Enough is enough. Attention college football presidents! Cut out the nonsense, get out of your ivory tower, get the deafening wax out your ears, and hear us (the average college football fan)...WE WANT A COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF BY 2009!
Not a plus-one game, not the bowl system which has ruined years of this sport, and certainly not this absurd BCS system that has created a bigger mess than ever. We want an eight-team playoff, and we want it by 2009!
Cut the excuses—they're lame and tired. Get all the conferences and all the presidents in the biggest Holiday Inn meeting room you can find, and make it happen.
We, the college football fans have been robbed long enough. This isn't a presidential debate in which things are supposed to be left to convincing, argument, and perspective. This is college football, and to a lot of people—sad but true—this is more important. This is about establishing which college football team is the best in America.
Is a playoff a perfect solution? No. There is no such thing as a perfect solution. But there is a thought of coming up with the best that we can to find out who is the best ON THE FIELD. Not through a computer, or a biased coaching opinion, or some media reporter in Apehumper, South Dakota who looks at the ESPN ticker for 15 minutes on Sunday morning before casting his ballot.
I'm not going to go into a long rant about how the BCS has screwed teams like USC, Auburn, Oklahoma...this article isn't about that. What this article is about is solutions, and that's what we're going to provide.
But to reach root problems, you have to trim branches.
- Eliminate independents. Notre Dame, Army, Navy, and Western Kentucky must join conferences. No more special deals for Notre Dame (independent TV contracts, BCS privileges, and soft scheduling). Make all of them join a conference, or they are left out of playoff consideration...aka...the money involved in the playoff.
Ideally, Notre Dame would join the Big Ten, and the others would join either the Big East or Sun Belt conferences. Which would lead me to my next stipulation...
- Every conference that wants to compete in the playoffs must have a conference championship. This would mean that the Big Ten, the Pac-10, and the Big East would have to expand if they wanted to be involved. But I also think that a seventh super conference is needed to make the symmetry of this playoff work a bit more smoothly as well.
So for regional convenience, once again, I make Notre Dame join the Big Ten, have Fresno State and Hawaii join the Pac-10, have East Carolina and UCF join the Big East with Army and Navy, and start reshuffling some of the other conferences. Combine the WAC and Mountain West to create a seventh playoff conference.
Here would be the new realignments...
Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Northwestern
Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois
Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford
USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Fresno State, Hawaii
Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers
South Florida, UCF, Louisville, East Carolina, Army, Navy
The New Mountain West Conference
Western Athletic Division
Boise State, Idaho, Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, New Mexico State, TCU
Mountain West Division
Utah, Utah State, BYU, Colorado State, Air Force, San Jose State, San Diego State
This realignment keeps the majority of conference rivalries alive. Wyoming and Louisiana Tech would join Conference USA in place of East Carolina and UCF, and Western Kentucky would join the Sun Belt conference.
With seven super conferences now, you give the conference champion from each of these seven conferences an automatic bid into the eight-team playoff. But to keep in-season rankings relevant and still important...use a form of the BCS (computer and human rankings) to determine the eighth and final wildcard berth.
These BCS rankings would also determine strength of schedule in regards to conference strength and therefore determine the seeding of these teams. This would force the strength of a conference, but also would promote conferences scheduling better non-conference schedules to improve the conference strength for seeding in the playoff.
Example: Ohio State, USC, Florida, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Miami, and TCU all win their respective conferences...and through conference strength and scheduling, it's determined that the toughest conferences are in order are the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10, ACC, Big East, and the new MWC.
Then from the toughest schedule and highest ranking in the regular season polls, an eighth wildcard is determined...let's just say Texas comes through as the highest-ranked non-champion.
So your playoff would be...
(1) Florida vs. (8) Texas AT THE SWAMP in Gainesville (AT&T)
(2) Oklahoma vs. (7) TCU AT Memorial Stadium in Norman (NOKIA)
(3) Ohio State vs. (6) West Virginia AT The Horseshoe in Columbus (Gillette)
(4) USC vs. (5) Miami AT The Coliseum in Los Angeles (Taco Bell)
Highest-ranked seed has home field throughout the playoffs until the championship game. The championship game is to be played a neutral site...
- To appease corporate sponsors and presidents who feel that you would lose promotional money, have each game sponsored like a bowl game. Or have each round of games sponsored by a singular sponsor.
- You can still have a bowl season, just a much smaller one. Have the teams from the super-conferences who lost in the conference championships, along with the conference champions from the non-super conferences (MAC, Conference USA, and Sun Belt), play at neutral sites and still get the postseason opportunity.
But you also spare us the waste of time of a riveting matchup between Wyoming (6-6) and Wofford (6-6) in the Cialis Boner Bowl!
By doing it this way, you'll get matchups like LSU vs. Florida State, or Penn State vs. California, who lost in the conference championships with eight, nine, and 10 wins instead. Why should a team be rewarded for a 7-5 or 6-6 season?
Through this plan, you have a rankings system that still matters, a plan where the BCS computer system still has a place, a smaller bowl season for teams with good seasons who just didn't have quite enough to win their conferences, and everyone is finally getting what we want...a champion that is decided ON THE FIELD.
Attention College Presidents:
1) A playoff would be worth upwards of billions in revenue.
2) With the rapid growth of the college games popularity, a playoff would be second probably only to the NFL playoffs.
3) You can still make money off a limited bowl season.
4) You eliminate the constant squabbling between everyone in college football (fans, ADs, coaches) debating who is the "real champion."
Stop making excuses (the season would be too long, what about the established bowl tradition?, injuries, these kids' educations)...because none of it is true. Pay attention to what is right, John Q. Harvard, and make it happen.
Why should Penn State, Texas Tech, Alabama, Florida, USC, Texas, or Oklahoma get screwed anymore? End the charade and let the playoffs decide it once and for all. Enough is enough.
As always, your thoughts and ideas are welcomed. Tell me what you think of the system I provided. How would you do it?
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