Bowls, BCS, and the Need for a Playoff

Come on, is there anyone out there that doesn't believe there should be a playoff for college football? USC, Texas and Utah all deserve to play another game. So do about five other teams. That means a simple eight-team tournament requiring only three additional weeks of play: One quarterfinal round of four games, followed by two the next weekend and the championship game the third weekend.

Do it all in the month of January by having all bowl games over on January 1st, just like they used to do. Play the 4 BCS games on January 1st, and use the fifth game site to host the ultimate championship game. Take those four winners and select four at-large teams and there you go.

Really, why were we watching East Carolina at 9-4 versus a 6-6 Kentucky on January 2nd in the Liberty Bowl? Or Connecticut at 7-5 playing Buffalo at 8-5 Jan. 3rd in the International Bowl? Those kinds of games belong on December 17th or something like that.

Play all the lesser bowls sometime in December and have only the biggies like the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls on January 1st. I know that would mean missing thrillers like the Outback, Capital One, and Gator Bowls on New Year's, but how did they get scheduled there in the first place? Why is Tulsa playing Ball State four days after USC plays Penn State in the Grandaddy of Them All?

Obviously the BCS has been a philosophical failure since its inception simply because every other sport, including football at the lower levels, has a playoff system in place, so why shouldn't big-time college football? Why not pull the plug on it? Simply turn the new Divison-1( again) playoffs over to the NCAA and let them reap or rape the proceeds, just like they have done with March Madness in basketball. I would guess they are leaving close to a $500 million on the table.

Any way you cut it, that's too much money not to have a playoff. Heck, even the President-Elect supports the concept! What more do you want?

In my opinion, have all the teams in America complete their seasons by the last weekend of November with the traditional rivalry weekend: Limit all teams to a 12-game season and start the bowls the second weekend in December. Have them all completed by the new year.

Then start the playoffs.

By doing that you can basically incorporate the bowls into the playoff system. Make them preliminaries for consideration to advance to the actual playoff. That way the bowls will know who their teams will be earlier and can put together better packages for the fans. If you cut back to 32 bowls then voila! You have the semblance of a 64-team tournament.

Then allow the major bowls to set up arrangements with the bigger conferences like has been tradition with the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, etc... Form a playoff selection committee like they do with the NCAA Basketball Tournament and select the top eight from all the bowl winners. Once all the bowls are completed the committee will then use all the computer crap and stats and comparisons to determine the final teams to complete the field.

There is not a single player or coach on any team who wouldn't want to do it. For years the NCAA used the argument of not having the kids miss too much class, and the bowl system was so good to Division-1 football that we wouldn't want to disrupt them or kill that cash cow. Not anymore. There is there is too much cash being left on the table by the NCAA by not having a playoff of some sort.

The idea of kids missing too much class doesn't hold water with many teams like Washington playing over a 15-week period, only a couple weeks short of a typical NFL schedule. Almost all conferences now play well into December, with many having their own play-for-pay playoffs after their seasons are technically over. That's just another grab for television money.

If conferences want a playoff at the end then they would be limited to 11 total games.

With 34 bowl games now, it means 68 college teams out of 119 are getting to play a post-season game, and therefore those teams could already be in a tournament. I understand many were busts this year in terms of revenue, TV ratings and attendance but they still provide college football with lots of money besides all the gifts, rings and watches to the players.

I just don't understand why it is so difficult to sell this concept to the university presidents and the conferences. Can you imagine the networks bidding on this? After all is said and done, I still believe it will happen. I do admit I have never liked the BCS and have felt every year that at least one team has been screwed by the system.

This is such a no-brainer, but after meeting people like David Price of the NCAA, they could easily screw this one up too.

If they are playing games all the way into December for television money anyway, why not put it all into one big package and give every school a nice check and the ones that go the farthest the chance to continue to earn more for their school and conference?

Works for me.

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