My Dad used to tell me that anyone can sit back and complain, but if you want things to change, you have to be willing to step up and offer up reasonable alternatives. For years, I have made these suggestions about college football playoffs, but this year has some subtle changes. Let us begin.
Expand The Playoffs From 4 To 16: Here we go. How can it be a true playoff system that does not involve every conference champion? Yes, I am including conferences such as The AAC (Memphis) Conference USA (Marshall), The MAC (Northern Illinois), The Mountain West (Boise State), and The Sun Belt (Georgia Southern). Yes, even a team that won the Big 12 (Baylor) would get in. If you are the conference champion, you should get a shot at the title. Five at-large berths for teams, based entirely upon strength of schedule. The entire playoff field would be seeded, based entirely upon strength of schedule.
Home Playoff Games: And here is where we could help with those traveling expenses. Guess where the playoff games would be held? At the home stadiums of the higher ranked teams. Yes, instead of flying from New Orleans to Dallas, Ohio State fans could look forward to weekends in Ohio Stadium (possibly).
Stop and think about it – what is the one thing you hear about this time of year with teams fighting for a spot in the NFL playoffs? Home field advantage. Can you imagine fans of the New England Patriots flying to multiple playoff spots, then heading to the Super Bowl? So why should college football fans do that?
I can already anticipate some of the questions, so why not take care of them right here…
Would I eliminate games? As these are college athletes, yes, I would. Simply put, every team would begin Labor Day weekend, and would conclude by the final weekend of November (conference championships could be held this weekend). First playoff round of sixteen would be the first weekend of December. Second playoff round of eight would be the third weekend of December; as most schools have final exams the second week of December, this would allow for athletes to study this week.
Now we are down to the final four. We can have these games January 1st, at a college location of the highest seeded team. The national championship could be held at one of the designated bowl sites. In other words, fans could make a week out of it, versus moving from town to town, under the present system.
Aren’t you overemphasizing the playoff season vs the regular season? If a team knows that the only sure way to get a shot at the title is to win their conference, it kind of makes that every game counts mantra truly stand out, doesn’t it? Next question.
What about the other bowl games? What about them? They can continue, albeit outside of the playoff system. Next question.
How would this help players’ families, or fans, with travel expenses? Maybe it would not, but the possibility of home site games, versus multiple cities that require airfare, would seem plausible to me that this system would be a step in the right direction.
If you could change only one thing, what would it be? That’s easy. Considering how much money the college football playoff is raking in, why can’t the NCAA adjust its rules and allow for schools to assist families to be able to get to the playoff sites? I am not suggesting that the schools pay for a family’s hotel, but considering teams charter flights for coaches, administrators, and other university officials to get to a bowl site, why can’t they do the same with a flight for players’ families? And Coach Urban Meyer seems to be of a like mind on this issue with me…
Meyer, as he has done before, bemoans fact that many players' parents are struggling to find way to pay for trip(s) to CFP games.
— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) December 18, 2014
Is my solution ideal? Perhaps, perhaps not. I do know that any system that does not recognize or involve every conference cannot truly call itself a true playoff. And above all other sports, college football has truly grown through the years because of the passion of its fan base – why not reward those fans, instead of trying to squeeze every possible cent from them?
My system is so practical, it makes complete sense why the NCAA will not implement it. Instead, I will console myself with a 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale, and prepare myself for next season’s Airing Of Grievances. Best wishes to each and every one of you for a safe and happy holiday season.