One season. One undefeated team. One champion.
However, the post season cannot be that simple. Especially in today's society, with tv contracts and such. But there is an answer: A tournament.
In a tournament, once you beat a team, you "own" that team. So if Maryland beats North Carolina State in the first round of the ACC Tournament, Maryland should "own" NCSU. If Wake Forest beat Miami, they "own" Miami. If Wake Forest beats Maryland, they "own" not only Miami and Maryland, but also North Carolina St. If Duke beats Wake Forest, they "own" Miami, Maryland, North Carolina St., Wake Forest, and whatever teams they beat, right?
That is the only fair way to create a fair champion. Once you beat that team, you "own" the and whatever team they beat. That way, the champion should "own" every team that particpates in the tournament, which in theory, makes them better than any other team in the tournament.
Well in the current college football system, you don't get that. LSU beat Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, but not Oklahoma State, Stanford, or Oregon. Boise State is only owned by TCU. So much confusion, and the champion is determined by computers. This only creates so much controversy.
That's why we need a playoff, so we can have one team that "owns" all other teams, and that in the end their is no dispute about who the true National Champion is.
When constructing this playoff, I tried to base it off the college basketball tournament as much as possible. So I created a 16 team playoff, that consists of all the conference winners and 5 at large bids. Please follow thorougly so I don't need to explain myself numerous times.
Before I begin, I will note that there will be a few changes to the regular season schedule. The season would start first Sunday in September. From September to end of November there are 13 weeks of football. So each team would play 12 games, and then championship Saturday would be moved up to the weekend after Thanksgiving.
So here is how the playoff format would begin.
Step 1 List all Conference Champions
Oklahoma State (Big 12)
West Virginia (Big East)
Wisconsin (Big 10)
Southern Mississippi (Conf USA)
Northern Illinois (Mid American)
TCU (Mt. West)
Oregon (Pac 10)
Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
Louisiana Tech (WAC)
So those are the "automatic qualifiers" into the NCAA College Football Tournament because they won their respective conferences.
Step 2 Name 5 At-Large Bids
- Boise State
- Virginia Tech
These choices would be decided by a committee.
Step 3 Seed the Teams
3.) Oklahoma State
7.) Boise State
10.) Virginia Tech
12.) Southern Mississippi
13.) West Virginia
14.) Arkansas State
15.) Northern Illinois
16.) Louisiana Tech
These decisions would be decided by a committee.
A few guidelines for seeding the top 16. Never allow two teams from the same conference to play each other. Also, try and avoid second-round matchups as well, but the latter isn't a requirement.
Step 4 Assign the Bowl Games
Everyone who works for the BCS system says that they like the bowl games, and I'm ok with keeping some of them.
For starters, assign the Rose Bowl to the semi-final game on the side that the Pac 10 Champion is on.
Secondly, add the Sugar Bowl to the semi-final game on the other side.
Third, add the Orange Bowl to the (4) seed vs. (5) seed matchup. Add the Fiesta Bowl to the (3) seed vs. (6) seed matchup.
Fourth, add the the Gator Bowl to the (2) seed vs. (7) seed matchup. Add the Liberty Bowl to the (1) seed vs. (8) seed matchup.
Assign the National Championship Game to the stadium of the latest NFL Champion. For this season, the game would be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Step 5 Release Schedule to Public
(16) Louisiana Tech @ (1) LSU - Baton Rouge, LA, Dec. 3 (12:00 ET) ESPN
(9) Clemson @ (8) Wisconsin - Madison, WI, Dec. 3 (9:00 ET) ESPN
(12) Southern Mississippi @ (5) Arkansas - Little Rock, AR, Dec. 3 (6:00 ET) ESPN
(13) West Virginia @ (4) Stanford - Stanford, CA Dec. 3 (3:00 ET) ESPN
(14) Arkansas State @ (3) Oklahoma State - Stillwater, OK, Dec. 3, (3:00 ET) ESPN2
(11) TCU @ (6) Oregon - Eugene, OR, Dec. 3 (6:00 ET) ESPN2
(10) Virginia Tech @ (7) Boise State - Boise, ID, Dec. 3, (9:00 ET) ESPN2
(15) Northern Illinois @ (2) Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL, Dec. 3 (12:00 ET) ESPN2
All first round matchups are at the higher teams stadiums. No bowl games are associated with first round matchups. They re played on the first Saturday of December.
The top half of the bracket would be broadcast on ESPN, while the bottom would be broadcast on ESPN2, giving each network a full day of games and allowing the viewer to easily navigate their way to the game of their choice.
Step 6 End 1st Round
(Please note that for example purposes, no upsets will be played out)
(8) Wisconsin vs. (1) LSU in the Gator Bowl, in Jacksonville, Florida, Dec. 10(12:00 ET) ABC
(5) Arkansas vs. (4) Stanford in the Orange Bowl, in Miami, Florida, Dec. 10(9:00 ET) CBS
(6) Florida vs. (3) TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, in Phoenix, Arizona, Dec. 10 (6:00 ET) ABC
(7) Ohio State vs. (2) Texas in the Liberty Bowl, in Memphis, Tennessee, Dec. 10 (3:00 ET) CBS
These games would be broadcast on two stations (these stations would have to have to buy the rights to these games. No multi-year contracts). These games would be played on the second Saturday in December.
Step 7 End Quarterfinals
(4) Stanford vs. (1) LSU in the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, California, Dec. 17, (3:00 ET) NBC
(3) TCU vs. (2) Texas in the Sugar Bowl, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dec. 17, (7:00 ET) NBC
These games would be played on the third Saturday of December. TV rights would go to the station that paid the most for the game (no multi-year contracts).
The Rose Bowl will always be the afternoon game in order to maintain tradition.
Step 8 End Semi-Finals
(2) Texas vs. (1) Alabama, in the National Championship Game, Dec. 31 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The game will be played on either the 5th Saturday in December or the 1st Saturday in January. Like the NFL, there will be a bye week before the National Championship Game in order to increase media buildup of the event.
Also, I was thinking their could be a "NIT" bracket for the teams that were not accepted. Their would be 12 teams.
Step 1 Choose and Rank Teams
1. South Carolina
2. Kansas State
6. Michigan State
10. Penn State
11. Florida State
Again these seeds would be determined by a committee. Guidelines for seeding these teams would make sure that no team can play a team from their conference in the 1st or 2nd round of the tournament.
Step 2 Set Up Brackets
(9) Nebraska (8) Oklahoma in New Mexico Bowl in Alberquerque, Dec. 2, (9:00 ET) Winner plays 1st seeded South Carolina.
(12) Cincinnati vs. (5) Baylor in Emerald Bowl, in San Francisco, Dec. 2 (12:00 ET). Winner plays 4th seeded Michigan.
(11) Florida State vs. (6) Michigan State in Texas Bowl, in Houston, Dec. 2 (3:00 ET). Winner plays 3rd seeded Houston.
(10) Penn State vs. (7) Georgia in Sun Bowl, in El Paso, Dec. 2 (6:00 ET). Winner plays 2nd seeded Kansas State.
All games would be independently televised. All games would take place on the 1st Friday of every month.
Step 3 Begin Second Round
*To make this easier to understand, I will pretend no upsets occur.
(8) Oklahoma State vs. (1) South Carolina in St. Petersburg Bowl, in St. Petersburg, Dec. 9 (12:00 ET)
(5) Baylor vs. (4) Michigan in Poinsetta Bowl, in San Diego, Dec. 9 (9:00 ET)
(6) Michigan State vs. (3) Houston in Humanitarian Bowl, in Boise, Dec. 9 (6:00 ET)
(7) Georgia vs. (2) Kansas State in New Orleans Bowl, in New Orleans, Dec. 9 (3:00 ET)
All games would be independently televised. All games would take place on 2nd Friday of Decemeber.
Step 4 Begin Semi Finals
(4) Michigan vs. (1) South Carolina in Outback Bowl, Tampa, FL, Dec. 16 (6:00 ET)
(3) Pittsburgh vs. (2) Oregon St. in Emerald Bowl, in San Francisco, CA, Dec. 16 (5:00 ET)
All games would be independently televised and would take place on the third Friday in December.
Step 5 Begin Championship
(2) Kansas State vs. (1) South Carolina in the Independence Bowl, in Shevreport, LA, Dec. 24(6:00 ET)
The game will be independently televised and take place on the 4th Saturday of December.
***The Armed Forces Bowl would begin Dec. 1st, no matter what day it is, and would be between Army and Navy. If one of those teams qualify for a tournament, Air Force will take one of the teams places. If two of the three teams make the tournament, the game will not be played.***
I hope you like my playoff plan. There are still some kinks I need to work out, but I think this could very well be used in the future. Please use the comment section to point out flaws in my plan, and I'll do my best to defend them. I didn't spend as much time justifying, just showing how it would work. I'll use the comments for the justification.