How I'd solve the BCS mess

Let's be honest, there is no perfect solution. There is no perfect system to crowning a national champion in college football. There is no way to make all 117 Division I-A schools happy. I don't have the magic answer, but I do know the current system is terrible. Here is my solution to a tournament, the bowls in both the major and small conferences.

The system I have devised isn't revolutionary, but I think it would make the most people happy. It combines the current bowl system with a tournament. It utilizes the current BCS ranking, while also giving smaller schools a chance to compete. Ironically, it actually gives two additional teams a bowl bid.

I propose a 16-team, four-week tournament. The first games would be played the weekend of December 20th and it would conclude at the Sugar Bowl on Saturday, January 10th. The loss of class time would be minimal as most schools wrap up their semester before the 20th and few schools start much earlier than the first week of January.

LOCATIONS The first round would be played at the home sites of the top eight seeds. Games would be played on Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th. The four BCS bowls (Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar) would alternate as finals, semi-finals and quarterfinal sites. The bowl that hosts the championship game, in this case the Sugar Bowl, would be a quarter final site the next season.

Three other bowls would become full-time quarterfinal sites. I felt that the Cotton Bowl, Citrus Bowl and Holiday Bowl were all deserving. All three have a long and storied history and I felt that it would return some luster to these bowls that have lost some importance since the advent of the BCS.

Six conferences - the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10 and the SEC - would receive automatic bids. Their champion (regular season or otherwise) would automatically be in the tournament and seeded according to the BCS rankings.

The five other conferences - WAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, MAC and Conference USA - would have provisional bids. They could get in the tournament two different ways. First, if a team finishes in the top-16 of the BCS standings. Secondly, if the smaller have a record that is at leas equal to the record of the teams ahead of them in the BCS standings they would supplant them. While this would eliminate a possibly superior team, it would make up for the fact that smaller schools have trouble scheduling quality opponents. It would also eliminate potential law suits from the smaller conferences. Most years, only a few of the smaller conference teams would qualify, however, this season all 11 conferences would be represented.

Adding the smaller schools places a greater emphasis on getting a top-4 seed. There will be a big drop-off between the last at-large bid (Georgia) and the smaller conference schools.

It also makes more important games. Instead of one or two important games, there are now 15 important games over the course of a month.

THE BOWLS The rest of the bowls would remain. In fact, under this system two additional teams would receive bids. This year it would allow two deserving teams, UConn (9-3) and Northern Illinois (11-3), who were left out of the bowl system altogether, to receive births.

The Bracket:


First round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
(1) Oklahoma (12-1)
(16) North Texas (9-3)
at Norman
Cotton Bowl, Dallas
Rose Bowl
(8) Tennessee (10-2)
(9) Miami (Fla.) (10-2)
at Knoxville
(5) Ohio St. (10-2)
(12) Georgia (10-3)
at Columbus
Holiday Bowl, San Diego
(4) Michigan (10-2)
(13) Boise St (11-1)
at Ann Arbor
(6) Texas (10-2)
(11) Miami (OH) (12-1)
at Austin, TX
Fiesta Bowl
Orange Bowl
(3) USC (11-1)
(14) Utah (9-2)
at Los Angeles
(7) Florida St. (10-2)
(10) Kansas St. (11-3)
at Tallahassee
Citris Bowl, Orlando
(2) LSU (12-1)
(15) So. Miss. (9-3)
at Baton Rougue

The Bowls

Clemson (8-4) vs. Purdue (9-3)

Tulsa (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6)

Maryland (9-3) vs. West Virginia (8-4)

Mississippi (9-3) vs. Iowa (9-3)

San Francisco
Colorado State (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)

Missouri (8-4) vs. Minnesota (9-3)

Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Arkansas (8-4)

Washington State (9-3) vs. TCU (11-1)

Music City
UConn (9-3) vs. South Florida (7-4)

Silicon Valley
Fresno (8-5) vs. Cal (7-6)

Navy (8-4) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)

Michigan State (8-4) vs. Nebraska (9-3)

Continental Tire
Pitt (8-4) vs. Virginia (7-5)

Va Tech (8-4) vs. Oregon (8-4)

Motor City
Northwestern (6-6) vs. Kansas (6-6)

Houston (7-5) vs. Hawaii (8-5)

Las Vegas
New Mexico (8-4) vs. Oregon State (7-5)

Ft, Worth
Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Wisconsin (7-5)

NC State (7-4) vs. Auburn (7-5)

Northern Illinois (10-2) vs. UCLA (6-6)

New Orleans
Memphis (8-4) vs. Louisville (9-3)

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