Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Solution to College Football's Annual BS Fest

Over the years we've all been subjected to the debate about whether college football should stick with the bowl system or finally have a playoff to decide its national champion.  There are pretty good reasons for both, yet all the dumb solutions we have heard so far conveniently ignore some of not all of them.  So as i sit back to watch the likely USC-Penn State train wreck, i thought what better time to unleash a playoff system that can make everyone in college football happy.  Read ahead if you have ever been frustrated by stupid bowl matchups, rolled your eyes at retarded playoff plans, or have ever been  a pissed off football fan.


The basic plan that i am endorsing is an 8-team playoff that combines the winners of the major conferences, while leaving space for excellent at-large teams and accomplished mid-majors to be included if they so deserve.  This way, the 6 major conferences would all be represented as they are today and there would also be a realistic chance for teams that fall victim to BCS's formulas to shut up and prove it on the field.  The tournament would take 3 weeks, with the championship played the January 8th, the week after New Years Day.

The Participants

Here is how the 8 teams would be decided:

- The ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10 and SEC champions would automatically be in the field of 8 *IF* they finish the season in the Top 10 of the coaches and AP polls.  Therefore, if you are a shitty team that won a wack conference, you can go get ghost.  Virginia Tech was an OK team this year, but they in no way belong in a BCS game based on their accomplishment.  Same with Cincinnati.
- Mid-Major champions would automatically be included in the field of 8 *if* they win their conference, go undefeated, and finish the season in the top 10 of the AP and Coaches polls.  Therefore Utah and Boise State would make the field of 8 this season.  
- If there are more than 8 combined big conference and undefeated mid-major teams, the top 8 seeds would be determined based on cumulative AP and coaches poll ranking.
- At-large teams would be selected by highest cumulative AP and Coaches poll rankings.  This would reward excellent teams from deep conferences, such as the Big 12 and SEC, while still leaving a great importance on winning your conference and earning the automatic bid and not taking a chance on being an at-large.  

This selection process would guarantee that the 8 greatest teams are in the playoffs every single year.  If you think there's a better way to choose 8 teams, then tell me how.


Bowl advocates have bitched about how a playoff system would add too many additional games to the crowded college schedule.  Under my system, only two teams would play more than the 14 games that bowl teams play under the current rules, therefore eliminating this lame excuse while still keeping the bowl system under its current form.  Here's how it works:

- 2 years ago the NCAA decided to extend the college season from 12 to 13 regular season games.  It was basically a way to make more TV revenue.  The problem is that most big college teams have filled this game with a worthless cupcake oppenent, making it the equivalent of an NFL preseason game.  Under my formula, this 13th game would be eliminated from the schedule.  Instead, the quarterfinal of the 8-team playoff would serve as the 13th game for the teams involved.  This way, TV ratings would become even higher than they are now.

- Additionally, these quarterfinal matchups *Would be played in the home stadiums* of the 4 highest seeds in the tournament to reward regular season accomplishments and also to preserve revenues that a 13th game could bring into the universities and conferences.

- Both the quarterfinal winner and loser matchups would take place at the existing 4 BCS bowl games (Orange, Rose, Sugar, Fiesta).  The locations of the national semifinals, and the consolation games would be rotated similarly to how they are now.  That way the big bowl games still get the best matchups, the fans see the best games, and the teams determine who makes the championship in the most pure form.  Now the Rose Bowl has been a big bitch in the bowl system for a long time.  Their desire to have the Big 10 play the Pac 10 every year has led to decades of shitty matchups.  Frankly the time for this is over.  Tradition is great and all, as long as the tradition isn't worthless.  If the Rose Bowl won't take the matchup its given, then it can peace out to the BCS.  Its spot could easily be given to the Cotton Bowl at the new Texas Stadium or the Capital One Bowl at the refurbished Citrus Bowl.  Either the Rose Bowl can play the same as the other BCS bowls, or it can enjoy the matchup of the best Big 10 and Pac 10 team outside of the top 8.  We'll see how its precious tradition matters at that point.

- The remaining bowl games would be filled as they are now, based on conference rank below the BCS games participants.  Under my system, all of these games would be completed by the end of January 1st, so no attention is taken away from the semifinals and championship.  It makes no sense that the International Bowl is played on January 6th.  Get that shit done with quick.

- Quarterfinals would be played the week after conference championships, which would be moved up a week with the elimination of the 13th game.  Therefore, players would still have a break for finals and bowl preparation.  The two semifinals would be played on January 1st, at 430pm and 8pm after the completion of all other bowl games.

- The Championship would be played a week from New Years, at a rotating BCS location just as it is now.

After all this, there would be 1 additional game played, the bowl hierarchy would be maintained, EVERYONE makes more money, and the fans see the best games.  How can this be a bad thing?


Based on the results of the 2008 regular season, and the system described above,  this is how the 8 team field would be determined:

1 seed - Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12 Champ
2 seed - Florida Gators, SEC Champ
3 seed - Texas Longhorns, Big 12 at large
4 seed - Alabama Crimson Tide, SEC at large
5 seed - USC Trojans, Pac 10 Champ
6 seed - Penn State Nittany Lions, Big 10 Champs
7 seed - Utah Utes, Mountain West Champ, undefeated mid-major
8 seed - Boise State Broncos, WAC Champ, undefeated mid-major

Here are the quarterfinal matchups, if these don't make you pitch a tent then go watch golf.

Boise State (8) @ Oklahoma (1), Norman, OK
Utah (7) @ Florida (2), Gainesville, FL
Penn State (6) @ Texas (3), Austin, TX
USC (5) @ Alabama (4), Tuscaloosa, AL

From here the semifinals would be played on New Years day, and out of the bracket a champion would be determined on January 8th, fully earned and justified by regular season and post-season success.

This whole system probably will never work, because its too right and the people in charge are too dumb and greedy to realize a good thing, but it would ensure a rightful champion is crowned, all while keeping the remaining system fully intact and eliminating the ridiculous controversies that have recently plagued college football.  If you think you can do better, please let me know, i'll be busy watching a meaningless bowl game. 

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