Determining a Champ: Another Solution to the BCS Mess

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Determining a Champ: Another Solution to the BCS Mess

IconAt a time when every college football fan has an idea on how to fix the BCS, I couldn't help but add my two cents to the mix.

For the record, I don't expect that anyone involved with college football would agree to the following. My only intention is to encourage further thinking about how to make a great sport even better.

I'm not going to go so far as to throw away the BCS and start from scratch. I also want to maintain as much tradition as possible while creating a more level playing field.

So with that in mind...

First, Notre Dame has to move to the Big East. The Irish can keep their TV deal, but their inclusion in a BCS conference is a must. 

If they refuse to participate, they don't get to play in a BCS bowl unless they finish in the top four.

IconThe ND move ensures that the Big East can play eight conference games per season—which is an exact requirement for all conferences. If the two teams tied for the Pac-10 or Big Ten lead don't play each other during the regular season, they have to play on conference championship weekend.

BCS conference teams will play a more structured out-of-conference (OOC) schedule to ensure a more balanced system.

Out of four OOC games, at least two must be against fellow BCS conference teams, and none may be played against I-AA teams. 

If a BCS conference team wants to pay a team a large sum of money to be a sacrificial lamb, they're still permitted to schedule non-BCS conference teams.

The BCS OOC games will be scheduled by the NCAA—not the member institutions. The NCAA will uphold existing OOC rivalry games like Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina, and Notre Dame-USC. 

The rest of the games will be randomly drawn, with each team playing one game at home and one game away per season. These matchups will be drawn every two years, so that each team plays against a scheduled opponent at home and away in successive seasons.

Schools can schedule their remaining OOC games, with the following provisions:

First, a team can schedule each non-BCS school only twice every eight years, with the exception of existing rivalry games approved by the NCAA (e.g. Colorado-Colorado State and Notre Dame-Navy). This ensures that schools will play a variety of opponents. 

Second, schools must play one of these games away from home every two years (i.e. one out of four games). Scheduling teams from the Sun Belt or MAC is fine, so long as a school is willing to travel every now and then.

Teams can also use these games to play other BCS teams in the interest of rivalries or strength of schedule. 

For example, Notre Dame will have scheduled rivalry games with USC and Boston College every season, but can still schedule a game with Michigan if they so desire.

The following is a simulation of a random draw for the two OOC games involving BCS teams...

(Rivalry games are in bold.)

OOC Game 1

South Carolina

at

Clemson

Wake Forest

at

Vanderbilt

Notre Dame

at

USC

Georgia

at

Georgia Tech

Iowa

at

Iowa State

Florida State

at

Florida

Penn State

at

Pittsburgh

Louisville

at

Kentucky

West Virginia

at

Virginia Tech

Miami FL

at

Northwestern

Michigan

at

UCLA

Mississippi

at

Texas Tech

Tennessee

at

Kansas

Kansas State

at

Washington State

Stanford

at

Ohio State

Cincinnati

at

Boston College

Oregon State

at

North Carolina

California

at

Texas A+M

Texas

at

Washington

Rutgers

at

Mississippi State

Auburn

at

Maryland

Duke

at

Colorado

Missouri

at

LSU

Nebraska

at

South Florida

Illinois

at

Baylor

Alabama

at

Arizona State

Minnesota

at

Oklahoma State

Connecticut

at

Indiana

Arizona

at

Wisconsin

Oklahoma

at

Virginia

Arkansas

at

NC State

Michigan State

at

Oregon

Syracuse

at

Purdue

OOC Game 2

Boston College

at

Notre Dame

Florida

at

Miami FL

Maryland

at

West Virginia

North Carolina

at

South Carolina

Kansas

at

Michigan

Washington State

at

Mississippi

Washington

at

Tennessee

Arizona State

at

Kansas State

NC State

at

Stanford

Virginia

at

Cincinnati

Baylor

at

Oregon State

Texas Tech

at

California

USC

at

Texas

Clemson

at

Rutgers

Wisconsin

at

Auburn

Iowa State

at

Duke

Indiana

at

Louisville

Pittsburgh

at

Florida State

Mississippi State

at

Missouri

Virginia Tech

at

Nebraska

Oklahoma State

at

Illinois

Oregon

at

Alabama

Northwestern

at

Georgia

Colorado

at

Syracuse

LSU

at

Wake Forest

Vanderbilt

at

Minnesota

Georgia Tech

at

Connecticut

Texas A+M

at

Arizona

South Florida

at

Oklahoma

Ohio State

at

Arkansas

Kentucky

at

Penn State

UCLA

at

Michigan State

Purdue

at

Iowa


As for the BCS itself—the only change I would make is to eliminate the Coaches Poll in favor of the Associated Press Poll. 

The coaches have too much to win or lose from the rankings to be entirely objective. While I'm not accusing coaches of outright bias, history has shown that the press is more likely to be evenhanded.

What would all this accomplish? 

For starters, teams could never be accused of not playing good teams out of conference. They would play games against BCS opponents, and would be immune from criticism, as the NCAA would be scheduling the matchups.

There are drawbacks to the system, but that's to be expected. There is no perfect solution. In any event, the proposal has fewer flaws than the current model.

Leaving the BCS in place would appease its supporters. More importantly, the change would give the voters and the computers more information in making their choices.

Best of all, the new system would provide another level of excitement to a sport that thrives on it. Conference races would still go down to the wire, and there would be more quality OOC games than ever before.

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