Every college football season, it is the same thing again and again - top ranked college football teams, who more than likely have been ranked high due to preseason conjecture, wind up in bowl games that leave the majority of football fans believing that their respective teams have been unjustly denied a shot at the title, leaving these fans clamoring for a playoff system. And every year, the powers that be within college football lie through their teeth and say that a college football playoff system would destroy the precious college bowl system. This time of year equates to my airing of grievances as it relates to my favorite sport, college football.
To those of you who say a college football playoff system would destroy the bowl system, I quote the venerable Ebeneezer Scrooge: "Humbug!"
To those of you who are like me, who know in your heart and soul that a college football playoff is possible, please read below and let me know what you think - good, bad, or ugly.
Under my system, every conference champion (the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, all the way to the non-BCS conferences such as Conference USA, the Sun Belt Conference, etc) would get a berth in the tournament. For those who traditionally oppose a playoff system by saying it would render the regular season meaningless, I am rewarding those teams who have won their conferences. The conference champions would make up eleven teams in the tournament.
The remaining five would be at-large berths determined by the computer polls used by the BCS currently. Growing up and living in Ohio, and being a football fanatic for all levels, I have always enjoyed and respected how Ohio high school football teams are selected for the postseason. High school football teams in Ohio are based exclusively on computer points, with no biases or voting involved. Does the local media have polls ranking area high school teams? Absolutely - but they have NO say in determining if a team will be in the state football playoffs. It is purely a strength of schedule type system that rewards teams that play demanding schedules, while potentially penalizing those teams that do not play any tough opponents. It is not uncommon for teams to have a 6-4 or 7-3 regular season record and be selected for the Ohio high school playoffs over a 10-0 team that played weaker teams.
Using the computer rankings, the following five teams would be in the 16-team playoff ~ Florida, Iowa, Virginia Tech, LSU, and Penn State. Again, this scenario is rewarding one-loss teams such as Florida, who were undefeated and played in arguably the toughest conference in college football.
Seedings would be determined exclusively on the computer rankings. I have averaged these rankings used by the BCS for the purpose of this article. The first round of the playoff system would have games at the home field of the higher seeded team. By doing so, it could open up scenarios where warm-weather teams could go into a cold-weather site and see how well they could do.
Here is how the playoff seedings would look under my system:
First Round (December 12th)
# 1 Alabama (SEC champion) vs # 16 Troy (Sun Belt Conference champion)
# 2 Texas (Big XII champion) vs # 15 East Carolina (Conference USA champion)
# 3 Florida (At-Large seed 1) vs # 14 Central Michigan (MAC champion)
# 4 Cincinnati (Big East champion) vs # 13 Penn State (At-Large seed 5)
# 5 Texas Christian (Mountain West champion) vs # 12 Ohio State (Big Ten champion)
# 6 Oregon (Pacific 10 champion) vs # 11 Virginia Tech (At-Large seed 3)
# 7 Boise State (WAC champion) vs # 10 Iowa (At-Large seed 2)
# 8 Georgia Tech (ACC champion) vs # 9 LSU (At-Large seed 4)
If the higher seeded ranked teams won the first round, the New Year's Day bowl games could look like this:
Second Round (January 1st)
# 1 Alabama vs # 8 Georgia Tech (Sugar Bowl)
# 2 Texas vs # 7 Boise State (Cotton Bowl)
# 3 Florida vs # 6 Oregon (Orange Bowl)
# 4 Cincinnati vs # 5 Texas Christian (Fiesta Bowl)
As The Rose Bowl is serving as the site of the national championship game, it would serve as both the semi-finals as well as the championship game.
Semi-Finals (January 8th)
Game 1: Alabama vs Cincinnati
Game 2: Texas vs Florida
The BCS Championship Game (January 15)
Alabama vs Texas
For those who think what a foolish idea, let me propose an alternative to you - suppose the NFL were to tell its fans that the Super Bowl was going to be played by the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, as they currently have the top records in their respective conferences? Is there a football fan out there who truly believes voting on a championship game is a logical turn of events?
Yes, I know there would be blowouts in some of the early games. For those talented teams such as Alabama or Texas, playing at home against a lowly team such as Troy or East Carolina should be no concern, right?
And under my system - every conference champion gets a shot at the title. No worries about anyone being left out of the big picture, as we have seen over the years. No worries about needing Congress to get involved. And for those of you who salivate over The New Mexico Bowl, rest easy - I am leaving all of those bowls alone, kind of like college basketball's NIT version to go with the NCAA tournament.