College Football: A Playoff Will Not Stop the Title Debate...Unless...

Tiger HistalmosAnalyst IDecember 12, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 23:  Head Coach Chris Petersen of the Boise State Broncos meets Heads Coach Gary Patterson of TCU Horned Frogs after the Horned Frogs 17-16 win over the Broncos during the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium on December 23, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

It is that time of year again, where the almost annual BCS bashing takes place and the cries for a playoff start.

Now, I will set the record straight.  I am not a fan of the BCS, and I will point to the 2004 season as to why I am not a fan of the current system.  The Auburn snub still makes smoke come out of my ears.

However, the proposition of a playoff with the current alignment of schools will not solve all the problems.

The biggest problem that I have with the playoff pundits is having teams "in or out" of the playoff group.

For example, the 16-team playoff that is been much popularized by both fans and writers alike has a few problems.

The first problem, and biggest in my opinion, is the inclusion of NON-CHAMPIONSHIP football teams. 

Take this year for example: Once you include the 11 conference champions, you have five spots open for "at-large teams."  Those thought to be the five teams are Florida, Iowa, LSU, Penn State, and Virginia Tech. 

All five of those teams lost to their respective conference champions.  Why would you want to set a possible rematch against those teams when it is already been proven on the field?

Another issue is that some of the playoff pundits would want to include the current bowls with the playoffs.  That is also not a logical approach.

The bowls are meant for travel and fans to spend money in the cities and towns.  The price of travel and tickets starts to get pretty high if your team makes it through the rounds to the championship game.  If you haven't noticed, there has been a slumping economy as of late.

Keep the games within the home team's stadium.  That's where we would want it anyway.  The title game can be whatever (college or pro) stadium it wants to be.

The argument of the players playing too many games will crop up as well. Let's face it, several players are playing two games short of a NFL season as it is within the NCAA's time constraints.

One more big issue is that teams will still be crying that they are not in the top 16.  Regardless of whether one uses a polling system or a selection committee, there will be outcry from a few teams claiming they should be in the mix.

If you move to the eight-team playoff, you will exclude conference champions from having a shot at the title.  That is the main issue that we have now with Boise State and TCU is it not?

Not to mention, if you focus on crowning the national champion, are others going to be so cold to leave out 104 other teams that have had a solid season?  Do people really want to abolish the bowl system completely and take away a part of what college football has been around for several decades?

There are several options (players, fans, money, etc...) that have to be considered and not just thrown away like yesterday's garbage.

So how do you have both a fair playoff system and keeping the tradition of the college bowl system?

The answer is not so simple, but it makes the most sense.

The answer: Create another college football conference.

Now, before anyone jumps on this, think about it.

Does anyone really want a national champion that isn't a conference champion?

Does anyone really want to completely get rid of the bowls and have up to or over 8500 college football players miss out on the bowl experience?

Both answers to those questions should be no.

Let's be honest with ourselves.  Unless there is another conference, a suitable playoff system cannot be achieved. 

There is always the chance of having that "Cinderella" moment for an at-large team to win the title, even though they have lost to their conference champion or someone else in the playoff.

There will be controversy with that mess.  I thought the playoff were supposed to correct the problem of having just one champion?

Lets also be honest that most, if not all, college football fans love the bowls as a vacation or living out one more game for that season.

The players, coaches, staff, etc. love going to these games as well.  There is always that possibility to create another story for a program's history.

Now, as to how the other conference is created, personally, I don't care how it is done.  Take teams from other conferences;  Have more FCS schools make the leap to FBS;  Make the Independents their own conference. 

I'm not real picky, but it is the only way you can generally say you have a true national champion.

This solves several problems amongst both sides. 

First, for whatever reason you make think this, the college football season will still retain that "every game is important" feel.  If you don't win your conference, you don't get a shot at the national title.  Makes sense doesn't it?

Second, there is absolutely nothing that you can say to demerit the 23 teams in the mix for the title.  I realize this season you have five unbeaten teams, with only a possibility of four byes. Pick a common tiebreaker (strength of schedule against FBS teams, for example.)  Just make sure its something tangible from the football field.

Third, after the conference champions are determined, you still have many college football programs that have had great seasons.  That is where the bowls come back into the picture.

You are only taking out 12 teams (lets face it, with the current system, your only taking out about four more teams out of bowls), so there are plenty of other teams that are capable of playing in a bowl game.

You can keep several of the traditions, Big Ten-Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl as the biggest example, and the tradition of the bowl games can continue on and thrive. 

In an imperfect world, this setup is the closest thing to crowning a single national champion.  It pleases both sides of the aisle, and it doesn't diminish the aura of college football. 

All the other ideas out there can cause concern for controversy. 

At least in this proposal, if you can't win your own conference, you don't get a shot at the national title. 

That is the way it should be.


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