Oh Barack, you had me at “I don’t know any serious fan of college football who would disagree with this [a playoff system]“. YES WE CAN!
The most unabashedly imbecilic state of affairs in American sports outside of the designated hitter rule (seriously pick a direction and apply it to both leagues; I vote for dumping DHs but two separate rules is idiotic) is the fact that football, probably the most popular sport within the states, doesn’t pick a national champion via a playoff system at the collegiate level. To be more specific, though, every NCAA division save one does have a playoff system—our scrappy rogue just happens to be the top level, which deigns to engage in a byzantine morass of bowls, most of which have ridiculously awesome names. This year I think it’s a tie between the ever popular Papajohns.com Bowl and the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (Go Wildcats!).
Each year, as the various undefeated or deserving teams are shunned, the BCS system, put in place the rectify the old system of yet more random bowls, has to again defend itself from the onslaught of attackers, now including Congress (if there’s a bandwagon, they’re sure to be on it). This year witnesses the exclusion of three undefeated teams (TCU, Cincinnati, and Boise State). More hilarity ensued when the BCS conjured up a website to defend themselves, self-seriously named playoffproblem.com, which Deadspin promptly ripped apart. To turn matters decidedly surreal, the BCS also hired Ari Fleischer as their spokesman on Capitol Hill and beyond; this is the man who helped sell a fucking war on demonstrably false pretenses—which would make for a savvy choice if people had forgotten they were already scorched by this character once. Even now-President Obama almost made me vote for him when he publicly came out in favor of a playoff system when ESPN asked the then candidate what he would change in sports, if he could.
The most dubious claim pertaining to our annual BCS clusterfuck of hitlerball is that it is a vast improvement over the previous system, ergo it is a success—despite the fact it has already produced a split national champion (LSU and USC in 2003) and left an undefeated 2004 Auburn team tits deep in shafted pudding. This of course neglects the very real possibility that a playoff system, whatever its foibles, would be a vast improvement over the BCS system. The turn from the bowls to the BCS was the moral equivalent of banging someone in the ear and then saying, “Hey, it’s an improvement!” when you switch to their ass. But the vagina’s right there. WHY AREN’T YOU POUNDING THAT KITTY? Naturally the primary reason, from the Big Ten Network to NBC’s Four Hour Notre Dame Saturday Blowjob to the BCS, is money—the power conferences believe they only stand to lose from a playoff and without their consent (or Obama’s deployment of the 82nd Airborne) it is not patently going to happen. The BCS: it’s a Monroe transfer of gold!
But since everyone likes to dabble in the middle word of life, we turn to Dashiell Bennettt, who makes a solid case on the specifics for a playoff.
- Eight seeded teams
- All neutral sites
- Teams and seeding selected by committee
And probably the two most controversial:
- You must win your conference championship to be in the playoff
- All six power conferences (assumed to be ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big 10, PAC 10 and SEC) get automatic bids
The idea behind these measures was that it got the major conferences on board while preserving the sanctity of the regular season, via the condition of winning a conference championship, as well as encouraging a team to play a more challenging non-conference schedule (since losing those games would have a considerably smaller effect). Also, the independents, mainly Notre Dame, would have to join a conference—yes, ND, your NBC golden dome fiefdom would come to an end. Under this scenario, the playoffs would fall out something akin to:
The Sports Illustrated model of playing the first round games listed here at the higher seed’s home field might be preferable. There would be an even greater incentive to play a difficult non-conference schedule to boost one’s standing while the opening rounds would get a more intense atmosphere, as well as rewarding the best teams’ fans with a game on their own campus. That would leave only three “bowl” games instead of seven, but those could be divided up between the four current BCS bowls with one being left out in each year (as three are effectively left out every year anyway).
An expansion to a 16-team playoff might be the only way to ensure that any Division I (or “FBS” for the semi-tards) team could conceivably win the national championship in any given year. Under similar rules, every conference champion would receive an automatic bid with the remainder of the teams selected by committee. That would put all of the following 11 teams automatically into the playoff:
|Big Ten||Ohio State|
If the remaining five teams were selected based on the current BCS rankings, the bracket would bloat to:
Sixteen games spread through three weeks after an autumn football orgy. I think I need to change my pants. The sixteen-game playoff would need four weeks; this year it would most likely start the weekend of the December 12th (four games per day or two Friday night and three on each weekend day) with the second round on the weekend of the 19th (two on each day). Christmas week could be skipped so the semifinals would be played on New Year’s Day, which falls on a Friday in 2010. The championship game would be played a little less than a week later on January 7th.
Getting giddy now; MUST PICK WINNERS:
Yes, I know it’s not an actual bracket (and if Brian Kelly still would have left under this scenario, I wouldn’t pick Cincy–but I don’t think he would have left). IT’S STILL REAL TO ME DAMMIT!