Bracketology: College Football Edition
Perhaps one of the most debated topics in sports, the BCS system is often criticized and labeled as "the worst playoff system in all of sports."
Blah blah blah, the BCS preserves the regular season and allows for intense excitement to exist even in Week 1. But what the BCS does eliminate is a chance for a late season surge, a mid-major conference team having more than a two percent chance of winning the title, excitement late in the season for teams with only one lose, and the list goes on and on.
Yes, it can be argued that the college football regular season is the best regular season of any sport, but can you honestly tell me that the college basketball season is not as exciting? The football season may be very exciting, but after a certain week, it only becomes exciting for three to five teams. The last week of the college basketball season is exciting for over 70 teams late in the season, with all of those bubble teams and whatnot. Last time I checked 70, is greater than five.
So what can we do? We can argue about this every year and only dream of a successful college football playoff system. But what would it actually look like? Would it be a 64-team bracket? Of course not; there is no time for that.
But what is there time for? An eight-team playoff bracket.
Sit back, relax and listen while I pitch to you the improved college football scenario.
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The playoff system would consist of eight teams, allowing for three different rounds. Round one would be played on the third Saturday of December (this year, it would be Dec 17.), round two would be played on the fourth Saturday of December (this year, it would be Dec, 24) and the Championship would be played on its normal time, the second Monday of January (this year, it would be Jan 9.).
This layout allows for over a two-week rest period for the championship contenders. We all know that the championship contenders do not need a month and a half rest period that they receive currently. Two and a half weeks is plenty of time to prepare for the big stage.
Just picture it right now. On three different weekends, you will have the chance to see the biggest crowds, the biggest matchups and the best programs of the season putting everything they have out on the line.
Picture March Madness, but for football.
I'm going to have to stop describing it before you have to change your pants.
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Winning a major conference title will not garuntee you a playoff spot. Why? This will prevent that BS Big East team from taking away a spot from a better team. This way, we won't see West Virginia taking a spot that belongs to a much better Virginia Tech team.
So how will the eight teams be determined? They will simply be the best eight teams of the season.
I know what you're thinking: How is this any better than the current system? Well, to answer that, instead of only being able to pick one one-loss team, we are able to pick almost all of them. This way, Alabama won't just be assumed the shot of the title over Arkansas, who has just as many losses. This way, when a Houston team goes undefeated, they will have a shot to prove on the big stage that they belong.
This is the true test for a mid-major team that goes undefeated. If they get embarrassed in the first round, then we know that they don't belong in the championship, but if they do prove themselves in the tournament, then we know they deserved a shot.
And of course, I stick by a theory: "If you do not lose a game all season, how the hell can you not have a chance to play in the championship?"
Where Will the Games Be Played?
For the first two rounds, there will be a home field advantage. But how is that fair?
Well, this is where the strength of schedule comes into play; the higher ranked teams rightfully deserve some sort of advantage. See, I'm not completely ignoring the current system, because there are some points that make a lot of sense.
This is why the top four teams will be playing a home playoff game. This allows for the school to make an absurd amount of money on top of a chance to play in the championship. If the mid-major winners really are good, then they will still have to prove themselves in a rough environment.
The championship will be played in a predetermined neutral location.These two teams have truly shown that they are the two best teams in college football and they can win when it counts; therefore, the championship will be played as evenly as possible. This is similar to how the NFL playoff system works, except there are far less teams and no byes.
What About Bowl Games?
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Bowl games will still exist. Think of the tournament as a substitute for the BCS bowl games, and everything else will be the same. This way, money is still being made and teams are getting a true chance at a championship.
So if you come from a mediocre program that miraculously pulls out six wins, don't worry; you will still be in a bowl game.
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Before you yell and crticize this system, trust me; I know it isn't perfect.
There will still be teams that are disappointed at the :tournament selection," but even that happens in college basketball (Think back to how VCU made the tournament last year). There will always be some sort of selection committee no matter what route we take, unless miraculously, about 120 schools drop out and allow for about a 30-team league.
College football will never be the NFL because of all of the teams that exist. But there is something we can do to improve it, and that is, allow for a more fair chance to make the championship.
How It Would Look This Year
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OK, let's say the playoff scenario was enforced at the end of this season; this is how the playoff scenario would look:
The current top 10 teams according to the AP poll are:
5. OK State
6. Virginia Tech
7. Boise State
So, let's break it down. Are there any two-loss teams? Yes, Oklahoma and Oregon. That takes care of narrowing down the eight teams.
But now let's break down the eight remaining teams. Is there a clear cut No. 1 team? LSU.
Can an argument be made for the No. 2 team? If Arkansas loses to LSU, then it's definitely Alabama. If Arkansas wins, LSU will still be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, and Arkansas will assume the other spot, while Bama will lock up the three spot. So let's just say for argument sake that LSU wins, and every other remaining team wins out.
LSU will be first. Bama second. Virginia Tech third. Stanford fourth. OK State fifth. Houston sixth. Arkansas seventh. Boise eighth.
Round 1 Games: Boise at LSU, Arkansas at Bama, Houston at VA Tech, OK State at Stanford.
Has there been a week yet this season with this amount of insane matchups? I think not.
Can you imagine the intensity of these games without the whole season on the line? Now add the amount of pressure, and you have yourself four of the craziest games to watch all year.
I picture this day to be sort of like a Thanksgiving layout. You invite a great number of people over to your house, Their is a noon game, followed by a two o'clock game, a five o'clock game and then the prime time eight o'clock game. A whole day of eating, drinking, partying and going crazy watching the best games of the year.
The next week will only be crazier, watching the winners duel it out. Then, after those games, you have the championship, the cream of the crop and the true contenders, and can finally see who deserves to be there.
If there is anyone with some level of power reading this article, you cannot pretend this would not be amazing. Please make something at least remotely close to this happen. Please give all of the good teams a better chance to win. Please, allow for one bad game, so a team that just suffered a tragedy (OK State) can oxford to have a bad game, but still prove themselves.