Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Simple Solution

About this time of year I get some strange feelings twirling around inside my stomach. It is a feeling of both love and hate. It is strange to get such strong feelings in both directions, but I have them. You see, as a huge The College Football Playoff Solution college football fan I wake up on Saturday mornings excited about what the day may hold. Will there be a huge upset, or perhaps an epic blow out. I love the drama, the excitement and enthusiasm.

Then there is the other side of the coin. I often find myself asking the question "What is the point?". It is hard to figure out why you should watch college football unless you have an alma mater that you ritually root for. Even if you have that alma mater there is a rare chance that they are going to be able to play for the big prize. Each year there are only a handful of teams who begin the year even eligible to win the National Championship in college football. Teams outside the top 25 have little to no chance to climb into the top 2 positions, therefore college football begins the season with some 90 or so teams that are ineligible to even win the national championship. Even teams who go undefeated yet begin their season in the top 25 have a small chance, the University of Utah 2009 football team is a perfect example of this conundrum. For this reason, college football is discouraging to me.

If you want more evidence of just how twisted the college football national championship process can be, just look further into the 2009 season. Oklahoma and Florida were selected to play for the national championship. As in previous years these are two huge schools, who began their season highly ranked. Both suffered a defeat and ended their season with but one loss. However, there is another story to be told. Oklahoma's fiercest rival, Texas had handily beat Oklahoma in the cotton bowl earlier in the season. Texas also ended their season with only one loss (Texas Tech, last minute catch, at Texas Tech). Thanks to a computer system that rewards early season losses above later in the season losses, the BCS system chose Oklahoma by the absolute slimmest of margins to play for the national title. The problem here is that both Oklahoma and Texas, and Utah, and Florida, and Texas Tech, and a couple of other teams each could have made their case that they deserved to play for a national title.

I dare say, it is time for the college football gurus at the NCAA to wake up and see what they are missing out on. I believe college football to have the largest following among all other collegiate and professional sports. I firmly believe that schools like LSU have far more fans than their instate professional team the New Orleans Saints. I think the same case could be made for Notre Dame having more fans than any other sports team in the country (even the Yankee's and Cowboys). So why is there not a system in place that can take advantage of the monstrous fan base found within NCAA Division one College football.

Let me purpose a simple system that would make sense to many of us fans. First and foremost, do away with preseason rankings. Give every team a shot to establish themselves after the first month of the season. Secondly, use your existing bowl structure and BCS computer rankings to arrive at the following play-off structure:

BCS #1 (Receives a Bye)

BCS #2 (Receives a Bye)

BCS #3 plays BCS #6

BCS #4 plays BCS #5

The winners of these games would be reseeded to play the two teams that received a bye, with the winners of those two games playing for a national championships at one of the Bowl Games already in place for the current BCS system. This system would answer the critics of a play off system who believe that it would add to many games to an already full schedule. If the critics who argue it would be to much travel would like, there could be an expansion of 1 or 2 BCS games that would allow for a regional system in the first round, but since when have fans from schools like USC not been willing to travel? This system could allow for some expansion by adding a BCS #7 and BCS #8 to play numbers 1 and 2 respectively in the first round.

Surely, the powers that be can envision that college football could possibly over take the NFL as our country's most beloved sports. These games would draw numbers at least close to the Superbowl if marketed and promoted correctly. It would definitely give the average football fan a reason to watch the meaningless BCS games that achieve average to high ratings already.

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