BCS Playoffs Made Simple

Nic SkirpanContributor INovember 25, 2008

OK folks, you've heard it from Pete Carroll, Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, and Barack Obama, to name a few—we need playoffs in college football.

This is the point where the real argument ensues as experts try to figure out how many teams should be allowed in, where they should play, and how to pick the teams.  Oh, and what about the money?

Now we can continue to argue back and forth while Florida plays Oklahoma for the BCS title in 2010, or we can get a plan together now and put an end to this BCS madness...

...kind of...

For starters, the BCS committee, which includes the presidents of Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Oregon, and Ole Miss, will not want to see their beloved system fall, as it would tarnish their reputations as committee members.  This means they will fight hard, using the excuse that the BCS system creates "the most important regular season in sports."

It is not a bad system of ranking the top teams, but that isn't the problem.  The problem is that we have more than two teams at the end of the season that could make strong arguments to be in the national title game.

A playoff system gives these schools a chance to prove it on the field.  And guess what?  The BCS can determine which teams enter those playoffs.

That's right, President Frohnmayer.  You get to keep your spot as the chairman of the BCS, and it doesn't lose any importance, as you will now have to pick eight teams to duke it out and show who the best team is.

Yes, the playoffs will consist of eight teams.  This number allows the BCS not only to work as it did before, but also now narrow the list from 10 teams in BCS bowls to eight.  At the same time the BCS will get to manage two more bowl games in the place of those two teams.

Here's how it works.

At the end of Week Eight, just as it does now, the BCS will release rankings as it currently does, and this will continue until the season ends.

At the end of the season the BCS conferences will each send their champion, and two at-large bids will be determined by the BCS rankings, giving schools like Utah, BYU, and other mid-major schools a shot of the title that they don't currently have, even if they do go undefeated.

At the end of the season, once the BCS teams have been decided, the BCS holds its selection show as it currently does, but instead of choosing each team, the bowls will choose a package deal.

This means that the Rose Bowl can still pick USC to follow the tradition of the Bowl, but the Rose Bowl will also get the corresponding team that USC would play (an eighth seed if USC is ranked number one, etc).  Each of the major BCS bowls would get their choice, and these bowls would serve as the first round of the playoffs.

The second round of playoffs would consist of two new bowls in warm weather locations.  With a new stadium coming, Dallas would be a perfect spot for one, and such locations as Houston, San Diego, and Tampa could work as others, but we'll use San Diego for this example.

Each year Dallas and San Diego would switch off who gets the games that should feature the number one seed and who gets the number two.  The winner of these two games, of course, ends up in the BCS National Championship Game, which would rotate amongst the first four cities as it currently does. 

So what about the money?  Isn't that what runs these decisions?  Adding two new major bowls opens the door for two more sponsors and two more stadiums full of paying attendees, increasing overall revenues.  On top of that, the only team that needs to get paid is the losing team, until the championship game, when both teams get paid.

The purse for the first round will be slightly less than that of the second round, and the schools participating in the championship game get paid the most.  By only having to pay one team until the finals, each bowl saves money, which is very important in the midst of this uncertain economy. 

But what about the other bowl games?  They stay, and they really don't lose any importance relative to where they currently stand.  Non-BCS bowl games serve as an important source of revenue for schools looking to upgrade their facilities and expand their recruiting capabilities.  This will not change, and the spectacle that is Bowl Week will proceed as scheduled.

Now how do we fix the scheduling?  First, that week that the coaches elected to add not too long ago would disappear.  This would allow the teams more of a chance to rest their players for any bowl game, BCS or not.

The traditional BCS games would still occur on New Year's Day and the day after, with two weeks added to the end of the season.  This way the athletes will not have to miss any of their finals week, as they are first and foremost students.  Games would occur either early on Saturdays or during prime time hours on Friday to avoid overlap between college and professional playoff games.

Lastly, the question of attendance arises, as a fan of a certain school may not be able to afford travel to multiple playoff games.  This has never been a problem on the professional level, and with the growing popularity of the game at the college ranks, it will not be a problem, especially considering the major metropolitan populations surrounding the sites of each game.

So is it really that hard?  The BCS could gain monetarily on this, television stations would have two more games with very high viewing ratings, the people of San Diego and Dallas get to see a real college football game, and the teams can end their politicking for the top spot and can prove their worth on the field, where they should.