It looks like we’re heading for another clusterfuck at the top of the College Football polls, with several worthy 1-loss teams, one undefeated team at the top, plus a couple of other undefeated teams from smaller conferences hovering around the #6–9 slots (Utah and Boise State), plus another small (You’re Not Worthy of Playing In The Cool Big-Conference Clique) conference team in undefeated Ball State sitting back at around #15. So since most proposed college-football-playoff talk (from President Obama on down to Joe The Sportsfan) centers on an 8-team plan (that could still manage to leave off 1 or 2 undefeated teams in favor of “better” teams from The Big Popular Conferences, I proudly present The Bowl Tournament Series (BTS) Playoffs:
Take the 15 traditional (oldest) bowls. Go ahead a slap a sponsor name on each one if that’s what has to be done to keep The Powers That Be happy about The Money, but keep the old name as part of it. Those 15 are the BTS. The rest of the Johnny-Come-Lately.com bowls that no one cares about could still exist in a non-tournament setup, so the 6-5 and 7-4 schools can experience a bowl and get a little money. Those bowls can be played whenever, filling in the December calendar with a couple getting played before/after the Final Four double header on January 1. But the BTS would consist of the following traditional bowls; note that you get a few in Florida, California, AZ, Texas, Lousiana, even one in Memphis.
HOLIDAY BOWL AT SAN DIEGO CA
LIBERTY BOWL AT MEMPHIS TN
ALAMO BOWL AT SAN ANTONIO TX
COPPER BOWL AT TEMPE AZ
INDEPENDENCE BOWL AT SHREVEPORT LA
SUN BOWL AT EL PASO TX
TANGERINE (now Capital One) BOWL AT ORLANDO FL
COTTON BOWL AT DALLAS TX
GATOR BOWL AT JACKSONVILLE FL
PEACH (now Chick-Fila) BOWL AT ORLANDO FL
ROSE BOWL AT PASADENA CA
SUGAR BOWL AT NEW ORLEANS LA
FIESTA BOWL AT GLENDALE AZ
ORANGE BOWL AT MIAMI FL
BTS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT SITE TBD (maybe just rotate it around nice weather cities with big stadiums like the Super Bowl or whatever)
Perhaps you'd alternate/rotate the 4 Big (currently BCS) Bowls so that one year Fiesta and Orange would be the final four, another year it could be Sugar and Rose.
Then you take the Top 16 teams, which would likely have to be determined by something similar to voter polls and computers like the BCS, but maybe tweaked yet again... but either way, 2007's final standings would have produced these matchups last year:
1. Ohio State 11-1 vs. 16. Tennessee 9-4
3. Virginia Tech 11-2 vs. 14. Boston College 10-3
5. Georgia 10-2 vs. 12. Florida 9-3
7. USC 10-2 vs. 10. Hawaii 12-0
8. Kansas 11-1 vs. 9. West Virginia 10-2
6. Missouri 11-2 vs. 11. Arizona State 10-2
4. Oklahoma 11-2 vs. 13. Illinois 9-3
2. LSU 11-2 vs. 15. Clemson 9-3
Some matchups are better than others. Some are rematches. But that doesn't matter, maybe put in rules for seeding to avoid first-round rematches, or not. Also, try to get the regular season more even: either have all conferences play a champ game, or none. Maybe have everyone play only 11-12 games, not 13. For instance, in 2007 Ohio State was done Nov 17, but WVU had 2 different bye weeks and played through 12/1. So make it all uniform: everyone plays only 11 or 12 games, including Conference Championship games for all conferences, or none in any conference. As long as it’s all the same.
Based on this year's calendar:
Sat. Dec 13 first round
Sat. Dec 20 second round
Jan. 1 Final Four double-header
Mon. Jan. 5 Championship Game
(Another option could be Dec, 20, 27, Jan 1, then Jan.12. This might have to change depending on how the calendar looks each year.)
I mean, if they can have 30 or so bowls played throughout December (and weekly Wednesday and Thursday night games all season) and not "interfere with academics or exams," I'm sure they can do this. Only 8 teams would play more than one playoff game anyway....
As far as the money/payouts attached to the bowls: for the non-playoff crappy bowls, they can stay the same. For the playoffs, perhaps all the interest and increased ad revenue as well as the original payout amounts could go into one large pool and each team gets awarded a certain amount for reaching the playoffs but losing first round, winning one, two, three games, and one final large payout for the winner. So the Big Conference BCS Bowl Big Boy Money could still stay relatively in tact. If a Hawaii or a Boise St isn't worthy, then they'll lose in the first round anyway, right?
Attendance is a major hurdle. Even if you reward the 1-8 seeds with a first-round home game, it would be hard to make that congruent with these being the “traditional bowls.” And it would be hard to sell first (or second) round tickets for neutral sites on short notice.
Of course, making this only 8 teams (which most people seem to suggest anyway) would help alleviate some of the scheduling and attendance issues.
I know, I’m a genius. Use the Comments feature below to let me know how much you agree.