While Flawed, FCS Playoffs Still Better Than FBS Postseason

One hundred twenty-five teams.

Twenty-four playoff spots.

Five rounds.

One champion.

That’s the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, and that’s how a true champion should be crowned.

People that might watch all of FCS college football 24/7 or just their little niche in the scholarship-free Pioneer Football League can rank teams all they want for the entire season and even preseason, but that’s not how a champion should be determined.

A champion is crowned on the field with the best teams playing each other for FCS supremacy.

As with any grand idea, not everyone will be happy, and there were a whole lot of fans in North Dakota upset about the FCS Playoff Committee’s bracket on Selection Sunday.

Bison fans felt like they were back in Division II with their bracket set up very regionally. The committee came out after their bracket was released to say that it did take into account locations of teams and the opportunities to travel by bus instead of airplane to save money.

This is Division I football, I mean come on. Even though there were not any rematches in the first round, there are six rematches set up for the second round.

NDSU was guaranteed a rematch with either South Dakota State or the University of Montana. If the Bison win Saturday against the Grizzlies, their next two games could be against familiar Missouri Valley Conference foes like the University of Northern Iowa in the quarterfinals and Illinois State University in the semifinals.

Eastern Washington University athletic director Bill Chaves hit the issue right on the head with his tweet saying, “Such a grind in any conference – just good to play other teams at tourney time … I think we need to have a larger discussion about this IMO.”

There’s no reason why teams from the same conferences are matched up to play each other unless it’s late in the bracket when only the best teams are left.

With all five teams from the Missouri Valley, the conference commonly considered the premier conference in the FCS, it doesn’t make much sense to have them knock each other out so early.

Another puzzling decision by the committee was the omission of the University of North Dakota from the field. The Fighting Hawks were widely deemed to be snubbed with 7-5 Eastern Illinois of the Ohio Valley Football Conference making it into the playoff field.

That’s going to happen every year with a team thinking they should be in the field with any tournament selection committee, whether it’s NCAA March Madness basketball or the College Football Playoffs in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

But having a tournament to decide the best is definitely the way to go.

It took a while for the FBS to figure that out, as they finally got rid of the infamous BCS computer rankings two years ago. However, the FBS playoff system allows only four teams. They’re making steps in the right direction, but the bigger joke in the FBS is 41 bowl games for the 128 teams in that division.

That’s 64 percent of all of the teams playing in a bowl game. The NCAA recently came out with a statement saying, “Without enough 6-6 teams, remaining bowl bids will be filled by 5-7 teams based on highest Academic Progress Rate.”

Congrats San Jose State! You finished tied for seventh in the 12-team Mountain West Conference with a 5-7 record overall, and what might you get? The prestigious Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.

While pretty slight, I’m glad the NCAA is putting importance on academic progress, but they shouldn’t even be in the position to look for 5-7 teams to fill the American Standard Toilet Bowl. American Standard can promote its toilets all game long, while two teams duke it out for free porcelain thrones for the winning team.

The NCAA needs to reconsider its postseason Division I football structure. No more regional match ups for the FCS and get rid of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Get more than four teams on the field playing for their playoff lives and let them decide who’s the best in the FBS and college football.

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