Sunday, December 2, 2007

A slight digression to college football: that's a fine mess they have over there. Playoff proponents every year say, "well, if you have a 8 (or 16 or 32 or 64) team playoff, we wouldn't have this controversy. Teams would be playing for the championship on the field."

While I do agree with that sentiment, I love the bowls. Each one has its own character and tradition and it allows half the teams playing to go out winners.

What I don't understand is why can't college football just add a playoff system to the BCS? There are 4 Saturdays between now and January 1. Isn't that enough time to get the playing field from 8 to 2 to determine who gets to play for the national championship on January 7?

Here's how I'd like to see it. Since we have a 10 team BCS system now, first start with the 6 conference champions and then select the 4 best at-large teams remaining as determined by their BCS ranking. I would have no problem to see provisions that limited conferences to two teams maximum or that allowed a mid-major team to be an at-large selection if it was ranked higher than a BCS conference champion and ranked in the top 12.

Now put all ten teams in order of BCS ranking. For the bottom 2, their reward is a BCS bowl, but they'll have to wait until the other games are done to determine who they are playing. The other 8 get to play in a playoff to be played on the Saturday after the regular season ends. The 4 losers of these games will get to a BCS bowl, and the 4 winners will play each other on the next Saturday. The winners of these games will play for the national championship, then the other BCS matchups are determined, and then finally, the matchups for the other bowls can be made.

Downsides? It's finals time at schools. Students need to study! Yeah, well, how about getting rid of that 12th game you added. No? Ok, then you can afford 8 teams to miss at least one more week of school. Most bowls may not know who is playing until the third Saturday of December which may hurt ticket sales and hotel reservations, but it's a small price to pay to see a champion determined on the field.

So how would it work this year?

You've got your 6 conference champions: Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, USC, West Virginia, LSU, and Ohio State.

Hawaii gets in as a mid-major team in the top 12.

The last 3 spots go to the 3 highest teams remaining: Georgia, Missouri, and Arizona State. Kansas is skipped because of the two teams per conference rule.

For the playoff, the bottom two teams (Hawaii and Arizona State) won't participate but they will be placed in a BCS bowl (not necessarily against each other) with all the glory and money that goes with it.

This Saturday, you would have these matchups:
West Virginia at Ohio State
Missouri at Virginia Tech
Georgia at Oklahoma

Hypothetically, let's say Ohio State, USC, VaTech, and Oklahoma advance. WVU, USC, Missouri, and Georgia join Hawaii and Arizona State in the waiting game. For Saturday the 15th, highest seed plays lowest seed, so:

USC at Ohio State
Oklahoma at Virginia Tech

Let's say Ohio State and Oklahoma win. They'll play January 7 at the BCS championship game. The remaining teams will be placed in the 4 BCS bowls.

Rose: USC vs. Georgia
Fiesta: Missouri vs. Arizona State
Sugar: LSU vs. Hawaii
Orange: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia

Complaints? Ok, that's my football rant. Back to college basketball. A new bracket gets posted Monday.

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