Busting the BCS: A Playoff System That Gives a Fair Chance to All

James BondmanCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2012

Oregon, the Pac-12 champion would face Oklahoma State next under my current proposal for a playoff system.
Oregon, the Pac-12 champion would face Oklahoma State next under my current proposal for a playoff system.Harry How/Getty Images

We've had a compelling bowl season thus far, especially among the BCS bowls (Fiesta, Sugar, and Rose). I'm sure the Orange Bowl will put up a good fight.  

All these close bowls make you think the BCS is working—they've put together great games that have features high offensive games and close games decided in overtime or a late field goal. 

But somehow you're craving more. You ask yourself whether the highly fashionable Oregon Ducks could beat Michigan? Could Oklahoma State be in the championship game if it could prove itself once more? 

These are questions fans and experts can argue all they want but what matters is what happens on the field against the two teams in battle. 

Yes, playoff systems devalue the regular season, but not if it is done the right way in a condensed and rebooted format where conference games are the play-in of sorts to the playoffs. Besides, at the end of the day, teams still have to play their way into the playoffs.

A twist is I'd still keep the BCS Rankings, even though they won't have much bearing with regards to who goes to the playoffs, with the exception of a pair of slots as you see below.  

In my proposal, each BCS conference (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, PAC-12 and SEC) would have their own conference game, and the winner would therefore advance to a first round of Bowl game playoffs. 


Analyzing Conferences in Respective Areas

As you can see, it's different, and many of you might have reservations of breaking the tradition with a certain conference's attachment to a certain bowl (such as PAC-12 to Rose Bowl), but in the spirit of this particular playoff format, it had to be broken up. 

My basis for choosing certain conference winners in their respective areas deals with location. I had to make sure the "bowl games" weren't in a favorable site of a conference winner but not too far away for fans to make the trip for. 

However, please note the Capital One Bowl, now in Orlando, would preferably under this new system be in Atlanta (Georgia Dome). That way, the initial four first-round games are at dome stadiums. The Chick-fil-A Bowl game could make its way to Disney World—sorry, guys. 

I kept mostly the same standards, as you can see, with certain matchups. The PAC-12 conference champion goes up against the Big Ten conference winner, but instead it will be in the Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ).

The Big 12, SEC and ACC are conferences who are tied the usual bowl games (Fiesta, Sugar and Orange) respectively are kept somewhat intact.  

The SEC will slide on over to the majestic Cowboys Stadium to play the Cotton Bowl,  the ACC winner would be in the Georgia Dome, and the Big 12 takes the SEC's main spot and plays in the Sugar Bowl.

Again, this is to not play in favor of a particular conference, so it's like a neutral site but somewhere not too distant from fans' reach. 

The ACC gets a matchup against an at-large BCS team, so losing your conference championship game doesn't mean the end of the world. The highest-ranked BCS team who did not win their conference game or did not make it (cough cough Alabama) would get this slot. 

As for both the SEC and Big 12, they would face whoever is ranked highest among the trio of the Big East, Notre Dame (would only qualify if they fulfilled the "Notre Dame Rule"), and a non-automatic qualifier.

If a non-automatic qualifier is not in the Top 25 and should Notre Dame not fulfill the rule, then another slot would open for a BCS at-large. 

The decision of which conference (SEC or Big 12) gets what opponent lies with who has the better conference record, and they will get to pick between a Big East foe, the Fighting Irish, a date with a Cinderella non-AQ team or a challenge with a BCS at-large squad.  

You may ask yourself why not just outright have a second slot open for a BCS at-large? Well, plain and simple, it's to give a chance to a larger field of teams such as a non-AQ like Boise State (even though they bolted to the Big East). 


The Structure

If you wondering why I chose the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl as the semifinals sites, it's just because each is unique in how you have a bowl of oranges and rose flowers to celebrate with. I know it's dumb, but also both of those bowls are in outdoor environments, adding feel to the game. 

Now yes, I could have done it differently. I could have had the four main BCS bowl games for the first round and have added an extra round leading up to the eventual BCS game.

But think about it—if a BCS game was at, say Cowboys Stadium, and you have a Final Four and a first-round playoff game (Cotton Bowl), that's a total of four out of seven games played at one site where fans wouldn't know where to go from round to round and where planning ahead is thrown out the door. 

At least in this format, fans and teams know where they will go and whom they will go up against and won't have to be dragged mostly to a particular area if their team made it far. 

As for when the games are played, I propose a two-week layoff after conference championships, with the first game in mid-December. Two games will be played on Friday and two games will be played on Saturday, perhaps in a yearly rotating schedule.  

Afterwards, the Rose Bowl game is played on New Years Day with the Orange Bowl following a day later, depending on the day of the week. The BCS Championship game will be played on the second Monday of January, which happens to be January 9th this year but in 2013 would be January 14th, if my calculations are correct.

Either way, you have yourself a short and sweet, favorable playoff where everyone gets what they want. No eternal breaks between games, little to no arguments over ranking and an all-out grind throughout battling for trophy that would really mean something under this proposal or any worthy playoff proposal. 


Translating It to the Current Field 


I close my proposal with, wouldn't this be nice?

Fill it out if you want, but we will just never know in real life, will we?