FanPost

NCAA Football Regular Season and Playoff Compromise

I understand that this post represents a change to college football that will never happen; however, I think it should happen and thus I'm going to say it, because, well, it makes me feel better. To begin, I will accept the three main arguments offered up by the, "No More Playoff Expansion" contingent. First that the college football season should not go on any longer that it is going on today. Second, that by expanding the current four team playoff system it further dilutes the excitement of the regular season. Third, that the bowl system is good and should not be further downgraded. While most agree that the four team playoff is an improvement over the BCS ranking system, there is still one glaring problem. Who gets in and who gets left out? While no system will ever definitively answer this question, progress needs to made to ensure that the committee can make the best choice possible. The root of the problem is that there aren't enough quality cross conference quality games to truly judge how good each team is. Without the ability to have the teams play it out on the field, those entrusted with selecting the teams are in for a tough decision making process. So here is the solution I am proposing. The NCAA should mandate that if a team wishes to be eligible for the final four team playoff they must agree to the following scheduling system. Games 1 and 2. These two games of the season are open for each school to schedule an opponent of their choice. This allows the big schools to bring in the little schools for their yearly, "thank you sir my I have another", beat down. While these games aren't much fun to watch, they do serve a purpose. The smaller schools can collect a big payday and the bigger schools get to work out the kinks before conference games begin. Furthermore when these games are played we the fans are so happy to see college football again we don't really care who is on the field. Weeks 3-11 Each conference plays their normal conference schedule. This preserves the conference traditions and rivalries that are at the core of college football today. After the regular season concludes the conferences can still have their conference championship game as they normally would. The last two games of the season are where things change. In the current world these other two non-conference games are generally played at the beginning of the season. Some schools play four small schools, others mix in a quality non-conference game. In this new system the final two non-conference games are always played at the end of the regular season and the opponents are determined based on the season completed through the end of conference play. The top two teams from each conference are put in a pool. The third and fourth place teams from each conference are put in another pool. The fifth and sixth place teams are put in another pool and so on. Then by random draw, each team is scheduled to play two other teams from their pool. One game will be a road game, the other a home game. This system allows the top teams to show on the field, against other conference champions and runners up, why they should be one of the final four teams selected. These two weeks of college football games would quickly become must watch games and a natural build-up for the selection of the final four teams. The pros of this plan are many... 1. We have a much better chance of selecting the best four teams for the playoff as we have more games between the top teams. These games not only pit the best teams against each other but also do so at the end of the season which is a much better indicator than an early season matchup. 2. All teams get a chance to prove their worth, not just the BCS schools, see Boise State and Northern Illinois. This also helps a BCS team who dominates their conference which most pundits think is substandard. They now can prove themselves worthy on the field. 3. This system trades in two weeks of often uncompetitive football games and trades them in for must watch games. Additionally the media hype and buzz the selection show will generate as the last two weeks games are announced will be huge. If the NCAA wants to grab some headlines back from the NFL during the regular season, here is your chance. Also the TV ratings for these two games are going to be much higher than they would have been otherwise. Translated... more $$$. 4. Even for the teams that don't qualify for the top pool of teams, at least they will be matched up with a more like opponent than may otherwise happen. This will also help appropriately sort out who gets invited to which bowl game. 5. All this is accomplished without touching the bowl system or lengthening the season. The arguments I foresee that will be raised against this plan are: 1. ADs won't want to give up scheduling control. To which I rebut, "Come on guys, take one for the team." 2. It will diminish the conference championship games. This is true, but I don't think it will destroy them. The conference championship is still a big game for the participant's resume and it can still decide which team will go to the conference's bowl game tie in if they should fail to reach the final four. Additionally at that point in the season the conference championship game will still be the biggest game of the year and will still generate an extraordinary amount of interest and excitement. I do understand that logistically there are some things that would have to be worked out. In my plan these last two games would be scheduled immediately after the last conference game and before the conference championship game. This allows the teams and fans two weeks to make travel plans rather than just one. It could be that the week of some team's home game vs away game must be set in stone before the season starts. This would not allow for a true random draw in the pool. This kind of detail can be worked out. It may also be better to have the 1st and 2nd place team from each BCS conference be included in pool A but only the 1st place team from a non BCS conference. These kinds of smaller questions can all be determined when the powers that be read this post, are amazed by its brilliance, and decided to make it happen.

Items in the FanPosts is entirely at the discretion of those that post them. They do not represent the views of Hammer & Rails, SBNation, or Purdue University in any way.

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