I don't have to repeat myself when it comes to what I think of the BCS and what I'd prefer to happen in college football...but I will anyways. I view the BCS as a bad compromise that was created to sort of give us the opportunity to have a clear cut national champion while sort of keeping the tradition of the bowls but fails on both levels most of the time. I personally either want a true 16 team playoff system, like every other level of college football, completely removed from any association to bowl games or just go back to the traditional bowl system where trying to match-up the #1 and #2 teams in the country was an afterthought and stop pretending that we're crowning a true Division I-A national champion when no such thing exsists.
But I'm not dellusional, neither of things I want will ever happen. A 16 team playoff would be a cash cow but would have some definite logistical issues where potentially some fan bases would have to travel four times in the span of four to six weeks. Obviously we're also never going to see the old bowl system comeback either. So I've come up with an idea that does in some way combine the playoffs and bowls.
First off there would be an 8 team playoff that would include the six BCS conference champions and two at-large teams. Now in a perfect world we'd just take the Top 8 teams in the country but no conference would ever agree to a playoff system that could possibly prevent them from getting a piece of the pie, which is partly why I think a 4 team playoff will never happen. The two at-large bids would be two highest ranked teams not to win their conference or would also include any non-BCS conference team that went undefeated. As good as Utah was in 2004 I don't think anyone thinks they were the best team in the country but they certainly had every right to prove that they could be beaten and the same goes for Boise State this year. If Boise State beats Oklahoma by double digits and Florida beats Ohio State won't on some level the Broncos would have some right to claim that they should be the national champs?
The first round games would be home goes for the higher seeded team and then the semi-finals would be played at two of the four major bowl sites and then of course at another bowl site for the finals. So for example this year the Fiesta Bowl would be the site of the finals with the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl as the semi-final locations. The Orange Bowl was at the bottom of the BCS pecking order this year so they would be seperate from the playoffs which I'll get to. So here is how the 8 team playoff would look.
Wake Forest at Ohio State
Louisville at USC
Oklahoma at Florida
Boise State at Michigan
Now as for my bowl idea I want to change how the bowls are selected. The preset bids I feel devalue the overall importance of the bowls and unfairly punish teams for how their conference has performed in the past. A pefect example is the Big East bids this year. Because of the purge of the conference a couple of years ago this year the Big East bids took a big hit. Their #2 bid, the Gator Bowl, now had a deal with the Big XII where they could have skipped over the Big East and send their second place team to the Sun Bowl which is very much a midlevel bowl. Texas' collapse at the end of the season and West Virginia's win over Rutgers prevented that from happening. Then their #3 bid, the less than prestigious Meineke Car Care Bowl, had a deal with Navy to take them as long as they became bowl eligible and leaving the Big East with no alternative. That would send the 3rd place team in the confernece to it's #4 bid, the "new" Texas Bowl which is replacing the Houston Bowl which went belly up to play the 8th place team in the Big XII. This has of course happened as Rutgers, ranked #16 by the BCS, is stuck playing a bowl game against the #55 team in the BCS, Kansas State who happens to be the lowest ranked BCS conference team with a winning record.
Now I understand why some bowls have certain conference tie ins. It wouldn't make sense to have a Pac-10 team play in the Outback Bowl, just as it wouldn't make sense for an ACC team to play in the Holiday Bowl. Travel has to be taken into account and it's completely understandable. But my proposal is have an actual bowl committee that places similar ranked teams in appropriate bowl games. With the current system they set themselves up for bad match-ups. The #9 team playing the #23 team in the Cotton Bowl. The #13 team playing the #28 team in the Gator Bowl. The #25 team is playing the #52t team in the Emerald Bowl. The #19 team is playing the #52t team in the Alamo Bowl. There has to be a better solution.
On the subject of the Alamo Bowl, why is a team like Iowa even in a bowl game? With the preset conference bowl bids they're awarding a team that went 2-6 in it's own conference while beating no one of note out of conference and give them a midlevel bid with a $1.9 million payout. Why is Miami in a bowl game? Half of their wins came against I-AA Florida A&M, winless FIU, and winless Duke. There are a handful of other examples of teams that have no business being a bowl game which comes to the next problem with the bowls, there are way too fucking many of them. 32 bowl games is absolutely nuts. More than half of Division I-A teams are going to a bowl game this year. What is this, the NBA Playoffs?
My proposal to go along with the bowl committee idea and eliminating preset bids is to cap the total number of bowls at 20, which would not include the bowl sites that are part of the playoffs. With the playoffs and the bowls you'd have 48 teams in the postseason which is plenty. Now going back to the Orange Bowl, since in this hypothetical scenerio it would not be part of the playoffs it would be host the two highest ranked teams in the BCS who did not qualify for the playoffs so this year it would be LSU and Wisconsin.
So here is the bowls I came up with using the BCS rankings trying to match-up closely ranked teams in appropriate bowl games. This is some what thrown together so you could argue with the order itself I have of the bowls. I would eliminate bowls that are to reliant on getting their home team into the bowl to hope to make money (Hawaii, New Mexico, etc.) and bowls where there is already another bowl game at the same site (Poinsettia, Champs Sports). Also no team that fails to finish with a winning record should ever to go a bowl game.
Orange: LSU vs. Wisconsin
Capital One: Auburn vs. Notre Dame
Cotton: Arkansas vs. West Virginia
Chick-fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee
Outback: Rutgers vs. Texas
Holiday: California vs. BYU
Gator: Texas A&M vs. Boston College
Alamo: Oregon State vs. Nebraska
Liberty: Penn State vs. Georgia Tech
Sun: UCLA vs. TCU
Music City: Georgia vs. Houston
Insight: Oregon vs. Hawaii
Independence: Clemson vs. Navy
Las Vegas: Arizona State vs. Central Michigan
Meineke Car Care: South Florida vs. South Carolina
Emerald: Maryland vs. Missouri
Motor City: Kentucky vs. Cincinnati
MPC Computers: Rice vs. Purdue
Texas: Texas Tech vs. Tulsa
GMAC: Southern Miss vs. Troy