A Solution So Simple... How an 8-Team NCAA Playoff Might Have Played Out

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A Solution So Simple... How an 8-Team NCAA Playoff Might Have Played Out
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Another season is over, and another opportunity to crown an uncontested NCAA champion in the FBS has been missed.

I have been championing an eight-team playoff to complement the existing bowl system for a while now among friends and (dis)interested parties. While it sort of demotes the Big East from the BCS, requires Notre Dame, Army and Navy to join a conference and costs student athletes at four institutions to play more than one bowl game, I believe it is satisfies the greed of the institutions and conferences in a financially-viable and public-satisfying way.

The rules are quite simple

  • The top five BCS conferences (the Big East demoted) play a conference championship game to determine each conference's bid.
  • The other six conferences (Big East, C.USA, Mid-Am, Mt. West, Sun Belt, WAC) regular season winners play three games the same weekend as the BCS conference championships, rotating the matchups and locations each year.
  • The five BCS teams and three non-BCS winners play seven games on regionally-determined neutral sites based on the final NCAA polls... or even... duh, duh, da, duh... an ESPN selection show!

This means that EVERY team will have a chance at a national championship regardless of preseason ranking or conference. Win your conference and you're invited. Independents need to get off the fence.

The conference championships are played on championship weekend in early December or late November.

The four quarterfinals are played Christmas Eve and Day, the two semifinals are played on New Years Day and the championship game is played a week or 10 days later in prime time.

This builds a holiday football tradition, a la the Thanksgiving tradition the NFL has successfully created, which has been supplanted by the BCS in recent years when the good games weren't on New Year's Day anymore.

The format adds TV revenues to the NCAA via the playoff-implicating conference championships and the three additional "BCS" playoff games, as well as the additional interest for all of the BCS schedule created by the playoff. This is so simple and revenue-generating that it's sick.

What follows is what might have been had this system been created for the 2010-11 bowl season... just think what the NCAA has denied us.

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