Is it the BCS or NCAA who presides over college football?
I've been watching college football since the 60's and I can't really remember who sanctioned the BCS? Conferences I think, who wanted to gain control of their teams and keep them away from the AP or UPI polling system for their own gains.
By the way, who sanctioned the National Championship, and provided the trophies before the BCS? AP, UPI, Sears, Montgomery Wards?
And how about the bowls? Before the BCS, and sponsorships, who coordinated them? It's the BCS now for sure, and the bowls, and their committees I am sure have little to say, especially when it's their rotation for the big game.
It's very interesting to me that the NCAA doesn't step into this mess referred to as the BCS.
After all, the NCAA sanctions a championship for literally every other major college sport, and does it through a playoff, or tournament. That is, except for college football!
Why I wonder? They are the ruling body for the collegiate student athletes, teams, and season schedules. Just not for the post season.
Sounds like a good argument for conspiracy theorists, because a college football playoff system, with the bowls involved is not Rocket Science, like the BCS wants us to believe. The basket ball tournament is far more complex and delicate, and it still doesn't make everyone happy.
Before we examine a football playoff, we have to understand that any sanctioning body exists only to serve its constituents. So, the NCAA would have to appease the big conference presidents, and show them they will not lose any monies from this venture.
Because, after all, let's not fool ourselves with moral integrity here...it's all about the money!
If you listen to all the banter out there, you could make a list of a hundred issues easily. However, let's address the major issues first.
Make the Regular Season Meaningful
Admittedly, now, a loss is devastating. So, the season is like a mini-playoff, except for when the teams play these directional or DIV1-A schools, which should be eliminated. If teams play their own rivals (what could be more meaningful?) instead of padding a schedule with lesser teams.
Keep Bowl System in Play
In other words, keep the AD's happy money-wise, and there are still plenty of bowl games for teams that do not qualify for the tournament. Besides, even the BCS rules right now do not allow a conference to have more than two representatives in BCS Bowls. So, that would not change.
Keep Traditions When Possible
So traditional conferences can have their representation in the associated bowls.
Don't Overload the Student Athlete
According to who you talk to. If you talk to former athletes, it's no issue. If you talk to AD's, "it would severely compromise the student part of the athlete."
Let the Championship(s) be decided on the Field
Even the conference champions, which we learned this year will be decided by popularity instead of play (see Oklahoma).
So, just as a starter, I thought of a good primer for this football system. I would call it the "College Football Bowl Championship Playoffs." Of course, if the BCS were smart, they would adopt it sooner and call it the "Bowl Championship Series Playoffs."
Regardless of that, I would have the NCAA generate a 16 team playoff. Why 16? Because it keeps in play putting at least two of so called "power" conference teams into the system.
There are really only 12 major conferences
MAJOR CONFERENCES: ACC, BIG EAST, BIG 10, BIG 12, PAC 10 & SEC.
MINOR CONFERENCES: WAC, SUN BELT, MAC, MOUNTAIN WEST, CONF USA.
INDEPENDENTS—(ND, Army, Navy & W. Kentucky)—They would need to join a conference.
Furthermore, one team per conference would not make sense. So, power conferences get their due, and get two teams in, and the smaller conferences that complain of not getting to play at all, can have a mini playoff and get their chance.
The playoffs would follow these guidelines:
- Major Conferences acquire enough teams to generate two divisions, i.e., North & South, East & West, etc. Perhaps six to eight per conference division.
- Minor conferences to devise "Play-in Mini Playoffs" to provide four teams to the playoffs
- Independents either enter Mini-Playoff or join a conference (yes that goes for the Irish, They need to simply join the Big East, just like their basketball team, or the Big Ten.)
- Regular seasons shortened to 9 games for Major conferences (+1 for championship game), 8 for Minor conferences. (+2 for mini-playoffs.) 10 total games prior to playoff tournament.
- Regular season schedules could easily be modified to accommodate no directional school games, and allow one game against other conference, two games against other division within conference, and six games with inner division rivals. This may be very close to some schedules already.
- Major Conference Division Winners invited to tournament. (12 teams)
- Major Conferences to have conference championship (Bowl) game, i.e, "DELL Computer" Big Ten Championship Bowl Game", played on Conference neutral site, eg., Penn State—Ohio State in Indianapolis, or Chicago. These bowl games could take place over Thanksgiving weekend. How cool would it be for three solid days of championship college football during a holiday, and the ratings would be sky high!
- Major Conference Champions to receive higher seeds in tournament, and could easily align to traditoinal bowls and venues.
- Minor conference Mini-Playoffs semifinalists to receive invitation to tournament. (four teams)
- Minor conference Mini-playoff Championship game contestants to receive last two high seeds.
- Playoff consists of 16 teams with no two teams from same conference playing each other until semifinal. Playoff tournament will have four rounds, starting next to last week of December. Thus, keeping in tact many games for both holiday periods:
- ("Sweet 16" (Round one) (Christmas weekend or one week before, depending on finals weeks)
- "Elite 8" (Quarterfinals) (New Years or weekend following)
- "Final 4" (Semifinals) For something neat, you could have a day & night game, like basketball.)
- "Championship Game" AT LAST, AT LAST !!!
12. Championship game teams would play a maximum of 14 games, which would be the same for some conferences, if the BCS added the "And one" game as has been proposed. (Minor conference teams, if they made it to the championship game would have one more game, but small price to pay if a team like Boise State, or Utah won it all.
13. Playoff rounds can take place in traditional sites and venues. Acutally, seeding can include the traditional conferences tied to traditional bowls.
14. Seeding to avoid two teams from same conference playing in the championship game.
15. Seeding can allow other parts of the country to view teams they would not normally see, i.e., SEC in California, or Arizona, and vice versa.
16. Bowl games (venues & sponsors) can rotate for Quarter, Semifinal & Championships games.
It would definitely make a lot of ants happy, and we should not have a computer involved in any decision making process, other than to record results.
Computer "rank" would be become another four letter word to be unspoken!
Now I know this isn't perfect. But it took only four to five hours to generate, and an organization as powerful as the NCAA, with plenty of resources, could refine it to a very usable system.
Or, it can simply be a vehicle for a lot of good discussion with completely opposite opinions, as most issues do.