Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Form of College Football Playoff

These Buckeye fans were lost roaming the streets of Tempe last week
The Ohio State University Buckeyes hung on to finally beat the Arkansas Razorback in last night's Sugar Bowl. 2010 wasn't a proud year for the Big Ten in the post-season bowl picture. Only Iowa, Illinois and Ohio State were victorious as the other five conference schools went down in defeat.

For years many in the national media have asked for a play off. I prefer the current bowl structure. Grant it there may be too many bowls and the season lasts too long, but the bowl structure has much merit. For example, the Iowa Hawkeyes finished their regular season with three defeats, yet earned the opportunity to play #12 Missouri in the Insight Bowl. This extra game allowed the Iowa staff extra practices used to help prepare their non-starters. The extra game allowed players a chance to enjoy the benefits that come with a bowl game - a week in warm, sunny Arizona, treated like a King by the people of the Insight Bowl and given an extra benefit in gifts that the student-athlete isn't allowed due to NCAA rules. The extra bowl period gives fans of the schools a chance to escape their cold-weather home for a vacation that they may not otherwise budget for, which in turn provides the bowl-city economy a boost. Ask the staff of the Insight, who are also overseeing the Fiesta and National Championship, if this is a burden to them and I think they would highly disagree. In the end the Hawkeyes were able to end their season with a little redemption allowing them to feel good about themselves in the off-season.

But the current BCS system doesn't necessarily work either. There are merits, but the argument is that it places the best two teams together to play for the title while placing teams in bowls for good televised match-ups. But I believe there is a way to keep the current bowl system, yet institute a basic playoff to help determine the national champion. To do this the following needs to occur:
  1. Either revert back to an 11 game schedule or start the 12 game schedule a week earlier
  2. Play conference championships on Thanksgiving weekend allowing for the first week of playoffs to be the first Saturday of December.
This would be an eight-team format incorporating the BCS conference winners as well as two at-large. The at-large teams may be non-AQ / Independent teams if they finish in the top 8 or the highest ranked teams who aren't conference champs  Those who do not qualify for the playoff can be seeded into their conference sequence of bowls. Using the BCS standings the teams would be seeded:
  1. Oregon (Pac 10 Champion)
  2. Auburn (SEC Champion)
  3. TCU (non-AQ)
  4. Wisconsin (Big Ten Champion)
  5. Oklahoma (Big 12 Champion)
  6. Stanford (At-Large)
  7. Virginia Tech (ACC Champion)
  8. UConn (Big East Champion)
First-round played on the first Saturday of December would be Oregon-UConn / Wisconsin-Oklahoma / Auburn-Virginia Tech / Stanford-TCU. In this bracket the winners would play the following Saturday and the final played shortly after the first of the year. As teams fall they would then fall to their respective bowl game (example Wisconsin goes to Rose, Virginia Tech to Orange, etc.). The championship game would rotate as it does in the current system and the bowls would receive their respective conference representatives as they do now (second place Big Ten to Cap One, etc.)

I'm sure there are some flaws to this system. As we know there isn't anything perfect when it comes to college football, but our current set-up has its issues and can be improved.

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