Proposed Changes in Sports #3: The Perfect College Football Playoff
Everyone has some opinions on what they would like to see change–both in the sports world and outside of it. For whatever its worth (and it probably is not worth much), there are plenty of changes throughout sports that this author would like to see. Before we touched on the College Football Playoff reporting issues and ranking issues. But how about the playoff system as a whole? Consider…the Confidential’s Perfect College Football Playoff:
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SYSTEM
College basketball is a great sport, which peaks in March with the Big Dance. Admittedly, there is nothing too special about November basketball, as it is hard to make the transition from football to hoops. In contrast, the countdown to the regular season games in football is palpable. The college football regular season matters. And nothing should be done with a post-season that diminishes the regular season. The BCS system was a step in the right direction, and the current playoff system gets us almost there. But here is the Confidential’s perfect playoff system.
Although not directly relevant to the playoffs, an FBS team should only be able to play an FCS team in the first two weeks of the season. Let’s get those games out of the way early. If you are going to play one, that is. Also, all teams should schedule games for each week in September. No team should have a bye until October. Players should heal during their bye weeks.
First, the new playoff system goes to 8 teams. Nothing shocking here. Your basic… 5 major conference representatives (provided they have 10+ wins)… 1 minor conference at-large (provided it has 10+ wins)… and at-larges to fill-in the slate. This is pretty close to what many folks are advocating.
Maybe the win minimums are unique, but that is something that should be in the system. An argument could be made for allowing a conference representative other than the winner of the conference championship game. That is why it says “conference representative,” rather than conference champion. The bottom line is that all 5 conferences will be represented, provided they are not so parity-bound that nobody can get to even 10 wins. The Committee would continue to exist to rank the at-large teams.
Second, the 8 teams will be seeded from 1 to 8. 1 will play 8, 2 will play 7, and so on. The second Saturday in December is college football first-round day. Games at Noon, 3 pm, 6pm, and 9 pm…. one for each time zone. These will be from among the current bowls. For example, bowl games in year 20XX might be Orlando, Dallas, Phoenix, and San Diego. Or it could be New York City, Shreveport, Denver, and San Francisco. Whatever.
But the #1 team gets to choose its bowl/location. Then #2. Then #3. Then #4. They will know the matchups first. So… a Big 10 team that is #1 might choose Phoenix because there are so many retirees there… compared to Dallas (despite being closer)… and particularly where its opponent is, say, LSU a team closer to Dallas than Phoenix. Or it could be Orlando, because there are more direct flights, etc. Whatever criteria a school wants to use.
Third, after the second Saturday, the next round would be January 1st, as it currently is. Only with re-seeding. The highest seeded team plays the lowest seeded team. The other two teams play. The winners play for the Championship. Again, using the major bowl system. The remaining bowls continue to select teams that do not qualify for a bowl. With 4 bowls being used for playoff games, 8 fewer teams will qualify–which will hurt some 6 win teams, but not cause too much dismay.
In sum, the bowl system continues to exist and be important. All conferences have representation, or at least a fair chance of representation, so long as they have 10 wins. The regular season is not diminished. The conference championship games are not diminished. The season does not extend further into January.
WHAT DO YOU THINK, COULD YOU LIVE WITH THIS?