When I was in college, bowls season was my favorite. I was at home between the break and got to watch college football nearly everyday to help me decompress from the finals of the previous semester. Now that I’m out of school, I still love bowl season, but it doesn’t have the same effect on me. I don’t have time to get caught up in the excitement of each game like I used to. Now I’m really just concerned about are how my teams do and any meaningful games (not many).
What would really catch my interest would be a playoff. Last year I read Death to the BCS, which made a strong case against the BCS and for a playoff (who hasn’t?). This is what a 16 team playoff would look like this year. (SFW means Semi-Final Winner.)
|1. LSU||2. Bama*|
|8. Wisc.||7. K-St.*|
|9. VATech*||1/8/9/16||2/7/10/15||10. Clem.|
|5. Oregon||4/5/12/13||3/6/11/14||6. BSU*|
|12. So Miss||11. TCU|
|4. Stan.*||3. OKST|
|13. WVU||14. Ark St|
This playoff format would include the champions from all 12 FBS conferences and four at-large teams (the schools with the *). Same as the BCS, only two teams from any given conference are given a spot (so Arkansas is still out of luck, but they had their chances). The biggest issue with this system is it’s based off the BCS rankings, but a new system could be put in place easily enough.
No matter what there will be a team that feels it got burned. For example, VA Tech was overrated and gets a higher seed than Clemson (who twice beat them thoroughly). This leaves Michigan out, but there’s a fair argument they are overrated too. But we’ll have a chance to see who is better on Tuesday. Stanford is also ranked above Oregon, the conference champ that demolished them in the regular season.
But look at the intriguing match-ups this system provides! Sure TCU gets burned by having to replay a team it defeated in the regular season (that is still for some reason ranked much higher than TCU) in the first round, but it has a chance to prove it wasn’t a fluke and play for a championship. So would they rather that or play in the Poinsettia Bowl against the would be 16 seed?
K-State-Clemson would be a fun game to watch. There’s the in-state rivalry of LSU-LA Tech. Oregon’s potential rematches with Stanford and LSU will give us plenty to talk about. If Michigan had gotten in over VA Tech, we’d have another in-conference battle in the first round. The Badgers could be a thorn in LSU’s side in the second round. OKST will have a great match-up in the second round regardless of the winner of TCU-BSU. And if after all is said an done LSU and Alabama play in the championship, they will have earned it.
It may not be a perfect system, but it is definitely better than what we currently have. I can live with these imperfections in a system that provides playoffs, because it is decided on the field. You think you were underrated? Prove it on the field. You didn’t make the playoffs? Win in the regular season. The little guys can’t whine about not having a shot anymore. Schools can complain about their seeding, but in the end, if they want to be crowned champs they have to win four games.
A playoff doesn’t mean that we have to do away with the bowls. They should probably cut several of them (GoDaddy.com Bowl anyone?), but most can stay. Even the four BCS bowls. The loser of BSU-TCU can still go play in the Las Vegas Bowl. If Stanford sees an early exit, maybe the Rose Bowl will take them. So what if Oregon misses out on the “Grand Daddy of Them All” if it has a chance to play for all the marbles.
What would you prefer, the current system or a playoff? How would you improve the system? Do you think this playoff system could work?