VETTEL: Nice Try Don Quixote

I've never asked Bernie Machen what his favorite Broadway musical was, but I wouldn't be surprised if the University of Florida President was a big fan of "The Man of La Mancha". The story of Don Quixote and his adventures tilting at windmills both real and imagined must have struck home with Machen.

Why else would a seemingly sane individual take on the crazy task of convincing the world of college football that it was time for a playoff to settle the football championship at the highest level of college sports? Machen took his ideas before the other Presidents of SEC member schools and Conference Commissioner Mike Slive and one hour later announced the proposal was deader than the Barry Bonds reality show.

Machen said he left the meeting convinced that making modifications within the current BCS structure was the best way to go forward. In other words, his ideas fell on deaf ears. There is no way a playoff is going to be created just by school leaders talking about it. There's only one way I think we will ever see something more than what we have now.

Steps to a Playoff

The first step is determining you have to be realistic about a playoff; while we might like a 16-team event that's just too far out there. So let's agree that since we have a system to choose the top eight teams we can start with an eight-team event. That would add one game for four teams and two games for two others. That's it! Three games take us from silly debate to a legit on-field playoff.

Second, now that we have secured spots for the six largest conferences and made league championships even more important, we've got to find money, lots and lots of money. You start that by lining up your TV network partner that will televise the three games and pay a king's ransom to do so.

OK, we have a TV network and a system. Now we need our corporate title sponsor; a mega-company that will put a check for $ 59.5 million dollars for these three games (and the television commercials that go with it). That amount of money equals $ 500 thousand for every division one football program. For the bottom half of schools, that is a huge amount of money and something they would be hard pressed to turn down.

Now comes the interesting part, figuring out where to play the games. In order to assuage the big four power bowls we set the title games to continue to be rotated among the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta Bowls. Each city will get to host an extra game every four years, and that's big money. Plus every year they are hosting a national quarter-final game. They still get the big game every four years, but now their non-title year game has added significance.

Here's the special part that I've come up with. Only cities hosting bowl games can bid on the right to host the national semi-finals. This is an homage to Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville. It shows love and respect for Atlanta, San Antonio and Dallas. In short, it generates support among the second tier of bowl games. They would go crazy putting together their bids and the game would benefit from a new system that leaves all existing bowls intact, maintains the elite status of the four biggest games and creates an opportunity for other bowls to go after a brand new, special event.

So there's the plan. All we need to do is line up Fox and Microsoft and away we go.

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