A True College Playoff Thats Controversy Free, Will Work, and Everybody Wins!!!!
I know this is the 2nd time ive posted this. But its a good idea so Im gonna put it out there again. If you can think of anything better let me know.
Each fall it's the same, leaves change, school begins, and football fans from Alumni Field in Boston to the Coliseum in LA complain about the inefficiency of the BCS and try to lobby for a playoff in college football. For the most part they're right, the method of determining a champion in the FBS, Division I-A, whatever you want to call it, is flawed, and this 2007 season is a perfect example. Theres about 8 teams and fan bases who feel they have a legit claim to play for the National Championship, and only 2 are going to have the opportunity. but fans need to take several factors in to account that are keeping the BCS around and rendering a college football playoff system as fictional as Santa. And from the looks of things St.Nick has a better chance of becoming a reality than a College football playoff. However, before everybody starts clamoring for a playoff system to determine a "true" champion, people need to remember two things:
- 1) The BCS, though controversial has successfully carried out its objective for the most part during its existence. Yes this season will most likely leave one of the top 2 teams out of the title game, and yes there is the occasional 2003 BCS debacle which saw USC, the number one team in both polls finish the season 3rd in the BCS and left out of the title game in place of an Oklahoma who had failed to win its conference, and suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Big 12 Championship at the hands of Kansas State. Yet aside from that, BCS has pitted the 2 best teams against each other for the National Championship. The Texas-USC thriller in 2006 would have been impossible in 1996 because USC would have been tied in to the Rose Bowl against a Big Tem opponent and we all would be outraged and calling for a new system. Same goes for the Classic 2003 Fiesta Bowl. Thanks to the BCS there will no longer be teams like the 1994 Penn State squad, who romped to a 13-0 season only to finish number 2 without ever having a shot at the top team. So before the public crucifies the BCS, we need to sit back and appreciate what it has given college football. And don't forget, the BCS is a system run by a computer. Instead of cursing the BCS fans need to pressure who keeps the BCS in buisness, university presidents.
- 2) All 32 of the bowl games are a chance for a program to profit from its teams winning season. If you are a University President, which would you support a profitable cash cow of a bowl system which allows a team to receive a financial reward for a 7-5 season, or a fair and honest playoff system in which only 8 or 16 teams reach the post season for less money? You would be nuts to opt for the playoff, and here's why. Think of it this way if you're Virginia, you just had a good season finishing 9-3, but failed to so much as reach the ACC Championship. Now what post season format would you prefer, the one that allows you play one more game and receive a $3.2 million dollar consolation for winning nothing significant, or the one which ends your season on a losing note to Virginia Tech? No brainer, right? And that's just for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Most non-BCS Bowls come with a seven digit payout. The BCS has a $17 million payout per bowl. There's too much money in bowl games for Universities to just opt to get out of them for a less profitable system.
What needs to be found is a postseason format that will allow for a fair playoff system and keep all 32 bowl games intact. Sounds tough but here's the thing, 31 of those Bowl games are for little more that meaningless bragging rights. Can anybody tell me who won the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl? Or the 1997 Sugar Bowl for that matter? Because of the BCS the only Bowl Game that matters is the BCS Championship Game, none other. All other Bowl Games whether it is a BCS bowl such as the Rose Bowl or a bowl played before Christmas are equally insignificant, just some are more profitable than others. They do not determine a Champion and are little more than an over glorified exhibition. And since all bowl games have tie ins which make them pick a team from specific conferences, all non-BCS games can be continue as they are because no conference champions or BCS eligible teams take part in them so they will not have to wait to determine their match ups. There is no need for them to come to an end because as long as each game is nationally televised there will be no shortage of corporate sponsors. Also it's tradition. What else would we watch on New Year's Day if theres no College Football? However this if for the 27 non-BCS games. We'll get to the BCS and how that will play out later.
Now there is the issue of a fair playoff system. Well you could have the champions of all 11 conferences and 5 at-large teams, but an LSU-Troy first round game just won't generate much interest, and barring an act of God, even so much as be close. Plus the 5 at-large teams will create more controversy over who deserves to be there because it would be based on rankings and not a specific format. The goal of this system it to eliminate controversy so that does no good, plus it would prevent teams from participating in a bowl game, thus forcing them to pass up a chance to make millions. So that's no good. We could have the six BCS conference champions square off in a 2 week playoff and the last two teams meet for the National Championship. This makes sense, but one issue remains. 3 conferences require a conference championship game and 3 don't. I know it doesn't sound like much but this forces the team with the best record in 3 conferences to participate in a post season game to claim a conference title, while 3 teams have their conference championship hopes depend solely on having the best record in their respective conference. This is not fair but there is a solution to this and the FBS championship controversy and here it is.
First all conferences must consist of twelve teams and have 2 teams meet in a conference championship game at the end of the season. The six conference championship teams have a playoff format just like an NFL Conference playoff. The 2 highest ranked teams are awarded a 1st Round bye, and four lower seeded teams play in the first round. The two teams that advance move on to the next round and winners in that round play in the National Championship Game in January. Since the playoff lasts only two weeks it does not interfere with bowl season the teams that don't advance go to the BCS bowl where their conference has a tie-in and collect their eight digit consolation prize. Not bad, a true National Champion is crowned through a playoff system and all bowl games remain intact. Everybody, fans, teams, universities all win. There are no losers. Well some might argue the minor FBS conference lose out, but then again none of their teams really stand a chance at a National Championship, and as you'll see below, this format actually gives more teams a realistic possibility of a Title than the current format.
That is because each conference must increase their football membership to twelve. For the SEC, ACC, and Big XII this is no problem, they have 12 teams and a championship game. This will force the Big Ten, Pac 10, and Big East to increase to 12 teams. For the Big Ten it's easy, absorb Notre Dame in to the conference. Under this format the only way Notre Dame can compete for a National Title is to join a conference so they really have no other option. The Pac 10 can just pick up 2 west coast teams from the WAC or Mountain West (we'll assume for this article they take in Boise State and BYU). The Big East will have a much harder time with this because they need to expand by four teams and football powerhouses are few and far between east of the Mississippi. But there are options, they could take in a team for Conference USA (Southern Miss), the Sun Belt (Florida Atlantic), the MAC (Miami OH), and will probably need an FCS team to elevate to the I-A level (Delaware would probably be program that's most fit to move up). This whole idea sounds good in theory but so did Communism. So let's try to put this in to practice.
DISCLAIMER: This simulated playoff format was based on projected conference champions and rankings entering the final week of the season. Since the new rankings are not out yet, I'll keep Mizzou as my Big XII Champ and ranked #1. Sorry Sooners, no disrespect.
Currently, 10 teams play in BCS Bowl Games, the six conference champions and highest ranked teams that are eligible. That will not change. However we cannot determine which team plays where. Before we do that we have to have the playoffs. In the first round the two top ranked conference champions, Missouri and West Virginia have byes and will have home games in the next round. The first round match ups will be as follows: #8 USC will travel to Columbus and face #3 Ohio State. The Trojans pull off a stunning upset on the road and the heavily favored Buckeyes will have to head west for the Rose Bowl. In the second game, #6 Virginia Tech gets a rematch at home against #7 LSU. Though the venue changes the result does not and LSU rolls to the next round and the Hokies limp to the Orange Bowl.
The second round will pit LSU against #2 West Virginia in Morgantown. The rushing attack of Slaton and White is less effective than what LSU faced in Darren McFadden and the Tigers win and move on the Title Game in New Orleans. The Mountaineers will have to wait and see which bowl picks them up. In the second game USC dominates #1 Missouri in Colombia and faces LSU in the National Championship Game in New Orleans. The Fiesta Bowl awaits the Tigers. So there you have it, USC vs. LSU for the Title, while Kansas, Georgia, Hawaii, and Arizona State fill out the rest of the BCS. A champion is crowned and everyone is happy. The fans got their playoff, the Universities got more money and every team gets a fair shot at the National Title. With a system this fair just think, the 2010 National Championship Game could pit Big East powerhouse Delaware against top ranked Northwestern. It could happen, and nobody will complain!
The BCS exists and not a playoff because
1) the BCS serves its purpose
2) Bowl payouts make for a profitable post season system, so a playoff would make less money
To have a playoff that wont interfere with bowls and be fair we must:
1) Expand all conferences to 12 teams
2) Have all conferences play a conference championship game
3) Only allow the 6 major conference champions to compete
4) Use a NFL conference championship style format
5) have teams participate in a bowl game if they do not advance to the Championship game
6) allow all 32 bowl games to remain intact
This works because:
1) Fans get thier College Football Playoff
2) The playoff is fair and controversy free
3) All bowl games are upheld. So conferences and teams still get thier post season pay day. Also, all college bowl traditions still will exist.
NOTE: Please leave me some feedback. Any questions, comments, disagreements, or ideas to improve this blog are welcome and greatly appriciated. Thx!
ALSO: I will be writing a follow shortly where Ill adress most comments and questions