For several years, I’ve been saying that the NCAA needs a playoff for Division 1-A football. Apparently, the NCAA agrees with me … to some degree. They finally dumped the horribly flawed BCS for a horribly-flawed 4-team playoff.
My plan would work, and it answers all the questions and controversies that have arisen over the BCS years.
My plan has sixteen teams in the playoffs. Each of the ten conference champions get a slot, and the remaining slots are filled with teams selected by a committee. The committee also seeds the teams.
My preference is that conference champions get the top ten slots, with the wild card teams filling slots 11-16, much as the NFL does. This adds weight to winning the conference. If a wild card team from the SEC feels they should be ranked higher than, say, the Sun Belt champion, then they should have won their own conference.
Here is how the playoffs — the playoffs done right — would have shaped up this year.
Top ten seeds are the conference champions.
1. Alabama (Southeastern Conference champion)
2. Oregon (Pac-12 Conference champion)
3. Florida State (Atlantic Coast Conference champion)
4. Ohio State (Big Ten Conference champion)
5. Baylor (Big 12 Conference champion)
6. Boise State (Mountain West Conference champion)
7. Marshall (Conference USA champion)
8. Northern Illinois (Mid-American Conference champion)
9. Cincinnati (American Athletic Conference champion)
10. Georgia Southern (Sun Belt Conference champion)
11. Texas Christian (Big 12 wild card)
12. Mississippi State (Southeastern wild card)
13. Michigan State (Big Ten wild card)
14. Mississippi (Southeastern wild card)
15. Arizona (Pac-12 wild card)
16. Kansas State (Big 12 wild card)
Some of the matchups would be great. Others, yeah, not so much. And, yeah, we end up with a third Arizona vs Oregon matchup. We also get a Marshall-Georgia Southern matchup, which won’t top the TV ratings … outside of Huntington or Statesboro.
Look at the whole package. Winning the conference means something; you get an automatic bid and a better seeding. Really good teams aren’t penalized by having one bad game (or a good close loss) that knocks them out of contention. And, if Northern Illinois or Georgia Southern ran the table, who could argue that they aren’t the best team?
What the NCAA is giving us this year is better than the BCS. If that was in play, we’d have a single game of Alabama vs Florida State, based on polls and computer rankings. But it’s not as good as this plan.
One day, this will be the great idea that some suit in the NCAA comes up with, and he’ll be hailed as a genius.