Posted by Mike Harman on Friday, January 21, 2011 Under: Mike Harman
The Big Ten-then Eleven-now Twelve-still called Ten Conference has made the legends and leaders, but nobody cares. Can't we just start from scratch... sort of?
It seems like just yesterday that we finished the college football season with a game winning field goal by Auburn, but after a sloppy game most fans could do nothing but ask themselves who the best team in college really was. Auburn won the championship game, but TCU also finished undefeated. Stanford, Ohio State and Boise State were one loss teams that could argue that they deserved a shot too, and Oklahoma and Alabama may have been the two best teams. In all reality the college football world needs a playoff system, but unfortunately there is no agreement on one.
- Should there be a plus-one game which would now put TCU and Auburn together?
- Should the four best teams be put into a bracket?
- What about the top eight teams?
- Should teams get ranked by the awful BCS rankings or some completely new tool?
- Should a team get in by an automatic bid (see UConn)?
- Where would additional games be held?
I also believe that there should be six automatic bids for each of the major conferences. Unfortunately this is where the current system would never work. The fact is that the Big East sucks, the ACC is completely overrated, the Pac 10 has only two good teams annually, the Big 12 only has two teams with a bunch of wannabes, the Big 10 has too much money and the SEC is better than everyone (although still somehow overrated). There is also the annual couple of mid-majors (Boise St. and TCU) that get left out for no great reason. So what to do?
The only true solution to fix the college football system would be to destroy the traditions and conference binds that we know now and to re-create conferences correctly. This would mean that some teams would have to switch conferences and go to a less prosperous place. Ohio State and Penn State would have to go to the Big East, LSU and Arkansas might have to go the Big 12, Notre Dame might have to pick one conference, and traditional match ups might have to be separated some. If you don't like it then enjoy the BCS as it is now!
So what I propose is to have six 12-team conferences. They would be separated mostly by geographic boundaries, but there are some exceptions to change a few things. With each of the six power conferences there would also be six sub-conferences of eight teams. Think of this as the WAC joining the Pac 12 as a sub-conference. The use of the two separate conferences would allow for advancement and for the smaller teams to move into the bigger conferences. This is because I plan to steal a great tool that soccer has used in the past. The worst team from the Pac 12 (let's say Washington State) would be put into the WAC while Boise advanced to the Pac 12. This allows the conferences to truly have the 12 best teams. It may seem confusing, but it isn't that bad if you look at it as a power conference having a minor league conference under it.
There is no perfect way to organize the conferences, but I believe that this would work ok given geographic and team power.
Essentially at the end of the year the worst team from the major conference will join the team in the under conference. For example, Washington State would likely be replaced with Nevada after the first season.
Given the new conference system (which BTW I think should completely be only for football and the current system the rest of the way), here is how the playoffs would work.
* Teams would play an 11-game regular season. This would include all five in your division, three others in your conference, and three other teams. The kicker here is that you would HAVE to only face teams in division 1 football. The 12-game system now is great, except that teams really play 10 games and then two garbage games against Division two teams like Portland State. Sub conference teams will face everyone in their group (7) and four others from Division one.
* At the end of the season there will be a championship game between each division, the winner is the conference winner as and gets a guaranteed spot in the championship bracket. There would need to be a rule though that the champion has to be atleast 9-3, and that they are ranked in the top-25. If they aren't then an at large will take the spot.
* Six conference winners, and two at-large bids get into the championship bracket. The first round of games will essentially be the four BCS Bowls now, except 1 faces 8, and so on.
* Second round of games will be played at the Titans and the Houston Stadium, while the Championship game would be played at the new Cowboys stadium.
Play it out, love it and hate it. The Best teams would only play two more games than anything now, and everyone is happy enough with the scenario. Sure a bad team might get in after upsetting Texas in the championship, but this sort of action will give the best teams a reason to win (to get a better seed).
In : Mike Harman
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