A Modest Proposal

Posted on 01/08/2011 by

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“I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal..”-Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

I decided to go off topic for a day on this post. I’m going to talk about another of my passions today. I’m going to talk college football. More specifically, as I sit here watching NFL playoffs game, I’m going to talk College Football playoffs.

I’m bringing this up because all rational human beings that have no vested interest in the current system can agree on one thing: It Sucks.A college football playoff would be the height of awesomeness. It would make oodles and oodles of money for all involved. However there are those who are wedded to the current system because of tradition (read ve$$ted interest). My answer to that is tradition can really suck.

Tradition can really suck as anyone from the North Side

So a couple of days ago I had an out of the box idea about how to fix the current system in such a way as to make everyone happy. A way to have your playoff and your bowl system too and make everyone happy (and the NCAA richer still). So I decided to take my small forum to get it out there. Because, hey, at least I’m not proposing what Swift was  and at the end of the day it’s my soapbox :-).

I may be a little out of my depth(Image courtesy of xkcd.com

My College Football Playoff Proposal

Some background first. I’m a huge futbol fan (soccer for you gringos). I follow Arsenal religiously. I watch the international qualifiers. I root for Gli Azzurri. I have a soft spot for AS Bari of the Italian league (their nickname is i Galletti).  So I am very familiar with all the multiple iterations for national and international tournaments that exist in the the world of international futbol. For those who are unfamiliar with soccer as it is played professionally, each team is tipicaly in the hunt for multiple honors. To use my beloved Gunners as an example, they regularly take part in 4 different competitions each year:

  • The Premier League : The regular season tournament at the top level for English football comprised of 38 games. Each team plays a home and away match with all the other teams in the Prem. 3 Pts for wins,1 for ties. Winner is the team with most points. Top four teams get an invite to the Champions league (which we’ll talk about in a bit) and the three worse get kicked down (relegated) to the B league (The Championship)
  • The League Cup: This is an elimination tournament going on in parallel (go here if you want detail). Relevant detail are: First two divisions are in (Premier and Championship), lose and your out.
  • The Football Association Cup: This is the big one at a national level. This is an elimination tournament going on in parallel (go here if you want detail). Relevant detail are: Everyone in English football is in, lose and your out.
  • The UEFA Champions League: This is the Big one. All the best teams in Europe from the previous season get invited. The first part is a series of play in games for non-automatic qualifiers followed by a round robin of 4 team groups then a playoff with Home and Away fixtures and it all culminates in a Final which is the most watched annual sporting event in the world (not the Super Bowl). Go here for full detail.

So after that quick detour through the world of FIFA, let’s get back to my proposal for NCAA football. My proposal can be condensed to the following : much like the Champions League let’s have  a 32 team tournament running in parallel to the current season and BCS system. I would combine this with the current  BCS system (in a way I’m going to explain in a bit) for a final playoff to crown a National Champion. So in a way, I’m totally stealing from the English Football setup. Let’s do a Walk-thru.

Arturo’s NCAA Playoff/BCS Proposal:

We start off with a 32 team tournament. The entrants in this tournament will be determined by a combination of automatic entries won in the previous seasons League Championships and Bowl games and the Pre-season rankings. We will need to clear 4 weeks during the regular season where no other games can take place. Week 1 and 2 (in September prior to the start of NFL games) feature Round one action with 2 days each week of 4 games each. 1 plays 32,2 plays 31, etc. and the games take place at the higher seed’s field. Round 2 happens in October with again two days of 4 games each. Round 3 happens Thanksgiving weekend with 4 games however the networks want. At this point we are left with 4 teams standing and here’s where I throw my twist in.

The twist is this: an additional 4 teams play their way in at this point thru the traditional BCS systems. So the 4 highest BCS ranked teams that are not currently alive in the tournament get in to the Final Playoff round. So we now have 4 teams that came thru the tournament and 4 from the BCS system and we have seven games to determine the championship.Here we go neutral site and use the current bowl structure. I’d play the first four Christmas week and the next two over new year’s. The final would be exactly the same set up as now.

The other Bowls and conference championships are de-facto play-in games for the next seasons tournaments.

So there it is, my crazy BCS proposal. I think it does a good job at meeting all the fan expectations while helping the university presidents and the bowl committees line their pockets.

Let’s hope I wont regret it.

My head is lump free right now at least(Image courtesy of xkcd.com)

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