Solving the problem of the BCS, part 2

lorida quarterback Tim Tebow (15) looks for an open receiver as Alamaba's Bobby Greenwood closes in during the second quarter of the Southeastern Conference Championship NCAA football game at the Georgia Dome Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008 in Atlanta.  (AP)

lorida quarterback Tim Tebow (15) looks for an open receiver as Alamaba's Bobby Greenwood closes in during the second quarter of the Southeastern Conference Championship NCAA football game at the Georgia Dome Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008 in Atlanta. (AP)

Ok, it’s been a while since I last posted.

Since the last time I posted on this blog the Nebraska Cornhuskers have beaten Colorado and seemingly locked up a birth into the Gator Bowl. Oklahoma won the Big 12 three-way tiebreaker and will play Missouri tonight for the Big 12 championship. Texas has cried foul, and called for support to make the BCS Championship game anyway. However, this all centers more and more over people complaining about the BCS.

Exactly a month ago I wrote my idea for a solution to the BCS problem and how to organize an FBS playoff. And right now I’m sticking by this proposal more than ever.

I think it would be a great idea to move to a playoff, but not structured like the FCS, D-II or D-III. No, it should still involve the BCS rankings — with the addition of AP poll again — to determine the nation’s top 10 teams.

Those ten teams could play out a four week tournament that would start the week before Christmas and have a game each week, culminating in the championship game on the Saturday of the same week the BCS game is scheduled for right now.

The main argument by college presidents against this is “pulling students out of class” and adding stress. However, this plan means that the first round wouldn’t be until after the semester is over, and would be done before the next semester starts. Maybe there will be schools where the semester will start during that week…but then the BCS is already in that week so what’s the difference?

One thing I didn’t specify in my original post, which I must address, is that I think the top 10 teams — no matter what conference — should get in this playoff. So the top 10 teams on the BCS would get into the playoff, even if they aren’t in a BCS conference or if their conference has two teams ahead of them.

In this case it would assure a spot for the likes of Boise State — who is likely to miss out because of a “juicy” match up between Texas and Ohio State — would make the tournament while a team like ACC Champs Virginia Tech or Big East Champs Cincinnati may — rightfully — miss out.

If the season ended right now the ten teams in the playoff would be as follows:

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Alabama
  5. USC
  6. Utah
  7. Texas Tech
  8. Penn State
  9. Boise State
  10. Ohio State

Tell me you wouldn’t like to see games next week with Texas Tech hosting Ohio State for the right to travel to Florida and Penn State host Boise State to go to Norman and face Oklahoma. Then the week after that Texas would host Utah and Alabama gets to host USC.

The winners of those quarters head to two designated BCS games across the country and play for the right to get in the championship. The semifinals winners face in the designated bowl which hosts the championship game, and the losers head to the other BCS game to fill out the bowl schedule.

Let me know what you think. Are there flaws? Sure there are, but every system has flaws. Share your ideas, and let me know what you think.

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8 responses to “Solving the problem of the BCS, part 2

  1. Mike,

    I like your proposal, and I think it solves a lot of the tactical problems and helps to retain the excitement of the regular season at least somewhat. But I think you should still keep some guarantees for major conference champions – maybe a guaranteed spot in the tournament for ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-10, Big East, and I would also include WAC with Boise St., Hawaii, and Fresno St. all with potential (the conference is at least as good as Big East or ACC right now). Yeah, maybe Cincinatti doesn’t deserve a BCS spot this year over, say Oregon St. or Texas Tech, how about the people who said Kansas didn’t deserve a spot last year? This could be a huge opportunity for Cincy to build their program.

    Overall, though, I’m still pretty against a playoff. What makes college football so great is that you really do have to go undefeated or close to it to legitimately be champions. I do think there’s a lot of problems with the BCS and the way voters make their decisions, but I don’t think a playoff is going to change that. For all the controversy around #1 and #2, what about the controversy that there would be around #9 and #10? Isn’t it even harder to determine who’s really deserving the further down you go? Aren’t all the teams from about #17-25 essentially the same? You’re always going to have controversy. If anything, I think we only really need a 4 or 6 team playoff. #1 and #2 could get byes, and 3-6 could match up accordingly. Then being #1 or #2 in the nation still matters a great deal.

    I’m also still very much in favor of getting rid of the BCS and having the so-called BCS championship becoming a plus-one game. Think about the last few years – 2006 could have had Florida and USC or Boise St., 2007 could have had LSU and USC. This year could have – who knows? The big problem I see is when you have a clear #1 and #2, such as a situation like 1983 with a close game between Nebraska and Miami, where you have two teams essentially playing two games in a row. But I think the plus-one is at least a de-facto playoff. You have bowl games match up the right teams and essentially serve as your semi-final.

    And your proposal says nothing about how to solve this year’s Big 12 mess. Got any ideas on that?

  2. Also, check this out. If this happened, I think I would be for a playoff – http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=dw-playoff120208&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  3. Michael Mason-D'Croz

    Joel, I agree completely that it is a shame the WAC isn’t currently included in the BCS. Every year they produce a team better than the Big East, and probably on par to the ACC — unless we see a resurgence of a Florida State or Miami — and wouldn’t mind seeing them involve. And I do understand that Cincy is building their program — probably going to become a really good team in a year or two — but I just don’t consider them a top 10 team yet.

    I can see your point when it comes to choosing numbers 9 and 10. However, no matter what the system it will be hard to choose the last couple teams in. It’s the same as NCAA Basketball where many teams are on the bubble and don’t make the “Big Dance.” Every year someone will be disappointed and every year there will be outcry and hurt feelings from someone, it’s just a fact of life.

    However, I have to disagree with your 4-6 team playoff idea. It’s a step in the right direction, but I think it leaves too many deserving teams out of the equation. I personally think that if chosen correctly, the top 10 teams would all have a legitimate shot at winning the championship, and it would be a shame to not include those “underdog” teams.

    I’ve never been a fan of the “plus one” system that is being branded about. You bring a great point about the ’83 Miami v. Nebraska game — how about NU v. Florida in ’95-’96? Yes, the bowl game wasn’t close, but neither was the third team in the nation close to either Nebraska or Florida. So after NU beat Florida soundly on a neutral field, they probably would have had to try and beat them again to win the championship?

    Now what about the flip side? What if one year we have all four BCS games decided handily by teams with identical records? How do we decide who are the top two teams? I just don’t like all the variables that would need covering for such a system.

    Now, the link you put here was great. I had thought of something similar — although not nearly as hashed out has Wetzel had it — but couldn’t rationalize inclusion of all conference champs. However, the way he presents his argument is very organized and well thought out. I couldn’t help but find myself nodding along as I read.

    Honestly, my ten team proposal is just a stepping stone. I thought it would be a system easy to put in place in the near future that would satisfy the viewers and the media. However, I never thought it would be the final answer, there is always somewhere else to go from there.

    With that in mind I’m constantly afraid of a playoff system getting out of hand. I really don’t want to see a 32 team playoff in college football, and even 16 sometimes feels like too much for me. However, if it was 16 the way Wetzel proposes then I could wholeheartedly accept it. Thanks for the link.

  4. Michael Mason-D'Croz

    Now on to solving the Big 12 tiebreaker. I am working through a couple ideas right now that I’ll probably hash out in a new post in the near future. I’m just having quite a problem thinking of a way to keep it fair to all teams involved.

    In this year’s case Texas was crying for the SEC’s version, where if the second place team in the BCS is within five places of the top team and they have the head-to-head advantage then they win the division. However, is it fair for a number three Texas team to get the nod when the team that beat them is a mere four spots lower than they are? No.

    I don’t think it’s fair to just ignore the fact that Texas Tech went 11-1 and beat Texas. It’s also hard to ignore how Texas beat Oklahoma in a “neutral” field. But then Oklahoma didn’t just beat Tech, but blew them out by 44 points…

    The SEC’s version seems a little more fair — but only if the third team isn’t as close. Heck the third place team was within five spots of the top ranked team in OU. So explain to me how anyone can rationally just ignore them. Many pundits — and some media friends of mine — told me that Tech won on a last second play and Texas “dominated” the game.

    I’m sorry if they “dominated” the game, they didn’t dominate the scoreboard which is what matters most. Fact is, Texas lost and they shouldn’t be rewarded for losing to a team that lost by 44 points to OU. I personally think in a rematch right now, OU would beat Texas handily, so this system got the correct team — in my opinion.

    But the system should be changed, and there are a couple ideas in my head as to how to do it. Check back in about a week and hopefully I’ll have fleshed out the best way — once again in my opinion.

  5. I’ve got to toss this into the mix – Since conference champions aren’t part of this solution, why should conferences exist?

  6. Michael Mason-D'Croz

    afrankangle –

    There is a simple answer to that question. The reason that conferences would still exist is to fill out schedules.

    There is no way that all 119 FBS teams would be able to fill out 12 game schedules with the proper amount of home and road games without the conferences in place…

    Not only that but there would be plenty of teams that would schedule the weakest opponents to try and be undefeated — although I would assume that the computers and voters would recognize that and not include these teams in the mix. Also, the conferences are in place for every sport, not just football, so they would stay together.

    Using the example of, say, Iowa State. ISU wouldn’t be able to schedule the likes of a Nebraska, Oklahoma or Texas without being in the conference with them — let alone get home games against these teams. There are few teams in the nation that would be able to schedule like that. Thus the conferences still play an important role.

    And as I said in a comment above, we could use this as a stepping stone to ultimately get to something like Dan Wetzel’s proposal in the link Joel G put above. But in short, the conferences would have to stay in place to keep a semblance of order in scheduling for each team.

  7. Thanks Michael for your thoughts. Guess I prefer the conference champions getting a slot over the BCS top 10. Either way, I don’t think we’ll ever see it. The BCS is simply a revenue sharing argreement among six conferences.

  8. Another potential solution to the problem of the BCS is to do away with the automatic berths afforded to the “big six” conferences. As it stands, we wait until halfway through the season before we rank any of the teams in the BCS. Why not wait until that point before determining which conference champions will be given an automatic spot. Take the ACC for instance: In the 11 years of BCS play, the conference has never received an at-large bid. ACC teams are 2-9 overall in BCS play. Meanwhile, BCS busters are 3-1. This year, with Texas Christian, Brigham Young and Utah duking it out, you could easily argue that the Mountain West was a more difficult conference this year than the ACC. I’d also argue the MWC was a stronger conference than the Big East this year, too, especially in light of how piss-poor the Bearcats were against the other worst BCS team.

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