With the seemingly counterintuitive, and geographically chaotic realignment of college conferences, it has been brought to the forefront of people’s minds how redundant the new playoff system is setting itself up to be.
Several college football heavyweights, such as ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit, are up in arms about Northern Illinois berth into a BCS bowl game over Georgia. This is because highly qualified and higher ranked teams fell well short of a desired bowl, at the expense of the BCS’ failed non-automatic qualifying rules.
As most know, the playoff system (to begin in 2014), was approved by 11 commissioners from the 11 major conferences, and Notre Dame Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick – who also suggested a trial playoff run to begin in 2013.
The playoff system will consist of four teams (conference champions given preference, of course), selected by a committee using strength of schedule, wins-to-losses, and other guidelines. The semifinals will rotate bowls, with the winners heading to the National Championship.
While this seems simple, to the point, and non-controversial, fans are already outraged that the NCAA is even considering adding to the playoffs down the line, instead of going all-in with at least 16 teams from the start.
It has come to my attention, and many others, that fans want a playoff system very similar to the NFL. Sure, there are complaints, and deciding who goes to the playoffs out of 32 teams, as opposed to 120 (FBS) is easier, but it’s a unified “deal with it”-type system.
This would also eliminate the need for realignments for teams wanting AQ statuses, and help get teams back onto their respective “grids”. If it makes, money, it makes sense, and as we all know, this will help sell tickets and increase revenues.
Picture a “Pacific v. Atlantic” system, where the country would be split down the middle, divided into quadrants, with even numbers of teams in each quadrant. These quadrants would be divisions, which could help create an NFL-like scenario of divisional playoffs, then conference championships much like the Super Bowl, which the NCAA is currently vetting in hopes their existing playoff system will emulate.
People are worried that the new system would wreak havoc in determining who would play in the other bowl games. A simple solution for that would be to take the similar guidelines the NCAA already has in place for deciding the semifinalists, and apply them to seeded match-ups, assigning opponents down the line. This rigid system would give next to no grey area, and teams would already know what they had to do before the season began.
When I polled this question on Twitter, similar responses were given, such as the NFL’s 16 playoff teams. A suggestion of six at-large teams, plus 10 conference champions was given, but that wouldn’t entirely eliminate the nation’s contempt for SEC dominance.
Considering the NCAA is fueled by its’ member institutions, more consideration to the requests of those institutions, and their fans should be given. With this constant shift, it’s only a matter of time before once prolific conferences either implode or burst at the seams. This has, and will continue to be suggested, so with the conference iron still hot, now is the time for institutions and fans to act, instead of leaving these decisions in the hands of the independents, and major conferences to decide.
Follow VF Castro on Twitter: @VFdoesFootball