And there it is, just as I promised, a true, undisputed National Champion!
Gooooooooood mornin, Coug fans. It’s been a couple weeks since I graced these hallowed pages, but Im back with a vengeance. Usually we leave all the salvation and enlightenment round these parts to the Sutra, but I am taking the wheel today and steering us all to the promised land. This off-season the college football world is being completely reshaped by ongoing meetings between the major conferences in Chicago. In these closed door sessions the powers that be are wracking their old gray heads trying to come up with a way to fix College Football’s irreparably broken BCS system for determining a national champion. Frankly, I hate all the meager half-assed proposals they seem to be considering, and it seems like they aren't too pumped about them either. Well I have great news for them. They can all rest their weary heads because I’ve figured it out. Whats my plan? Read on to find out...
Isn't she beautiful?
Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to the 26 team single elimination playoff. Here is the basic plan:
- We will retain the 6 major conferences (yes, this formula retains the Big East as a major conference).
- To keep their major conference status the 6 major conferences must have two divisions of at least 6 teams each, a championship game and play a 9 game conference schedule.
- Each major conference champion (the winner of the conference championship game) will receive a first round bye in a 26 team tournament.
- To qualify for an automatic bid and first round bye a team must win its conference championship game.
- The remaining 20 teams in the tournament will be selected as follows: 5 automatic bids for each mid-major conference champion, 12 at large major conference bids and 3 at large mid-major bids.
- The tournament would be played on the home field of the team with the highest seed, until the national semifinals and championship game which would be played at neutral sites.
- To accommodate the extension of the season, the regular season will be shortened to 11 games.
- Major conference teams will not be allowed to schedule FCS teams as part of their 2 game non-conference schedule.
Got all that? You probably have some concerns, so I have attempted to anticipate those and address them below:
Why 26 teams? Sounds like an arbitrary number.
For a couple reasons: 1. traditionally college football recognizes a “top 25” which is a fair enough number that nobody outside it can rightfully claim to have a stake in the national title debate (I made it 26 because odd numbers make for wonky brackets). 2. Adding more teams would also extend the season beyond the point that it was practical for student athletes.
But what about the bowls? The tradition! The pageantry! AWWWWW!
I hear ya. I am a sucker for tradition as well. Ted Miller has written quite eloquently about the value of preserving the Rose Bowl and while I was nearly ready to drop the plunger and just detonate the whole thing, I have been swayed. Lets keep the bowls. Here is my proposal for how we do it. I call this, the “Daytona model”. Bowls are bad at determining a national champ, BUT, Bowls are great celebrations of college football’s tradition and, yes, pageantry,and they are great for preserving conference rivalries. Why not preserve the Rose Bowl’s tradition as a pristine battle for bragging rights between the Pac-10 and Big-10? In the “Daytona model” we simply move the Rose Bowl to the beginning of the season.
Daytona, the biggest race of the year is the first race of the year.
I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor. Ok? Here’s how it works. The Rose Bowl will be played in early September between the Big-10 and Pac-12 champs of the previous season for nothing more than conference bragging rights, just as it should be!!! As for the other bowls, I don’t care nearly as much about the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton, etc. But some people do, so I propose the other conferences adopt their own “Daytona model” game (SEC vs. Big-12 in the Sugar, Big East vs. ACC in the Orange), or we can divide them up amongst the semi-final and championship games. In this scenario I can also imagine some of the smaller bowls carrying on with post-season matchups of teams that did not make the tournament. These would serve as College Football’s NIT, if you will.
But what about the potential for deserving teams to get snubbed?
This will exist, especially since 15 of the 26 teams will be chosen “at large” much like the NCAA basketball tournament teams are selected. Frankly, this is an acceptable risk for a number of reasons. While there may be “bubble” teams that will cry foul when their name isn’t called, at the end of the day, the national champion will not be in dispute at all. There will also be some controversy around seeding and matchups, but some amount of controversy and argument is part of the flavor of the sport and I think this preserves just the right amount. And another thing, imagine the excitement of a “Selection Sunday” for College football!
Whew, so there it is... I’ve fixed college football. Now it truly is the greatest sport on the planet with the most exciting post season in the history of mankind.
Umm... What about that little thing called the Tournament of Roses Parade and Festival?
There's a little more involved than just a bowl game.
I guess they should just replace the roses with pumpkin blossoms. 'Bout the right time of year.
@WallaCoug I don't think you'll find a single college football fan who gives a rats patooty about the parade. They can do whatever they want with it.
@Longball I don't care about it. I just think the people who put it on in Pasadena every year do.
@Longball Ah, but you are wrong!
They will bow before the people of Pasadena. The people of Pasadena form a mighty, secret cabal that runs the world! Richer than the Davos slime! More influential than the Bilderbergers! The Pasadenites have every member of Congress--including Ron Paul--eating from their hands. The president bows before foreign leaders, but lays prostrate, face-down before the people of Pasadena! The heads of the Pac-12 and Big-10--they are like ants before the people of Pasadena.
And you my friend, should watch your step. They monitor all blogs--all forms of communication. They know everything abou you and what they don't know they will soon find out. Their enemies list is NOT extensive. No one is their enemy for long!!!
@WallaCoug 2 things, this was not designed to a plan that WOULD be adopted, just SHOULD be adopted. Also, as far as the tournament of Roses goes, it will go where the money goes and the money is ALL in the game. I don't think the Pac-12, Big-10 and the TV networks are going to bow too low to the residents of pasadena.
@WallaCoug ...because people still give a shit about the Tournament of Roses parade and festival?
@Soze I'm glad you don't since I don't want one.
Doesn't it go without saying that college football fans don't care about the festival and parade? I know I don't. It's about the people in Pasadena who put the darn thing that just might--I say--just might care.
If it wasn't their bowl or it was just a game like the Fiesta Bowl, then hey, no problem.
I'm sorry for being the Mayor of Realville here.
@Soze Well, I'm the dicatator-for-life* of Real PLANETt! Top that one smarty pants!
*Special thanks To Mr. Bill Waterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes for permission to use "Dictator-for-Life" in this comment!
@WallaCoug I'm the President of Realville, my fine friend, and if the people in Pasadena don't want to evolve with the times, they are going to get left behind.
Dude, The biggest problem with this whole thing is that it makes sense, and NOBODY in a position of power or authority will go for it. It's just too rational and do-able. The money angle shouldn't enter into it at all, unless you consider how much more TV revenue a national playoff would generate. Oh wait, that makes sense too, forget it, it won't work.
As for a 6 month planning for a bowl game, simply put the system out an additonal year to allow planning time for a bowl committee.
This is just way too good to work.
@Ambush184 Dude, the whole problem with the thing is playing FIVE weeks' worth more games. As a viewer, I love it. As a player...I don't think 17 games is going to cut it for college kids. (18 for those in conference championship games).
And since that won't cut it, the regular season will be cut back. We'd have maybe a 10 game regular season at best. Most fans would be left with a very short football season. Most teams would be left with far fewer practices in which to get better for next year, while the those who make the playoffs get to practice for an extra month and a half.
That's OK, though. I know this post was mostly meant to stir the pot. Seriousness, this is not.
@The_Info_Ninja Add some fall practices... the kids are already on campus working out anyways.
@Longball @WallaCoug @Ambush184 Not to mention the true benefit which is that there would not be the ridiculous several week to month+ gap between the regular season and Bowl Games. The best teams get a bye week to rest, recover, and prepare, everybody else start your engines! Coaches will complain about the lost practice time as well, but it is a better format for getting a champion
If we could have the best of both worlds so be it--big playoff and full regular season, OK. If not, then, I say no.
No. I say no anyway. 8-team at most play-off does it for me. The best team is never outside the top 8.
@ErikAnderson Just think of what the post-Ryan Leaf Cougar Rose Bowl team would have looked like. Not a pretty sight, Erik. Not a pretty sight.
Also, see my other comment about the Rose Bowl.
@WallaCoug Work is for suckers...
One thing that i notice is that so far we have reactions like, "What about the bowls?", or "what about the seniors who don't get to play in the Rose Bowl?", or "26 is too many teams, what about 16?", but so far nobody seems concerned that SOMEBODY is not going to make enough money in this scenario. COME ON PEOPLE, think of the poor bowl committees and all they stand to lose from this! How will Chik Filet and Idaho Potatoes promote themselves now?
I love this idea. I want to take this idea out for dinner and a Bridgeport. I want to take this idea home to meet my parents. I want to go ring shopping with this idea. I want to find a nice little house to settle into with this idea. I want to pick out furniture with this idea. I think you get the...well, the idea. Well played, Longball.
For the most part, I have stopped reading about College Football Playoff Formulas, but of course I gave Longball's a read since I am technically still a blogfather :)
This is without question, the best of any playoff scenario that I have seen anywhere! Maybe somebody should send a message to my good old "friend" @BillOnTheHill
I've been saying move the bowl games to the beginning of the season for years now (it would make for an UNBELIEVABLE opening weekend -- or maybe an entire week of college football), and I've always gotten the same pushback... and I don't have an answer for it. Please help me...
Let's say a senior-laden team leads Northwestern to the Big-10 title this year... then the seniors don't get to ever play in the Rose Bowl that Northwestern has been waiting 3,740 years for in 2013.
Or, to keep it close to home, what about the '96 Cougs led by Ryan Leaf and seniors that brought us to the Rose Bowl? The '97 team would have stunk up the joint against Michigan in the season opener.
How do you solve this problem?
(for the record, I'm 100% behind this entire scenario)
@Soze Didn't see you'd made this point about Leaf's team when I wrote about it above. That would've been stinky!
@Soze Also, Northwestern has been in the Rose Bowl a LOT more recently than Cal, or Oregon State, or Arizona (never!). not that any of their players were out of diapers yet, but still. It would be like a English Premiership side that earns a spot in the Champions League the next season, but transfers their top goal scorer for some cash.
@Longball Stop bringing facts to the table. What do you think this is, CougCenter? I was basing my knowledge on how much Wilbon complains on PTI.
@Soze I don't think this is a "problem", per se, but it would be a new reality. For example the reward for the players on the 97 team would have been to go to the playoffs. People would just view the Rose Bowl differently. I think a Rose Bowl would still be meaningful to the long suffering Cal or Arizona fan, but the players are there for 4 or 5 years and they would view the playoffs as their just reward.
Also, this scenario would be somewhat rare. Sure our 98 team would have been dismantled by the 98 Michigan team that went 10-3. But almost all of the last decade the Pac-12 would have fielded reloaded squads from Oregon, USC and even our own 2003 team. Also, you have to ask... would Leaf have stayed? Rien Long? Perhaps if it means so much to players to play in the bowl game they earned, they'd stick around and do it once in a while. That could only be good for the game.
At the end of the day it is a compromise at best. You lose something to gain something.
I still like the idea of 12 or 16 teams more because I can't see fans travelling well to multiple games (plus I hate the idea of home game tourney games).... but man, bowl games at the beginning of the year as non-conference games blew my mind. I love it.
It'd still be a beast to schedule bowl games in 6 months, but college football (similar to basketball but not quite as bad) tends to have very mediocre opening weekends. I've always been taught that the crappiest arguments in my writing should go in the middle of the essay and the same should be true for football. Open strong and end strong.
@something snazzy Very mediocre opening weekends indeed! There are so many terrible matchups in September that I felt it would be good to essentially replace those with more conference games, playoff games and a few marquee matchups in pre-season bowls. No more Oregon vs. Portland State.
Why do you not like home field playoffs? it works great in the NFL. I felt this would mitigate the travel aspect, since almost any team hosting a playoff game would sell out. Right now the lower tier bowls are horribly attended and have zero fan atmosphere. Wouldn't some home cooking fix that?
The people have spoken! Maybe 3 questions should be with you this week, LB? At the very least, Lunardi has just moved you up to a 3 seed in the South region.
Dear sir, stop hounding us with your relentless logic
Seriously this makes way more sense than anything else I have seen out there
Dang Longball, all that crisp mountain air in Utah has you thinking at a higher level than most of us. Brilliant!
SLC actually has horrible air quality - there, you learned something today. I guess it's a good think LB is 1.5 hours north.
@kaddy Our air is bad here too. We get inversions in the winter that make the town look like the set of the Thriller Video.
@Coug22 This is a stupid idea, brilliantly executed on you in this post for the purpose of giving you that Obama-like thrill up your leg, and making you comment.
In reality it is about as unworkable an idea as they come. 16 teams is the outer limit for a football playoff as is used in all other divisions of NCAA football. In those divisions the season is reduced to 11 games. A larger playoff would mean a reduction to 10 or fewer. There is really no need for a 16 team playoff as the the best team in the land is not located anywhere outside say the top 6 of the polls--even when the bias is rank! I am completely happy with a four team playoff. Eight teams would be fine too. 26 is unworkable insanity!
@WallaCoug @Coug22 So you are worried there are too many games, but the system I proposed means fewer games for 99% of the teams. That is not "sound" logic. If the Pac-12 champ plays in the national championship game, they will play a total of... wait for it...16 games. That's only 2 more games than a few teams played this year, and there would be the only 2 teams playing that extra game. Doubt you are going to get too many complaints from the players about playing an extra game or two if it is for the national championship and you certainly won't get complaints from the other 99% of players who aren't actually playing more games.
@Longball @Coug22 No, basketball is a different beast. There are nearly 3 times the number of teams competing (no division between I-A and I-AA) and basketball players can come back physically and regularly do play multiple games in one week. (During the regular season--three at most in a week. During conference playoffs sometimes four in a week).
Basketball teams play 30+ pre-NCAA Tournament games. Footballers only 12.
Compare them on the pro-level too. NBA crammed in four games a week often this season. They play 82 games during a normal regular season with up to 28 more playoff games. The NFL tops out at 16 and 4 playoff tilts. And in the last bargaining agreement, the players turned down ownerships desire to extend the season to 18 games.
No, my logic is sound. Yours (as much as I love you guys and enjoy all the work you do) is a fantasy.