I said so last year. I actually have said so for over 20 years.
Major college football needs a playoff system.
Now, the NCAA, the politically-correct, financially-corrupt organization that oversees college football in the U.S., won’t come up with a playoff system for the “big schools” like Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Texas, and the like.
They have playoffs for Division III. In fact, the championship playoffs begin with 16 games (32 teams) on November 17, and conclude with the championship game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, in Salem, Virginia, on December 15.
Division II has playoffs starting with a field of 24, with the first 8 games on November 17th. The playoffs end with the championship on December 15th in Florence, Alabama.
And Division I has a playoffs, too. Used to be called Division I-AA, but now it’s the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Same thing, different name. Anyway, the field of 16 starts playing on November 24, and the title game will be December 14 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
But Division I-A, now called the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)? They still use the half-assed BCS. And though the process is half-assed, those running it are full asses.
There’s no reason, other than the fact that the money greases the right pockets, for Division I-A (or FBS) to not have a playoff for the championship.
But they could.
- The conference championship means something.
- Polls are important, but not the most important thing.
- The bowls are important, but not the most important thing.
With those guidelines, here we go.
We’ll start with enough slots to allow every conference champion a shot at the national title.
There are 11 conferences (Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pacific 10, Southeastern, Sun Belt, and Western Athletic). So, let’s have 16 slots.
That means that each conference champion has a slot. It also allows for the best teams that don’t win a conference championship to get into the mix.
There are 4 major independents (Air Force, Army, Notre Dame, and Western Kentucky). They don’t get an automatic berth. But, if they are ranked high enough, the polls would let them in.
Now, since we’re proceeding with the assumption that the conference championship means something, the top 11 slots, seeds 1-11, belong to the conference champions.
And here’s where the polls come in.
You see, we won’t toss the current BCS rankings out the window. We’ll use them for seeding.
The 11 conference champions get seeded 1-11, based upon their BCS standing.
If the season ends with, say, Ohio State at number 1, they get the number 1 seed. And we’ll go down the list, taking only the conference champions, until all 11 are assigned.
Now, that will be difficult, because 4 conferences don’t have anyone ranked. Conference USA, Mid American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt teams don’t show up on the BCS. And it’s very possible none will be there when the season ends. They can be seeded by winning percentage, or by a vote of the conferences, or some other method.
Then, the final 5 slots would be filled by going back to the BCS rankings, and taking the five highest remaining teams. They’d be seeded 12-16.
Then, once the 16 teams are set, play them against each other.
Teams that are bumped in the first two rounds are still bowl eligible.
The championship game could be hosted by a bowl. Or not.
The semi-finals and quarter-final games could also be hosted by bowls.
And that’s basically it.
Now, there are going to be some objections,
Some would argue with a “second tier” conference (Sun Belt, MAC, WAC, etc) having a higher seed than, say, the #2 team in the SEC.
Well, the “second tier” conference doesn’t deserve to be treated the same as the SEC or the Big 10, then that conference should be bumped down to I-AA (or whatever they’re going to call it next). But, as long as the conference is considered part of “major” college football, winning the conference gets you a top 11 slot.
There are other complaints, too, including the number of games that would be played. Well, Division I-AA, II, and III all can handle the expanded schedule. If the big boys can’t handle it, then they’re not big boys; they’re big girls.
Anyway, if they implemented this plan, the team that ended up winning it all would be recognized as the champion.
And if you are a fan of the BCS, my plan will still work. Call it the Basil Championship Series.