"These kids are students first, they'll miss too much class." Ever drive by a cow farm? Then you can sense the familiar smell. I guess all those professional football players in Division II & III, not to mention 1-AA don't need to attend class, either that or they don't miss any more than anyone else during their playoffs. This one goes along with the same line about how the playoffs will extend into the middle of January. Seems that Division III had their championship last night, and D-II last week. 1-AA inconveniently scheduled theirs for next weekend.
Myth # 2
"You could incorporate the bowls into the playoff." Can't do it. Can't happen. The only way a playoff will work is if the games are either played on the home field of the higher seed, or if the games are played at a neutral site relatively close to at least one of the teams. There is no way that fans from Nebraska could afford to go to the Holliday Bowl for the first round, the Citrus Bowl for the second round, the Sugar Bowl for the third round and the Rose Bowl for the national title. Not financially feasible for any group of fans.
This expense would only drop on the teams who won a couple of games.
But the fact of the matter, fans can only afford so much. There has to be some local interest in the game, or the only people there would be fans of the teams. Even as all home games, the home team fans get tapped out.
So my suggestion, which is not a new one, is to have a 16 team playoff. All D-1A conference champions get an automatic bid to the playoff. Before you jump up and yell that the MAC, WAC and Sun Belt don't deserve bids, tell that to the small time conferences in basketball. They play ball, they deserve a shot. Maybe they prove they don't belong. The whole idea is to settle it on the field, not in opinion polls.
Start the regular season the third week of August. Most colleges have started classes by then. There are already games being played. Start the season. Skip all these phony charity games, play your eleven game schedule.
Then, end the regular season the first weekend of December with conference championship games. This is where the small boys get weeded out. You have four years to get your league to 12 teams, or your champ loses it's auto bid. Hey, they still could get in as an at-large.
That would force the ACC, the Big East, the Big Ten, CUSA and the Pac Ten to expand to 12 teams. Hence, the conference shakeup we have all talked about for years.
It would likely sap the stronger teams from Mountain West to the Pac Ten, MAC to the Big Ten or ACC, maybe some Big East teams to the ACC and CUSA teams to Big East, etc.
But what you would likely end up with is eight 12-14 team leagues. Then you have eight automatic bids, and eight at-large bids. Psst, hey golden domers, join up, or watch us on TV.
Won't work, you say. Eight twelve team conferences is 96 teams. This only cuts off about twenty teams, and there are more than that many who really don't belong in 1-A already.
But how could we do this with the diversity of the schedules?
Easy. It is as easy as wanting to get it done. Get the conference commissioners together and create schedules, similar to the NFL.
Conferences would pay their regular conference schedule, but they would also be guaranteed games with solid competition from other conferences in the playoff hunt.
Instead of Virginia Tech playing their season opener against Muskingum, they would be playing Iowa, or Mississippi. But it would also work for the schools like Toledo or BYU who would get games with Oregon or Texas Tech instead of having to play a 1-AA team or Troy State.
And a favorite of our publisher, "I want the regular season to mean something."
It will. There will be no byes into the playoffs. You would still have to win to get in. If you think it isn't that easy, think again. This year, Youngstown State was 8-2 going into their last game with Marshall. Youngstown was ranked sixth in 1-AA, and a perennial power. Marshall was ranked 20th in 1-A. YSU gave them fits, and was in position to win the game late, but threw a pick for a TD and lost. YSU didn't make the playoffs. They finished third in their conference. They sat home.
Win your regular season games, or there will be no playoffs.
The regular season means nothing now, except to those trying to win it all, or their conference titles. Otherwise, we have a bowl structure full of 6-5 imitations. I for one, am tired of watching teams who barely won more than they lost, get rewarded with a bowl game.
Lets have a tournament that means something.
Will it end all the complaining? Heck no. Instead of the third or fourth ranked teams (in this year's case it is the second and third) it would be the 17th through 20th ranked teams. Or it would be the tenth ranked team who stayed home because they didn't win their conference when a 19th ranked team did.
But what it would do is give the teams a chance to win it on the field. It would give teams a chance to prove they belong in the playoffs. Or prove they don't.
Very obviously, the opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Blue & Gold News or BlueGoldNews.com. but they are interesting!