College Football: The Super-Conference Era and Playoff System
Although the Super-Conference Era is a few years away and the BCS system is still hanging around, the college football landscape will eventually make the complete shift into five super-conferences and a playoff system.
Yes, this transition will tear apart teams that have developed rivalries based on old conference affiliations or even based on their independent status.
However, in the end, realignment into super-conferences will stabilize college football; most importantly, it will bring an end to the BCS era. This has been an issue for a decade now and may be an issue at the end of this season.
The five super-conferences will be the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Southeastern Conference (SEC), Big 10, Big 12 and the Pacific 12 (Pac-12). Meanwhile, the remaining six schools of the Big East will dissolve into the ACC, Big 10 and SEC.
Now, this is only speculation and these predictions will probably change as the college football landscape continues to unfold. For instance, at the beginning of the season, everyone was certain that their would only be four super-conferences because the Big 12 was in the same situation as the Big East. Anyway, the conferences could be laid out like this:
ACC North: Army, Boston College, Maryland, Navy, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech
ACC South: Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest
Big 10 East: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers
Big 10 West: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Wisconsin
SEC East: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
SEC West: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, West Virginia
Big 12 North: Air Force, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Big 12 South: Baylor, Houston, Texas, Texas Tech, SMU, TCU, Tulsa
Pac-12 North: Boise State, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, Washington State
Pac-12 South: Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Nevada, San Diego State, UCLA, USC, Utah
I hope this is what you envisioned as well, but I doubt it. Everyone is going to have different opinions on what schools will end up in which conference based on what you think is best for your team or your team’s conference. However, I attempted to ensure that the schools in each conference have a regional affiliation with the other schools of the conference.
Now, the playoff system for the FBS National Championship will include the five champions of each super-conference and the three highest ranked teams in the AP Poll that are not super-conference champions. The remaining FBS teams that achieve at least eight wins will be rewarded with a postseason bowl game.
Teams with six and seven wins should not be rewarded for mediocrity. However, I do not see this happening because of the money that comes with more bowl games. I prefer quality over quantity.
You may ask, why only one poll? What about the USA Today poll? To the first question, few people like the intricate calculations of the BCS. It has too many factors and is very confusing, so let’s keep it simple and make it very straightforward.
To the second, the USA Today poll committee consists of current FBS coaches that help determine the USA Today’s Top 25 rankings. No one competing for a Top 25 ranking should vote on who should be in the Top 25, plain and simple.
Moving on, the eight FBS playoff teams will be ranked from highest to lowest based on the final AP poll rankings after the super-conference championship games. The slate for the first round will match 1 vs. 8; 4 vs. 5; 2 vs. 7; and 3 vs. 6.
The four first-round playoff games will be the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl and will be played in Glendale, Az; Miami, Fl; Pasadena, Ca; and New Orleans, La, respectively.
The two second-round games will be played at two predetermined NFL stadiums on the Saturday following New Year’s Day, provided there is at least a week in between, or else it will be played the following weekend.
Finally, the FBS national championship game will be played on the Saturday following the second-round games at either the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl (rotating between the four).
This is my vision for the college football landscape once the conferences are done realigning in a few years and the BCS system is gone. Thoughts? Comments?
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