This post has grown out of a discussion I had with a friend over on Facebook, regarding the BCS vs. deciding the championship on the field. I said that it wouldn’t be too hard to come up with something better, and below is an expansion of the remainder of that comment.
All bowls must occur by January 1st. I’m still undecided about whether playoff contenders still play in a bowl, but I’m leaning toward yes, as this leaves the “season” as close to its current incarnation as possible. Once these final rankings come out, the AP top 16 qualify for the playoffs.
Beginning the weekend after New Year’s Day, there will be regional playoffs for the rounds of 16 and 8, then a final four that rotates from year to year; the higher seeds (1-8) go to the regional closest to them that has a spot open. All playoff venues will be NFL facilities, to avoid any team playing on their home field. This would also have to take into consideration teams who make the NFL playoffs, so they won’t lose the use of their home field to use for practice. For the South/East, some venues would be the Georgia Dome (Atlanta) or Raymond James Stadium (Tampa); the West could play at Qualcomm Field (San Diego) or Candlestick Park (San Francisco); the Midwest could play at Cowboys Stadium (Dallas), Soldier Field (Chicago), Reliant Stadium (Houston), or Invesco Field (Denver). For the championship, I foresee NFL stadiums bidding for a chance to host the Final 4, similar to the way cities bid on the NCAA basketball Final 4.
The round of 16 would feature the lower seeds on Friday night, and the higher seeds on Saturday; the following week, the winners would play (staggered Friday/Saturday among regions, to maximize TV time). The round of 4 would play lower seeds on Friday, higher seeds on Saturday, with the championship the following Saturday. This will wrap up the college champion by the end of January, in plenty of time for the Super Bowl, which is usually the first or second weekend in February.
So, how would this play out this year? As of this writing, we would have:
West Regional - Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Friday - #12 Virginia Tech vs. #5 Stanford
Saturday - #16 Oklahoma State vs. #1 Oregon
South/East Regional - Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Friday - #9 Boise State vs. #8 Arkansas
Saturday - #15 Missouri vs. #2 Auburn
Midwest Regional 1 - Invesco Field, Denver, CO
Friday - #11 LSU vs #6 Ohio State
Saturday - #13 Nebraska vs. #4 Wisconsin
Midwest Regional 2 - Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX
Friday - #16 Oklahoma vs. #7 Michigan State
Saturday - #14 Nevada vs. #3 TCU
I don’t really see a whole lot wrong with any of these pairings. Nevada/TCU? LSU/Ohio State? Boise/Arkansas? I don’t even follow those schools, but those would be some sweet games. And, throw in a few upsets, and there are some really good college football games in the month of January. Boise State and TCU still get to play for the championship; failing to win your conference championship doesn’t necessarily keep you from getting a shot at the national championship. Any of these 16 teams could win the championship, by winning 4 games in a row.
I don’t know if we’re ready for college teams with records like 18-0 (what Auburn’s record would be if they won out - 12 regular season games, 1 conference championship, 1 bowl, and 4 playoff games). But, as a college football fan, I’d sure love to stop hearing about “BCS Busters” year after year. (It would also make Tim Brando and Rece Davis find something else to talk about.)
Several things are converging at once, and I believe they’re related. Tuesday was a busy day, so I’ll explain each, and then how they could be.
First, the hard-working 101st Congress started their 4-day work-week, after taking Monday off for the BCS championship game. (They should have taken Tuesday off instead of Monday, so they could sleep in Tuesday morning after the late finish.) This is the now Democrat-controlled House and Senate - the legislative body we’ll have to deal with for the next two years.
Second, we have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on the heels of his joint letter with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressing opposition to increasing troop levels, announced that there will be a symbolic resolution voted on in the Senate next week opposing any escalation in the war in Iraq. (This is in the 4th paragraph under the heading “Dems considering options”.) That link also has a full story on the bill that Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA) introduced to require Congressional approval for any troop increases in Iraq. This bill is a clear usurpation of executive power, and will not pass muster - however, its introduction and the accompanying rhetoric sends a message. (Mr. Kennedy also gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he was highly critical of the President and his Iraq policy. While I would love to give his speech the proper fisking it deserves (and may if I have the time), I’ll quote one of the more egregious portions here…)
But I do not retreat from the view that Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam. At the critical moment in the war on terrorism, the administration turned away from pursuing Osama bin Laden and made the catastrophic choice instead that has bogged down America in an endless quagmire in Iraq.
Our misguided resort to war has created much more and much more intense anti-American feeling than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of. And the sooner we reverse that distressing trend, the better.
I am convinced that John Kerry could have worked with the international community to end that war and bring our troops home with honor.
Third, the first open fighting of the year broke out in Baghdad, where Iraqi forces went after an insurgent stronghold after the insurgents killed over 100 people. The Iraqi forces called for US backup, and together they prevailed, but not after 10-hour firefight.
Are these three things related? If they are, there are two different ways that it could be. The most likely, and the way I believe these are related, is that the militant element in Iraq is emboldened by this new leadership. They hear the rhetoric from our newly-elected leaders, and they sense that the will of the American people may be waning. They feel that if they step up their attacks, and engage in open hostilities, that they will help those in this country who want us to pull out. We’ve known for a long time that terrorists prefer Democrats - remember Osama bin Laden’s tape before the 2004 elections, threatening states that voted for President Bush? If this is what this turns out to be, I pray that we have the will to fight off this renewed zeal on the part of the terrorists.
Another option is that the Congressional Democrats are using the fighting in Iraq as a political issue. (Of course, the media goes right along with them - look at the first paragraph of this story about Sen. Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery.) The worse the war goes, the better the Democrats look. I think that a lot of them are not realizing what this means. The Democrats have positioned themselves on the wrong side of this issue. If America loses the war, they win - their prognostications of doom and gloom will have been proved to be true, and they can give the rest of us a big “I told you so.” However, if America wins, they lose - and they will only be madder, and more resentful; they will never admit that our nation did the right thing by going into Iraq. Of course, in a way, they’ve already gotten a small victory; at the beginning, I never would have used the term “if America wins,” it would have been “when America wins.”
Where is the truth? Are these related at all? If they’re not directly related, then they are at least mutually beneficial - which should be enough for any of us that love truth and freedom (and don’&t want the blood of our brothers in arms to have been spilt in vain) to know what side we should be on. Contrary to what Congress seems to think, the American people do not elect and seat 435 "Commander-in-Chief"s every two years - we elect one every four years. For the next two years, there is one Commander in Chief, with a new Secretary of Defense. If the Democrats have ideas for how to win the war, then let them work together with the administration so that we will prevail. If all they have is grandstanding, naysaying, and threats of treasonous proportions, then they need to sit down and shut up.
Why would a patriotic American position themselves so that they are only validated if America loses? The short answer - they wouldn’t.
Anyone still want to make the case that Michigan should have been in the BCS Championship Game instead of Florida? [crickets chirping] Thought so…
By the way - as a fan of the Volunteers, I rarely cheer for the Florida Gators. But, NCAA championships in basketball and football in the same year is a first - congratulations to Florida for making history in 2006.