It’s hard to believe it’s been a scant three years since I wrote about how to fix college football by eliminating the championship game.
Go give that a read for a refresher and make these notes:
- Stop reading before you get to the predictions. Other than Clemson and Georgia Tech playing in the ACC title game. Stop after that one.
- How about a little pat on the back for the prescience in saying conferences should be 10-14 teams
- BC was coming off back-to-back ACC championship games and so it was only mildly insane to pair them with Alabama in a game. Sidenote: Please fire Frank Spaziani.
- Navy is joining a conference. Thanks fellas! However, BYU has left a conference. Sigh.
But here we are with another debate. The BCS is dead and a four team playoff will happen. But of course nothing is simple, so there is all kind of debate as to the best way to do this. With that, I present to you fresh in 2012, my NEW fix for college football in which I explain very simply how this should work.
The first question is who gets to participate. Because saying the teams ranked 1-4 would just be too easy. They should just call this the “Tiger Tide Rule.” Apparently no one wanted to see a rematch for the national championship games especially when Stanford and Oklahoma State had reasonable claims. This has made some folks push for a requirement that only Conference Conference Champions can make it. That makes other people barf in their mouths. The people who don’t believe in winning your conference simply point out that those are rarely the four best teams.
But if you’re not going to have this rule, then what is the point of having Conference Championship games? You could always eliminate the Conference Championship Games and determine who is in first place through a series of tiebreakers (same ones to decide division champs) and by eliminating the Championship game you make the regular season insanely important (a big complaint by traditionalists is playoffs devaluing the regular season). I know this sounds crazy but somehow the Big 12 and past versions of the B1G and Pac-12 managed to figure out a champion without using an extra game.
The other problem I have with Conference Championship games is that both teams don’t have something to gain. Basketball conference tournaments are awesome because no matter how awful you are, if you win the tourney, you’re in March Madness. Not so with college football. In the SEC title game last year the undefeated, unquestioned number one team in the country, LSU, was forced to play an extra game against two loss Georgia. Why? If Georgia won they weren’t going to be in the top 4 in the rankings and have no hope of making a hypothetical playoff. What’s the fun in that?
The other thing that would be super neat by eliminating Conference Championship games is that it would be one less game on the schedule. Which, all those people who were opposed to a playoff because of the demands of student athletes don’t really seem to discuss.
Now I’m sure college football fans and anyone working for Dr. Pepper freaks out at the possibility of there not being Conference Championship games. Fine, keep it. I accept that as much I think they are pointless, they aren’t going anywhere. But let’s make them actually count for something.
And this, my friends, leads me to my new college football fix.
Who gets in: The three highest ranked Conference Champions and one at-large team selected by a committee made up of former coaches, analysts, or AD’s. The regular season matters… a lot. For everyone, not just the SEC and whatever conference is doing well that year. The nice thing is that there is one spot for that random team (Alabama this year) that has a decent claim to be included. Or the selection committee could decide to take the fourth highest ranked conference champ. It’s their world. Independents would have to rely on that at-large bid spot if they want to get in or they can broker a deal where they qualify for consideration if they finish in the top 8 or something. Oh, and the top two conference champs are the one and two seed and the committee decides who is three and four. This matters because…
Where are the games: Top two seeds host the first round on campus. It’s a reward to those teams, schools, and communities that support them year round. The Championship game would be at a neutral location that was done on a bid basis. Which is fun because then it could be in other places like Indianapolis that wouldn’t normally get a chance to host. Also, $$$$ for those schools and the NCAA. Hooray! Also, I don’t buy the excuse that has been floating that campus communities won’t be able to handle the attention and influx of people. They do this multiple times a year. How about we let them fail before we decide they can’t pass the test.
When are the games: Conference Championship games (if they MUST carry on) happen on the same weekend they always have (early December). First round of playoffs happens the First Saturday of January or the last Saturday of December depending on how the calendar falls (play the game between Dec 27 and Jan 4). The title game happens the following Monday (so about nine days later).
What about the bowls?: … What about the bowls? Nobody cares about 75% of them anyway. They’ll go about business as usual. And if people think they won’t get high attendance because it isn’t hosting the championship, then why do they think anyone goes now? The bowls will be fine.
I think that covers what I will now call The Durbin Plan (so ostentatious). The nice thing is we’ve preserved the importance of the regular season, 90% of Dr. Pepper’s media spend, rankings, the other bowls, and we’ve only added one extra game for two teams that occurs after exams when most schools are still on break anyway. And if we ditch the Conference Championship Game, then we’ve eliminated games for a lot of teams and no one is playing any more than they would now.
What say you, reader? What do you think is the best way to do things?
Banner photo credit: Majdan