Tuesday, November 07, 2006

B(C)S Solutions

Come on, you didn't think I was going to just bitch and bitch about the B(C)S without offering some constructive solutions did you? I'll leave that to the professionals! I've developed a system that I think would be fair, would fit into the current system, and would ensure that the worthy teams were given a shot at the National Championship every year. Without further ado, The Chop Shop proudly presents the real Bowl Championship Series...

- First of all, EVERY conference becomes a BCS conference as long as they meet certain criteria. Automatic bids to the BCS are history, since every I-A conference that meets the minimum requirements is eligible.

- In order to become eligible for the BCS a conference must have at least 10 members and must stage a Conference Championship Game. If a conference has 10 members each team must play every other team in the conference, just like the Pac 10 does today. The two teams with the best conference records then meet for the Conference Championship. If a conference has 12 members they must be split into divisions with the division winners meeting for the Conference Championship, just like the Big XII does today. The championship games essentially serve as a de facto playoff round.

- After the Conference Championship Games the BCS Standings will be used to place eight teams into the BCS just like they do now, only there will be a Strength of Schedule factor in the rankings to discourage teams from scheduling cupcakes. Games against I-A opponents will carry a weighted score from 0.1 to 1.0. The tougher the opponent the more heavily the win is weighted. Games against I-AA opponents will have a NEGATIVE SOS rating from -0.1 to -1.0

- The six highest-ranked conference champions get into the BCS, as well as two wild card teams. However, if a conference champion is ranked below six other conference champions but is still in the top 12 of the BCS standings they take one of the wild-card spots. That should protect the smaller leagues that can't get the national recognition that the major conferences receive, while punishing major conferences that don't perform.

- The 5th and 6th highest-ranked conference champions play against the wild card teams in glorified exhibitions much like they do today. However, the #4 conference champ plays the #1 conference champ and #2 plays #3 in what is essentially a four-team playoff. Note that YOU MUST WIN YOUR CONFERENCE in order to play for the Championship. Don't have a conference? Tough shit. Notre Dame, if you ever want to win another National Title you'd better get on the phone with the Big 10 or Big East pronto before all the spots fill up!

- The two national semifinals take place on New Year's Day, and one week later the two winners play each other to determine a true National Champion. The beauty is that the infrastructure for this system is already in place... the difference is that instead of a watered-down BCS with four meaningless games, we get two hugely important games matching great teams followed by a National Championship Final!

- All conferences are included and everyone has a shot at the BCS Championship. The SOS component encourages teams to schedule tougher non-conference games, giving good teams from the smaller conferences a better shot at landing games against the big boys.

- Every regular season game is still important since you must win your conference to have a shot at the Championship. Just look at Auburn this year... their lone loss to Arkansas may keep them out of the SECCG, and under the Chop Shop plan that would eliminate them from National Title contention.

- There are never more than four teams that are really deserving of National Title consideration. Under this plan all of the true Title contenders will always get a shot at the Championship, and while there may be carping about the 4th and final spot in the Championship Tournament that's a hell of a lot better than arguing about #2 and having legitimate contender left out of the Championship entirely.

- Notre Dame gets screwed. Technically that's more of a bonus than a benefit, but I think it bears mentioning.

- The National Champion is determined on the field...and isn't that the whole point?

- The one major drawback I can see is if a 10-team league such as the Big 10 (assuming they'd go down to 10 teams) has a game like Ohio State/Michigan this year where the two best teams from a conference play at the end of the season. The regular season game wouldn't be as important because there would be an immediate rematch in the Conference Championship Game. Unfortunately I don't see an easy fix for this scenario, but it would be a fairly rare occurrence so I guess we'd have to live with getting to watch two powerhouses go at it twice. Bummer.

- Assume that the system I've described was in place this year. For argument's sake assume Ohio State, Louisville, Texas, and Florida win the rest of their regular season games, and each wins its respective Conference Championship Game.

- The BCS would likely consist of those four teams, plus the Cal/USC winner (Pac-10 winner), Boise State (6th-highest-ranked conference champ), plus Michigan and Auburn as the wild card teams.

- Note that Boise State would be rewarded for an unbeaten season, while the ACC - which has been the definition of mediocrity this year - would be justly punished by having likely champion Georgia Tech left out (unless the Jackets could somehow climb into the BCS top 12). I love Georgia Tech and the ACC but I believe we should have a fair system, and if the Big East was in the ACC's predicament I'd have no problem with them missing out on the BCS, so it's only right that the ACC - and for that matter all the other conferences - should be held to the same standard.

- Michigan and the Pac-10 winner would play in the Rose Bowl, Auburn and Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, and on New Year's Day you'd get to watch Texas try to contain Louisville's explosive offense in the Orange Bowl followed by a clash of great defenses when Ohio State took on Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Tell me that wouldn't be a great day of college football! (and note that last year USC/Ohio State and Texas/Penn State would have been the prelude to the Championship Game. How awesome would it have been watching AJ Hawk and Co. go up against Leinart, Bush, and Jarrett!)

- A week later the Ohio State/Florida winner would face the Texas/Louisville winner to settle the Championship at one of the four BCS bowl sites, which would rotate in a four year cycle. The National Title is solved on the field and all is right with the world.

So that's it - my grand plan for college football harmony throughout the universe. It's fair to all conferences, it would be a HUGE money-maker, and it would require minimal changes to the current system. In other words it's perfect. Now you may commence picking it to pieces...


At 3:44 PM, Blogger JTS said...

The first thing that needs to happen is that the NCAA needs to be in charge of determining a champion not the BCS.

I have two options that I could get behind:

1. Champion by Poll

Get rid of the BCS. Allow the bowl commitees to bid on selection position at the beginning of the season with the highest bid picking the match up first. At the end of the year, the polls can select who they think is #1.


- No extra games for players

- Could allow for an undefeated team from mid-major to win NC by steamrolling quality opponent

- Could allow a #3 or #4 team to win NC with an impressive bowl performance and bad #1 vs #2 game


- Would bowls pay the same amount without it being guaranteed that they would get the "definitive" NC game

- Jackass voters trying the manipulate outcome (of course we already have that)

2. Champion by Winning on the Field

Get rid of BCS. Each team gets 2 OOC games then plays their conference schedule. One representative from the 6 BCS conferences plus 2 at large teams which can come from mid-majors, independents, or other BCS teams play a three game playoff. Each BCS conference can decide their own method to pick their representative. The two at-large bids would be filled by a NCAA Selection Commitee with the caveat that any undefeated mid-major or independent would automatically receive a bid.

1st Round

ACC Rep Vs. SEC Rep
Big 10 Vs. Big East Rep
Pac 10 Vs. Big 12 Rep
At Large #1 Vs. At Large #2

2nd Round

Winner ACC/SEC Vs. Winner Big 10/Big East
Winner Pac 10/Big 12 Vs. Winner At Large

I like this method because it minimizes the impact of polls. You win your way into the playoff on the field and you win the playoff on the field.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger mobius said...

1. I have a MAJOR problem with Champion-by-poll. Anything that makes college football more like figure skating just doesn't sit well with me. And look at the polls now - there are teams ranked WAY too high based on rep and pre-season speculation. You do realize Terry Bradshaw has a vote in a BCS poll, right? Do you want TERRY BRADSHAW to pick the National Champion? Well, do you?!? Neither do I...

2. After much thought and consideration (and beer) I came to the conclusion that an eight-team playoff is extraneous. There's never more than four teams that really deserve to play for the National Title, plus an eight-team playoff would extend the season. And I don't think a wild-card team should have a shot - you should have to win your conference to get a shot at #1.

Good thoughts though, Jeff. It's interesting that you could ask ten different people how it should be and get ten different answers. They'd all be wrong of course, since I just TOLD you how it should be, but it's interesting nonetheless...

At 11:29 AM, Blogger JTS said...

I just believe that you either determine the champion based on opinions (poll) or direct competition (winning on the field). What I don't like is some bastardized combination of the two methods that creates the illusion of winning on the field. If you are using poll voting, it is subjective. If you are using strength of schedule, it is subjective.

My suggestion is that each team plays 10 regular season games (8 conference games + 2 OOC). The 6 BCS conference champs plus the 2 at large teams go to the playoffs. Under this design, teams that make the playoffs play a max of 13 games which is one fewer game than the ACC, SEC, or Big 12 champ will play this year. Teams that do not make the championship game can play in the traditional bowl system or another tournament to get them another 1 or 2 games for revenue generation.

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