Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If it's December, it must be time to b*tch about the BCS

After Florida passed up Michigan for the chance to play Ohio State in the BCS championship game, the annual tradition about complaining about the BCS was in full force once again. In 2000, the complaints revolved around strength of schedule bumping Miami in favor of Florida State. In 2001, the complaints revolved around computers giving the edge to the Huskers. The fact remains that as long as you maintain the bowl system, you only can accomodate 2 teams in a National Championship game, and whenever you don't have 2 clear-cut teams (i.e 2002 with Miami and Ohio State or 2005 with Tejas and USC), you have controversy.

So what's the alternative? Blow up the bowls and institute a playoff. Of course, a playoff won't eliminate the controversy either, as the complaints will just focus on the teams who just missed the playoff. (See the complaining after the NCAA basketball tournament is set in March...)

Actually, you don't have to completely blow up the bowls, but you basically need to seperate college football into 2 groups: the championship playoff teams (8 or 16 teams), and the rest of the teams, who can continue to head to the Cotton, Alamo, and Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl.

The championship playoff (preferably 8, though I could see 16 teams) would be seeded 1 to 16, with the top seeds hosting games. Some bowl purists insist that you could have the bowls host these matchup, but that's completely impractical for fans. It's one thing to ask Ohio State fans to spend $80 for an NCAA playoff ticket to a game in Columbus. It's another thing to ask them to spend $80 for a ticket, then $1000 on short-notice airfare to El Paso, Tampa, or Charlotte. Then if they win, repeat this process for a game the next week? And then do it again for the title game? Are you serious? Over the holidays, you are going to try and get thousands of fans to go back and forth between multiple bowl games? Sure, they'll make this pilgrimage for the championship game...but not for the preliminary games.

And let's not forget, most college stadiums hold significantly more fans that most bowl stadiums. Capacity for the BCS title game is around 73,000. The top 4 teams in the BCS standings have stadium capacities of 107K, 101K, 91K, and 88K. Playing these games at campus stadiums likely means another $2 million in ticket sales for every game played. And you don't have to worry about playing in front of a 75% empty stadium, such as the Hawaii Bowl game when the Warriors aren't invited.

So what would this year's matchups be? Let's use the BCS standings and assume that we're going to have a huge quadruple-header of games this next Saturday:
#8 Boise State @ #1 Ohio State, 2 pm
#7 Wisconsin @ #2 Florida, 5 pm
#6 Louisville @ #3 Michigoon, 11 am
#5 USC @ #4 LSU, 8 pm

The next week, you matchup the OSU-BSU winner against the LSU-USC winner at the home of the higher seed, and the Florida-Wisconsin winner against the Weasel-Louisville winner, again at the higher seed.

Then matchup the 2 remaining teams in the College Super Bowl, and go ahead and host that at a bowl site on January 8th. A couple of weeks off allows you to hold this game at a neutral site since that gives fans a little time to get their travel plans in place.

Want a 16 team playoff? Well, kill the conference championship games, and start last weekend with matchups like: Rutgers @ Ohio State, Virginia Tech @ Florida, Wake Forest @ Michigoon, West Virginia @ LSU, Arkansas @ USC, Notre Dame @ Louisville, Oklahoma @ Wisconsin, and Auburn @ Boise State.

Now, tell me why we want to maintain the bowls again?

1 comment:

Carl said...

This is pretty good arguement for how to have playoffs. You have a lot of games there I'd love to see played.

I'm a bowl system guy because a) I like the controversy and b) I like watching football on everynight from Dec 15 to Jan 4.

The bowl games allow also allow me to watch teams I don't normally get to see. Its nice.

In your system, would the bowls continue in the 'background'? If the bowls were eliminated its a great system to destroy parity in college football. Even without money considerations, teams who get to go to bowls get 2-5 weeks of extra practice. Only the best 16 teams get to continue their season? Yikes.

I'm not sold on playoffs. At most I'd like a 4 team 'playoff', but I don't really have a say.

The one thing I'd do to the BCS is throw out the human polls. Only the computer rankings would determine the teams to play for the MNC. Tweaking the computers is allowed, but only during the off-season. If that gives Michigan a rematch against OSU, then so be it. If, instead, you have to win your conference to play for the championship, then Notre Dame should have to join a conference if they wish to ever play for the MNC and all conferences should either have a championship game or a round robin season that pits every team against every other team in its league. (I'm looking right at you Big 10).

Just my random thoughts...