March Madness starts tomorrow and all I can think about is why can’t we have this same excitement about college football? Well it’s because … the BCS = Epic Fail. I’m not really down with all the internet lingo, but I think that’s how the kids are saying it these days. Actually I think it’s way more cool to say … the BCS “pwns” the NCAA. That one still seems really lame to me and, for all you normal people out there, that is not a typo (although it started out that way and became its own word). Anyway, I digress. The point is the BCS system is a sucky way to determine the national champion.
The opinions of how to change it are like … uhm, let’s go with belly buttons … everybody’s got one. You have the BCS plus-one format, another tier-based BCS plus-one, a 12-team playoff, a 16-team playoff called the Wetzel Plan (similar to Joe Rozsa’s plan), a 24-team playoff, and on and on and on. Even our country’s fearless leader has an 8-team playoff in mind even though he hasn’t really given us any details about it. Shocking, I know!
So now it comes to me. I’m not a college football expert by any means, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. That was not funny at all and I’m not even getting paid for that plug. Oh well, moving on. I’ve read most of the proposals out there and I’ve thought about this a lot “dating back” (ding … inside joke) to 2002 when NC State was ranked 10th in the AP poll and 9th in the BCS standings. Not that I think NC State can ever realistically win a national championship, but under the current BCS system we will never even get that chance. I did a presentation on this very topic in my Public Speaking class back in 2002 during the week leading up to the Georgia Tech game. Sorry! Don’t blame me!
Because the BCS is so skewed towards the big name programs, even if NC State had remained unbeaten in 2002 we would not have played for the national championship. Looking at some of those big programs; Ohio State, Texas, Southern Cal, LSU, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, and Florida State have all appeared in multiple BCS title games and comprise 20 of the 24 total spots in the twelve year history of the game. That would be like skipping the whole March Madness Tournament and making the Final Four consist of some grouping of Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Michigan St., UCLA, and UConn every year. Blasphemy, I say!
Ok, I’ve rambled on enough already so … drum roll please! I humbly present the DFCF Plan:
- Conference Alignment – All the big six (a.k.a. BCS) conferences should expand to at least 12 teams. I don’t know or ultimately care who the Big Ten, Pac-10, or Big East would want, although it seems like we could be finding out soon what the Big Ten and Pac-10 have in mind. Both have begun exploring their expansion opportunities. I do have my dream conference alignments, but that’s for another post … maybe later this week.
- Schedule – The regular season schedule should be cut back to 11 games consisting of 8 conference and 3 non conference games with no games against D1AA teams allowed (with this plan the terms FBS and FCS would thankfully become obsolete). I’m pretty sure that huge cheer you just heard was coming from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Other than that, who’s really going to miss Florida vs. Charleston Southern or Alabama vs. UT-Chattanooga (both actual matchups from this past season)? I would, however, be fine with one preseason exhibition game against a D1AA team that didn’t count towards records or player eligibility ala the NFL. Just a thought.
- Conference Championships – Let me be the first to say that I hate conference divisions. It seems like more times than not the best two (or even three) teams are from the same division so the conference divisions should be scraped. The conference schedules should have two common opponents and rotate the other six games with the best two teams meeting in the conference championship game period.
- Non Big Six Conferences – I haven’t forgot about you guys. The best two teams from all the non big six conferences should meet in a pseudo “Little Guys” Championship game.
- Playoff Bracket – The playoff should consist of eight teams: the six conference champs, the little guys champ, and one at large team that cannot be a championship game loser. How about a game between the next best “big boys” team and the next best “little guys” team. What, no convoluted formula or biased committee to determine that last spot? Actually deciding it on the field? What nerve I have! Okay, I guess you would need a formula or committee to determine playoff seeding, but as long as the champ is decided on the field I don’t think seeding matters that much.
- Playoff Schedule – The conference championship games would remain where they are now … the first weekend of December. The following weekend would be an off weekend. Then the playoffs would begin with the first round being played on the third weekend of December and the second round on the fourth weekend. Then the championship would take place a week and half later in the same Thursday night prime time spot that the BCS championship game has held for the past few years. All playoff games would be played at neutral sites … preferably a rotation between the current Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta Bowl venues.
- Bowls – For this plan to really work some of the bowls would have to be kept, just not all of them. Let’s say 12-14 bowls were kept and all played on or right around New Year’s Day. It would keep the New Year’s Day bowl tradition going, reward the teams that had very good seasons, give us some exciting football to watch, and fill in the break between the semifinals and the championship game.
I’m sure my plan isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn close, right? All I did was try to make it exciting and fair for everybody. I’m pretty sure that I at least accomplished that. I might have missed addressing a few of the common reasons we hear for not having a playoff, but I didn’t miss these … This plan does keep importance on the regular season and it does include the non big six conference teams. It also does not lengthen the schedule too much (one extra game for the championship game participants than under the current system). Most importantly, it will determine a true champion.
Feel free to comment on how awesome this plan is or ways you would tweak it.