So, I’ve spent the last few days arguing with myself over whether or not Ohio State backed into the BCS Title Game. And they did, true story, but only because everyone else above them couldn’t handle their business. BTW, join me in spreading this one… from now on, choking and blowing a sure thing will be known as pulling a WV. Just throwing it out there.
But I fear that Ohio State will be run under the SEC buzzsaw again on January 8. Granted, they have an improved defense over last year, but I’m afraid to see LSU’s offense just run over the Bucks. Other bowl thoughts: I was happy to see the Illiini get the Rose Bowl bid out of nowhere. I know many people are not with me here, but I am a tradition guy when it comes to the bowls. The BCS pissed me off on that principal, period. But the fact that they kept the PAC-10/Big-10 tradition going, rather than going with an Arizona State or a Florida. When I posed this point of view about the BCS to another sports guy at my station last night, guess what conversation popped up? A playoff. But here’s how we agreed it could work. This Saturday is Dec. 8. The first bowl is the Poinsetta Bowl on Dec. 20. So there’s two weekends in between the end of the regualr season where there is no college football at all. Ok, well there’s no D-IA football. BTW, if you get a chance to catch any of the I-AA Quarters, watch it for the pure enjoyment of football. Anyway, here’s how you can keep the current bowl structure, the current payout structure, while keeping purists, like me, as happy as we can be while crowning something much closer to an undisputed champion, as well as keeping the regular season relavant, ney, even more important. And I’ll use this year’s final BCS standings for an illustration.
Taking into account everything that stands in the way of a playoff, money, and all of the logistics and such, here’s what my playoff proposal would look like if implicated this year.
Dec. 8 – Regional Quarterfinals (Sites selected much like the basketball regionals)
East – #4 Kansas vs. #5 West Virginia
West – #4 USC vs. #5 Hawaii
Dec. 15 – Regional Semifinals
East – #4/5 Winner vs. #1 Ohio State
#2. Virginia Tech vs. #3 Missouri
West – #4/5 Winner vs. #1 LSU
#2. Oklahoma vs. #3 Georgia
Jan. 2 – Fiesta Bowl – West Regional Final
#2/3 Winner vs. #1/4/5 Winner
Jan. 3 – Orange Bowl – East Regional Final
#2/3 Winner vs. #1/4/5 Winner
Jan. 14 – BCS National Championship Game
West Region Winner vs. East Region Winner
The regional finals would rotate, the West bouncing from the Fiesta and Rose every other year and the East going back and forth from the Orange and the Sugar. This way tradition can still be a part and we can get an undisputed champion. The non-tournament BCS bowls could then pick up a team that was knocked out of the tournament in the first two weeks or pick early and take a non-title tourney team. The current bowl system remains pretty much untouched, so that all of the secondary bowls get their money, the big schools get paid for being good, there’s the mystique of the basketball tournaments because unlike football now, every single team in I-A starts the year with a shot at the National Championship. You can’t tell me that right now, North Texas or New Mexico State kick off in the first weekend of September thinking that they have a shot. Realistic or not, all 119 teams have an open path to the title game to start the season. For the majority of them, the door will close within the first month, but it’s still there where it’s not now. As we speak, all of the Sun Belt, WAC, C-USA, MWC, and MAC, as well as half of the Big East, Vanderbilt out of the SEC, the independents (sans ND), half the Pac-10 and Big-10 and a chunk of the ACC start out the season knowing that the best that they are playing for is a bowl game. I’ll tell you right now that the URI, Creighton, San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara, Georgia Southern, Central Arkansas, San Houston State, Butler, Gonzaga, and St. Mary’s basketball teams are all small schools who are looking towards March with hope. In stark contrast to North Texas and Middle Tennessee who start every football season looking towards the New Orleans Bowl, the 2nd on the schedule, as the best they can get. Not to mention the upset factor that comes with the inclusion of the mid-majors. What if Boise State’s win last year in the Fiesta Bowl was the upset that lead an undefeated team into the National Title Game?
Let’s plug last year into the formula and see where the Broncos would have ended up.
East – #4 Auburn vs. #5 Wisconsin
West – #4 Boise State vs. #5 Oklahoma
Well, that would have made for quite the opening round game. After seeing that one, wouldn’t you have stuck around for the rest of the tournament to see if BSU can pull another one off? Or would you wait for any other upsets?
East – #4/5 Winner vs. #1 Florida
#2. Michigan vs. #3 Louisville
West – #4/5 Winner vs. #1 Ohio State
#2. LSU vs. #3 USC
LSU and USC? How about that one? Ohio State getting shipped out west for the Regionals might have hampered them, but there’s the possibility of an OSU/USC matchup in the next round…
Oy, I’m getting verkept. Talk amongst yourselves.