Sunday, November 05, 2006

Josh Proposed College Football Playoff System

Division I-A college football, as most everyone knows, has the most bizarre, capricious method of determining a champion of any major sport. Several sports media outlets have proposed playoff schemes that could replace the current BCS system. Here's mine:

I am suggesting a 16-team playoff. As with men's and women's college basketball and some other collegiate sports, one team from each conference would automatically qualify for the playoff. Since there are 11 Division I-A football conferences, the playoff would consist of 11 automatic qualifiers and 5 at-large teams. These 16 teams would be seeded, as in basketball, using various objective and subjective criteria. (Granted, the winner of the Sun Belt conference will rarely, if ever, put up a fight in such a playoff. But, if there were an exceptional Sun Belt team, that school would not have to rely on the generosity of voters and computers to land a high-profile postseason matchup or shot at the national championship.)

The 8 first-round games would be played as existing bowl games at their current locations (say, for example, that the Cotton, Outback, Gator, Capital One, Liberty, Chick-fil-a, Independence, and Holiday bowls). The 4 second round games would be assigned to the current "BCS bowls" (Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and Rose). The two semi-final matchups and the championship game (as in basketball) would be designated the Final Four and would be played at rotating neutral sites. Other bowls would not be affected.

If my system were put into effect this year, this is what we'd be looking at (using BCS rankings for seedings and at-large invitations and current conference records for conference champions):

Capital One Bowl
1. Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. 16. Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt champ)

Outback Bowl
8. California (Pac 10 champ) vs. 9. Notre Dame (at large)

Gator Bowl
4. Florida (at large) vs. 13. Brigham Young (Mountain West champ)

Cotton Bowl
5. Texas (Big 12 champ) vs. 12. Wake Forest (ACC champ)

Independence Bowl
2. Michigan (at large) vs. 15. Central Michigan (MAC champ)

Holiday Bowl
7. USC (at large) vs. 10. Arkansas (SEC champ)

Liberty Bowl
3. Louisville (Big East champ) vs. 14. Houston (Conference USA champ)

Chick-fil-a Bowl
6. Auburn (at large) vs. 11. Boise State (WAC champ)

The Capital One and Outback winners would play in the Rose Bowl. The Gator and Cotton winners would play in the Sugar Bowl. The Independence and Holiday winners would play in the Orange Bowl. The Liberty and Chick-fil-a winners would play in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Rose and Sugar winners would play in the Final Four, as would the Orange and Fiesta winners. The winners of these two games would play for the National Championship.

Of course, these seedings are based on current BCS standings. A selection committee might give Arkansas and Wake Forest higher seeds and might consider West Virginia, Rutgers, or Wisconsin for at-large spots.

What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a playoff, so any system that improves upon the BCS/bowl nonsense would be great.

I think I'd have to tweak your setup, though, if it were solely up to me. I'd start smaller (the same way the NCAA hoops tournament did), and I wouldn't give smaller conference champs that kind of boost. (MTSU and Central Michigan don't play schedules worthy of earning a bid just by winning their conferences, I think.)

I'd just take the top four BCS poll teams and put them in two of the four BCS bowls (specific bowls to be rotated on an annual basis). The championship would be played in the current "Plus-One" BCS bowl game the following weekend.

This is a practical system that shifts the controversy from "Who's the second-best team?" to "Who's the fourth-best team?" That's a minor change, but I think it's a good one. No more complaining by #3 and #4 about being left out. As of today, it would be:

#1 OSU vs. #4 Florida
#2 Michigan vs. #3 Louisville

Obviously this is a flawed example since OSU and Michigan play prior to bowl season, but I still think it shows you how effective this system could be. Maybe you add one weekend and expand it to the top eight teams eventually:

#1 OSU vs. #8 California
#2 Michigan vs. #7 USC
#3 Louisville vs. #6 Auburn
#4 Florida vs. #5 Texas

Great question, by the way. Here's hoping some kind of playoff finally arrives.

5:05 PM  
Blogger gavin richardson said...

i want to go back to old days where bowl games names depicted where the game actually was and there was only bowl games for the very best. more games more laughing stock.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Art said...

That's an interesting idea. We certainly need something other than the B(c)S!

9:33 AM  
Anonymous tourney-seeker said...

It's looking like almost everyone wants a playoff. So what do we need to do to get a playoff? How do we convince the NCAA that a playoff is needed?

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Tommy said...

Your idea and mine are exactly the same. Basketball allows smaller conferences to get into the tournament by winning their conference titles, so I think the NCAA should allow it too (although then we may see Miami or Florida trying to join the Sun Belt). Although actually Troy would be considered Sun Belt champion, not MTSU, as Troy won head-to-head over MTSU.

3:41 PM  

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