"If anyone can give a single reason that would be worse than what we've got now, I'm listening." - Brian
NOTE: I started posting this as a comment under Brian's post, but it grew too long, so I started a Diary, plus I wanted to get some good feedback on my plan suggestion.
Some great ideas Brian, but I DON'T think your plan would be all that much better than what we got now. I agree that the current BCS needs to be replaced with a playoff system and my playoff plan is detailed at the end of this post. But first, here are my reasons why Brian's plan won't make us any better off:
1)The elimination of the autobids by the conference champions is a BIG red flag. If you are not going to reward the regular season conference champions, then why even have conferences? I mean, under Brian's plan, we should just go to a 116- (or whatever number) team conference and just forget about these regional conference distraction thingys. This doesn't sound like a good idea to me. I know Brian didn't suggest that we disband the conferences, but what's the point in having them, if there is no tangible reward to winning one? And yes, the current system does offer a reward for the conference champions (well at least for the BCS conferences it does).
2) Teams will play REALLY weak-ass non-conference schedules (even more than they do now). Under Brian's plan, the goal for each team will be to have the best regular season record as possible, kind of similar to how it is now. But with one exception, not teams are GUARANTEED to get an autobid if they win their conference. So if they stumble in the non-conference once or maybe 2 times, they still got a shot a BCS game due to the conference tie-ins. Under Brian's plan, as previously noted, this tie-in is eliminated. So, teams will feel that there is no need to play any tough non-conference games anymore, and just pad their stats against NW Lafayette State U and the like to improve their chances. Heck, some teams are doing this already, even with the BCS bowl tie-ins (see UM). But this will increase more under Brian's plan and it also would not be a good thing.
3) A six team playoff chosen by a committee is a good idea, but they would never choose a team from a mid-major conference, as we all know. There would need to be some type of Notre Dame type rule put into place the would guarantee a spot for these teams (and also one for ALL independents, not just ND). Without this, we are just rewarding the BCS schools again and again, and this is what we wanted to eliminate by going to the playoff in the first place. The current system at least provides some type of reward for great mid-major schools. But if you only are picking 6 schools using a committee, the members are going to fight hard for the conference champions every year, and you are going to be leaving the mid-majors out most of the time.
Now here is what I propose:
A 8 team playoff that is includes 6 auto bids for the BCS conference champions and 2 at large spots. The BCS conferences have total control over how they choose their respective champions, be it championship games like the SEC or stupid "you haven't been in a while, I guess it's your turn" tie-breakers like the Big 10. However they choose it, whatever, just choose one team. This will put leave the EMPHASIS on the regular season, and we can still say that every game counts and all that stuff we like to say when we compare why college football is so much greater that college basketball.
As for the last 2 at large spots, we will use the BCS (yes I said BCS) rankings to determine these teams from the remaining 100 or so teams left in the field, but only if we put the strength of schedule component back into the formula (more on this later). If the BCS is good for anything, it can definitely rank some teams in a somewhat comprehensive and objective fashion (at least I think it can?). Whichever two teams that are ranked the highest in the BCS polls after the end of the conference championship games, AND are not already qualified for the playoff because they won their conference outright will get the nods. Now, there is one caveat. There are certain exceptions that would cause certain other schools to have playoff seeding priority over a team in the field. If a mid-major team who has won their conference or ANY independent school, not just ND, has a end of season BCS ranking in the top 10, they are guaranteed a spot in the playoff system over a team in the field. This means that if a Boise State or TCU or Notre Dame finishes the year in the top 10 in the BCS (which would probably mean they had an excellent season) they would get an automatic slot over a team from the Big 10 or the SEC that had a very good year, but just didn't win their conference. Well, I guess you better win that conference then, huh? Again, it is important that the emphasis remains on the conference season.
Now, as for the non-conference season, my plan would allow teams to schedule big time matchups at the beginning of the season, because they would be rewarded for doing so by the strength of schedule component in the BCS formulas. Teams would also not worry so much about losing a game early on because they know that if they win their conference, they get a ticket to the BIG PARTY (ok, doesn't sound as good as the Big Dance, I know)!
I've been contemplating and refining this system for about a year or so, and I would really like to submit a formal plan to all the conference presidents sometime after I get it just right. Please provide any feedback that you think would be helpful. Thanks for the long read.