Next year, the NCAA begins a 4-team playoff for the college football national championship.
This is in addition to the three other college football national championships the NCAA already has: Division 1 FCS (1-AA) on January 4, 2014 in Frisco, Texas; Division II on December 21, 2013, in Florence, Alabama; and Division III (the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl) on December 20, 2013, in Salem, Virginia.
Division 1 FBS (Division 1-A), finally gets a playoff of sorts next year. This year, it’s still the BCS. And, as always, it’s true that you can’t spell BCS without BS. I don’t know what to say about next year’s “playoff” other than it’s a half-ass attempt to get it right.
Here’s what’s right, and what I’ve been proposing for years: A 16-team playoff, consisting of a field of the 10 conference champions, plus the five highest-ranked non-conference champions.
The questions are how to pick the five “wild card” teams, and how to seed the teams. Minor details. But, the major details are the 16-team field with the conference champs.
Now, how to pick the “wild card” teams? I’m gonna use the Coaches Poll. Or the BCS standings. They are close, but not quite the same, both in teams and in ranking.
First, the easy part: Here are the conference champs, who get an automatic bid:
|Atlantic Coast Conference||Florida State||13-0||1|
|Big Ten Conference||Michigan State||12-1||4|
|Big 12 Conference||Baylor||11-1||5|
|American Athletic Conference||Central Florida||11-1||15|
|Mountain West Conference||Fresno State||11-1||20|
|Mid-American Conference||Bowling Green||10-3||32|
|Sun Belt Conference||Louisiana-Lafayette||8-4||NR|
Now, we add the “wild card” teams.
|Big Ten Conference||Ohio State||12-1||6|
|Southeastern Conference||South Carolina||10-2||8|
|Big 12 Conference||Oklahoma||10-2||10|
|Atlantic Coast Conference||Clemson||10-2||11|
I’d seed them by Coaches Poll, champions first — kinda like the NFL does — and match the teams up with Number 1 hosting Number 16, Number 2 hosting Number 15, and so on. And, I’d left the teams that lost in the first round still go to a bowl. The first-round losers will either be a conference champion, or a top 15 team. Most bowls would jump at either.
Here’s the seeding:
|Florida State||Atlantic Coast Conference (Champion)||13-0||1|
|Auburn||Southeastern Conference (Champion)||12-1||2|
|Michigan State||Big Ten Conference (Champion)||12-1||4|
|Baylor||Big 12 Conference (Champion)||11-1||5|
|Stanford||Pacific-12 Conference (Champion)||11-2||7|
|Central Florida||American Athletic Conference (Champion)||11-1||15|
|Fresno State||Mountain West Conference (Champion)||11-1||20|
|Rice||Conference USA (Champion)||10-3||31|
|Bowling Green||Mid-American Conference (Champion)||10-3||32|
|Louisiana-Lafayette||Sun Belt Conference (Champion)||8-4||NR|
|Alabama||Southeastern Conference (Wild Card)||11-1||3|
|Ohio State||Big Ten Conference (Wild Card)||12-1||6|
|South Carolina||Southeastern Conference (Wild Card)||10-2||8|
|Missouri||Southeastern Conference (Wild Card)||11-2||9|
|Oklahoma||Big 12 Conference (Wild Card)||10-2||10|
|Clemson||Atlantic Coast Conference (Wild Card)||10-2||11|
And, here are the first round games:
- Clemson at Florida State
- Oklahoma at Auburn
- Missouri at Michigan State
- South Carolina at Baylor
- Ohio State at Stanford
- Alabama at Central Florida
- Louisiana-Lafayette at Fresno State
- Bowling Green at Rice
Some really good match ups in the first round, and some really lame ones, under my seeding. But, seeding is a minor detail.
Put a 16-team playoff like this in place, and, whoever is left standing at the end, whether it’s an eighth-straight SEC team, a team from the Sun Belt, or one of the other quality teams on this list, and you’ll have a true national champion.