I was listening to The Tim Brando Show today and he had Roy Kramer on to talk about the possibility of a new four-team playoff in college football. Kramer, the former SEC commissioner, is the father of the BCS.
He brought up some good points about the possibility that you would have to be a conference champion to play in the Plus-One Playoffs. One of them was that this system would not eliminate controversy.
The more I started to think about it, the more I realized it might actually create more controversy.
Think what would have happened this past season if conference champions were the only teams that could play (and they played the first games on campus sites). The playoffs would have looked like this with BCS rankings:
No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 1 LSU.
No. 5 Oregon at No. 3 Oklahoma State.
The teams that finished Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 7 wouldn’t qualify because they didn’t win their conferences (neither did 8 or 9).
So let’s say they played it out and Oregon won the championship. How many AP voters would pick Alabama No. 1 if they blew out some team in the Sugar Bowl?
Sounds like a mess to me.
Let the conferences earn their payoff by winning on the field, and playing their way in to contention. They get enough guaranteed money from TV contracts. How about this: set aside the “top three” bowl games and use them for a 4-team playoff. Play the rest of the bowl games as usual and send the four top-ranked WINNERS to the NCAA Playoffs. (This is single-elimination, so you might want to seed the teams to avoid a #1 vs. #2 game. Or you could let the old screwy system randomize it for you, like it did before the BCS!) Then your Top Three bowls host the two semi-final games and the national finals, for big TV $$$. The remaining bowls with the best match-ups (top 8-10 teams) will get more money and better ratings because they are play-in games. And the third-tier bowls won’t mean any less (is that even possible?)
College teams will never be able to play enough games to produce an undisputed champ. Why not do away with the cupcake games and play all regular season games in-conference? If the bowls required a 9 or 10 win season then you could do like John suggests and use the last 7 for a “playoff.” Do away with automatic bids too. A conference champ that is unranked should not displace a quality team.
The 4 team “playoff” under this scenario isn’t even comparable to a Plus One. And I think that is the route which will be next in line. Kramer appears to be just setting up a strawman debate on the subject. I’m a huge college football fan. But the hypocrisy shown by whomever pulls the strings in the game, are starting to take some of the fun out of it for me.
Every single other C-Football division runs a successful 16 team playoff, with players who are generally far more academically invested in their education. But I realize that if the power players in the game want to preserve the “integrity and tradition” of the conference system – then a modified system would be more appealing.
It appears that greed is forcing the game to evolve into super conferences – not unlike political super pacs. I envision four 16 team conferences. In this case, I would think that an eight team playoff would be the most acceptable. Take the four conference winners and the next four highest ranked teams. Play the first four games at the home of the conference winners (this would cement the importance of a conference championship). Then, play the final three at predetermined bowl game sites. This can be arranged by extorting….em I mean negotiating the best contract deal possible. Everyone wins. Then the preponderous of other insignificant bowl games can continue to function as usual.
I realize that the infrastructure will not allow anything more than forced incremental change. So my suggestion is nothing more than a far off pipe dream. But hopefully I’ll live to see the day.
To have an 8 team playoff would require 7 games, the last being the present BCS Championship, so 6 games Maybe some of the Dec 8th bowls would prefer 1 vs 8 or 2 vs 7, rather than the 2nd or 3rd place teams from two non-BCS conferences. You would think there’s not tv time, sponsorship, and money for 6 more bowl games, but most of us thought that 6 bowl games (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) ago.
The solution is simple. Remember the desires and interests of the fans are immaterial, they do not matter. Those who run college football (the advertisers, the media networks, the university administrations) care only about ‘how much money we can make’. So, the answer, let the money interests figure out how they can make the most money and then institute that system. In the end, that is what will be done. Everything else just gives fans and the media something to babble about.
There is an easy answer- – – Each conference plays an 8 game schedule and each member of a conference is required to play at least 2 games against other BCS conference members didved equally among all the conferences Now the computer would have a lot of data to come up with the best participants for the “plus one” play-off. conference champs not necessary.
each team gets 2 cream puff.
I’m fine with a playoff that only allows conference champs. It keeps the regular season more meaningful. The conference championship games become the first round of the playoffs.