Let the build up for the Alabama vs. Notre Dame BCS national championship game begin. That game will dwarf all the other BCS match-ups: Florida State-Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl,
Florida vs. Louisville in the Sugar Bowl, Kansas State vs. Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl and Wisconsin vs. Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
The BCS, in its current format, will be around for another season and then we will have a four-team playoff, which will end some arguments, but create others.
It is a first step. Since this is the holiday season, I thought it might be fun to project what a 4-team and an 8-team (the next step) playoff would look like using this season’s BCS rankings.
It’s a better system which would work. Here’s how.
Let’s start with a 4-team format.
That would be:
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. . No. 4 Oregon or No 6 Stanford (Pac-12 champ)
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3.Florida or No. 5 Kansas State (Big 12 champ)
That would definitely work. Notre Dame-Oregon would be a semifinal game which would create interest, with the Kelly’s (Oregon’s Chip vs. Notre Dame’s Brian) matching strategies. Notre Dame vs. Stanford would be a rematch
The Bama-Gator match-up would also be intriguing since the two SEC teams didn’t play during the regular season. And even more entertaining game could be Alabama vs. Kansas State
The first championship game will almost certainly be played in Dallas and let’s use the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls as the semifinal sites, with Oregon vs. Notre Dame in the Fiesta bowl and Alabama vs. Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
If you expand the playoff system to 8 teams, the match ups would most likely be:
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 12. Florida State
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 6 Stanford
No. 3 Florida vs. No. 5 Kansas State
No. 4. Oregon vs. No. 7 Georgia
Using the old system, you would have arguments from the Big East and Big Ten since neither of their champions would have a chance to even compete for the title in an 8 team playoff which has 4 teams from the SEC. But since a human committee will decide the match-ups, you have room to maneuver. To avoid a regular season rematch, the committee would fiddle with some pairings
Ok. Let’s adjust a little bit. Put Florida State into the No. 8 spot vs. Notre Dame. LSU would get bumped by FSU. The Big East doesn’t deserve a spot with these rankings since Big East champion Louisville in No. 21 in the BCS rankings. Same goes for the Big Ten, whose champion this season was Wisconsin which wasn’t even in the Top 25 in the final BCS standings.
Again, you would have four intriguing match ups. Notre Dame-Florida State would be fun to watch. Alabama-Stanford, Florida-Kansas State and Oregon vs. Georgia would also be interesting.
Making a quick guess I would say that Notre Dame, Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon would emerge as the Football Final Four teams with semifinals of Notre Dame vs. Kansas State and Alabama vs. Oregon.
There are two ways this system could be implemented. Play the four quarterfinal games in the New Year’s Eve-New Year’s Day slots, wait a week and hold the two semifinals. And then wait two weeks until the bye week before the Super Bowl and hold the national championship game on a Saturday Sunday or Monday night.
Yes, this could mean as many as 16 games for the two championship teams in a season extending until the end of January.
There are solutions for that as well: Cut the regular season to 11 games. The billion plus dollar payout such a format would generate would be distributed to the FBS schools which should ease the loss of revenue from not having a 12th game. Playing 11 games would also give teams a few bye-weeks during the course of the regular season, which would allow teams to get healthy.
The other solution would be to play the quarterfinal games in the middle of December at the site of the team with the highest seed. Take a few weeks off and then move into the current January 1-January 8th window.
You could even push the championship game back a week.
Such a system would not only keep the regular season relevant, but would dramatically improve the quality of the bowl match ups with a two-tiered system. You could have the 8 team playoff plus the normal bowl system for all the other teams.
If you really wanted to get radical you could have a 16 team playoff, which would have to have first and probably the second round playoff games at campus sites with the highest seeded teams. Conference champions from all six current BCS champions would be guaranteed spots, as well as the highest ranked champion from the other conferences, plus all worthy runner ups.
Again using this year’s rankings. the first round match ups would be:
1. Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten)
2. Alabama (SEC) vs. Louisville (Big East)
3. Florida (SEC-2) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)
4. Oregon (Pac 12-2) vs. Clemson (ACC-2)
5. Kansas State (Big 12) vs. Florida State (ACC)
6. Stanford (Pac-12) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 2)
7. Georgia (SEC 3) vs. Oregon State (Pac-12-2)
8. LSU (SEC 4) vs. Nebraska (Big Ten 2)
In this group, you have no regular season rematches. The SEC does get four teams, but all the other conferences but the Big East received two bids. The team with the highest ranking from a non- BCS conference gets a spot. Yes, the MWC, CUSA, the Sun Belt and WAC are all left out, but they would be competing for an open spot all season.
Using this system this year, Texas A&M and South Carolina are left out and so are UCLA and Boise State.
The first round games would definitely be played in the middle of December, leaving 8 teams with the same options of playing the first two rounds on campus sites and the final Four on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and the championship game a week later.
Again, the regular season would have to be cut to 11 games to make this work. It would also cut down the ridiculous 40 plus days between games which is currently in place.
It is a system that could and would work, would generate millions of dollars in extra revenue, keep the regular season relevant, cut the gap between the regular season and post season into a normal time frame, not extend the football season too long into January for too many teams, give players time off during the regular season and generate interest.
All of which are reasons why it probably will never happen.
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