Okay so it's college football's postseason. Time to decide who the National Champion is and which of the 117 Division 1-A teams is the best. But if all 117 Division 1-A teams don't have a chance, can it really decide who its best team is. Yep this is yet another article talking about how college football needs a playoff. Unlike some articles though, I have a proposal.
I propose a 16 team playoff. I feel that we should go with 16 teams because all those 8 team playoffs that you hear proposed, still has the exclusionary element, where only half the teams have a legitimate shot. Most playoff proposals call for 5 automatic bids to the winners of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and the Pac-10 conferences. How is this any different from the BCS? The rest of the conferences are still pretty much excluded, and the big conferences still control all the money.
So I propose an automatic bid to all 12 Conference champions (well really 11 conferences and the best independent team). The reason I include all conferences is because, in the long run this will help even out the playing field among all teams. Think about it. If a 4 or 5 star recruit is thinking about which team to commit to, and all teams have a legitimate shot at getting to the postseason tourney, then the recruit is more likely to go to a team in a lesser conference where he can start, and it will be easier to win the conference, than to a powerhouse conference where he might not start, and it's a lot harder to win the conference. Over the years, with the top recruits being spread out this will make the smaller guys more competitive.
This will still leave the question of 4 open bids. Well contrary to popular opinion the BCS isn't all bad. A BCS like equation would be great to deterrmine the 4 open bids. The 4 teams would be the highest ranked non conference winning teams. However unlike this year's BCS, which just takes the computer rankings, and the two human polls to figure out the equation, there would need to be some other factors involved, so that teams aren't just scheduling dogs for out of conference games, at least until the level of play catches up to the system. In this system, the human polls would be made public, and voters would be reviewed every year. Sorry Coaches. Also neither human poll would come out until after the 5th week of the season, and the BCS would only appear after the 9th week.
Before we go to further I should say that under this proposal, the NCAA's hypocritical proposal for a 12th regular season game for all teams would not be around. Fans would much rather see a playoff than another regular season game. The games would start the week after conference championships, and play out to have the championship game on New Year's Day, like it should be.
Where to play the games? I have a solution for that also. The First round game will be an extra home game for the higher ranked teams. Consider a gift to the fans that they get one extra home game. Second round can be some of your lesser bowls, like say the Holiday, MPC Computers, Las Vegas, Sun, etc. Let's face it, a bowl game being the site of a playoff game would be much better than some of the games these bowls usually get. The Semifinal, and Final Games would be on a rotating schedule of the current 4 BCS bowls. Now granted the biggest problem here is that Only two of the 4 games would be on New Years each year. The other 2 would be played the week before, also one of the games would be a consolation game between the 3rd and 4th place teams. And since this would only be 8 bowl games accounted for, the other 20 Bowl games could have their choice of non-playoff teams, or even first round losers. That way you still get your fill of bowl games, and can even have some other New Year's Day bowls leading up to the big game.
Now granted it's not a perfect system, but it's still better than anything being proposed. Here is a run down of the Pros and Cons
All 117 teams eligible for tournament, and will benefit.
Over the long run will make the competition much better in College Football.
Still get to keep the bowl games.
New Year's Day means something again in College Football.
More than one bowl game means something each year.
Money would be spread out and not just controlled by the big conferences. (This is a con if you are one of the big conferences, but for everyone else it great!)
Less Coaches jumping ship to a major team for the chance to win a National Championship.
0 Chance of finishing the season with more than 1 undefeated team.
The National Champion is Decided on the field.
Only two of the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange Bowl would be played on New Years each year.
Each year one of the 4 big games would be a consolation bowl, which might not get the best ratings. However in the rotation the next year it would be the champion.
The non playoff involved bowl games could become even less meaningful. However with proper scheduling would still be broadcast.
Possibility of some uneven first round games for the first year between top seeds and bottom seeds. (Then again there is always a possibility of an uneven game.)
So how would this look this year? Well glad you ask. Below is what the bracket would look like this year. As well as a rundown of what could happen. Note: These outcomes assume that no coaching changes have been made. (Game results purely fictional, based on best guess of outcomes that aren't happening.)
1 USC vs. 16 N. Texas - The Sun Belt Champions looked like a smaller conference team as it traveled to Souther California to play the Trojans. Reggie Bush, and Matt Leinart looked like the Heisman contenders they are as the Trojans had no trouble advancing to the second round.
8 Virginia Tech vs. 9 Boise State - Boise State kept the nations longest winning streak alive, but it was on life support for a while. BSU took Va. Tech to double overtime before winning the game, when Va. Tech was unable to convert on 4th and goal from the 5.
5 Texas vs 12 Michigan (Which happens to be this year's Rose Bowl) - Apparently the 12/5 upset curse isn't just for college basketball, as the Wolverines from Michigan upset the longhorns. Texas never really was able to get things going, despite coach Mack Brown lobbying for love from the officials.
4 California vs 13 Pitt - Pittsburgh was unable to prevent even more criticism against a weak Big East conference as the Golden Bears set themselves up for a rematch against conference rival USC. Cal even knelt down on the ball 4 consecutive times to avoid running up the score.
6 Utah vs 11 LSU - The Utes finally get their chance to prove they can play with anyone as they face off against Last Year's co-champion LSU Tigers. Alex Smith showed why he is a Heisman candidate as he directed Utah's spread offense to 45 points and helped the Utes advance.
3 Auburn vs 14 Navy - Well they don't drive cadillac's in the Navy, but that doesn't stop them from getting hit by one. Auburn running backs Cedric Benson, and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, prove too much to hand for the Midshipmen as Auburn moves on to the second round for a much anticipated matchup with Oklahoma
7 Georgia vs 10 Louisville - The high flying Louisville offense upset the Bulldogs. The nations highest rated QB Stefan LeFors threw for 3 second half TD's to comeback from a 5 point first half deficit.
2 Oklahoma vs 15 Toledo - A much closer first round game than many expected, as the high flying Toledo Offense kept up with the Sooners for the first half of the game. Heisman candidate Jason White struggled in the first half, but along with fellow candidate, and freshman sensation Jason White, pulled away in the second half to move into the second round.
1 USC vs 9 Boise State (Las Vegas Bowl) - The teams with the two longest wins streaks in the nation square off. In the end Boise's defense finally lets down it's high powered offense as the Trojans win and claim the longest win streak.
12 Michigan vs 4 Cal (MPC Computers Bowl) - The smurf turf of Boise State saw the Golden Bears of Cal, led by QB Aaron Rodgers 3 TD's, defeat the Wolverines in an exciting matchup.
6 Utah vs 3 Auburn (New Orleans Bowl) - Newly crowned Heisman winner Alex Smith leads his Utes into a battle between two unbeaten teams. Unfortunately for the Utes though Auburn defense is able to keep the high powered Ute offense in check and wins the game thanks to a last second fieldgoal.
10 Louisville vs 2 Oklahoma (Insight.com Bowl) - Oklahoma showed the Cardinals that they may not quite be ready for the big time as the Sooners won the fiesta bowl by 10 points. However the Cardinals nearly came back from a 17 point second quarter deficit, but in the end they couldn't stop Adrian Peterson who ran for 3 TD's.
1 USC vs 4 Cal (Rose Bowl) - Cal and USC squared off for their second thrilling game this season. This time though the Golden Bears didn't fall short, as they beat the rival Trojans to move on to the Orange Bowl. The Bears were able to intercept Matt Leinart 3 times, but still had to convert a 4th and 7 with less than a minute to go, on the drive that led to a winning field goal.
2 Oklahoma vs 3 Auburn (Fiesta Bowl) - Finally the game to see who really deserved the #2 ranking all season. A game that lived up to the hype. Both teams fought hard as the lead changed hands 3 times, but thanks to a 4th Quarter TD Bomb by Jason White, the Sooners advance to the Orange Bowl Bowl.
1 USC vs 3 Auburn (Sugar Bowl) - Though not for the national championship a great game nonetheless as 2 of the 3 teams that topped the rankings for most of the season went head to head. In the end though USC wasn't able to overcome 3 turnovers against a tenacious Auburn Defense.
2 Oklahoma vs 4 Cal (Orange Bowl) - Oklahoma desparate to prove that last year's championship game meltdown was a fluke, was able to hang on in a great matchup against the golden bears from Cal. The two teams combined for 42 second half points, but in the end it came to a great defensive stop on 4th and 3 and the Sooners hoist the National Championship trophy.
So there you have it. As I said before, it's not perfect but it's a lot better than what we have now.