Yes, playoffs are the talk of the day yet again. Jim Mora may have made the word famous in a post game rant during his days as the Indianapolis Colts Head Coach, but today it’s college football fans screaming for a playoff.
But while BCS haters unite in a call for a unified playoff, other pundits insist the current bowl system must remain intact. My question is, why can’t we have both?
So here it is, in the highly anticipated return of Galvinized Sports, my solution to the NCAA football post-season madness.
Lets start with the newest trend in college football. Conferences are realigning left and right, and to simplify the system, we should cut a few of the dead weight conferences. My proposal calls for the elimination of the Sun Belt and WAC, instead merging them into one conference. I don’t know what to call that conference, and frankly I don’t care, but I do know I would split it into and East and West division alignment. The Independents would also have to commit to a conference, and yes that includes you Notre Dame. Why in the world you get special privileges when your team hasn’t been relevant in two decades I don’t know, but if anyone has deserved those privileges over the last six years, its Boise St.
That leaves us with 10 conferences. My plan calls for the conference champion to earn automatic births in a 16-team playoff. The final six teams must finish at least second in their conference, and will be determined by a panel of 25 media members. Nobody with any conference ties, nobody with any money to gain or lose (yes, I’m calling you out Sugar Bowl). The panel will be randomly selected from a pool of 50 media members each year, and that panel will be selected 10 days prior to the conference championship games. Also, a maximum of 3 media members per conference will be permitted, preventing the SEC or Big Ten from loading up.
The 10 conference champions must be the top 10 seeds, but the panel will determine seeding. Also, no rematches from regular season games are allowed in the first round. Games will start the weekend before Christmas, and will be played each Saturday thereafter until the semi-finals. Those games will be played on Monday (since the NFL would be in the first round of their playoffs, and play on both Saturday and Sunday), and the National Championship game would then be on the Tuesday after. Also, a third-place game would be played the Monday before the Championship game.
There would be 15 games in a 16-team playoff. Each of those games would be a bowl game. We would eliminate the current National Championship game and go back to having four BCS bowls be the major games, rotating between hosting semi-final matchups, the third-place game, and the National Championship game each year. With the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls covered in the final two rounds, the next tier of bowls would cover the second and first-round games. Games like the Cotton Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl and others of higher stature would earn playoff games, and thus would be more likely to get big name schools as they are now.
The remaining bowl games, including the Insight Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, and Pinstripe Bowl, among others, would then be played as usual, before and after the first two rounds of the playoffs. We can even leave the International Bowl to be played the Thursday before the National Championship game, just to keep everyone happy. The only new rule would be that each bowl eligible team now must win more than 50% of their games.
That’s right, no more 6-6 teams with a win against a sub-division school playing in bowls.
With some teams playing in three of four bowls because of the playoffs, we have to eliminate 16 bowl teams. If there were not enough teams who are at least 7-5, then strength of schedule would apply to the 6-6 teams, determining who would get the last bowl births. That should eliminate teams loading up on the Youngstown St. and UC Davis’s of the world.
We can’t eliminate bowls. There is absolutely too much tradition in them, and besides, did anyone else watch Baylor and Washington outscore half of college basketball on Thursday night? Games like that one, the Notre Dame vs. Florida St. game before it, and even the Air Force vs. Toledo game were all must see television for football fans. Honestly, I can’t think of one bowl that has not been enjoyable so far. Even the Boise St. dismantling of Arizona St. was fun to watch, because it was our last chance to see the winnings QB in NCAA history, Kellen Moore, one last time, as well as a chance to watch future NFL players like Vontaze Burfict, Doug Martin and Gerell Robinson one last time.
But a playoff is needed. As much as I do enjoy the drama that goes along with the BCS, I simply can’t stand another year of teams loading up on soft non-conference schedules just to squeeze into bigger money games. Speaking of the BCS, check back early next week, when I delve into the horrific National Championship game, and why Stanford should be outraged beyond belief over not getting a crack at LSU. Until then, thoughts?