You don't understand the bowl system. The 'integrity of the bowl system' isn't that every bowl matters to every other team, because it somehow has championship implications. The bowl system is important because it allows students (both fans and athletes) to get fired up about an extra game they get to play on a national level. The bowls (and college football in general) is about your team, your school, and your spirit.
One Man's College Football Playoff Proposal
The following is my proposal for a 16 team college football playoff. It is kind of long (5 page Word document)
16 Team Playoff: 4x4 team regions (East, West, Midwest, South)
-11 auto bids given to champion of each conference
-up to each conference how to determine champ, title game or otherwise
-5 at large bids determined by tournament selection committee of active college football participants (Athletic Directors, Conference Commissioners, Analysts, etc)
- committee members recused from discussion of teams in their league
Committee Criteria: -based on this season’s performance only
-who did you play/beat, who lost to, BCS, polls, computers, strength of schedule, other information relevant to determination of quality of teams this season (ex. Conference performance against other conferences and other quality opponents)
-Committee seeds teams 1-16 based on above criteria
#1 overall seed will be placed in its geographic region
-then, as best as possible, seeds 2-4 will be put in their geographic region
-teams 5-16 will then be placed in regions as follows:
-preference to keeping teams within their geographical region
-preference to avoid intra-conference match ups until Final Four
-otherwise, no requirements other than:
-teams 5-8 = 2 seeds, teams 9-12 = 3 seeds, teams 13-16 = 4 seeds
First Round – Week following end of season/title games
-Dec. 13th this year
-1 seeds host 4 seeds on campus
-2 seeds host 3 seeds on campus
Second Round – Next week, Dec. 20th this year
-Games played at regional site, these will change each year
-just like regional hosts in college basketball tournament
-regional hosts cannot be same as BCS bowl game hosts
-BCS bowls will hold Final Four, can’t double as regional hosts
-Ex- Midwest regional final at Ford Field, West at Qualcomm (Chargers stadium), East at FedEx Field (Redksins' Stadium), South at Georgia Dome
Final Four – next two weeks, Dec. 27th (semifinals) and Jan. 3rd (final and 3rd place game)
-BCS bowls (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, Orange) host on rotating basis
-Ex- -year one- Rose hosts semi #1, Fiesta hosts semi #2 -Sugar hosts 3rd place, Orange hosts title game
-year two- Sugar hosts semi #1, Rose hosts semi #2
-Orange hosts title game, Fiesta hosts title game
-Format - Region with #1 overall seed to face Region with #4 overall seed
-Region with #2 overall seed to face Region with #3 overall seed
-Ex- If South region #1 seed is #1 overall seed and East region #1 seed is #4 overall seed, those regional champions will play in one semi
final regardless of actual regional champion
2008 NCAA Football Tournament (How I think it would look)
3. Texas (at large)
6. Penn State
7. Alabama (at large)
8. Texas Tech (at large)
9. Boise State
10. Ohio State (at large)
12. Virginia Tech
13. Georgia Tech (at large)
-1- USC vs. -4- Georgia Tech Dec. 13th at USC
-2- Utah vs. -3- Boise State Dec. 13th at Utah
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at San Diego
-1- Texas vs. -4- ECU Dec. 13th at Texas
-2- Penn State vs. -3- Cincinnati Dec. 13th at Penn State
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at FedEx Field (Redskins home stadium)
-1- Florida vs. -4- Buffalo Dec. 13th at Florida
-2- Texas Tech vs. -3- Virginia Tech Dec. 13th at Texas Tech
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at Georgia Dome
-1- Oklahoma vs. -4- Troy Dec. 13th at Oklahoma
-2- Alabama vs. -3- Ohio State Dec. 13th at Alabama
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at Ford Field
-Midwest Champ vs. West Champ at Fiesta Bowl Dec. 27th
-South Champ vs. East Champ at Sugar Bowl Dec. 27th
-3rd Place Game at Rose Bowl Jan. 3rd
-Championship Game at Orange Bowl Jan. 3rd
Auto Bids (computer numbers from BCS, strength of schedule from usatoday, all losses listed, only notable wins included)
ACC – Va. Tech 9-4
-computers- 20, 25, 19, 16, 16, 13
-strength of schedule 11
-L- at ECU, at FSU, at Miami, at BC
-W- GT, BC (neutral site), at UNC, at Neb, Maryland
Big East – Cincy 11-2
-computers- 16, 13, 12, 12, 11, 14
-strength of schedule 60
-L- at OU, at UConn
-W- Rutgers, USF, Pitt
Big 12 – OU 12-1
-computers- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
-strength of schedule 8
-L- Texas (neutral site)
-W- Cincy, TCU, Tech, OkSU, Misso
SEC – UF 12-1
-computers- 4, 4, 4, 2, 3, 5
-strength of schedule 18
-W- Miami, LSU, Uga, FSU, Bama
-L- Ole Miss
Big 10 – PSU 11-1
-computers- 9, 9, 8, 10, 10, 10
-strength of schedule 61
-W- OrSU, UW, OhSU, MSU
-L- at Iowa
Pac 10 – USC 11-1
-computers- 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 3
-strength of schedule 40
-L- at Oregon State
-W- OhSU, OrU, ASU, Cal, ND
MWC – Utah 12-0
-computers- 2, 4, 4, 5, 5, 7
-strength of schedule 71
-W- AF, OrSU, TCU, BYU
WAC – BSU 12-0
-computers- 6, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8
-strength of schedule 114
-W- Oregon, Nev, Fres
MAC – Buffalo 8-5
-computers- not in BCS 25
-strength of schedule 82
-W- Ohio, BallSU
-L- KtSU, WMU, CMU, Pitt, Missouri
Sun Belt – Troy 8-4
-computers- not in BCS 25
-strength of schedule 125
-L- OhSU, OkSU, LouMon, LSU
C-USA – ECU 9-4
-computers- not in BCS 25
-strength of schedule 75
-W- VaTech, WVU, Tulsa
-L- NCSt, Houston, Uva, SoMiss
At Large Pool - Based on next ten highest ranked teams in BCS with Pitt jumping Oregon and Sparty, personal choice as I felt Pitt had a better resume, which is what would be great about this system as the argument would be about the "bubble" teams in the 16-20 range, not the 2-5 range.
(computer numbers from BCS, strength of schedule from usatoday)
-computers- 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4
-strength of schedule 12
-W- Colo, OkU, Misso, OkSU
-L- at Texas Tech
-computers- 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7
-strength of schedule 56
-W- Clem, Uga, OleMiss, LSU
-L- UF neutral site
Texas Tech 11-1
-computers- 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6
-strength of schedule 27
-W- Neb, Kan, UT, OkSU
-L- at OU
Ohio State 10-2
-computers- 10, 10, 9, 11, 14, 15
-strength of schedule 45
-W- UW, MSU, NW, Minn
-L- at USC, PSU
-computers- 9, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
-strength of schedule 76
-W- BYU, AF
-L- OkU, Utah
Oklahoma State 9-3
-computers- 11, 12, 13, 13, 17, 18
-strength of schedule 39
-W- Misso, Colo
-L- UT, Tech, OU
-computers- 11, 14, 18, 19, 19, 20
-strength of schedule 84
-L- TCU, Utah
-computers- 13, 13, 15, 17, 17, 18
-strength of schedule 13
-W- USC, Vandy, LSU, UK
-L- Bama, UF, GT
Georgia Tech 9-3
-11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 16
-strength of schedule 31
-W- BC, Clem, FSU, Miami, Uga
-L- VaTech, Uva, UNC
-computers- 12, 14, 23, 23, 21, 18
-strength of schedule 22
-W- Buff, Iowa, USF, Navy, ND, WVU, Uconn
-L- BG, Rutgers, Cincy
The Pro BCS Arguments
-Protects integrity of the bowl system
This is absurd. The BCS makes all but one bowl game completely irrelevant. The BCS incorporates 4 bowls and 10 teams. Under this proposed playoff all 4 of the BCS bowls are still included plus 6 more teams get a chance. Either the 3 worst bowl games die out, not a real loss, or they suck up the handful of still available 6-6 teams and continue to put on 6-6 v. 6-6 bowl games that about 37 people care about.
-BCS helps protect the student athletes
Whatever. Every other level of college football has a playoff. Nobody at the NCAA or BCS is crying out about the atrocity that those playoffs bring upon those student athletes. College football is about making money now a days, whether we like it or not. Why else would they add a 12th regular season game or conference championship games? College football players, when they play on Saturdays, miss zero class time as opposed to college basketball and other sports that regularly play and travel mid-week.
-BCS makes the regular season the most valuable, best regular season in sports
BS. The post season in college football is completely meaningless because it is an entirely subjective choice to pick two out of 120ish teams to play for the title, thus, in my opinion, the regular season is completely meaningless as well. A playoff format such as this still makes the regular season great as only conference champions and the next 5 best teams get in.
Under this best guess of a tournament field, the at large teams include three 1 loss teams, one 2 loss team, and one 3 loss team with two 2 loss teams left out. There is still great value in the regular season because of the value of a conference championship and the automatic bid and the fact that 1 or 2 losses could mean elimination from the at large pool. This way, the regular season could actually be more valuable as there would be more relevant games as the season progresses because of greater opportunity for making the tournament field. Seriously, who the hell cared about the MAC, ACC, and C-USA title games last week? The value of those games and other late season games would be much greater for teams as they would still have a chance to make the tournament.
Why the BCS stinks
The system is totally subjective and full of conflicts of interest (the coaches’ poll) and uninformed, clueless voters (harris poll and coaches’ poll to a certain extent). The BCS claims the regular season is a playoff but when Texas beats Oklahoma, Oklahoma still gets the advantage in the end by running up the score the last month of the season. The BCS claims that there is some reasonable, rational method of determining a championship match-up of 2 out of 120ish teams. And worst of all, the BCS title game is anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from the end of the regular season as opposed to a playoff that would be a continuation of the just completed season instead of one game after a month off.
Pitt lost to BG, Rutgers, and Cinci.
Oregon lost to USC, Cal, and Boise State.
MSU lost to OSU, PSU, and Cal.
MSU and Oregon have much stronger cases than Pitt.
In division three, there are 3 types of playoff bids. Pool A bids are conference champion auto bids. However, there is a group of conferences that do not get automatic bids for their champions. These are weaker conferences that are not as established as the auto-bid conferences. These conference champions make up Pool B bids. Pool C bids are straight up at large bids. I think a similar system could work in D-1 on a smaller scale. Say the 6 current BCS conferences are Pool A, 3 Pool B bids from the remaining conferences, and 3 Pool C bids. Four regions with 3 teams in each region. The #1 seed in each region gets a bye and hosts the regional championship. just a thought.
Just to clarify, in D3 pool B bids are also for independents. So I suppose in your analysis Notre Dame, Navy, Army and Western Kentucky would fall into pool B as well with the teams from the WAC, MWC, etc. I think you would have to have more than 3 bids at the pool B level and more than 3 bids at the pool C level. I would tend to agree with the OP that 16 teams makes more sense. 6 pool A (SEC, Big 10, Big East, ACC, Big 12, Pac 10), 4 pool B (MAC, CUSA, MWC, SunBelt, WAC, Independent), 6 pool C (one for each pool A conference, unless another team is more deserving than a #2 pool A conference team) at large bids. The 4 pool B bids might seem a bit high, but really it would make a world of difference for those programs to have their kids have something really special to play for.
I just looked at this year and thought 12 teams would work, but it might not every year so 16 teams would be fine too. I wasn't trying to say it was the end all of playoff ideas, but it is a way to look at it that already works at a different level.
Oh I know, I wasn't meaning to critize your proposal; rather just supplementing it.
I get your point. I guess what I was trying to say is that I think the "integrity of the bowl system" argument is based on the notion that the games all have some great meaning, which they do to the individual programs that get to participate. Under this plan, the bowl games remain intact and just as many teams get to participate in them.
As I mentioned in the diary post, I much prefer the argument over the last few bubble teams considered (and were not ultimately given bids) than the argument over which 2 teams deserve a shot after the regular season is over. You say Oregon and State are better than Pitt, so be it. I didn't give it a ton of thought but it is a worthy topic. In the end, my last team in was Georgia Tech and Pitt, Oregon, or State weren't really close by comparison.
I think a 16 team playoff is way too big. Normally, at the end of the season the top 4 or so teams have proven themselves head and shoulders above the rest (although I think this year is an anomaly in that 8 or so teams could make a good case). I mean just look at your selection, auto-bids aside, GT, Pitt, Georgia... they have proven themselves unworth of competing for a championship. A playoff like you described would, in my opinion, make the regular season sort of irrelevant. Georgia is in the playoffs when they lost to the only good teams they played and their best win is against a 5 loss LSU team?
The biggest problem with a playoff is you are unfortunately going to have to maintain the BCS conference auto-bids. So right away you have at least 6 teams. I think the ideal size is either a 6 (with a bye week for top two) 7 (bye week for top team) or 8 team playoff. But unfortunately I think these would only work if you drop the auto-bids or put such huge caveats around then such as need to be in top 8-10 of standings to qualify, which of course would never pass. Any more than 8 and I think you start to dilute it and put in teams that really didn't deserve it.
I haven't really done any research but i'm sure someone out there can look at the final pre-bowl game BCS standings over the past number of years and figure out where the line should be drawn.
I should have done a better job of explaining myself as to why I chose a 16 team field. I think of it as a model like the college basketball tournament, auto bids to conference champs thereby giving every team a chance at the start of the season and including the small schools and small conferences and the at large bids as a way to include teams that didn't win their conference that are legit contenders. Since there are 11 conferences in D-1 a 16 team field seemed like a logical conclusion, plus 5 at large bids ought to cover legit contenders each year.
Also, Pitt and Georgia didn't make it in my playoff proposal, they were at large contenders with Georgia Tech as the last team in along with Texas, Texas Tech, Ohio State and Alabama as the other at large bids. I'm not saying it's the perfect way, just the way I would do it if it were up to me.
I'd vote for 6. Like what the NFL uses to determine the conference champion. Top 2 teams get a bye and host the 2nd round game, but do the championship at a rotating neutral site. I think rewarding byes is huge in preserving the regular season's importance. I also love the possibility that a USC, or Florida might have to play a December game or 2 in cold weather.
So using your rankings:
1. Oklahoma (bye, hosts winner of...)
5. Utah @
2. Florida (bye, hosts winner of...)
6. Penn State @