Oregon Is The Perfect Example Of Why The College Football Playoff Is Better Than The BCS

Oregon obliterated Florida State 59-20 in the first-ever College Football Playoff semifinal game.

It’s a remarkable result in a bunch of different ways. Perhaps most significantly, it’s a clear example of why the playoff makes so much more sense than the BCS.

Under the BCS system, Oregon wouldn’t have had a shot at the national championship this year. Alabama and Florida State would have played in the BCS title game, and Oregon would have been in a meaningless bowl game.

Here’s what the simulated BCS standings would have looked like:

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State 
  3. Oregon
  4. Ohio State
  5. TCU

The final playoff ranking was 1) Alabama, 2) Oregon, 3) Florida State, 4) Ohio State. 

One of the interesting things that the playoff committee did was put Oregon above FSU in its final ranking, despite Oregon having one loss and Florida State having none. They were able to do this because their mission is to choose the four “best” teams in the country, not necessarily the four “most deserving” teams in the country.

Most of the college football world agreed with the committee in thinking that Oregon was the better team. The Ducks were 7.5-point favourites in the semifinal (which is a pretty big spread), and Nate Silver gave them a 65% chance to win. Silver’s model even had Oregon as the favourite to win it all.

The point: Oregon was assumed to be a better football team than Florida State, and they proved it by destroying the Seminoles by 39 points. Under the BCS, they wouldn’t have even had a shot.

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