The Mythical Playoff System: One Man's Great White Whale

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The Mythical Playoff System: One Man's Great White Whale

I have been surfing the BleacherReport world for several months now and a recurring theme keeps rearing its ugly head. Would a playoff in college football really solve everything?

Many people have given their thoughts on the subject and have laid out different ways in which the playoff system would work. So what does someone like me do in this situation? Well, I pick up a stick and continue to beat the dead horse.

DISCLAIMER: I do not, under any circumstance, believe we should go to a playoff system in college football. I have welcomed the BCS system into my home with open arms and I do not plan on kicking it out any time soon. So with that…let us get to the meat of this article.

If someone came up to me and wielded a weapon and said, "I demand you create a playoff system in college football," this is what I envision would be my masterpiece.

1.) THE SPLIT: Divide D-I into two equal halves: D-IA and D-IB. Each division consists of 6 conferences with 10 teams to each conference. Both divisions have a separate National Title that they play for. Because lets face it, under the current system, teams like Ball State, Fresno State and Tulane would never play for a National Title.

Just look at 2006. Boise State was the only undefeated D-I school left at the end of the bowl season and they only climbed to fifth. In 2007, Hawaii was the only undefeated team left at the end of the regular season and wasn’t even considered for the NCG. Under this system, EVERY team has a realistic shot at a National Title.

D-IA contains all six BCS conferences (tweaked slightly), and D-IB contains all non-BCS conferences (again, tweaked slightly).

For the sake of time, I have only drawn out how D-IA would look. Please don’t blow an O-ring if your team wasn’t selected. There are loopholes that will be discussed later.

(Teams in bold are additions to the conference)

ACC: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest (Duke has been demoted to D-IB).

Big East: Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, WVU (Syracuse has been demoted to D-IB).

Big Ten: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin (Indiana has been demoted to D-IB).

Big 12: Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas Tech (Iowa State and Baylor have been demoted to D-IB).

Pac-10: Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, BYU, California, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah(Washington and Washington State have been demoted to D-IB).

SEC: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee (Mississippi State and Vanderbilt demoted to D-IB).

2.) THE SEASON: Each team plays a 12-game season. Everyone's season begins on the last Saturday in August and everyone receives a bye week after six games. Each team plays nine conference games plus three non-conference games that are randomly selected at the end of the previous season.

The non-conference games are played first, followed by conference play. Six games are played at home and six are played away. If a team gets two non-conference away games one year, the next year they will two home games.

**Example Season—Oregon**

@ Auburn

Nebraska

@ Boston College

Arizona State

@ Oregon State

Boise State

--Bye Week--

@ USC

Arizona

@ California

UCLA

@ Utah

BYU

If your team gets USC, Florida, and Texas as their non-conference match-ups, then tough luck. There will be no more complaining about teams not traveling out of their region or teams scheduling weak non-conference opponents. Everything is random.

3.) THE RANKINGS: The official rankings come out midway through the season and are completely run by computers. Humans bring emotion and their biased opinions into play when ranking teams.

Computers are lifeless, cold hard calculators that could care less about last year’s rankings or if you have a storied program or that your cheerleaders are the hottest in the country.

The rankings are strictly based on a team’s overall record and strength of schedule. The need to run up the score on opponents is no longer necessary since margin of victory has been eliminated. No such thing as "style points" anymore. A win is a win is a win.

4.) THE PLAYOFFS: Under the designed season above, at the end of 12 games there could only be a maximum of six undefeated teams. Therefore, the playoff is very simple…the top 6 teams are in. PERIOD. An undefeated team will never be left out of the playoffs.

Also winning your conference doesn’t mean squat unless you are in the top six at the end of the season. The conferences are only in place for the sole purpose of keeping teams from traveling all across the country six times a year to play games. These are student athletes, not professionals.

Under this system, the top two teams will receive a bye week while teams three, four, five and six play in quarterfinal games. The quarterfinal and semifinal games are played using home-field advantage.

**Example Playoff**

--Quarterfinals--

No. 6 Pittsburgh @ No. 3 Florida

No. 5 Texas @ No. 4 USC

--Semifinals--

No. 3 Florida @ No. 2 Michigan

No. 4 USC @ No. 1 Miami

The playoffs start the first week after the season with the Championship game being played on New Year’s Day at one of the current BCS Bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange).  The rest of the bowls will be divided amongst D-IA and D-IB schools.

Schools will still need to have a winning record in order to go to a bowl game. Oh, and one more thing. Since every team in a conference plays each other, NO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES! Conference champions are decided by wins and losses and head-to-head match-ups.

5.) THE PLAYOFF COMMITTEE: Remember that comment above about not freaking out if your school didn’t make it to D-IA? Well, here is the reason why. At the end of each season, a playoff committee comprised of specific, qualified individuals (Not School Presidents or Athletic Directors) will meet to discuss the performances of every single team in both D-IA and D-IB.

Every fourth year, the committee will vote on either promoting or demoting schools to either division. If, for example, BYU has been underachieving in D-IA while Washington has won two National Titles in D-IB, the committee may vote to promote Washington and demote BYU. A team must be getting promoted in order for there to be a demotion. The 60-team division must be kept.

You may be asking yourself, "What happens if Washington is the only team that gets promoted and Clemson is the only team that is promoted? Does Washington join the ACC?" I’ve come up with two possible solutions to this problem. Pick your poison.

A.The conferences get reorganized in order to keep the balance. In the case of Washington and Clemson, BYU would be moved to the Big 12, Texas A&M would move to the SEC and South Carolina would join the ACC.

B. You get rid of the conferences completely and each team’s schedule is randomly selected at the end of each season. In this case, an east coast team may travel to the west coast 6 times in one season to play games.

If given a choice, I would pick option A.

6.) RINSE AND REPEAT: One week after the bowl season ends, the teams receive next year’s schedule and begin the process all over again. On the years in which the committee promotes or demotes teams, the schedules will come out a week after voting.

There you have it folks. My very own playoff system. Again, you may be asking, "Why did you draw up a playoff system even though you don’t believe in it? For one…my playoff system will never become a reality. It is just too far-fetched and and would cause too many problems to ever be seriously considered.

Open to comments and suggestions.

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