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Playoff & Bowl Idea 2007

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Before I get to the redux my of idea for creating a playoff system and at the same time improve the bowl selection process, I'm going to make a little comment on Hawaii. Whenever I see someone say "Hawaii should be in the BCS Championship!", I just want to pat them on the head and say "Aww, aren't you cute? Yes you are, yes you are!" In the current structure of college football, which I agree is a joke, Hawaii has no business playing for the championship.

 

The purpose of the BCS is purely to match-up the two most deserving teams and nothing else. Hawaii is in no way shape or form one of the two most deserving teams in the country of playing for the Mythical National Championship and they are not on the same level of Boise State last year or Utah in 2004. I know it's a tired argument but it is always worth enforcing that they played what was the weakest schedule in the country. They played a total of three teams in the BCS Top 80 this year (Fresno State, Boise State, Washington) and all three game came at home. The best team they played on the road this year was Nevada who is ranked 83rd overall by the BCS computer rankings and only the Billingsley rankings had them in the Top 80 (78th). This team is going to get flat out killed in the Sugar Bowl by Georgia and I think it's going to be a beating so bad that it could hurt the cause of the non-BCS conferences.

 

And that being said, Hawaii deserves to play for a National Championship...if there was a playoff. Like Boise State last year, they didn't lose a game. It's the biggest hole in the "the regular season is a playoff" argument. If you didn't lose a game, how'd you get eliminated? I'm not going to retype my whole idea from last year but here is my idea in a nutshell: Eight teams, the first round is played on the homefield of the higher seeds, while the semi-finals and finals are played on the traditional BCS bowl sites. Automatic qualifiers would be the six BCS conference champions and any undefeated non-BCS conference team. If there are any available slots after that they will go to the highest ranked team(s) that did not win their conference championship.

 

Now there is an argument out there that we only need a four team playoff and I'll tell that has too many problems for it to ever to work. First off the BCS conferences will never go for it. Are you gonna tell me the SEC or Big Ten would ever agree to a playoff that could leave the possibility of their champ not having a chance to win a real National Championship? Also it doesn't solve the problem of the exclusion of the Boise State's and Hawaii's of the world as no non-BCS conference team has ever finished the season ranked in the BCS Top 4. An eight team playoff gives all the BCS conferences a piece of the pie while pleasing the non-BCS conferences and the general public of giving the opportunity for those "small" schools to play for a championship. An eight team playoff is logistically possible and doesn't over bloat the season too much.

 

So in my hypothetical scenario this year the Sugar Bowl is the site of the National Championship while the Orange and Rose Bowls would host the semi-final games. Here's how the playoff would set up:

 

Hawaii at Ohio State

Georgia at Oklahoma

 

West Virginia at LSU

USC at Virginia Tech

 

I don't know about you but I'll take the Pepsi Challenge of these games versus the sad slate of BCS bowl games we have this year.

 

Now last year as well I also suggested that the whole bowl selection process has to be overhauled. Now this is an issue that obviously doesn't get much attention because the issue of actually crowning a real National Champion in major college football takes precedence. We need to junk the preset conference bids which are inherently unfair. BYU for example, who has been completely overlooked because of Hawaii, is ranked in the Top 20 of the BCS for the second straight year but once again they have to settle for the Las Vegas Bowl rather than a bigger game. Now there are certainly years where the Mountain West champ may only deserve a bowl of that caliber but the preset bids ensure that those teams will never get a better bid, unless they go undefeated and get into the BCS. The preset bids also can give us lopsided, uninteresting match-ups. Michigan is ranked 32nd in the BCS yet they will play in the biggest non-BCS bowl against Florida who is ranked 12th. Anyone remember what Dennis Dixon and company did against Michigan earlier in the year? What you think Tim Tebow is going to do them? Also we have the lameness of bowls like the Hawaii Bowl or the New Mexico Bowl that can take the home school to play creating a road game for their opponent for what is technically supposed to be a neutral site.

 

My idea was/is to have an actual bowl committee that assigns similar ranked teams to appropriate bowl games. Now you wouldn't want to necessarily match-up #15 vs. #16 and #21 vs. #22 automatically because obviously there would be cases where you'd have two teams from the same conference or two teams that already played each other, which funny enough even with the preset bids we have two rematches this year (Las Vegas and Motor City). You also wouldn't want to have say a Pac-10 team play a Mountain West team in the Outback Bowl in Tampa nor would you want a Big East team to play an ACC team in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Location can be important for selling tickets which is part of the reason why we have preset bids, although it would been unavoidable in some cases to have bad location match-ups and hell the ACC sends teams to San Francisco and Boise. Another advantage to getting rid of the preset bids is it would create more variety in inter-conference match-ups instead the same conferences playing each other in the same bowls for several yars. Just for example, the Pac-10 and SEC haven't played each other in a bowl game since the 1989 Freedom Bowl (Washington State vs. Florida).

 

One other thing for the BCS bowl who is not part of the playoff, that being the Fiesta Bowl is this scenario, they would get the two highest ranked teams not in the playoff provided those two teams aren't in the same conference which this year would be the case with Missouri and Kansas. And just to make the conference presidents fat and happy those schools would get the same payout as the playoff schools.

 

So here's my "fantasy booking" of the bowl games. The order I placed the bowl games are based on how the current preset bids are handed out and not necessarily how I view each bowl. Last year I wanted only 20 bowl games outside the playoffs but I know there's no chance of ever significantly shrinking the number of bowls so this year I'm including them all. One provision I didn't think of last year is that after you get past the BCS Top 25 I'd only place teams based on their overall computer ranking as otherwise you could get coaches or former players (Harris Poll) giving their school a throw away 25th place vote to get their school a better bowl game.

 

Fiesta: Missouri vs. Arizona State

Capital One: Kansas vs. Florida

Cotton: Illinois vs. Clemson

Holiday: Boston College vs. BYU

Chick-fil-A: Tennessee vs. Wisconsin

Gator: Texas vs. South Florida

Outback: Virginia vs. Cincinnati

Sun: Auburn vs. Boise State

Champs Sports: Connecticut vs. Wake Forest

Music City: Oregon State vs. Michigan

Insight: Oregon vs. Arkansas

Meineke Car Care: Florida State vs. Kentucky

Las Vegas: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M

Liberty: Penn State vs. Mississippi State

Independence: Air Force vs. Georgia Tech

Emerald: Utah vs. UCLA

Motor City: UCF vs. Texas Tech

Humanitarian: Michigan State vs. South Carolina

GMAC: Maryland vs. Alabama

Texas: Rutgers vs. Oklahoma State

International: Colorado vs. Troy

Poinsettia: California vs. New Mexico

Armed Forces: Louisville vs. Purdue

PapaJohns.com: Fresno State vs. Indiana

Hawaii: Tulsa vs. Navy

New Orleans: TCU vs. Florida Atlantic

New Mexico: Central Michigan vs. East Carolina

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