How a Playoff Could Succeed in Division I-A Football

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How a Playoff Could Succeed in Division I-A Football
(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

Every fall, there are three guarantees in life: the World Series will take place, the leaves will fall off of trees, and their will be another BCS controversy in college football.

I know, you are probably very tired of the whole thing, hearing from countless writers droning on and on about the same topic without anything getting done about it.

While I may be one of those same writers, I am here to offer my two cents on the issue of college football playoffs and provide what I hope can be a remedy to finally crown a true national champion.

My plan would help blend together the current BCS system with what makes March Madness so great: a knock-out tournament where anything can happen.

 

So here is what I propose:

1. An 18-team playoff, where the 11 champions of the current Division I-A conferences automatically qualify, leaving seven wild card spots.

2. Four of those wild card slots are given to the losers of their respective conference championship games (ACC, Big 12, C-USA, and SEC) with the remaining three going to teams in the top-10 in the BCS not already qualified.

3. The current "Big Six" BCS conferences would be guaranteed byes, with the top-4 seeds advancing to the quarterfinals and 5-6 into the second round.  Seeding 7-18 would take place strictly on final BCS rankings.

 

Now I know that this sounds confusing, but please hear me out.

Heres what last years tournament would look like if this plan was in place (with actual final BCS rankings in parenthesis)

1. Oklahoma - Big -2 Champ (1)

2. Florida - SEC Champ (2)

3. USC - Pac-10 Champ (5)

4. Penn State - Big-10 Champ (8)

5. Cincinnati - Big East Champ (12)

6. Virginia Tech - ACC Champ (19)

7. Texas - Wild Card (3)

8.Alabama - SEC Runner-Up (4)

9. Utah - Mountain West Champ (6)

10. Texas Tech - Wild Card (7)

11. Boise State - Western Athletic Champ (9)

12. Ohio State - Wild Card (10)

13. Missouri - Big-12 Runner-Up (21)

14. Ball State - Mid-American Champ (22)

15. Boston College - ACC Runner-Up (24)

16. East Carolina - Conference USA Champ (NR)

17. Troy - Sun Belt Champ (NR)

18. Tulsa - C-USA Runner-Up (NR)

 

Now I know that it is a problem that teams ranked 7-18 would have to play five games in order to be champion.

However, the benefits are enormous.

First, it stirs the same passion as March Madness, where every conference champion, big or small, gets a chance at the title.

Second, it puts added bonus on winning your conference or division. You need to be the best to play for the crown.

Third, it adds drama to conference title games. Win and you could be a top six seed and a bye. Lose, and you have one or two more games to play.

Finally, it gives Division I-A a true national champion for the first time ever, without the controversy that arises every year.

Is this the best plan out there? Probably not. Will it still cause problems like everything else? Of course.

Is it a step in the right direction, a chance for a new round of debate to begin? Yes.

 

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