Tis the season for wish lists. Some are long. Some are short. Some are filled with expensive gifts. Some are filled with wishes of health and happiness for family and friends. I have a Christmas wish list. Mine is short. As a matter of fact, it only has one thing on it.
If anyone has connections with the heads of the BCS, would you get this into their hands? I know they wouldn’t want to disappoint during the holidays.
After watching Alabama beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game in what was arguably the best game of the entire 2012 season, my wish is that the powers that be would implement a system that could duplicate what the SEC game produced yesterday. Honestly, the other games that were played were either cold appetizers prior to the main course or stale desserts to follow.
To duplicate the SEC game would mean each conference would have to host a championship game where the winner has a berth in the playoffs on the line. It’s simple: win and you’re in the playoffs, lose and you’re relegated to a bowl.
In 2014, the BCS will begin a new 4 team playoff system that will take the top 4 teams in the BCS rankings. They'll match each team according to ranking and have them play a two round playoff, culminating in a national champion. It's not perfect, but it’s certainly better than what we have now. But it could be better.
Understand, every conference couldn’t hold a championship game with the promise of a playoff position. And, frankly, they don’t all deserve to. An addendum to my wish list is for the formation of four 16 team super conferences. Each of whom play a championship game at the end of their regular season and the winner gets the automatic bid to the playoff system.
All of the conference shuffling that has taken place over the last few years has made it possible for this to be a more seamless transition.
Here is how I see this working. The SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 12 invite the necessary number of programs they need to get to 16 teams, including Notre Dame. This would mean disbanding or completely changing the face of a few conferences. A few BCS automatic bid conferences. Namely the ACC and Big East. I know this will upset their fans, but let’s be honest, outside of a handful of teams, those conferences don’t have much to offer a BCS system. Need proof? The Big East just learned that they are losing the two teams of any significance in Louisville and Rutgers. They countered by adding Tulane and East Carolina. (They obviously don’t want an automatic bid). For further proof, please refer to this year’s ACC championship game that featured a 6-6 Georgia Tech team and tickets were going for $1.99 on internet ticket exchanges. That’s ONE dollar and 99 cents. For a conference championship game. Give me a break.
Back to my proposal...er wish. Once these conferences have established their 16 team conferences, you will have 64 teams each year with a viable shot at earning their way into the playoff. Before you start, I know the argument: “That’s not fair to the other 60 teams that play FBS football. They won’t get a fair chance to earn a spot in the playoffs.” Truth be told, they don’t have a fair shot at earning that spot now.
So my recommendation is to keep the bowl system in place for the teams outside of the 4 team playoff. That’s good for recruiting, good for coach’s job security, good for program economics, good for fans and good for TV.
As for the super conferences: once these 16 team conferences are formed, they create two divisions of 8 teams. They would play 7 games in their division and 3 games on a rotating schedule against cross divisional teams. That would allow 2 games for non-conference games against teams that aren’t in one of these conferences. (You may not like the big payouts to lesser teams, but it’s the financial lifeblood of most of those programs). The winner of each division would meet in a championship game with the winner headed to the four team playoff.
That’s pretty much it. A short, simple Christmas wish. It’s not that hard. Don’t make it more complicated than what it really is.
The beauty of it is that it’s a wish that actually benefits more than just me. It’s an unselfish Christmas wish for the betterment of humanity. Well maybe that’s stretching it, but others would benefit.
The BCS wouldn’t have to worry about expanding the system because the 8 team quarterfinal would be built into the conference championships.
The television networks would love it because it would make for must-see TV. There is a reason that when the SEC championship game was played, it was the only game on at the time.
The teams in the conferences would benefit because they would have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. One loss wouldn’t derail their opportunity to win a national championship.
The fans would get an expanded playoff system with conference championship games that would provid games with the intensity and drama of this year’s SEC championship game.
And I would get my Christmas wish granted. See it's a win-win.
Someone send me the address to the heads of the BCS. If they don’t want to grant my wish, send me the address to the North Pole. That Santa guy gets things done.