The Conference Playoff
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The battle for conference supremacy will be decided on the field. If there is one thing I have learned in the nearly five years of running this site, it is that almost every message board topic has the potential to evolve into a debate over which conference is the best (or more accurately, which conference sucks the worst). So while beating my head against the wall to help pass the time until kickoff Thursday night, I got an idea. What if there was a conference playoff? What if there was a playoff where each conference fielded an all-star team, and those guys battled it out on the gridiron for conference supremacy? The more I thought about, I thought "this could work." Then the more and more I got into it I thought, "this is genious!" All of the aspects we love about college football would exist in this postseason event - hype, pride, elite athletes, rabid fans, media frenziness, and most importantly, money.
Now before anyone tries to burst my bubble on this, trust me, there is no bubble to be bursted. I realize that I am kind of delusional right now as I am so ready for kickoff my head may just spin around and fly off of my neck. So this is written just in fun. But I really do think this would be a cool way to lay to rest some debates that just drive me to insanity at times on our forum boards. We get it, the SEC rocks.
Here is what I have in mind for this "Conference Playoff Challenge" (let's remember it has to be called a "challenge" or something because ESPN will surely run this thing). When the bowls end, each conference will have a team assembled to go to battle with. This team will be a standard roster made up of the best players in their respective leagues. It will be an honor to play for this team, and these guys will be coached by the man who is the coach of the conference champion. For example, Nick Saban would have coached Tim Tebow, AJ Green and Eric Berry in the 2010 version of the CPC.
There will be twelve conference teams in the CPC. Why twelve? Because there are twelve FBS (D-1) conferences. The top eight would automatically start in the quarterfinals, with the bottom four having to win to reach the quarterfinals. The seeding would be based on some kind of crazy strength-based formula (ala BCS), but in the end wouldn't matter because it would ultimately be decided on the field. So again, for example, last year the SEC would have played Conference USA in round one.
If you are a top conference, three weekends wins this event. Time is not really a factor.
This CPC tournament would consist of many, many players whose future will be playing football on Sundays. So you might ask, "why would these guys risk an injury?" Well, this event would be another chance to showcase talent to the NFL scouts. After all, this playoff challenge would take place in January and February (in heated domes), so what a great opportunity to impress those scouts for the April draft. Let's say a player is borderline draft material, but has a huge CPC. He may become a hot draft pick from that.
Now to the fans - and the heart of the CPC. Fans would love it - I know they would. I am "The Top Fan," and I would love it. So there. Some fans say they are not "conference fans," and that is fine and well. But I don't believe them. Deep down, we all like to think our league plays the best ball. If not the best, then damn good and don't even try to doubt it! I can't stand most teams in the ACC. But when they play teams from other leagues, I oddly find myself pulling for my ACC brethren as if it were my own at times. It's weird.
Just think how much pride fans would have to see their players - probably four to six guys - representing with a big lineman flattening some dude, a receiver making a great catch, a defender cracking some guy over the middle - all to help your league win the title.
And then there would be the gear. Do you think an official SEC jersey or helmet might sell in Birmingham or Atlanta? Or an official Big Ten jersey or helmet in Columbus or Ann Arbor? I think they just might.
So the fans would be all over this, I'm sure of that much. But where are these fans going to go to see these games in the dead of winter? Domes. Yes, heated, indoor, cozy, comfortable domes. At first, I thought it would be neat to have the games on college campuses - you know, "Ice Bowl" type stuff. But really, I think folks would rather be indoors in late January. The Georgia Dome is in the heart of the South. Indianapolis' Dome is a great central location for the Midwest. Texas has that swanky new Jerry Dome the Cowboys play in, and there are many, many more. In Southern California, you could even play a winter game outside in LA or San Diego. I have no doubt in my mind that these games would sell out as soon as tickets went on sale.
I could go and on about why this would be a great idea. I think fans would really get behind it, I think it could showcase talent even more, and I think it would be a money maker. Mainly, I think it would be a fun way to play some more football. The only problem with it is that it is a true, on the field, way to settle something, and often with college football, that is a no-no!
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