Tuesday, December 11, 2007
If there ever was a year that proves that the BCS is a crock of sh*t, 2007 is it. With only 1 Division I, er sorry, Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) undefeated team in Hawaii, two 1-loss teams in Ohio State and Kansas, and a plethora of two loss teams, no two teams distinguished themselves above and beyond the others. With the inordinate number of losses by Top 5 teams to unranked teams it becomes increasingly frustrating to accept the NCAA's unwillingness to scrap the current bowl system and go to a tournament format that they use in Divisions I-AA (er, Football Championship Subdivision, FCS), II and III when parity in the FBS is blatantly obvious.
The excuses of missed classes, difficult travel and the uncertainty of locations are invalid as all the other Divisions deal with it. And these are the smaller schools who actually have student athletes and stricter academic requirements. The excuse of the lesser teams losing out on post-season action are also invalid as the lower Divisions also have single game Bowl Games. Keep the lower level Bowl Games, they are entertaining and a nice reward for the student athletes who sacrifice their time and effort. The excuse of the loss of money to the schools generated by the loss of Bowl Games is also ridiculous as the hype and excitement generated by a playoff should match that of the Bowl System. And if people don't think it would be exciting, please see the FCS this season as 8-3 Delaware, who finished the season 3rd in Division of its Conference, has gotten hot and is playing in the FCS Championship Game. Or better yet, see March Madness.
Forget the talk of a 4, 8 or 12 team playoff field, let's stick with a 16 team model like the FCS. Just for reference Division II has a 24 team field and Division III has a 32 team field. The first round would be played on the higher seeded team's field with the incorporation of the higher Bowls for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. To keep it fair to all the Conferences that aren't "BCS worthy", let's include all 11 FBS Divisions, just like March Madness. All Conference Champions get an automatic bid to the tournament. The other 5 "at-large" teams would be chosen by a Selection Committee, just like in March Madness and in the lower Football Divisions. But, let's put in a rule that you can not have more than 2 teams from any 1 conference to be fair to all Conferences. The Selection Committee would then seed the 16 teams just like in the March Madness.
In this demonstration we will use the final 2007 BCS rankings to select the 5 at-large teams and to determine the seeding.
So based on the 2007 Final BCS Standings you would have:
#1 Ohio State (Big Ten)
#2 LSU (SEC)
#3 Virginia Tech (ACC)
#4 Oklahoma (Big 12)
#5 Georgia (At-Large)
#6 Missouri (At-Large)
#7 USC (PAC 10)
#8 West Virgina (Big East)
#9 Hawaii (WAC)
#10 Arizona State (At-Large)
#11 Illinois (At-Large)
#12 Boston College (At-Large)
#13 BYU (Mountain West)
#14 UCF (Conference USA)
#15 Central Michigan (MAC)
#16 Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt)
Kansas and Florida lose out despite being higher in the BCS Standings because they would be the 3rd team from their conference in the tournament. This is just a rule I am making out of preference, not a necessity.
So the first round of the bracket would look as follows:
#16 Florida Atlantic @ #1 Ohio State
#9 Hawaii @ #8 West Virginia
#12 Boston College @ #5 Georgia
#14 UCF @ #3 Virginia Tech
#11 Illinois @ #6 Missouri
#13 BYU @ #4 Oklahona
#10 Arizona State @ #7 USC
#15 Central Michigan @ #2 LSU
With the exception of the 1-16 and 2-15 games all are compelling games. This has to be better that what we have now. For the following rounds you would use the following bowls with the Championship game rotating between the Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls as it does now. You can even rotate the second tier Bowls in the Quarterfinals each year.
Quarterfinals: Citrus (Cap One), Cotton, Orange, Peach (Chic-Fil-A)
Semifinals: Fiesta, Rose
Would be travel be a little bit of a pain in the butt, yes, but college football arguably has a larger following than the NFL. But these games would attract a sizable crowd regardless where held. Fans and alumni would come. This would produce plenty of money to be SHARED with all the school and all the conferences. It seems like a simple solution to a simple problem.
Unless greed and money gets in the way... just like it is now.