The NFL season has finally come to a thrilling conclusion. What better time than to look forward to the fall time when there MIGHT be an NFL season. I know many of you will keep a close eye on the negotiations. If a lockout is the end result, then many will be turning to the action on Saturdays to get their fix of football. The lockout could be the best thing that could happen to college football, but they need to do some work to take the biggest advantage of their possible push to the limelight.
First of all, the postseason needs to be addressed. A play-off is an inevitability, but anyone associated with the BCS does not want to lose a dime of the cash created by that system. There needs to be a middle ground that will institute a play-off, but generate the revenue that the BCS bowls do. The solution is easy, but easier said than done: combine a play-off with the bowls. It can be done, and it can be done by adding only 2 additional games to all the madness.
There is one change that needs to be made in the regular season to set this up. The NCAA must make or allow EVERY conference in the FBS to have a conference championship game. That’s right Sun Belt enthusiasts, you will have that one game to claim the fame. And by doing this, the stipulation that only conference champions the top independent school may be allowed to make the play-offs that should only allow 8 teams. This will help put more stress on the conference schedule, and keep that notion that every week is a play-off in college football.
As hinted, only 8 teams will make the FBS play-offs in this projected scenario. The most reasonable, but not the only, way to choose the 8 from the 12 qualifying teams would be to use the current final rankings system for the regular season. Let the computers and pollsters do their thing in ranking the teams. They necessarily don’t have to rank these 12 in the top 12 spots, but when determining the field and seeding it, use the 8 highest ranked teams that qualify. That’s one thing the current system has right. Another possibility would be to let seeds 5 through 12 play the week after championship week to see who moves on to the play-offs.
Once the 8 are determined, seed them properly and use the 4 BCS bowls as the first round of the play-offs. It’s hard to do away with those bowls, with their history and great pageantry. The big bowls will create that first round buzz, and give some of the smaller schools that have never dreamed of ever getting to those games a chance to say, “we’ve made it.” The following week, play the semifinals and have the championship the week after, ending the season somewhere in mid-January, just before classes start back up at most schools, which is of such great concern.
What about the rest of the bowls, you say? Keep them! I’m sure the schools that play in them would still like that one opportunity to end their season on a high note, and consider themselves a champion of a bowl. They don’t interfere with this projected playoff system, and as said, I’m sure the other schools would still like to play for them.
On paper, it seems perfect. Give the schools and the NCAA their BCS cash, but give the fans and players their long-awaited play-off. With your chance to be the most-watched games in the fall, why not make the most of it?