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A few weeks ago, I asked College Football fans about the first inaugural playoffs in the FBS division of college football. A lot of answers were given, and quite a few people requested that the results are posted, so I thought some data and analysis would be useful. So without further ado:
Total Number of Users Submitting Answers: 3,133 as of February 20th, 2015
Total Number of False/Errant Votes: 443
Total Number of Legitimate Votes: 2,690
Unfortunately, one user, a fan who felt Baylor was robbed of their rightful place in the playoffs decided to vote 460 times for their team, which heavily skewed the results, as they took a contrarian viewpoint on most issues surrounding the playoffs. Therefore, their votes (sans the original one) were removed.
Question 1: How much did you enjoy the College Football Playoffs? (Scale of 1-5 with 5 being Most Enjoyable)
- 1, – 65 (2.4%)
- 2. – 52 (1.9%)
- 3. – 137 (5.1%)
- 4. – 809 (30.1%)
- 5. – 1627 (60.5%)
As you can see, the data was overwhelmingly in agreement that the CFP was incredibly good, with an average score of 4.49 among all respondents. Only a scant 117 users thought it was bad, or terrible.
But who felt it was bad? Mostly TCU and Baylor fans, as expected. Approximately 61.1% of those that scored the CFP as a 1 or 2 on enjoyment felt that a team got robbed (Question #4), whereas just 19.3% of all respondents felt that someone was robbed overall.
Question 2: Overall, is the College Football Playoffs (CFP) superior to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)?
- Yes: 2,557 (95.1%)
- No: 113 (4.9%)
An overwhelming number of people felt that the CFP was superior to the BCS system. Of those that did not enjoy the CFP, we find a heavy bias against it due to them feeling a team got robbed (question 4), as approximately 52% of “No” votes were from those that felt TCU/Baylor were robbed.
Additionally, when we asked users about what fanbase they would consider themselves a part of, we find a heavy bias of “No” votes among Baylor fans (37% did not like the play0ffs), as well as Florida State Seminole fans (16%). This is in stark contrast to fans that were not a fan of a CFP playoff team, or team within the “Bubble”, as they voted “No” just 4.3% of the time. As expected, Ohio State fans loved the playoffs, with a scant 1.7% stating they did not like the playoffs. Oregon fans, too, were quite happy with the playoffs, with just 2.8% disliking the format.
Question 3: How many games did you watch of the College Football Playoffs?
- 1 Game – 1.9%
- 2 Games – 12.0%
- All 3 Games – 85.7%
- Did not watch any games – 0.5%
I am unfamiliar with the likelihood of cross-pollination of bowl games, but I am of the opinion that nearly 86% of respondents watching all 3 games is exceedingly good. Given that all three games are now cemented as the most-watched cable TV shows of all time, ESPN must be happy with the results. Of those that were one-and-done with games, the results are somewhat expected, as Florida State fans were twice as likely to watch only one game as opposed to two or more. Alternatively, TCU fans were the least likely to watch all three games, as only 32 out of 44 voters said they watched all three (72.7%).
Question 4: Do you feel like the 4 teams selected were appropriate for the playoffs?
- Yes, the College Football Playoff Committee made the right choice(s) – 2,161 (80.3%)
- No, someone got robbed (19.7%)
A sizable majority of voters felt that the committee made the right choice. However, as expected, a decent number of voters felt that a team got robbed by the committee. Of course, the BCS era was not without its number of controversies, most notably the 2011 championship which may have helped lead to the playoffs finally being adopted for college football. In the follow-up question, we asked who got robbed. We would note that there is a strong affinity towards voters that felt TCU got robbed, and their likelihood of stating that someone was robbed in the playoffs, as nearly 80% of people that voted for someone being robbed answered the next question with the belief that TCU was the team short-changed.
Question 5: If you voted no, who should have been included in the 4th slot instead of The Ohio State University?
- Baylor University – 143 (16.9%)
- Other Team – 63 (7.4%)
- Texas Christian University 641 (75.7%)
As expected, a huge majority of voters felt that TCU was short-changed in the playoffs, with 75.7% (or about 23.8% of all voters) feeling that way. There were a few comments about the nature of this question, assuming that Ohio State should have been the team that was to be replaced. The reason that Ohio State was selected was that they only made the official CFB Playoff committee rankings for one week – the final week that selected teams for the playoffs. Therefore, we went with the team that generated the most argument against them being included in the playoffs.
Question #6: Based on this one year of the CFP, do you believe the playoffs should expand?
- No, 4 teams is fine for now – 998 (37.1%)
- Yes, expand to 12+ teams (2.8%)
- Yes, expand to 6 teams (24.1%)
- Yes, expand to 8 teams (36.0%)
The response from this question closely mirrors an EPSN poll conducted in November among college coaches. In the poll, only 29% felt that 4 teams was appropriate, with the majority wishing for a 8 team playoff. Unfortunately for those wishing for expansion, the 4-team playoff has a 10-year contract in place, so the earliest we will see an expanded field is 2024, assuming the date does not change via extension or aggravation with the format.
Digging into the numbers behind this question, we found that voters that felt like a team was robbed were 150% more likely to believe that expansion needed to occur, as per this chart, as a staggering 90% of users voted against keeping the playoffs at 4 teams if they felt someone was robbed. However, some would argue that this is to be expected – everyone wants their team to get into the playoffs.