College football’s final season of the Bowl Championship Series ended Monday as Florida State pulled off an amazing comeback against Auburn University.
The 34-31 victory for the Seminoles in the BCS championship game accomplished two things: it ended the reign of the Southeastern Conference’s seven-year stretch of national championships, and waved good-bye to an era of football that mostly ended with more arguments and fighting among analysts than ever before.
But as controversial a topic as the BCS was, the even more controversial system being put in place, starting fall of this year, will be the four-team playoff that will determine which university will be crowned as a national champion.
While I support this version of determining a champion, there’s already something wrong with it. It’s been pointed out by media channels ranging from the local to the national level, and it likely won’t be fixed anytime soon so long as there are bowl games to be played beforehand.
A four-team playoff simply isn’t enough.
The four-team playoff that would have been had it started this season would have pitted rivals Auburn and Alabama, the nation’s No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams in the country, against each other for the right to play either Florida State or Michigan State, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 teams, respectively.
But No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 Baylor, No. 7 Ohio State, and as many as six or seven other teams would have been lobbying for their opportunity to play in either one of the those two games; and fans wouldn’t like the fact that Alabama, which didn’t win its conference this season, was given a chance to play for its fourth championship in five years.
So what’s the solution?
The only way I see this as a proper playoff system is to get more teams involved.
Some have said eight teams is enough to keep voters happy while conference members still get to maintain the “integrity” of bowl games.
I like bowl games as much as the next person, but a pair of 6-6 teams in a bowl game isn’t exciting for me unless I’m a fan.
Some have floated around the idea of 12 teams, making the NFL model a close resemblance to the college system.
Top four teams get a “bye” week, then play the lowest remaining seed in a bowl-related venue in the next round. The winners would play in a semi-final and the championship would be played on neutral ground.
My personal idea is have 16 teams. If you break it down into a bracket, a 16 team playoff would last four weeks, five if you give an extra week between the semi-finals and the championship round.
This gives the teams less time to prepare, but they will be physically ready to play given only two weeks in between games as opposed to nearly a month.
Picking those teams for the playoffs would be the most difficult task, but suffice to say initial rumors could be the 12 conference champions plus four at-large teams, unless one of those teams is among the top five in the country.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Followers of the Football Bowl Subdivision probably aren’t liking this idea at all.
If you follow the championship subdivision, however, you already know that this system has been in place, and has worked, for many years now.
On top of that, they play just as many, if not more, games than those in the FBS system because of the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, I like this idea and I think it’s a step in the right direction for major college football.
But four teams won’t be enough to deter fans from arguing against more teams in the immediate future.