It is that time of year again, time for me to whine about the fact that the NCAA higher-ups still have not come to their senses and come up with a playoff system for Division 1-A football.
Never mind that every other level of football decides its champion on the field with a playoff. No, for big-time college football the national title is still decided based on polls and computers.
Granted, this season it appears the Bowl Championship Series got it right. After all, we do have No. 1 (University of Southern California) playing No. 2 (Texas) with no other major college teams remaining unbeaten. So, no problem, right? Wrong!
Just because only two teams went unbeaten this season doesn't mean we have a system that works. The BCS is better than our old system to decide the national title, but it is far from perfect. The BCS leaves the door open for someone to be unbeaten but not to get a shot at a championship.
Just ask the Auburn Tigers. They were perfect in 2004, but had to watch as USC trounced Oklahoma for the national title. As a matter of fact, since its inception eight years ago, only one time before this season has there not been controversy surrounding the BCS. That came in 1999 when Florida State University went unbeaten and was the nation's No. 1 team from wire-to-wire.
How do we solve this problem? Well, next season there will be an extra game added to the schedule. For instance, if three teams go unbeaten, the two teams that win their bowl games will play a week later for the national championship.
This will be better, but it is still a flawed system. What if there are no unbeaten teams but instead you have five one-loss teams? Who plays for the title then? I'm not sure, but the polls and computers will try to tell us.
Those who oppose a playoff system for college football say that this would take away from the bowl games. Boy, would I hate to see anything happen to the Emerald Bowl, with 6-5 Utah taking on 6-5 Georgia Tech. Or what about the granddaddy of them all, the Houston Bowl, with Texas Christian University tangling with Iowa State? Another instant classic, I'm sure.
Well, to appease the bowl fans but still have the champion decided on the field, I have a system that the NCAA could use (for a small fee, of course).
First you take the conference champions from the eight major conferences - ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac Ten, Conference USA, Big East and WAC.
I predict that in a few years these will all be "Super Conferences," like the SEC, Big 12 and ACC already are with 12 teams, two divisions and a championship game. By awarding the champions of each conference a spot in our playoff, this will keep the regular season just as important as it is.
Now, after we have the eight conference champions, we will take eight at-large teams based on the polls and computers. If there is a debate, it will be from a team ranked 17th or 18th, rather than unbeaten and second or third in the nation.
These 16 teams will play with the conference champions playing host to the first-round games (they earned that right). The next week the eight remaining schools will play with the higher seeded team at home. Finally, when it is down to four teams, we move to one neutral site for the remaining three games. This is a true championship week.
The semifinals will be Saturday, with the title game the following Saturday night.
This year there were 56 teams in bowl games. My system still leaves 40 teams to play in bowl games leading up to the final four. If my system was in place, it would look like this:
No. 16 seed Central Florida (Conference USA) at No. 1 seed USC (Pac Ten)
No. 15 seed Boise St. (WAC) at No. 2 seed Texas (Big 12)
No. 14 seed Alabama (at-large) at No. 3 seed Penn State (Big Ten)
No. 13 seed Oregon (at-large) at No. 4 seed Ohio St. (at-large)
No. 12 seed Virginia Tech (at-large) at No. 5 seed Notre Dame (at-large)
No. 11 seed Miami (at-large) at No. 6 seed Georgia (SEC)
No. 10 seed Louisiana State University (at-large) at No. 7 seed FSU (ACC)
No. 9 seed West Virginia (Big East) at No. 8 seed Auburn (at-large)
Auburn at USC
FSU at Texas
UGA at Penn State
Notre Dame at Ohio State
All of these are great match-ups, and the national champion would win their title where they should - on the field.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.