Sports Outside the Beltway

Auburn’s Tuberville Calls for Playoff

Add Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville to the growing list of playoff proponents.

Auburn is 5-0 and ranked third in the nation behind Ohio State and USC in the USA Today and Harris Polls and second in the Associated Press poll, but coach Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday that he has doubts any SEC team can make the national championship game without a playoff system.

“I’ve about had it with this playoff deal,” Tuberville said after a lengthy, emotional argument for a playoff. “We all understand in our conference how tough it is. In our conference, that’s about the only chance we’d have to make it.”

The SEC boasts five teams in the Top 13 of the AP poll: Auburn (No. 2), Florida (No. 5), LSU (No. 9), Georgia (No. 10) and Tennessee (No. 13). While Auburn, Florida and Georgia are all undefeated, Florida plays LSU this week and Auburn the week after. And Georgia plays Tennessee this week.

Two years ago, Auburn finished 13-0, but did not appear in the national championship game.

“There is no reason on this earth why we can’t have the best four and then play one more,” Tuberville said. “That’s the legitimate thing to do. We added a BCS game — for what in the world? — I understand we’re avoiding lawsuits and making money. But let’s take care of the players.”

Tuberville said excuses are invalid. “The problem we have is you have 120 universities that are I-A and probably 25 would say they have a legitimate chance each year,” he said. “And you have presidents that for some reason look at it more as for the money than having a national championship on the field. They keep coming up with lame excuses about academics. Football players miss fewer classes than anybody.”

Yep. Baseball and basketball players miss a ridiculous number of classes and no one seems to mind. Not to mention that fact that every other level of college football has long had a playoff with no serious consequences.

Indeed, the only even somewhat persuasive argument for the current system is that it makes every regular season game meaningful. Of course, that’s only true if you’re winning. Once a team has lost a game or two–like my Alabama Crimson Tide–the season is as good as over. That wouldn’t be true with a playoff system.

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