Monday, August 16, 2010

My first "there should be a playoff and here's the way to do it" post of the 2010 football season

It happens every year. At least, lately it does. Calls for a college football playoff.

It's begun this season already -- even though the season hasn't begun. ESPN had a story about players wanting a playoff (tip: Mr. SEC via Milton Marwick).

First, let me state that I understand that three divisions already have playoffs. Division III has 32-team playoff. Division II has a 24-team playoff. Division I FCS (formerly Division I-AA) has a 16-team playoff (it's expanding to 20 teams this year).

All that means that it's possible for 72 colleges to extend their season by having playoffs. So, why can't the "big boys" (Division I BCS, formerly Division I-A) do it?

The answer is simple: the can. It's simply a matter of wanting to. And here's how the playoffs should work:

There are 11 conferences:

  • Atlantic Coast
  • Big 12
  • Big East
  • Big Ten
  • Conference USA
  • Mid-American
  • Mountain West
  • Pacific 10
  • Southeastern
  • Sun Belt
  • Western Athletic

The plan would have these the 11 teams that win their conference championship and 5 at-large (or wild card) teams in a 16-team tournament.

I suggest giving the conference championship extra importance by treating it as the NFL does, where their division winners get the top seeds, and the wild-card teams are seeded lower, even if they have a better record than a division winner.

In this plan, the 11 conference champions would get seeds 1-11, and the at-large teams would get the lowest seeding.

Top seeds host lower seeds. Teams that are eliminated in the first two rounds are still eligible for bowl selection.

Oh, and a 16-team playoff means 3 rounds plus a championship game. That's 4 weeks. Which means the championship game could be the first week in January.

It's not that complicated. It'll work.

If they'd do it.

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