OK. I'm the the Bleacher Report curmudgeon who has had little good to say about the Bowl Championship Series, especially when it concerns the effect the BCS has on West Virginia and the Big East Conference.
While I was at it, I further blamed the BCS for the shortage of Catholic priests, the overexposure of Peyton Manning, the liberal media, LeBron James' abdication of Cleveland, Bill Belachick, Sarah Palin, and Al Gore.
I thought the BCS was just wrong!
In fact, if you want to read the position I took last year, click on this:
Or, if you want to read just how bad I can get with two controversial topics, click:
In the BCS/Tiger comparison, I bashed Bill Hancock unrightfully, essentially slapping him around for doing his job.
If a person's not inherently evil, one must accept that the person may have a point. I didn't do that.
Here's my mistake...well, it's not a mistake as much as it is an unbending, adamant opinion. Anyway, I wrote that I will accept nothing less than a 16 team playoff very similar to the construct set up by Sports Illustrated which so enamored me.
Not even Sports Illustrated held such an uncompromising position.
And...I will accept nothing less? Like, what would I do? Build a cabin in Montana?
Since then, I've learned from my readers and from those who comment that there are more genteel ways to invoke my opinions in the name of provoking thought.
Now, this is how I feel:
An eight-team playoff is the most workable solution for crowning a national champion in FBS college football.
(Before I describe how it could be done, I note: If I could have performed a literature review to find out if someone had this idea before me, I would have done it. So, if it looks like I plagiarized, call it ignorance.)
This is how it could be done:
a) The champions of seven conferences, referred to as the BCS Conferences, will receive automatic bids to the eight-team playoff. The BCS Conferences are the Big East, the Big 10, the Big 12, the Pac-10, the Atlantic Coast, the Southeastern, and the Mountain West.
b) Tell Notre Dame to take a—just kidding! I'm a Catholic. Things go better in my parish if I like the Fighting Irish. Therefore, Notre Dame can take the eighth spot if they are ranked 10th or better using the current BCS ranking system.
c) If Notre Dame does not qualify, the highest ranking team that is not a champion of a BCS Conference will be included. This team could be a member of a BCS conference, or not.
d) The eight teams will be seeded one through eight in accordance with the BCS ranking system. The match ups of the seeds will be structured in the typical 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, and 4-5 format.
d) The bowls set up to host the playoff games are 1) the BCS Championship game, 2) the Rose, the Orange, the Sugar, and the Fiesta, the four of which are called the BCS Bowls, and 3) the Cotton and the Gator.
e) The Cotton Bowl and the Gator Bowl will each year host a quarterfinal game. The two will alternate between the 3-6 game and the 4-5 game.
e.1) The inclusion of the Cotton and the Gator in the eight-team playoff system is in effect a promotion for both bowls and should make them very happy.
f) The Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl will, alternately among the four, host the other two quarterfinal games, which will be the 1-8 game and the 2-7 game.
f.1) The Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl will scream about this one as if they are being stabbed.
g) After the results of the quarterfinal round are known, the field will be re-seeded for the semi-final round, similar in principle to the NFL playoffs.
h) The BCS Bowls that did not host a quarterfinal game will alternately host the 1-4 game and the 2-3 game.
h.1) Please see f.1.
i) The winners of each semi-final game will meet in the BCS Championship game. The host city of the BCS Championship game will alternate among Pasadena, Glendale, New Orleans, and Miami.
j) The remaining 28 bowls can set up conference affiliations as they do presently and host their respective bowl games, pairing teams which are bowl eligible with a 6-6 record or better.
In a recent interview with Ray Holloman, FanHouse College Basketball Editor, Bill Hancock had only praise for the college football season and the energy the season brings to the game.
Mr. Hancock feels that any playoff structure would be risky since, as he states, "no bracket has ever stayed where it started," meaning semis would grow to quarters to 16 to—my words—four 1-8 match ups.
I can see this happening. In fact, it's already happened to college basketball, Mr. Hancock says. He feels the energy has been sucked out of the regular season. I don't necessarily agree with that statement in that I think February is hot but one sees a lot of empty seats in December.
So, let's look at the possibilities:
a) With four 1-8s after a 12 game season, the championship may come down to injuries.
b) The SI 16 teams structure will take four weeks. There goes finals week for the field. I'm serious. Also, to go from a one and two match up to a sweet sixteen would not be possible for BCS minds to garner.
c) A plus-one is just inadequate. With a plus-one last year, for instance, it still would have been possible (and very tempting) to eclipse Boise State and Texas Christian. In addition, playoffs should take at least the more obvious arguments out of the process. Plus-one may even be more controversial.
That brings us to the eight-team playoff structure. Starting the tournament with quarterfinals looks like a good position for the necessary compromise. Eight teams vying for the championship would result in some valid scenarios:
a) If only one team from the conference qualifies, every conference game, including the early conference games, would be absolutely vital. This is especially true for West Virginia, who, with its light out-of-conference slate, must win the Big East championship to have any chance for the national title.
b) Speaking of out-of-conference schedules, does a school 1) go light like WVU, since the odds of getting Notre Dame's slot are slim and none, or 2) stack the out-of-conference schedule with a USC and a couple of Michigan States to prepare for a tough conference run? Number 2) must be considered since the school's inclusion in the playoffs will almost always not depend on the out-of-conference record.
c) Say what?
d) What I mean is: strong or weak, the out-of-conference slate will mean less. Therefore, the scheduling decision goes all the way back to...money.
e) An eight-team playoff involving seven conferences effectively is a sixteen-team field because of the conference championship games.
f) How about that? e) is pretty cool. d) is not too bad, either.
Therefore, West Virginia would greatly benefit from an eight-team playoff that includes the Big East champion, which the Mountaineers have been twice in the past five seasons.
As well, WVU could continue to play Coastal Carolina, Liberty, UNLV, East Carolina, and the bottom fishers of the BCS conferences while scheduling the seven games they need to make a lot of money.
Eight-team playoff—ideal for the state of West Virginia and West Virginia University.