In light of recent comments about the BCS format by Pete Carroll and Joe "Pa" Paterno, I'd like to go ahead and begin the discussion about the BCS versus a playoff system. I'm quite sure there are as many ideas for a playoff system as there are conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination. Well, here's another idea. Heck! It's probably been thought of already. If so, I haven't heard of it. Here goes.
At the end of the regular college football season (to include the completion of conference championship games), take the top eight ranked teams and put them in a playoff system. (Surely, the six current BCS teams who won their conference outright would be in the top eight). "WAIT A MINUTE" YOU MAY BE SAYING! Just because a team won their division doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be in the top eight. True. If they aren't, then something definitely must have been wrong with that team and/or the conference they were in for that particular year. (Lousy teams, poor strength of schedule or ridiculous parody in that particular conference are a few examples).
The BCS people (whoever that mysterious lot is) can still call it the BCS because the four major bowl games are what initially determines who will continue on to a National Title game. The playoff system would run like this:
Use each of the four major bowl games; Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange as the start off point for the playoffs. New Years day could host the Rose and Fiesta bowls and Jan 2nd could host the Sugar and Orange bowls. If Jan 1st and 2nd don't fall on a Friday and Saturday, then ensure that the games are held on the 1st Friday and Saturday of the month. Can you imagine all the hype that using bowl games as the "jump off" point for a college football playoff would create? Whoa man! It would be glorious!
The following Saturday would host the two semi-final games on two neutral sites and the Saturday after that would host the championship game at a neutral site as well. If this format were used for Jan. 2009, the last game would be on Jan 17. Can you imagine a college football playoff coinciding with the NFL playoffs? Hallelujah! Holy &%*#! Where's the tylenol? :-)
For those that feel that the regular season would lose its luster, (hello John Saunders) that's just completely silly. Every week still counts just as much, but now, even more so! Everyone vying for a shot at eight elite spots? How on earth does that diminish the excitement of the regular season?
Any argument for the bowl games losing their luster is silly as well. Your bowl game has just been given added value! And as for the four major bowl cities; Los Angeles, Tempe, New Orleans & Miami, you could still host the final championship game just as you do now with the BCS. Every year, one of the four major cities would take turns hosting. The college football season would only be extended by two weeks. Surely the coaches and players can live with that. Below is a purely hypothetical scenario using current rankings and the dates of January, 2009 as an example:
- SEC (Alabama)
- Big 12 (Texas Tech)
- Big 10 (Penn State)
- Pac 10 (USC)
- Big East (West Virginia) - Good example of a team that probably wouldn't be ranked in the top eight. If not, so be it. Whatever team is ranked 5th (in this scenario) would be the fortunate team. It may even be a team that already has a representative from their respective conference. A division title doesn't automatically give you the right to be in the elite eight. (Texas) would be next in line based on current BCS standings.
- ACC (Georgia Tech) - Another example of a divsion winner not in the elite eight. (Florida) would be next in line based on current BCS standings.
- At large (Oklahoma)
- At large (Utah)
*** Yes, I know. In this scenario it would be possible that the Big 12 would have three teams in the playoffs. It's not their fault that they're good. ***
# 1 Alabama vs. #8 Utah (Sugar Bowl) Friday, Jan 2nd
# 2 Texas Tech vs. # 7 Oklahoma (Fiesta Bowl) Saturday, Jan 3rd - REMATCH!!!
# 3 Penn State vs. # 6 Georgia Tech or Florida (Orange Bowl) Friday, Jan 2nd - ugh! not very neutral.
# 4 USC vs. # 5 West Virginia or Texas (Rose Bowl) Saturday, Jan 3rd
Following Saturday, Jan 10th (Again, hypothetical scenario / results)
#1 Alabama vs. #4 USC - Neutral site
# 2 Texas Tech vs. #3 Penn State - Neutral Site
Following Saturday, Jan 17th (Again, hypothetical scenario / results)
#1 Alabama vs. #2 Texas Tech - Los Angeles, Tempe, New Orleans, or Miami in succession.
*** Result? Fans get their playoff championship and the BCS gets their money...And then some! *** Any takers?