CFB needs a playoff
by David A. Stevens
The BCS is an unmitigated disaster. LSU has a crystal trophy on display that declares them the 2003 national champions. Even so there is a sense that it is tainted because of what happened with USC and the AP poll.
That being said, and this will not win me any new friends with my fellow LSU fans, the final results of the 2003 season were the fairest possible outcome that could be achieved. They were required to work within the confines of a system designed to fail almost every time because the only way the BCS works is when there are exactly 2 teams that are clearly superior to everyone else.
If there is a clear #1 but controversy over #2 then it fails; If there are 3 teams then the system fails.
In '03 there were 3 teams that could make a reasonable argument for being #1 but because of the system only 2 of them could meet on the field.
They did, OU vs LSU, with the 3rd team playing the next best team available; USC vs Michigan. The winner of the heads up match, LSU, got the main championship with the winner of the other game, USC, getting a portion, the AP title, of what is usually awarded to the champion.
LSU fans who don't think SC should have been given anything because they finished a few thousandth of point behind LSU need to remember that if not for an otherwise inconsequential victory by Southern Miss on the last weekend of the season USC would have been in and LSU would have been left out.
There is a fix for all of this that virtually every other sport at nearly every level including every other level of football even other divisions of college, a playoff.
The problem is the powers that be in CFB don't want a playoff, the current system is too good to them. The good ole boy network, made up of everyone from A.D.'s and University presidents to NCAA officials and bowl representatives, just has it too good under this system.
So in order to get a playoff implemented two things must be accomplished.
A legitimate format must be developed and it must address the arguments or excuses that are used for not having a playoff.
And secondly someone, an advertising guru, a political campaign genius (James Carville you out there) has to come up with a way to organize and use the influence of the CFB fan base to force the NCAA's hand.
I've come up with a format that will work. It will provide us with a legitimate national champion and it addresses the main arguments against a playoff.
It would be made up of 16 teams chosen and seeded by a commitee, basically it would look like an NCAA Basketball regional. The pairings would be announced the Sunday before Thanksgiving with 4 games each the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, with 4 more matching the winners the following Saturday. These 12 games would each be at the home of the higher seeded team.
Then there would be a break while most of the bowl games played out. Then on Christmas the national semi-finals would be played in two of the BCS bowl games. Then a week while the major bowls played out and then on New Years in prime time the National Championship game in one of the other BCS bowls. The games would rotate between the 4 bowls with the game left out able to choose any two teams not in the playoff.
Using the current ESPN power rankings, adjusted for USF's loss and to avoid early round match-ups between teams from the same conference.
Friday Nov. 23rd
#1 Ohio St. vs #16 Missouri @ OSU
#8 West Virg. vs #9 California @ WVU
#5 Oregon vs #12 Florida @ Oregon
#4 Oklahoma vs #13 Va. Tech @ Oklahoma
Saturday Nov. 24th
#3 LSU vs #14 Kansas @ LSU
#6 S.Carolina vs #11 Southern Cal @ S. Carolina
#7 Kentucky vs #10 Arizona St. @ Kentucky
#2 Boston College vs #15 Auburn @ BC
Saturday Dec 1st
#1 Ohio St vs #9 California @ OSU
#4 Oklahoma vs #12 Florida
#3 LSU vs #11 Southern California @ LSU
#15 Auburn vs #7 Kentucky @ Kentucky
#9 California vs #4 Oklahoma @ Orange Bowl
#7 Kentucky vs #3 LSU @ Fiesta Bowl
New Years Day
Michigan vs Texas @ Rose Bowl
#3 LSU vs #4 Oklahoma
This system addresses the main arguments against a playoff and I have spent years developing and fine tuning it but there is always room for improvement and I would like to hear what the people here think.
There is a lot more to it but I'm already being long winded so the following is a link to an ESPN message board where it has been discussed at length if anyone wants to see what others have said.
You'll see if you go there that for the most part people who really want a playoff might disagree with details but for the most part liked the idea but those who don't want a playoff made ridiculous excuses for why it wouldn't work.
As I understand the submission rules I can post the link below but it will be changed to text so you can't use it to "link" but you can use it as a guide to get there if you want. I hope those that want can access it and I hope I didn't violate any rules.
ESPN College Football Playoff Discussion.