Cheap Seats

An idea for a college football playoff…beats the heck out of the New Year’s Day Bowls

First off, a happy New Year to everyone and thank you to all who read this blog. I wish the best of luck to you and your loved ones in 2014.

As a sports fan a lot of my New Year’s Day is spent watching college football bowl games and my mind can’t help but compare the largely unsatisfying college bowl lineup to college basketball’s postseason. I think what makes college basketball’s “March Madness” so much fun is the one-and-you’re-done aspect. Very exciting to see those early-round upsets as well as the “Cinderellas” go on a run and win three or four games. And when was the last time your co-workers asked you “hey, who do you have in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl?”.

Granted, next year college football is going to a four-team playoff. In my opinion that’s good, but not good enough. And, since I’m probably the only author of a sports blog that hasn’t come up with their own playoff system I don’t want to feel left out so here’s mine…

I say you square the number four and go with a 16-team playoff however you’ve got to tweak the college football season as a whole for this to work. Every team will play a 10-game schedule starting on the first Saturday in September and ending 11 weeks later (yes, everyone gets a bye). All conferences will play a conference championship game the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the tournament field will be announced the next day and after Thanksgiving weekend the four-week dash begins.

So who’s in the field? Eight spots go to the conference champions of the top eight conferences ranked by records and strength of schedule after the regular season. The other eight spots will go to at-large teams selected by a committee using the same mixture of rankings the college basketball committees use.  For this example however I’m the committee and here’s the top eight conferences with their champs in parentheses: SEC (Auburn), Pac-12 (Stanford), Big-12 (Baylor), ACC (Florida State), Big 10 (Michigan State), AAC (Central Florida), MWC (Fresno State) and the Sun Belt (Louisiana-Lafayette).

For the at-large teams I selected Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Oklahoma, LSU and Oregon edges UCLA and Ohio State for the last spot because, well, the Ducks beat the Bruins in the regular season and believe it or not had a stronger schedule than the Buckeyes. I seeded the teams from one to 16 (had to make some swaps because teams from the same league cannot meet in round one) and here’s what I ended up with:

Round One

GAME 1: (1) Florida State vs. (16) Louisiana-Lafayette

GAME 2: (8) Michigan State vs. (9) Oklahoma State

GAME 3: (4) Stanford vs. (13) LSU

GAME 4: (5) Missouri vs. (12) Oregon

GAME 5: (3) Alabama vs. (14) Central Florida

GAME 6: (6) South Carolina vs. (11) Oklahoma

GAME 7: (2) Auburn vs. (15) Fresno State

GAME 8: (7) Baylor vs. (10) Arizona State

Round Two

GAME 9: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

GAME 10: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

GAME 11: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

GAME 12: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8

Semifinals

GAME 13: Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10

GAME 14: Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 12

Championship

GAME 15: Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14

All games will be on neutral fields which means most of those cities that host bowl games now will have games in the tournament.  I think you’ll find there’s some good matchups in round one…I really like the Missouri/Oregon one as well as the Michigan State/Oklahoma State matchup.

The big detraction from all this is the number of games will increase but you’ve got a more exciting, interesting postseason. And where I sit from the cheap seats it will really strengthen the sport because the champion will be decided on the field instead of by sportswriters and coaches. Just like basketball…and these guys stay in school for at least three years. All that’s missing is a catchy name…”A December to Remember” is my pick. Has a nice ring to it.

 

 

 

Paul Williams

I am a sports nut who has tried to make the transition from athlete to athletic....err....supporter of my two children and their athletic endeavours. I am also a former sports reporter for The Arlington Times, Marysville Globe, The Skagit Argus and The Coeur d'Alene Press. Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter (@PDub4170).