So it has been a three week sabbatical from writing with BSR and it has been a crazy three weeks in sports to say the least. The last time I wrote something the NBA was nowhere close to signing an agreement so basketball could start, Tim Tebow was in his infancy and the hype train hadn’t run out of control, the Florida Marlins had changed their name to Miami but they still were the lowest payroll team in MLB and the idea of signing Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and to put up over $200 million to sign Albert Pujols seemed like a pipe dream. Other events that have happened include the Harbowl, Sads and I watching the Terps look good in the first half of the ACC Big Ten Challenge but then get steamrolled in the second half, and of course the announcement of the bowls in college football. So a lot has happened, but let’s focus on the last thing, the bowl season for college football.
The top 10 for the week of November 17 were LSU, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boise State, and Houston. Since November 17, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Houston have all lost and combined to loss a total of 9 games and the only team to finish undefeated for the season was LSU.
The bowls were announced on December 4 with LSU playing Alabama for the national title being the main headline and Michigan and Virginia Tech grabbing spots in the Sugar Bowl because their fan bases travel better than teams like Boise State or Kansas State. As for the national title, I think Oklahoma State was more deserving than Alabama because the Cowboys have more quality wins than the Tide. However, the fact that I have to use “more deserving” to pick my team should never come into play. Every other sport uses the dreaded p word (playoffs) to determine their champion each year but not major college football. Even the former 1-AA or FCS has a playoff. However, major college football determines their champions by coaches (coaches poll), random college football people (Harris poll), and 6 computers (computer poll) determining the top 2 teams. Did you know that 5 of the 6 computer formulas are private and that no one knows what it is except the creator not even the BCS people? The madness needs to stop. Imagine taking a class and instead of going over and reviewing the syllabus in the first class, the professor says I will grade you throughout the year on random things that you don’t need to know. Would that even fly?
My simple proposal is a 16 team playoff with each conference earning an automatic bid for the conference champion and 5 at large teams. The first two rounds would be played at the higher seeds home stadium and the semifinal and finals would be at a neutral field. Not only would it crown a champion on the field but also it would stop the crazy conference realignments as well. The selections and seeding would be done by a committee who watch the games and also use measurable computer numbers available for each team at the beginning of the year so they know how they are graded. Here is how this year would look
1 LSU 13-0 (SEC)
16 Louisiana Tech 8-4 (WAC)
8 Boise State 11-1 (at large)
9 K State 10-2 (at large)
5 Stanford 11-1 (at large)
12 W. Virginia 9-3 (Big East)
4 Oregon 11-2 (PAC 12)
13 Southern Miss 11-2 (Conference USA)
6 Arkansas 10-2 (at large)
11 TCU 10-2 (Mountain West)
3 Alabama 11-1 (at large)
14 Northern Illinois 10-3 (MAC)
7 Wisconsin 11-2 (Big 10)
10 Clemson 10-3 (ACC)
2 Oklahoma State 11-1 (Big 12)
15 Arkansas State 10-2 (Sun Belt)
The 5 at large choices selected can be compared to the ones missing out like Virginia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Baylor, and Houston. The committee could argue for or against each team, and then be held accountable for the decisions made. I would be quite excited about at least 3 of the matchups and all of them could be intriguing akin to March Madness drama. As for round 2 matchups, we could have 4 very exciting games Boise State at LSU, Stanford at Oregon, Arkansas at Alabama, and Wisconsin at Oklahoma State (assuming no upsets) and each of those games has the potential to be epic.
Each team earned a shot to play for the national title whether they won their conference title or their body of work merited an at large selection. If teams wanted to increase their schedule difficulty by scheduling good competition, it helps better the regular season. For example, on Saturday in college basketball, #5 UNC traveled to #1 Kentucky and it was an awesome game. Also, Oregon would not be totally penalized for taking a challenge and losing to LSU in Dallas to open the season. The lower conferences in the FBS would actually get better as it now gives them an opportunity to play for a national title and invest into their football programs. The great thing about the playoffs is they could still have the bowls for the rest of the teams because more football can’t be a bad thing.