is there such a thing as an etsy genuis? if so, this is it.
Let me start by prefacing this with a warning: This will not be a revolutionary or even original way of thinking about the BCS and a potential playoff system in College Football. This is merely one mans attempt to waste time and figure out what he believes should be the system to determine a champion in the sport that he loves. Also, unfortunatley there will not be any fancy statistics that prove that what I am saying is better than the BCS or anything like that.
So, I believe that there are 3 major considerations that need to be undertaken in forming a college football postseason:
1. To determine a fair and correct champion
2. To keep the integrity of the regular season alive
3. To keep the tradition of the Bowls alive
The reason why I like the BCS in its current form is because it accomplishes objectives 2 and 3, while usually (but controversially) accomplishing objective 1. However, as time has passed, I believe that objective 1 has become less and less acheivable in the BCS system because, among other reasons, the human bias for and against certain conferences. There is no doubt that the SEC is the top conference in the land. Is it however, so far and away better than the B1G, Pac12, Big12, ACC and Big East that there should be an in-conference rematch for the national championship? I believe that the answer is, in almost any case, no.
Now that we have determined what I believe to be the most glaring flaw in the BCS system, we move to creating an alternative. This alternative must complete all 3 objectives in a significantly better way to be worth a change in format.
The way I look at college football, the regular season is in fact, a playoff. To add a full playoff system like that off the NFL would greatly diminish regular season games and would take away a fundamental element of college football that differentiates it from the NFL: The importance of every game. I dont think that a team should be able to lose more than one, or in rare, rare cases 2 games and be in consideration for a national championship. If we lived in a world where a team could simply win its conference and be into the playoff system, we would see OOC games be rendered virtually meaningless. We would also see teams that lock up a birth in their conference championship games be less motivated to win on that special rivalry weekend that closes out the regular season. This takes away the passion, intensity and importance of every week and would be a travesty in my opinion.
Similarly, the Bowl season is one of the greatest postseason experiences in sports. Charles Woodson clenching that rose between his teeth after beating Ohio State in 97 and all such experiences would disappear in a full playoff. Also, New Years Day (or this year 2-Jan) isnt the same without a full day of important Bowl games.
So onto my proposal...
Add one more BCS game to the mix with the Cotton Bowl. The two teams that play in this game are at large teams from any conference. We use the BCS formula and existing conference tie-ins to determine who is sent to the 5 BCS Bowl games. These 5 games are all played in sequential order on 1-January every year. The morning after these games, some type of formula similar to the BCS determines what 2 teams play for the national championship. What this formula looks for is strength of schedule through out the season combined with a heavier emphasis on the teams preformance in its bowl game. This makes sure that every game is still important, makes sure that the bowl games keep their tradition and importance and gives us one more ulta significant data point per season to determine who plays for a national championship. The 2 teams selected then play for the National championship a week later in a rotating stadium among the 5 BCS games.
The BCS bowls would also be picked by a comittee who tried to create matchups we would like to see.
So in this system the BCS would have played out something like this in 2011/2012:
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v Oregon
Orange Bowl: West Virginia v Clemson
Sugar Bowl: LSU v Michigan
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State v Boise State (or Alabama v OkSt)
Cotton Bowl: Stanford v Alabama (Or Boise State v Alabama)
If I had to guess the National Championship, it would still probably be Alabama v LSU in a rematch but we would get to see how they fared against other opponents before sending them to an automatic rematch. In all honesty, they were the 2 best teams this year. This scenario does make a rematch a little more interesting this year, I think, and in most years would pick the 2 best teams overall to play for the championship.
Obviously this sytem has flaws as well but this was mainly an excersize to explore another option.