December 1, 2010 3:20 pm
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.)