I know this subject is debated ad nauseum and since change is not likely any time soon, most everyone is probably tired of it. But there is one aspect of the argument against a playoff that really irks me, and given all the posts lately about how screwed up the polls are, I thought this is as good a time as any to bring up that one argument (trying to avoid the whole can of worms).
That one argument is that a playoff would diminish the importance of the regular season. It seems to me that this argument has risen to the top as the most compelling reason to stick with the current system - correct me if I'm wrong. (Other arguments like extending the season would hurt academics, it would upset people who like traditional bowls, etc., are generally already considered weak by both proponents and opponents).
The argument that a playoff would diminish the excitement of the regular season is complete and utter B.S. A playoff would make the regular season a lot more exciting for a lot more teams. Here's why.
Under the current system, most teams that lose a game or two are out of the hunt for the MNC, period. (exceptions being a very few one loss teams from BCS conferences with good SOS). Right now, not even 1/3 of the way through the season, there are only something like 17 undefeated teams left, and a few one-loss teams like USC, OU, VA Tech, tOSU, OSU, GA, and Penn St that have any shot at making the MNC game. That means that about 100 teams are already out of the hunt with the meat of the season left to go. Towards the end of the regular season, the list of teams with a shot at the MNC will be much shorter. Sure, the season will still be fun for a lot of the teams with no MNC shot as they jockey for second tier bowls, but how much more exciting would it be if they still had a chance at the MNC.
Now, lets assume an 8 team playoff. You could also do this with 4 or 16 teams too and the general principle would still apply. I chose 8 because in any given year, I would bet that most people could agree that teams ranked lower than 8 do not really have an argument to go to the MNC, as opposed to teams ranked 3-8. As we have seen, these teams often have very legit arguments.
To be ranked in the top 8 at the end of the regular season, a team can probably have no more than two losses, so each game is still vitally important. But that means that up to half of the 120 D-1 teams would still be in the hunt at this point in the regular season in any year. And in most years there are 10-15 teams with only two losses going into bowl season. That means that towards the end of the year, instead of only 3-5 teams with any hopes to make the MNC, there would be three or four times that many teams that still had a shot to make an 8 team playoff, and thus a shot at the NC.
In short, with a playoff system, each game would still be hugely important, but a lot more games for a lot more teams a lot later in the season would still be relevant. Overall, the regular season would be way more exciting. It just boggles my mind that this argument is used AGAINST a playoff.