Drop title games, require every conference to play 10 conference games

Submitted by UMxWolverines on December 6th, 2018 at 10:32 AM

We're now at the point where we have an extra weekend of football that isn't going to go away because $$$, here is my solution.

Conferences have gotten so big now and there's not enough conference games scheduled, why do we not just drop divisons all together, drop the title game, add a 13th regular season game, and crown a champ by tiebreakers? It worked for decades in most conferences. I realize somebody's schedule will probably always end up a cakewalk, but that's the chance you take. Right now most of the West already has a cakewalk.

Also this way, you can now share conference titles again which make it easier to say you had a good season even if it wasn't elite. This season would have been a much easier pill to swallow knowing we shared the big ten title. And as far as The Game is concerned it would no longer be right after Thanksgiving which I know is a pain in the ass for some. Thoughts?


UM Fan from Sydney

December 6th, 2018 at 10:35 AM ^

I have been clamoring for ten conference games for years. I am not OK with dropping the title games, though. I like those, even though our team has yet to be in one. Get rid of divisions, play ten conference games, two best teams play in the title game.


EDIT: I forgot to mention that I like conference title games because sharing titles is such a stupid concept. I know that is how it worked for decades, but I am glad they don't exist any longer. One team wins and that's it. Unless you're a UCF fan...


December 6th, 2018 at 10:53 AM ^

In my view, no.  You play a rotating schedule and that's it.  No protected rivalries.  Is the M / OSU rivalry going to disappear because they don't play each other 1-2 times every ten years?  And, in fact, in the years where both don't play each other, it is VERY likely that they would meet in the title game, since realistically going forward M and OSU are likely to end up the top two more often than not, especially in seasons in which they don't play each other.  

If anything, this could INCREASE the intensity of the rivalry.  If they don't play one season and don't meet up in the title game, the excitement to play each other the following season is heightened.  If they don't play during the season and do meet in the title game, the The Game really is The Game.

And if this means that M / OSU end up playing twice every few years, then so be it.  Happens in other conferences and nobody cares.  

As for the timing of The Game, I love traditions as much as anyone, but if The Game floats and is only the last game some years but not others (again, see above, it is likely that it will end up being the last game because we will meet in the CG often), meh - who really cares.


December 6th, 2018 at 2:42 PM ^

I don't expect that everyone will agree.  That's kind of what makes this place fun - discussing many different ideas on which we all have differing opinions.  

What doesn't make this place fun is people who view every opinion that does not match their own as "the worst."  Care to explain what you don't like about this idea?  

By the way, as one of the older Michigan fans here, I, too, would not be happy if the tradition of The Game were changed, but in modern times, sometimes traditions need to change.  The current Big Ten format has resulted in us being the second best team, by a large margin above the 3rd best, twice in the past few years, yet still having failed to play in the CG.  


December 6th, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

I am failing to think of another conference were protected rivalries are not a thing??  Dropping the Michigan Osu game would be the most foolish thing you could do, not only for any self respecting Michigan or osu fan, but also the Big Ten in general.  It the highest grossing game and most marketable game every season.  I can't imagine a season when Michigan goes 12-0 but does not play nor defeated MSU or OSU could be measured a complete success.


December 6th, 2018 at 11:21 AM ^

As much as I believe the 2016 and 2018 result of The Game would be different if the game was in Ann Arbor, I hate the idea of playing OSU in an NFL stadium in the only matchup that season.

The Game is college football at its finest.  If they want to move it to mid-October, I could stomach that, even if it means playing it at night.  But don't cancel the annual rivalry. 


December 6th, 2018 at 11:38 AM ^

A few points in response:

1.  I am not advocating for cancelling the rivalry.  There are 13 B10 foes - we would play 10 of them.  We would play OSU in around 3/4 of years during the regular season.

2.  So, "cancelling" would only impact approx. 3 out of every ten years.  For the years that we don't play them, I would guess that we would end up playing them in the CG on average 2/3 of the time anyway.  So, yeah, around once a decade we may not end up playing OSU.  Sucks, I agree, but no solution is perfect. 

3.  I totally agree with you about playing in an NFL stadium.  One solution - if we eliminate divisions - would be to play the game in the stadium of the highest-rated team.  Reward the team with the best record with a home game.  You can even add a clause that if the same teams play in consecutive years (M / OSU) the game flips to the other team's stadium in the second year regardless of records.

Mr Miggle

December 6th, 2018 at 11:52 AM ^

Every proposal that I've seen that forces every conference to schedule the same way is silly. Same with all the ones doing a global realignment. CFB is not the NFL. Conferences have different numbers of teams, different traditions, etc. They don't lend themselves to people playing around with a list of names as if that's all they are, names on a computer screen.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:35 AM ^

This would be fun but unfortunately the SEC will never go for it.

Heard an OSU fan argue the other day that adding an extra conference game hurts the B1G because it adds 7 extra losses to the conference vs. creampuffs. (He also claimed that their 9th conference games last year and this year were Iowa and Purdue respectively...... cumong man.)

If everyone did it, that would be great - and I'm supportive of ANYTHING that takes the game off of the Saturday after Thanksgiving since the effect of that timing mostly just hurts our students' ability to be there to support the team & encourages OSU fan infiltration.

Ghost of Fritz…

December 6th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

On the Thanksgiving weekend M-OSU game...  You are right.  It was better when Michigan-OSU was always the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Solution:  Eliminate the mid-season bye week.  That puts the last regular season game back before Thanksgiving.  The conference CC game could then be played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

But it can't happen BC of TV money.  Eliminating the mid-season bye reduces the length of the season from 13 to 12 weeks, and takes away a Saturday of CFB games that enhances to the total value of TV contracts.


December 6th, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

Agree. The Big 12 has a great setup. They play everyone. There's not dodging Oklahoma or whoever in a certain year while someone else plays all the best teams. Their conference game could be an issue because you will see a quality team if you're Oklahoma, for instance, and you could lose and also lose a playoff shot but it's much more fair and it does a much better job of finding the best teams. I would cut every conference down to ten teams. If you want divisions, fine, but everyone plays everyone. I'd also cut the season down to 10 or 11 games and expand the playoff. We'll see how good the SEC looks then when they don't have their own basement to beat on and they don't get to schedule 3-4 cupcakes. 


December 6th, 2018 at 10:40 AM ^

If you think there's controversy for the playoff now, wait until two teams that didn't play each other "share" a conference title, and the committee picks the one the tiebreakers went to for the 4th playoff spot.

I realize that you're not directly critiquing the current playoff structure, but I think playoff expansion needs to happen in college football before people look at changing conference structures. 


December 6th, 2018 at 11:28 AM ^

Moving from 4 to 8 would not cheapen the regular season. There's rarely 4 or fewer elite teams in college football. An 8-team playoff, even with conference champion autobids, wouldn't allow teams to go 7-5 and still make it unless they won their conference. As long as at-large bids are on the table teams will still be incentivized to go undefeated. Don't be dramatic, going to 8 things wouldn't cheapen anything.


December 6th, 2018 at 11:52 AM ^

It's not being over dramatic. Does a 2 loss Georgia or a 2 loss Michigan deserve a shot? No they don't, they had there chances and blew it. Does UCF deserve a spot? No, they can play a tougher non conference schedule and earn a little more respect, but they choose not to. The regular season is a playoff in itself. adding the next 4 teams gives you more football, but it doesn't make the teams that qualify any more deserving. 


December 6th, 2018 at 11:58 AM ^

Georgia is an elite team this year. Elite teams deserve to play for the championship.

The ideal playoff this year would be Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, and Washington. Captures all Power 5 champs and the only non-champs that could be considered elite.

You need to have the teams that "deserve" a shot and the best teams, or else the playoff isn't doing its job.


December 6th, 2018 at 1:15 PM ^

No, what cheapens the regular season is this asinine focus on the number of losses as being the sole determinant of team strength (for a Power 5 team, anyway).  That's how you end up with out-of-conference schedules like

  • Alabama: vs Louisville, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, The Citadel
  • Oklahoma: Florida Atlantic, UCLA, Army
  • Ohio State: Oregon State, vs. TCU, Tulane
  • Washington State: @ Wyoming, San Jose State, Eastern Washington
  • Florida: Charleston Southern, Colorado State, Idaho, @Florida State

Expand the playoffs, provide an automatic path to the postseason for conference champions, and you'll get better regular season games, just like basketball.

Michigan has non-conference basketball wins over the past two national champions, neither at a neutral site.  That can't happen in football, because Michigan won't schedule two quality opponents, and, if they would, they'd do it in Dallas or Atlanta or something. 


December 6th, 2018 at 11:46 AM ^

I mean, that's already happened pretty much. In 2009 Texas beat OU, OU beat Texas Tech, and Texas Tech beat Texas. OU got the tiebreaker for winning the division because they were ranked higher and then played in the national championship game against Florida. Sucks for the other two, but you have to break ties somehow.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:42 AM ^

I think we are all in agreement that changes need to be made.  But people were discussing a Playoff system after the first or second year of the BCS and it still took like 10 more years to get there.  There are additional structural changes coming to college football, but they aren't happening tomorrow.  Teams and conferences have schedules made for 3 or 4 years out already.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:45 AM ^

Hot take time:  Make the P5 conferences a new division.  Hell, add pro/rel if you want.  Just give me 12/13 weeks of real teams playing each other and the rest will work itself out. 


December 6th, 2018 at 11:09 AM ^

I'm not a fan of this. I like the occasional game against a directional in-state school. I also think you get chances to shine in non-conference games that you wouldn't get if you were always playing Power 5 teams. Carlos Brown's 90-yard run against EMU, Donovan Peoples-Jones's big days (receiving against SMU, punt returning against Air Force, etc.) probably wouldn't have happened in your scenario, etc.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:47 AM ^

I like it or even have 10 conference games, 2 random games and have a neutral party vote for the champion or have a vote for the 2 best teams and have them play for the championship.

The only problem is ND, since they don't have a conference.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:51 AM ^

Well the divisions aren't evenly balanced.


Michigan, OSU, PSU, MSU shouldn't all be in the same division.


Also, the B1G needs to allow for more cupcake scheduling.

It would make the conference look stronger with more wins.


December 6th, 2018 at 12:25 PM ^

It's the answer for the SEC,

The difference is the SEC wins their big games more often than not.  They've earned people looking the other way at The Citadel the week before your rival.

When Michigan starts winning its big games consistently, they'll be in the playoff.  But Michigan lost to a playoff team and got blown out on national TV by the team that got their asses kicked by Purdue on national TV.

So no, 

Unlike the B1G where the argument is should there even be 1 team in the playoff.

The B1G didn't deserve it this year.


December 6th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

Also, the B1G needs to allow for more cupcake scheduling.

How much more cupcakey do you need it to be??????????????????

This year Michigan played:

5 - 7 SMU (who scheduled Stephen F. Austin & Houston Baptist out of conference for 2 of those 5 wins and LOST to North Texas)

5 - 7 IU (who had only 2 B1G wins and scheduled Charleston Southern and Ball State out of conference)

7 - 5 Western Michigan (who scheduled Wagner and Delaware State OOC)

Not to mention Rutger, who Michigan has beat 155-21 over the last three years and Nebraska's down year, which did nothing for SoS for us.  You contend that the B1G needs to allow for more baby seals and Nebraska has Troy and Bethune-Cookman?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  LOL!!!!

Here's what Michigan needs to do... it's very simple:  beat Ohio State.  Not lower standards, not leave the B1G, not play rivalry games, NOT any of the bullshit in these types of threads in the last 2 weeks.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:51 AM ^

I agree with scrapping conference games and getting rid of divisions.  Have a tie-breaker within the conference.  Play 8 o 9 games.  We replace the conference games with Conference Battle (like the Big Ten ACC annual games at the end of the season).  This is kind of a preview to the playoff.  We can keep the playoff to 4 teams.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:56 AM ^

Personally, I think coupling an 8 team CFP scheme, where 5 conference champions get auto-bids by winning a title game and three at-large bids go to either deserving second-place P5 conference teams or potentially deserving teams like a UCF, is the optimal format.

Every game still matters, title games still matter, there is still a path for a deserving team that flubs a game or two, with a teams in the playoffs you could largely avoid most rematch scenarios of teams that already played. 

From the business side of things, there are additional high-interest games that replace what are now kind of blah, also-ran bowl games, so this would be revenue positive for college football overall.

A drastic reduction in the debate/vitriol over who should be in or out that occurs in relation to teams in the eight-ten spots as opposed to the four-six spots.

The Mad Hatter

December 6th, 2018 at 11:03 AM ^

Until the SEC adds an additional conference game, and stops scheduling FSC teams before rivalry week, we shouldn't even think about making our schedule harder.

In fact, I think we should take a page from their book and schedule Bowling Green instead of Indiana before The Game.