Tuesday, December 10, 2013

College Football Playoffs 2013

Next year, the NCAA begins a 4-team playoff for the college football national championship.

This is in addition to the three other college football national championships the NCAA already has: Division 1 FCS (1-AA) on January 4, 2014 in Frisco, Texas; Division II on December 21, 2013, in Florence, Alabama; and Division III (the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl) on December 20, 2013, in Salem, Virginia.

Division 1 FBS (Division 1-A), finally gets a playoff of sorts next year. This year, it's still the BCS. And, as always, it's true that you can't spell BCS without BS. I don't know what to say about next year's "playoff" other than it's a half-ass attempt to get it right.

Here's what's right, and what I've been proposing for years: A 16-team playoff, consisting of a field of the 10 conference champions, with the highest-ranked non-conference champions completing the field.

The questions are how to pick the "wild card" teams, and how to seed the teams. Minor details. But, the major details are the 16-team field with the conference champs.

Now, how to pick the "wild card" teams? I'm gonna use the Coaches Poll. Or the BCS standings. They are close, but not quite the same, both in teams and in ranking.

First, the easy part: Here are the conference champs, who get an automatic bid:
Conference Champion Record Coaches Poll
Atlantic Coast Conference Florida State 13-0 1
Southeastern Conference Auburn 12-1 2
Big Ten Conference Michigan State 12-1 4
Big 12 Conference Baylor 11-1 5
Pacific-12 Conference Stanford 11-2 7
American Athletic Conference Central Florida 11-1 15
Mountain West Conference Fresno State 11-1 20
Conference USA Rice 10-3 31
Mid-American Conference Bowling Green 10-3 32
Sun Belt Conference Louisiana-Lafayette 8-4 NR

Now, we add the "wild card" teams.
Conference Team Record Coaches Poll
Southeastern Conference Alabama 11-1 3
Big Ten Conference Ohio State 12-1 6
Southeastern Conference South Carolina 10-2 8
Southeastern Conference Missouri 11-2 9
Big 12 Conference Oklahoma 10-2 10
Atlantic Coast Conference Clemson 10-2 11

I'd seed them by Coaches Poll, champions first -- kinda like the NFL does -- and match the teams up with Number 1 hosting Number 16, Number 2 hosting Number 15, and so on. And, I'd let the teams that lost in the first round still go to a bowl. The first-round losers will either be a conference champion, or a top 15 team. Most bowls would jump at either.

Here's the seeding:
Team Qualification Record Coaches Poll
Florida State Atlantic Coast Conference (Champion) 13-0 1
Auburn Southeastern Conference (Champion) 12-1 2
Michigan State Big Ten Conference (Champion) 12-1 4
Baylor Big 12 Conference (Champion) 11-1 5
Stanford Pacific-12 Conference (Champion) 11-2 7
Central Florida American Athletic Conference (Champion) 11-1 15
Fresno State Mountain West Conference (Champion) 11-1 20
Rice Conference USA (Champion) 10-3 31
Bowling Green Mid-American Conference (Champion) 10-3 32
Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt Conference (Champion) 8-4 NR
Alabama Southeastern Conference (Wild Card) 11-1 3
Ohio State Big Ten Conference (Wild Card) 12-1 6
South Carolina Southeastern Conference (Wild Card) 10-2 8
Missouri Southeastern Conference (Wild Card) 11-2 9
Oklahoma Big 12 Conference (Wild Card) 10-2 10
Clemson Atlantic Coast Conference (Wild Card) 10-2 11

And, here are the first round games:
  • Clemson at Florida State
  • Oklahoma at Auburn
  • Missouri at Michigan State
  • South Carolina at Baylor
  • Ohio State at Stanford
  • Alabama at Central Florida
  • Louisiana-Lafayette at Fresno State
  • Bowling Green at Rice
Some really good match ups in the first round, and some really lame ones, under my seeding. But, seeding is a minor detail.

Put a 16-team playoff like this in place, and, whoever is left standing at the end, whether it's an eighth-straight SEC team, a team from the Sun Belt, or one of the other quality teams on this list, and you'll have a true national champion.


  1. What happens to the bowl games?

  2. As I mentioned above, "I’d left the teams that lost in the first round still go to a bowl. The first-round losers will either be a conference champion, or a top 15 team. Most bowls would jump at either."

    If the teams from second round forward are pulled from the bowls (unless a bowl hosts a quarterfinal or semifinal game), that's eight teams pulled from the mix. A max of four games.

    I have my own problems with bowls (a 6-6 team -- a .500 club -- getting rewarded for mediocrity). This playoff plan doesn't consider bowls, nor should it. But, if, say, the Sugar or Orange or something wants to host a playoff game, fine.

  3. Ok. I missed that sentence.

    Bowls make lots of $$$ for TV and football teams…they won't be pushed into obsolescence easily.

    Otherwise, sounds good.

  4. i have a different idea. go back to intramural sports. get rid of all the bowls and playoffs. if the nfl wants to sponsor a minor league, let them, but the highest paid state employees should not be coaches, the sport seasons should not stretch so long that the players have no time to attend enough classes to graduate on time and the overseers should stop changing the rules to the point that i no longer even understand the game i once played.

    on another note, football is different from other sports. the body can only take so much punishment then the career ends. i would rather see the athletes take this punishment as a paid professional. shorten, or at least don't lengthen, the college season so that these guys can have longer professional careers.

  5. @jw - for 95% of these guys college football is the end of the line as a player. I can understand them wanting to play more and have the opportunity to compete for a "national championship".

    Though all sports have risks for career ending injuries, football does seem the most dangerous. I've always felt that if a college player gets a chance to go pro before graduation he should. College or pro, the next game may be his last. He can always go back and finish school - he won't always be able to play pro footbal.

  6. Who's *your* team, Basil? Do you have a favorite?

  7. UGA isn't in the mix, so I literally don't have a Dawg in the fight.

    But, of the field of 16, I think Auburn and Alabama are the best two, although, because of seedlings, I suspect they'd meet in the semifinals. I hate Auburn more than I hate Alabama, so...


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