima donnas.
So we would have the following for this year’s playoff:
Boise State
Notre Dame
Again, these six at large are from P5 cartel Schools. I am being nice to them to squash any bs comments from…them. I feel very generous tonight must be the season.
This selection takes in consideration all conference winners. I will add the API/UTI/Coaches/UPS/Gold card American express rankings and whatever other rankings out there.
Again the cartel gets five to six extra spots. This is more than satisfying their greedy appetite.
Can you imagine the fans support behind this? This is what the N.F.L. has been trying to do while adding wild card Teams.
Bowl games you might ask? 13 games equals 13 bowls. How many bowl games exists? The Hawaii or Stop-N-Go bowl would still exist.

Everyone advocating 10 conferences, 10 spots doesn’t seem to understand that the NCAA doesn’t sanction the 4 team playoff to begin with. Before the P5 conferences agreed to treating all conference champions the same, they would sooner form a “super” FBS in which scheduling G5 teams is much like scheduling FCS teams and also have no bowls that include P5 vs G5.

You keep talking about what is “fair.” Your version of fair has a much different meaning than mine. I don’t think it is fair that a team in the weakest conference can schedule the weakest OOC schedule, lose all of those games, win their conference on a tiebreaker, finish with a 6-6 record and have priority seeding over a team in the strongest conference having the strongest OOC schedule, win all of those games and lose to a conference opponent by a bad call on the road by 1 point, finishing with a 11-1 record.

What WasSoonerNowCoog posted does give all schools a fair shot at going to the playoffs with a couple of changes I would add. Use the Massey composite ratings or BCS rankings and to appease the power conferences, go back to the BCS bowl rules for selection of the 8 teams. Which means if multiple G5 conference champs are ranked higher than a P5 champ, the P5 champ is replaced as an automatic bid.

Then with your own reasoning why do you have five conferences playing DIV I? You are advocating a break up of the P5’s from the G5’s. What makes you think that this new ranking will be fair to G5’s? It was not during the BCS and sure is not now. A P5 Team does not like to have a G5 ranked ahead of them? What about joining a G5 if this is so easy? Money talks, sports does not. This was never about sports. Having four to seven Teams winning year in and year out will signal the end of college football.Product saturation always happen and it will too with the cfp.

I used to think what you propose was a good solution but no longer. We should want the best teams in the playoffs and anything that relies on opinion polls is unacceptable to me because of human bias that will always exist no matter What the voters say.

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[quote=“shaggylives, post:6, topic:10112”]
Use the Massey composite ratings or BCS rankings and to appease the power conferences,

I agree an object method of selecting the participants. But, I think the BCS factors in opinion polls, which makes it unacceptable to me. I dont know about Massey.

Eight teams isn’t enough. I think 16 at a minimum but 28 is better.

If given the choice of an 8 team playoff or the FBS splitting into two different divisions, which would you prefer? If the NCAA pushed for the P5 to have a 16 team - 4 round playoff system in which the G5 is guaranteed 5 spots or the P5 become a separate division, they would unanimously choose being a separate division.

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The FCS has a 16 team playoff, yet North Dakota State won 5 straight years with two different head coaches. I think the FCS would think 4 to 7 different teams winning would be a welcome change.

Wouldn’t “Little X” be more accurate than “small 12”?

Anyway yes, an 8 team playoff described would be more fair and more lucrative (not to mention objective) and less controversial but who wants that?

What makes you think that an 8 Teams cfp would accept a G5? Its a cartel they won’t.
What is the audience of the FCS Championship? I tune in…sometimes but maybe 1% of the Football audience knows it is even taking place.
small12? It sums up what this entire group is all about. They do not have enough cojones to let us in. Some people have big cojones (Zimmer talking) others are afraid hence small12.

I would be happy with any improvement over the current scheme, even if it’s just more teams involved.

Worse part for me is the NCAA’s refusal to take control of it like they do for every other D-1A sport and all of the other divisions. Reeks of corruption, to me.

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I am totally OK with dynasties as long as every team as an equal shot.


A real playoff includes all of the FBS conference champions.

Imagine the hype of FAU with Kiffin/Briles going into Auburn as the 16 seed? You can’t make that stuff up. That is the best part of athletics!


For anyone to think that a 16 Teams (10 conference champions) and six at large would be bad I invite you to think about why March madness is so popular. Again and again if a P5 Team objects to the MAC schedule for example go join the MAC or any other G5 conference.
Money? This is all about the money and always has been. Just think of the enormous amount that will go into this new format. Problem is and that is the problem P5’s will have to share. The cartel does not want to share.

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