I think we can all agree that the BCS is flawed.
I think we can also all agree that not having a true playoff system in place in college football sucks.
The one thing however that not everyone agrees on is how a fair playoff system would work, how many teams would make the playoffs if a playoff existed, and exactly how those playoff teams were chosen.
I have come up with a system that is as fair as any I've ever seen presented.
Keep in mind that what I have come up with here would represent a MAJOR change in not just the way the post season is run but also a MAJOR change in the way the regular season is run.
Also keep in mind that I fully recognize and accept that because this proposal basically completely reworks the entire college football landscape (specifically conference affiliations and some traditional rivalries), that nothing even close to what I am laying out here will ever come to be.
I am only dreaming here.
But I sure had a lot of fun doing it, and I truly believe that this is the fairest way to run the college football regular season and post season that I have ever heard or seen presented.
As I mentioned earlier, we can all (or at least a majority of us) agree that the way the postseason is set up today leaves a lot of room for improvement to put it lightly.
Boise State went 14-0 this year with wins over the PAC-10 champion and TCU, who many believe have the best defense in the country. Yet they stand no chance to claim the title of national champion.
Mainly because they don't play in a "major" conference.
Shouldn't all conferences, at least in theory, be equal?
Unfortunately, the truth is that not all conferences are equal.
You'd be crazy to claim that the WAC is as strong as the SEC.
Sure Boise State has been one of the best programs the last five-or-so years, but after that you've got Fresno State and probably Hawaii as the only other programs that have even sniffed the national spotlight in their school's history.
And I won't even mention some of the other weaker conferences (Conference USA, Sun Belt, etc.).
So all conferences are not equal, in my opinion this is the first problem in college football.
Aside from that, problem number two is that conferences, while loosely based on regional location, have some major holes in that regard.
Louisiana Tech in the Western Athletic Conference?
Buffalo (as in Buffalo, NY) in the Mid-American Conference?
Texas Christian in the Mountain West?
I think you get my point.
I believe that conferences should represent regions without exception.
Now, obviously there are more college football programs in, say, the southeastern U.S. as there are in Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas, so obviously that issue would have to be addressed.
And obviously there are more than a couple of great programs in Texas as opposed to say, Rhode Island or Alaska.
So, what I have done is divided all of the nation into ten (such a pleasing number) conferences based on location.
Each conference contains a different number of states, but all states in each conference are neighbors.
So, without further ado, here are your new football conferences (I have yet to come up with catchy names for each conference so I have just numbered them 1-10):
Conference 1: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania
Conference 2: Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky
Conference 3: Florida, Georgia, Tennessee
Conference 4: Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas
Conference 5: Ohio, Indiana
Conference 6: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa
Conference 7 - Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma
Conference 8: Texas, New Mexico
Conference 9: Arizona, Nevada, California
Conference 10: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska
Each conference would have 12 schools without exception.
Every year, or every five years (or whatever) those 12 schools could be reassessed and each conference could drop a team or two to a lower division and pick up a team or two from the lower division(s) as they see fit. In other words, you have to earn your right to play D-IA football.
As for regular season scheduling, I have done away with non-conference games.
Every team plays every team in its' conference one time without exception so that every team will play 11 regular season games each season.
At the end of the regular season, which is a few weeks earlier than it is these days because I have taken away one game from every team as well as the conference tournaments, the top two teams in all ten conferences will advance to the postseason.
This gives us 30 playoff teams.
To get to 32 teams, a selection committee (not unlike the one used to seed the NCAA basketball tournament each year) will pick two "at large" teams who did not finish in the top three in their conference to round out the bracket and then seed all 32 teams 1-32.
In the first round of the playoffs 32 plays at 1, 31 plays at 2, etc. For the second round through the rest of the playoffs, you have rotating pre-selected stadiums (which would generally be those stadiums where bowl games are played today) hosting games.
Teams with higher seeds have better chances playing somewhere closer to home than those with lower seeds.
Here is how each conference could look (projected 2009 playoff teams are marked with an asterisk):
1 (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
Knocking on the door: New Hampshire
2 (Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Delaware)
North Carolina St.
Knocking on the door: Richmond, Marshall, William & Mary, Appalachian, S. Carolina St., Elon, Western Kentucky
3 (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee)
Knocking on the door: Florida Int., Jacksonville St.
4 (Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas)
Knocking on the door: Arkansas St, UAB, McNeese St.
5 (Ohio, Indiana)
6 (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa)
Knocking on the door: Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa
7 (Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma)
South Dakota St.
Knocking on the door: North Dakota St.
8 (Texas, New Mexico)
Houston* (at large)
New Mexico St.
Knocking on the door: Stephen F. Austin
9 (Arizona, Nevada, California)
San Diego St.
San Jose St.
Knocking on the door: Northern Arizona
10 (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska)
Oregon St.* (at large)
Knocking on the door: Montana St.