With the arrival of the latest BCS rankings and the impending bowl season, it got me thinking about how everyone is always clamoring for a true playoff in college football. I’ve always said that beyond a “plus 1” type of system, I have no interest in a full blown playoff. But let me humor the masses. So, in my best mad football scientist voice, “velcome to my lab! See vut I have created!”.
For my scenario, I used the rule that the BCS has where there can be only two teams from a single conference in the mix, and because of that I have only gone with eight teams for this hypothetical. Why? Because if I have to seed 16 teams and can only use two teams from the power conferences, the playoffs would be a sham. It’s already a case this season where the BCS bigshots have been forced to wedge an undeserving Northern Illinois team into the BCS. No way am I going to project a bunch of bad teams at the bottom of a 16 team bracket. You want that, stick to NCAA basketball.
So, who is in? Using the idea of the top eight teams in the final BCS standings, and the two team per conference rule, here’s how your eight team playoff might look:
1-Notre Dame-Obviously the Fighting Irish are on top in the final BCS, so they would be on top in the playoff as well.
2-Alabama-The Crimson Tide are sitting firmly at No. 2 in the BCS, so they’d get a top seed too.
4-Oregon–The Ducks would be the first of two PAC-12 teams in the playoff and seeded higher than the winner of their conference. Makes perfect sense.
5-Kansas State-Big 12 conference champ goes here, but will there be room for a second Big 12 team at the big party?
6-Stanford-The PAC-12 champs are relegated to a six seed, two spots behind a team that didn’t even play in their conference championship game. More sound logic.
7-Oklahoma–The Sooners squeak in near the bottom of the list as Big 12 co-champs. Or is this where Northen Illinois would go as well?
8-Florida State-The ACC champs slide into the final spot after winning their conference title.
I can respect the fact that a format like this would somehow give all eight of these teams a shot at a national championship, but would this really tell any of us who the best team in the country is? Or would it simply tell us who the best team in the tournament was? Not taking a side per se, but it’s a valid point either way. If you buy the theory that the entirety of the season is simply to get into the tournament, then so be it.
Now, let me spin this another way. If the Big Ten and Big East are allowed automatic entry to the party, Wisconsin–ranked nowhere in the final BCS poll–and Louisville, ranked 21st in the final BCS, would bump Oklahoma and Stanford as doubles in their conference. But wait! Stanford won their conference, so would the No. 4 Ducks have to go? Something to ponder. Are we still finding out who the best team is? I forget.
Obviously this is a hypothetical, but at some point down the road, this will be coming. Fans hated the system pre-BCS, so the BCS was put in place and now everyone hates that too. So now we move forward to a a four-teams tournament set to begin in 2014. Trust me, it won’t be long before people hate that too. This whole thing is a process, and no matter how much they try and “fix” it, you will never please everyone.