Monday, December 15, 2008

A college playoff system that might work

America may have voted for a change in presidents this year, but college football is likely to remain stuck the 20th century. Many of you bloggers may not be interested in this subject, but it is very disturbing to me and to other sports pundits around the country. Why is there no college football playoff system? Why is there not some sane way to determine the very best team in the nation?

Well, my pal George, for whom I have much respect and with whom I’ve had an ongoing discussion with for some time, at least since Texas defeated Oklahoma in early October, only to see OU finish ahead of them in the final BCS rankings, may have the best idea I’ve heard.

Here’s what George said in an e-mail to me: “The heart of the problem is that college presidents and ADs are literally ruining the best game in the business. I think Florida and Oklahoma are two excellent football teams. But, I believe Texas , Alabama , Texas Tech and Penn State are pretty darn good, too. That's not even including Utah and Boise State . You know all too well how good Boise State is” (boy, do I?)
Give us a playoff, please. John, could you imagine the buildup each week in December as teams like Texas play host to BYU and OU entertains somebody like Utah ? This four-week journey through December and culminating the first weekend in January would blow March Madness out of the boat.”
He went on to say, “My plan is about as simple as simple can be. Take 32 teams, as determined by power rankings. Yes, there is still going to be a team upset that was rated 33rd, but it's a whole lot better than the sham we have right now in the BCS. Playoffs would commence the first weekend in December. Yes, throw out the conference championships and make it a winner-take-all during the regular season. For instance, the Big XII plays one non-league game and the rest against the conference. I say give the "power" conferences Big XII, Big 10, SEC, Pac-10, ACC and Big East two auto qualifiers each. The remaining 20 would come from the other ‘non power’ conferences, if you will, and additional wild cards would be determined by the rankings mentioned earlier.
“The top seeds would have home field until the semifinals and they use the Big 4 bowls to host specific games. Just for a moment let's pretend we have a true postseason. The playoffs would start with 32 on Dec. 6th and be trimmed to 16 for the weekend of Dec. 13th. Just before Christmas, we'd have the Super 8 and then the semifinals the weekend of Dec. 27. Not bad viewing for New Year's? The championship would take place the first Saturday in January
So, I don’t exactly know what I can do about the situation, but there’s one man’s opinion.


At December 15, 2008 at 12:49 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

The other divisions already have playoffs, as you know. One starts with 24 teams and gives a bye to the top eight. If length of season is a real concern, then limit the teams in the regular season to nine or ten games rather than the current twelve. The only justification for the current system that holds water, other than MONEY, is that after 34 bowl games there are 34 happy teams who won their last game. But, so long as there is so much money at stake, don't expect the powers-that-be to change anything.

At December 15, 2008 at 2:49 PM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

Glen is right, as in politics, "Follow the Money". Unfortunately money rules, fairness in determining the national championship is not the ruling priority. I don't believe that will ever change.


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