Playoffs

Betcha didn’t know that the NCAA has a Division 1 football championship playoff tournament, did ya?

During its August 3 meeting, the Division I Board of Directors approved a recommendation to delete the labels Division I-A, I-AA and I-AAA from NCAA use. Additionally, the Board adopted the title “NCAA Division I Football Championship” to replace the “Division I-AA Football Championship.” Finally, the Board adopted the terms “Football Bowl Subdivision” and “NCAA Football Championship Subdivision” to refer to the level of football played by Division I members.
-Courtesy NCAA

Now, to be sure, when you go to the NCAA Web site, they still use the 1-A and 1-AA labels in some spots. But they do refer to it as described above, also. The bottom line is that they have playoffs for Division 1 (AA). And Division II. And Division III.

My point? Simple. There’s no good reason not to have a major college football playoff.

I bet some Michigan fans would agree with me.

Yesterday, when the BCS rankings came out, Ohio State, as expected, was number one. And Florida was number two. Just ahead of Michigan.

Some are glad that Florida is in the game, because they didn’t want to see a rematch of Michigan and Ohio State. After all, they just played a couple of weeks ago.

But remember 1996? Number 1 Florida lost to number 2 Florida State 24-21 to end the season. Then, due to some odd events, the two met a month later in a rematch in the 1997 Sugar Bowl. Florida won that game, 52-20, and won their only national championship.

Now, the Gators have stopped Michigan from a chance at doing the same thing.

Do I care? Well, I’m not a fan of Florida. But I’m not a fan of Michigan either.

But more than that, I’m not a fan of the BCS. Major college football needs a playoff. And they could have one. Here’s how.
First, in the conferences that have a championship game, cut the season back to 11 games. The others could play 12. Or 11. I don’t care.

Then, at the end of the season and the conference championships, take the 11 major champions and put them in the playoffs. Those are seeds 1-11, ordered by the BCS. Then, take the top 5 non-conference champions and fill out the field of 16 with them.

Finally, teams that lose in the first round are still bowl-eligible. Maybe the second round, too.

Here’s how it would look this year:

Seed Conference Champion BCS
1 Big Ten Ohio State 1
2 SEC Florida 2
3 Pac-10 Southern California 5
4 Big East Louisville 6
5 WAC Boise State 8
6 Big 12 Oklahoma 10
7 ACC Wake Forest 14
8 Mountain West Brigham Young 20
9 Conference USA Houston
10 MAC Central Michigan
11 Sun Belt Troy
12 At-Large Michigan 3
13 At-Large Louisiana State 4
14 At-Large Wisconsin 7
15 At-Large Auburn 9
16 At-Large Notre Dame 11

Now, to be sure, some decent teams are left out. For example, Arkansas, who played for the SEC championship is left out, while LSU and Auburn are in. Georgia Tech, who played for the ACC title and Nebraska, who played for the Big 12 title are out, while Troy is in. But Troy won their conference. And if Tech and Nebraska had won their conference, they’d be in.

Now, it’s difficult to seed teams based on the BCS when they aren’t even listed. For instance, Houston (C-USA), Central Michigan (MAC) and Troy (Sun Belt) aren’t ranked in the BCS. But they are seeded at the bottom of the conference champions, in order of winning percentage.

And, if you look at the five teams that “fill out” the schedule, you’d be hard-pressed to say they don’t deserve a slot in the tournament.

Now, let’s look at some of the objections to a playoff.

The BCS works. Actually, it doesn’t. Just ask Michigan. Or Auburn a couple of years ago. BCS don’t work. A playoff would, because any team that makes it through that field deserves to be declared champion.

It would hurt the bowls. Not any more than the BCS does. In fact, it may help. If the bowls still pick from teams that don’t make it past the first round, that takes 8 teams out of bowl contention. Four games. Most bowls aren’t impacted. And, if second round losers are still bowl eligible, then four of those teams are back in.

The bowls could be incorporated into the playoffs. Say the Sugar and Orange host the semi-finals one year. Fiesta and Cotton another year. Gator, Peach/Chick-Fil-A, Outback, Capital One, etc. can host quarter-finals.

Some bowls (very few) could be impacted. Most won’t. Some might actually benefit.

Too many games. That’s a load of crap. With a 12-game season (counting conference championship games), only two teams would play a total 16 games. That’s one more than the final two in Division 1-AA. Or Division II.

A total of 16 teams would be impacted. That is, play a 13th game. As it is, with 32 bowls, potentially 64 teams could play 13 games.

In this playoff setup, 8 would play a 14th game. 4 a 15th game. And 2 a 16th game.

If they stay with a 12-game schedule.

Hey, my plan might not be the best plan. If you have a different playoff plan, suggest it.

But this plan has one advantage over the BCS. My plan has an undisputed champion.

Oh, two advantages. My plan doesn’t suck.

Kindle

6 thoughts on “Playoffs

  1. As an avid Gator fan, I still say the BCS sucks. I’m glad we’re in the hunt for the champeenship…but too many teams got railroaded.

    I do think the BCS worked this year. Florida’s “strength of schedule” was by far the toughest in college football, and, I believe we deserve to be there.

    There needs to be a playoff. I think your idea is great, especially the way you include teams “at large.” That allows non-conference teams a shot at the title. A real thinker, that Basil.

  2. As a Buckeyes fan, the BCS sucks. Michigan pointed out simply: Had USC won, they’d probably be #3; but because some people didn’t want a rematch, they fell behind Florida. The BCS sucks for a million other reasons, too.

    If they’re *so* worried about the total games, then make it 12 teams, like the NFL, with 4 byes. Only a wildcard team could possibly play that many games, and the likely outcome is that the top teams would make the championship. Max games per team: 15. Plus, their whole argument of “16 games” is only for the final 2 regardless. That’s 3 more than now, and some teams (like OSU) have been sitting for over a month between their conference games and the eventual bowl.

  3. Like you said, only two teams would play 16 … if they keep the season total at 12. And it’s okay for teams to play 15 in Division II and Division I-AA, so what’s the big deal with Division I-A. My 16-team plan is comparable to the I-AA 16-team tournament, and allows all conferences to be on equal footing. With 11 conferences, allowing 5 at-large teams allows teams that don’t win the conference but still good enough to win it all (like Oklahoma did a couple of years back) a chance to play in.

    There’s merit in your 12-team tourney, but I don’t like any conference to have a second-tier status. If they aren’t good enough, bump them to I-AA. If they are good enough, treat them the same.

    Plus, I’d keep an even power of two (2, 4, 8, 16, 32) so that all teams play the same number of games. But that’s just me.

  4. A lot of college football fans across the country are fed up with the Bowl Championship Series. Most people agree that something need to done, but don’t know where to start. I am launching an online campaign to pressure the NCAA to Sack the BCS.

    If fans join together, we can pressure the NCAA to finally get rid of the BCS mess. Sign onto our petition here: http://ga4.org/campaign/sackthebcs

    With your help we can get the word out to Michigan fans about the effort.
    Thanks,

    Mike Dean

  5. If fans would start boycotting regular season games instead of complaining and then forgetting about it next year, there will be an impact to get rid of this nonsense system. But nooooo. We love our sport too much and they know it.

    I like the 16 team format and agree that the champions of all the conferences should be allowed in and that there should be 4 at-large teams and Notre Dame (that’s how it will be I’m just being realistic). But giving Troy a higher seed than Michigan is a bit ridiculous. Conference champs of the lesser conferences who are not in the BCS should be seeds 14-16. Don’t give Oklahoma an easy opening round game with Troy and make Ohio State tangle with Notre Dame. This also brings up an interesting question: would they allow a #2-Florida and #15-Auburn play a rematch? If so, we would be contradicting ourselves here.

  6. I appreciate your comments. But let me defend my having Troy higher than Michigan.

    Look at the NFL model. The top seeds are the division champs, seeded first, then wild card teams are added and seeded last.

    For example, in 2001, the 9-7 Jets were seeded higher than the 10-6 Colts, because the Jets won their division, and the Colts didn’t.

    This method gives importance to winning the conference, and treats all conferences equally. If the conference isn’t equal, bump it to I-AA.

    As for rematches, does it really matter if a rematch happens in the first round or in the championship game? I don’t think so.

    Also, to me, it doesn’t matter when two good teams play (first round or finals), or when a mismatch occurs. Unless there are 8 strong teams and 8 weak teams, or 16 strong teams, then you have to have strong vs strong and strong vs weak. At least, in the first round.

    If a team makes it past the first round, they likely aren’t a weak team.

    Just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing yours.

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