Apr 23

Playoff Proposal

Posted By:Wes Mewbourne -Birmingham, AL  Tags:

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There’s been a lot of talk for quite some time regarding the manner in which a champion is crowned in college football.  There has been just as much resistance to the idea of a playoff as there has been support, though support seems to be growing.  More recently, the groundswell for a playoff has been form the state of Utah, with the Utes going undefeated and knocking off a BCS opponent for the second time in 5 years.

The resistance to a playoff seems to be more focused on the time it takes to go through a true playoff and the number of teams.  There have been proposals for the top 4, 8, and 16 teams.  What I give to you now is my playoff proposal…for 10 teams.  This allows for automatic bids for the “Big 6” conferences (once the BCS is eliminated, they will no longer be BCS Conferences) and 4 at-large bids.  For the selection of the at-large teams and the overall rankings of the tournament, a selection committee would take on that responsibility.

First, a brief explanation of the system itself.  For those familiar with chess tournaments, they have adopted what is known as the “Swiss System”.  It’s a blend between a single elimination and a round robin tournament.  This is the basis for my playoff system, but I’ve tweaked it a bit to make it 4 rounds.  The first round would match the Top 5 teams with the Bottom 5 teams (1 plays 6, 2 plays 7, etc).  A win gets one point, and a loss gets no point.  The second, third, and fourth rounds pair the top two teams, point wise, and trickles down from there.

Now, I know this can be a little confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the set-up.  I have taken the opportunity to gather the rankings from last season to illustrate how it would have worked out.

First, the teams (for arguments sake, the conference champions in the top 6 spots, according to the last poll rankings, and thrown in what I believe would have been the four at-large teams picked).  Also, for argument’s sake, we’ll say the higher ranking team wins each match-up.  Remember, this is just an illustration.

1.        Florida
2.        Oklahoma
3.        USC
4.        Penn St.
5.        Va. Tech
6.        Cincinnati
7.        Alabama
8.        Texas
9.        Utah
10.      Boise St.

12/13/2008 Round 1 (First 3 rounds played at highest ranked team’s field)

1.        Florida-Cincy (@ Florida)
2.        Oklahoma-Alabama (@ OU)
3.        USC-Texas (@ USC)
4.        PSU-Utah (@ PSU)
5.        VT-BSU (@ VT)

12/20/08 For Round 2 and beyond, pairings will be the top two available teams, with tie-breakers solved by preventing rematches (tournament points in parenthases):

1.        Florida (1) - Oklahoma (1)
2.        USC (1) - PSU (1)
3.        VT (1) - Cincy (0)
4.        Alabama (0) - Texas (0)
5.        Utah (0) - BSU (0)

01/03/2009 Round 3:

1.        Florida (2) - USC (2)
2.        VT (2) -  Bama (1)
3.        Oklahoma (1) - Utah (1)
4.        PSU (1) - Cincy (0)
5.        Texas (0) - BSU (0)

Round 4 would take place at the “BCS” Bowl sites, with the 5th game rotating to a different site each year (just like it does now):

        BSU(0) – Cincy (0)
        Bama (1) – Utah (1)
        PSU (2) – Texas (1)
        Oklahoma (2) – USC (2)
        01/13/09 National Championship
        Florida (3) – Va. Tech (3)

With this arrangement, there will be no more National Championship games where both participants have made it through a cupcake schedule or one team hasn’t played a game in over a month.  This will keep games going into December, adding a couple extra home games.  This will also make the teams more likely to schedule neutral turf games with good out-of-conference opponents INCREASING the interest of the regular season without having to worry about one loss eliminating them from the national picture.

Now, you’ll notice that each of the BCS match-ups appear in this lineup, with the exception of Texas-OSU.  With a selection committee in place, there will be variables such as these, but overall, regardless of who wins the championship, there won’t be any doubt that they earned it.

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