College Football Playoff: How Bad Do You Want It?
Been reading Bleacher Report for a while and making a few comments here and there, mostly on articles about trashing the BCS for a playoff system. I will have to say that I would enjoy seeing a playoff in place, but anyone that has seen any of my comments will know that I have been against every one that I have read so far, especially when the word "congress" is mentioned!. I have actually been asked were my BCS check should be sent due to my remarks against some of the playoff ideas! But, being the type NOT to blindly follow the crusade, I decided to give what I believe is the reasons for the problems we have now, along with what must happen if a playoff system is to work. The real question is; how bad do you want to fix the problem? What are you willing to give up for a playoff that really works?
The root of all the problems lies with the rankings and the number of teams in the FBS. Every playoff plan that I have read sticks with the current conference alignment and ranking system. Take a look at all the rankings that are used and look at the common factor. Whether it is the Coaches, Harris, AP or the BCS polls, they are voted on by people. How much time do you think a coach has to check out all the games and stats while preparing for next week's game? How many people just follow the norm? How difficult would it be when voting for your team, or a team in your conference, without being a little bias?
Just look at the first week this season. There are over 60 games! How do you manage that after a few weeks into the season along with your real job? This leads us to the other problem; too many teams. With 120 teams that are part of 11 conferences and the independents out there, it is easy to see how a very good team that starts outside the top 25, or even low in it, would never have a shot at the National Championship regardless of how good of a team they are. Do you think the Boise State’s of the football world would still have as weak of a schedule with only half as many teams in the FBS? I think not.
So here we go! Starting with the number of teams in the FBS, we should cut it nearly in half. Along with that comes the realignment of the current conferences. Hold the rotten veggies for a moment! With the talks of the Big Ten looking to add a few teams and the SEC not willing to be out done, most of the work is being done for us. Going to four "super conferences" with 16 teams per conference should do just fine. That will cut the total number of teams down 64.
With both the Big Ten and the SEC taking aim at the Big 12, they will be the first to go. The Big East is next. Don't tell me you didn't see that one coming! We can call the new division whatever, but I will refer to it as the Big 4. The teams left out we will still refer to as the FBS (they can have their own championship game). What are we giving up? A little history with the conferences and teams, and possibly a few rival games.
How I see it playing out. I see each conference having two divisions, like the SEC and Big 12 do now. Each team will have 9 in conference games and three out of conference games. My thoughts about the OOC games are to help maintain some of those rival games that may be lost with the shifts. With that being said, at least one of those games will come from the Big 4, with the other two being either from the Big 4 or the FBS (no FCS games for the Big 4). The first round of the playoffs will be the conference championship games. That will start your 8 team playoff. The conference champs will draw for their opponent at the next level. After that round you’re off to the National Championship Game! I know that we can keep those bowl games that we come to love alive and well by working them into this playoff system, rotating the host of the NCG every year.
In case you missed it, the rankings have been effectively removed from the problem! Sure, we can still have them to give us something to talk about before, during, and after the season, but they will not decide who gets into the playoffs or who goes to the NCG.
Now for the big twist! This is for the FBS guys crying about not being in the Big 4. Every few years, say 4, 6, or 8 years (pick a number) we shake it up a bit. The teams hanging out on the bottom of their conference, not meaning one bad year, but consistently there, will get knocked down to the FBS, allowing a consistently successful team the chance to move up to the Big 4. I know that there would have to be a lot of things to consider when doing this, but it would help eliminate some of the problems we currently have with teams from the WAC and MWC. They would have the opportunity to move up with no problem scheduling those "Big Boys" that are scared to play them now. OK, a little sarcasm in that one! On a side note, could dropping a team to the lower division also be a NCAA punishment for a team with major violations? Sorry USC. Yes, this is coming from a Bama fan!
Will we ever get to a playoff system? Don't know, but I am sure the subject will continue until something changes. If we do, we need to ensure that we get it right the first time. We don’t need to be looking for a new fix ten years from now. Honestly, how many thought that the BCS would cure our problems when it started? I do, without a doubt, know that congress does not need to get involved with this decision. If it becomes law, how hard will it be to fix later? Also, how would you like to put the playoffs on hold so that the court could rule on the “culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system”? But, I might be willing to accept their input if they take care of all the problems that we have in this country and then have some spare time on their hands!
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