Week 12 – NFL Playoff Predictions

On November 24, 2008 by

So the countdown to the Superbowl is on and we ask who do we expect to be playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Superbowl XLIII.

The AFC was so dominant last season that it came as a massive surprise that the NFC Champion NY Giants walked away with all the marbles. This time around though the AFC has been more than disappointing with the Chargers, Jaguars and Broncos all looking much worse than we anticipated. The big surprise have been the 10-1 Titans who are more than nasty on defense and with Kerry Collins managing the team like he did the 1995 Rose Bowl Champion Penn State -– they are a complete team.

The Patriots lost Tom Brady but look good enough to fight for the AFC East. The Colts started off sluggish but are coming on strong and will be a very dangerous wildcard team. The Jets with Brett Favre under center are decent and I expect they’ll be in the hunt. The Ravens and Steelers are both good but not great in the AFC North and the AFC West just flat out stinks.

Over in the NFC you have to start in the East where the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys all look set to go to the playoffs. The Giants are rightly the favourites to lift the trophy as they are good all over the shop. The Cowboys have so many strengths on offense that they can score points in flurries. The Redskins are also a nice looking team and if anyone gets a wildcard spot from outside the East then I would be stunned.

Having said that if the season ended today then neither the Redskins or Cowboys would get in. The NFC South would get three teams in with Tampa Bay as champ and the Panthers and the season’s biggest surprise by a country mile Falcons getting in. In the West the Cardinals and my MVP tip Kurt Warner are going to the big dance where they might surprise one or two as they have the best WR trio around.

Then we come to the NFC North and the Vikings, Bears and Packers all duking it out to win that division. I still think the Packers are the best team so I would think they would come through but this one goes down to the final day.

So on to my predictions where you can all call me out on being an idiot when January comes about:

AFC

1. Titans
2. Steelers
3. Patriots
4. Broncos
5. Ravens
6. Colts

NFC

1. Giants
2. Panthers
3. Cardinals
4. Packers
5. Cowboys
6. Redskins

What do we think?

What to do about the BCS vs Play-off debate

On November 6, 2008 by

I doubt there are too many fans of American Football over here in the UK that watch the NCAA as well as the NFL but I am one of them. Every year we hear BCS this and BCS that and 2008 is no different.

With both presidential candidates weighing in on the issue (for the record President-Elect Obama favours an eight team play-off with the six winners of the BCS conferences, the highest ranked non-BCS conference team and then give the final spot to an at-large team in one of the BCS conferences) you know that it is a serious issue. Some cynics claim that his idea was to help him carry the bellwether state of Pennsylvania where head coach Paterno of Penn State has long been a proponent of a play-off system.

The problem with the BCS is that it is very subjective. For instance if things ended today the title game would be between Alabama and Texas Tech. This is despite Texas Tech being down at #3 in both the Coaches and Harris Polls which make up 2/3 of the BCS formula (they have Penn State at #2). This would cause outrage that yet another undefeated Penn State team would be denied the opportunity to play for the National Championship.

There are five weeks left of the season so a lot can happen but if Texas Tech roll through the Big 12 and Alabama roll through the SEC then they are playing for it all. However in this scenario Penn State, should they win at Iowa and at home to Indiana and Michigan State would go to the Rose Bowl and yet again wouldn’t play for it all.

The three proposals with chances of success are the ‘+1′ system, four-team play-off or the eight-team version. Let’s have a look at all three:

+1

This would be the easiest to get up and running. The Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Rose Bowls would happen as usual and then after all these games were played the Coaches/AP/Harris/Computers -– whoever they decide would then rank all the teams (presumably the winners of the four BCS bowls would be ranked 1-4) and they would decide who would go on to play for the National Championship.

This would mean that everyone gets to see the top teams and they could probably put together a good National Championship game. However it could still mean that an undefeated team could in theory be kept out of the title game and that is what we are desperately trying to avoid.

Four-team play-off

This would eliminate any real chance of an undefeated team not playing for the big marbles. The issue with this format is how would you decide which four teams got the nod. Champions of the BCS conferences would miss out and the likelihood of a BCS buster would all but go out of the window. Who would chose whether a 1-loss Pac-10 Champion is more than than a 1-loss SEC team who didn’t win their own conference?

This one isn’t for me either.

Eight-team play-off

Now if you are going to have a play-off system then an eight-team tournament is the only way you can go. All the Champions get in from the major conferences as well as an at-large and a BCS buster. This way everyone gets a fair crack of the whip and the regular season isn’t devalued. You win your conference and you are in. At the moment you can win your conference and all you are guaranteed is playing in a BCS bowl. Some will argue that four teams in the Big 12 are all better than whoever wins the ACC or the Big East but you can’t please everybody.

Thoughts?