The BCS has Overstayed it's Welcome
What the NCAA Football Playoffs Should Look Like
It's Time to Say Goodbye to the BCS
Everyone (sans the corporate bigwigs running the bowls) is borderline desperate for an NCAA football playoff. A sixteen team playoff would leave everyonecontent that a true champion was born each and every season. Very few fans want to continue watching the SEC Championship Game (The Sequel) in the national title limelight (the lowest-rated title game in the 14-year history of the BCS). A sixteen team NCAA football playoff (under my plan) would give most if not all division I-A schools hope that they could achieve their ultimate team goal. So someone please tell me why it can’t or shouldn’t happen?
How My Sixteen Team NCAA Football Playoffs Work
First off, we scrap preseason rankings; therefore, not giving undeserving media-hyped teams an unfair advantage (Florida State seems to fit this argument perfectly) to start the season. Restrict all poll releases until after all games are played in week 5, thus allowing all teams at least 4 games played to prove they may or may not be worthy of a ranking (as it stands now the BCS rankings would be first released one week later).
How are the Sixteen Teams Selected for the NCAA football playoffs?
Easy, you take the top 16 in the BCS at the end of the season and seed them accordingly (#1 vs. #16, #2 vs. #15, etc). I’m also open to the winner of the major conferences getting automatic qualifiers, but that can all be hashed out at a later date (at the rate we are going with conference realignment, who knows how many “major” conferences will exist after an NCAA football playoff is implemented). The team ranked 17th in the BCS at season’s end is likely going to complain, but that is inevitable. Case in point - the annual bubble drama for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
When & Where Will NCAA Playoffs Take Place?
The first round of the sixteen team playoffs would be held at the higher seeds home stadium (the top 8 seeds get a home game). Think of how vibrant those 8 campuses would be on game day? Start the games (all games in the NCAA Football Playoffs would be played on Saturdays) the week after the conference championship games to keep all teams on their regular schedule (some may have a week off to rest if they don’t’ have or didn’t make their conference championship). This means the NCAA playoffs would begin in the middle of December and likely finish on or around New Years Day. The Final Four on Christmas weekend, Championship Game on New Year’s Eve! What could possibly be more awesome than that? You may be thinking, well what about exams? Come on people, most of these guys are not serious about academics. The NCAA & NFL essentially force them to play at the college level to enhance their draft status (given that the NFL restricts all players who aren’t at least 3 years removed from high school). There is no minor league NFL system other than the NCAA itself for these guys to prove they can play in the NFL. I’m by no means suggesting the student athletes skip their exams, but I think you can give them waivers to take their finals (with ample study time included)after their season is finished (while all other normal students are out on Winter break). We all know student athletes are given special treatment, and well they should be considering how much money they bring their respective universities.
What Happens to the NCAA Football Playoffs after the First Round?
The rounds of the Elite 8 (4 games), Final 4 (2 games), and Championship Games would all be played in the biggest 7 bowl designations (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton, Capital One & Outback). The Capital One and Outback bowls are arguable with some of its peers, but that can all be figured by going to the highest bidder. Each bowl would get an even distribution of Championship, Final 4 & Elite 8 games. My plan (at least in my own head) for the NCAA playoffs seems too simple and logical, which is probably the reason why it doesn’t exist.
Will the NCAA Football Playoffs Eliminate the Less Recognized Bowl Games?
No! Play them! Since all of the playoff games will be hosted on Saturdays, then the smaller bowls can be played during the week. Who is going to complain when the Chick-Fil-A bowl is on a Wed night? Well maybe some, but I guarantee you those games will be watched by many.
Who gets the TV rights to the NCAA Football Playoffs?
Sell it as a package to ESPN or one of the other major networks (again the highest bidder takes the cake).
I know the sixteen team NCAA Football Playoffs are likely a long shot at this point, but I am glad to see that progress is being made to scrap the heavily-flawed system that exists currently. If you are one of the masses who feel unsatisfied with our current NCAA system, then I suggest you check out "Death to the BCS" by Dan Wetzel (Yahoo Sports National Columnist). Eventhough Mr. Wetzel doesn't map out my 16-team NCAA playoff system, he makes the most persuasive argument against the BCS that I’ve read. Something has to be done or millions of passionate fans and alumni will be left unsatisfied yet again. The BCS has been overly criticized now for 14 years running. The BCS has left a lot to be desired. The BCS has teased us longer than most prom queens after the last dance. This may be the understatement of the year, but we’ll all be ready for the day that an NCAA Football Playoff is a reality.