Wednesday, November 12, 2008


That's right folks, every respected college football writer has pumped out a version of their own playoffs, so sit back and enjoy while a complete amateur (myself) pumps out his own version of a college football playoff system, and then follows up with it in a few weeks with my own selection show (a real treat that I am already mapping out). Let me add this one caveat: While of course I don't know any actual insider tips and haven't talked to any influential minds, I honestly believe that I've watched more college football then many writers this season, and I know I've probably read more about college football than just about anyone, as the sport fascinates me for some reason and I read every single article that I can find.

So without further ado, here is my college football playoff system, to be put into affect immediately:

I understand that many of the most powerful people in the sport want to preserve the importance of the college football regular season, so with that in mind, I have designed a 12 team playoff system, which I feel actually gives more credibility to the regular season than an 8 team playoff, as the teams with the teams that are judged to be the best 4 would get a serious advantage over the other 8 in the field by having a bye into the quarterfinals.

The BCS system as we know it would actually still play a very important role in my system, as this would be primary tool that the NCAA Playoff committee would use in their seeding process. That's right, I intend to put a committee to work, as the human mind can grasp certain things that a computer can't, and there also really would not be a large amount of areas that they would be able to incorporate human discretion into, but just in case, they will be there anyway.

Here's how the process would work. In early December, after all teams had finished up their regular season and conference championships, the final BCS Standings would be released, or maybe kept private for the knowledge of the committee only, whichever the NCAA is more comfortable with, and then the Sunday following the end of the regular season the committee would get together and establish the 12 seeds and the matchups with these guidelines to follow that would more or less set the field on their own:

1)The conference champions from the "Big 6" BCS Conferences get automatic bids to the playoff, no matter what their record or their rank in the BCS is. The current structure regarding 5 year evaluation of the performance of the conferences stands as is to ensure that the best 6 conferences really are the ones getting the automatic bids.

2) The highest ranked non-BCS conference champion receives an automatic bid to the playoff.

3) If there is a second non-BCS conference champion ranked in the top 10, they also receive an automatic bid. Any other non-BCS conference champions that make it into the tournament will do so at the discretion of the selection committee, which means they will have to be ranked appropriately by the BCS standings.

4)In any given year, there will be no more than 5 at-large bids available, and there could even be as few as 1 if the non-BCS conferences are unbelievably strong (a near impossibility). The BCS committee must go in order of the top 6 of the BCS rankings in handing out the at-large bids. (i.e. If there were only 3 at-large slots available and the 3-6 seeds were all non-champions, the 3,4, and 5 would receive at large slots and the 6 would be left out in the cold.)

5)After all of the above stipulations are filled, if there are still at-large slots available, the selection committee then fills the remaining slots with teams of their choosing. They can only select teams in the top 12.

6)Lastly, and this rule supersedes any of the rules regarding the at-large bids, no conference can have more than 3 total teams in the playoffs.

So the above guidelines will give us our 12 teams for the playoffs, and let me do a little bit of explaining regarding the above rules before I continue to some rules regarding seeding. First, of course the Big 6 champs will always get their automatic bids, and I am also a big believe in letting at least the best of the rest (meaning the best of the Little 5 conferences) have a shot at the title, and I also know that the strength of these conferences can be pretty cyclical, hence why I included the provision for a second team being in the top 16. The reason I picked 16 when there are 12 teams is because these teams are at a disadvantage to begin with, and especially in the case of the MAC and other of the littlest of the little 5 conferences, a team could potentially go 12-0 and still not make it into the top 12. The top 16 gives them a little more leeway. However, this only goes for a second team in the top 16, as if there are to be 3 or more Little 5 schools, then they all have to be in the top 12, something I doubt we'll ever see, even in this age of parity.

Lastly, there is the issue of giving the committee discretion in choosing some of the last seeds. Those in the top 6 of the BCS naturally deserve their fair shake even if they are not conference champs, but from there, I'm just not entirely comfortable with having straight up numbers decide who makes it, as these are the same numbers that have given us BCS championship games involving teams that didn't even play for their confernece championship, let alone win it. So sorry if I don't want to put my full trust in this system, but I think humans can give us the discretion necessary to make sure the BCS doesn't make any funky decisions.

Finally, the final rule given above, the 3-teams-per-conference rule. I mean, if you can't be considered one of the top 3 teams in your own conference, should you really be allowed to play for the national championship? I say no.

And now, on to our seeding rules:
1) The four teams that receive byes must all be conference champions. They can be a conference champion from any conference, so long as they have won their conference championship, they can get a bye.

2) The 6 BCS conference champions are guaranteed spots in the top 8, meaning no BCS conference champ can play another in the first round. If, by some minor miracle, there are more than 2 non-BCS championship schools in the top 4, as many BCS champions as possible are put into the top 8.

3) No teams from the same conference can play each other in the first round. This is where the discretion of the selection committee comes in to play.

4) Any remaining seeding decisions lie in the hands of the committee, but they are urged to use the BCS Standings as a guide, though again, they have discretion.

And now for the sites:
-The National Championship (at it is henceforth known) will be rotated among the current 4 sites: Pasadena, Phoenix, Miami, and New Orleans. These four go in a rotation for one quarterfinal, two semifinals, and of course, the final.

-This leaves us with 7 sites remaining. Here are my picks for the best sites: Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, Houston, Orlando, and San Francisco. The committee is to do its best to avoid placing teams in sites that give them a home field advantage. Again, the committee is given discretion here.

Just to give you an idea of what this system would do right now, here's what this field would likely look like right now.

1- Alabama
2- Texas Tech
3- USC
4- Utah
5- Texas
6- Penn State
7- Florida State
8- Pitt
9- Florida
10- Oklahoma
11- Boise State
12- Georgia

That would give us matchups that look like this:
5) Texas vs. 12) Georgia at San Diego
6) Penn State vs. 11) Boise State at Orlando
7) Florida State vs. 10) Oklahoma at Atlanta
8) Pitt vs. 9) Florida at San Francisco

The second round: Atlanta, Dallas
1) Alabama vs. Pitt/ Florida at Atlanta
2) Texas Tech vs. Florida State/ Oklahoma State at New Orleans
3) USC vs. Penn State/ Boise State at Houston
4) Utah vs. Texas/ Georgia at Tampa Bay

Now tell me those games wouldn't generate an absolute TON of money for college football.

Of course, this is just the beginning of my recommendations for revamping college football, but I am going to leave it at this for now, as I think this column is long enough already.

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