Monday, November 20, 2006

BCS Mess: My Playoff Solution

Lots of comments in the BCS post below about a playoff system. Here's my two cents:

I have yet to hear of a playoffs concept that actually works in a way to avoid controversy. A 4-team playoff is a complete joke and shows absolutely no insight by anyone who advocates it as a way to avoid controversy. If you think finding a 1-vs-2 is hard, try figuring out if the 2/3/4 teams are better than the 5/6/7/8 teams.

Similarly, an 8-team playoff is too few in a lot of ways: Either some conferences are excluded or some worthy "at large" teams are excluded. And picking the field is brutal: The difference between teams ranked 2-15 can negligible. You can usually make an argument that a team ranked in the high teens might be as good as the one ranked No. 8. Regardless: Significant controversy continues to exist. And isn't the goal of a playoff to eliminate controversy? If we're still going to have controversy, we might as well keep the existing system.

16-team playoffs begin to get there, but if you thought it was hard to distinguish the teams at the margin of a 4- or 8-team playoff, try arguing that No. 15 or No. 16 is decisively better than Nos. 17-25. Plus, I defy you to find an AD who will allot four weeks to play a playoff AFTER a full regular-season. Again: College football is going to have MORE scenarios like this season, not less. If eliminating controversy is the goal, then let's REALLY let the teams play it out on the field.

I still like my old idea, where the only people who get screwed are the ADs more concerned with money than with the game. It's very simple: Create a half-season-long playoff that lets everyone in and therefore produces the most meaningful, least controversial champion. It's unrealistic, but only because the powers-that-be lack the imagination to see its genius:

(1) Increase the number of D1-A programs from 119 to 128.

(2) Play 5 regular season games: Your annual "tradition" games, your homecoming, your cupcakes, whatever. This also allows teams to find their stride.

(3) National Bye Week. Rank all 128 teams, using the same committee system that fans have come to accept for college basketball. Except this committee is NCAA officials, media and a few computer gurus. Place into four 32-team regional brackets.

(4) Play Week 6. Number of playoff teams remaining afterward: 64. Losers are eliminated and have 24 hours to cut deals to play each other in Week 7.

(5) Each week, the bracket advances along. Winning teams move on to the next game on their bracket. Losing teams are eliminated and may cut deals to play any other eliminated team the following week, creating an innovative, musical-chairs-style free market of scheduling that will also keep fans engaged.

After Week 7, 32 teams are left. After Week 8, 16 teams are left. After Week 9, 8 teams are left. After Week 10, 4 teams are left. After Week 11, 2 teams are left. (Again, eliminated teams simply pick from the increasingly deep pool of eliminated teams to fill out their schedule.)

(6) Teams that are over .500 are eligible to be selected to play in the 25 different bowl games played in December and early January; bowls may invite any teams they want, again creating a vastly more efficient market than the current system where a team is slotted to a bowl by its conference finish.

(7) The final 2 teams play in the championship game.

The biggest problem is that schools can't finalize their teams' travel or ticket sales plans a year in advance, as they do now. If that's the biggest problem -- but in exchange fans get the best championship tournament in sports and an undisputed champion -- I think fans will take it.

Everyone in, controversy out.


Anonymous said...

Never gonna happen.

ToddTheJackass said...

You realize that'd get rid of all conferences, right? That, in my opinion, is a bad thing.

The truth is, from year to year, there is no one good solution. Last year, it would've been unfair if Texas and USC didn't face off in the final game. Similar case was when Ohio St. and Miami met a few years before. In those years, a playoff system really wasn't needed, because it was obvious who the best two teams were.

In other years, there are 3 or 4 obvious contenders, or in years like this one, 1 stand alone and several possible #2 teams (Michigan, Florida, Arkansas, USC, Notre Dame, West Virginia, et al), where an 8-team playoff might make more sense.

Unless you can change it on a year-to-year basis (which you can't), then there really isn't one great system that's a true, end all, be all. Not to be too much of a BCS apologist, but in my mind, it's not really any more unfair than any other solution in any given year.

Anyway, I still think it's really stupid that BC is ranked below V-Tech, after we throttled them earlier in the year.

-Todd (Boston)

nyc-steelers fan said...

yeah, scheduling is the biggest problem. Right. Given the choice between what we've got now, and what that would portend, I'd say, 'Status quo fucking rules, man!'

Hey, man, college football regular season is still the best regular season in sports; it maintains passion. In your scenario, fans of half the schools in the country would be passionless after week 6 (and three quarters after week 7, and so on, and there is no more chance at upsets). Vandy can sell out a home-game against pretty much any SEC team, but ain't gonna happen when they 'negotiate' a game with New Mexico State.

Think these things through, Dan. Your idea is a money-loser, on average.

in your world, i think cockamamie and innovative are replaceable words.

Dave said...

That has to be the most unrealistic, unfeasible suggestion I have ever heard.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather go back to the old system than see anything remotely close to that one tried.

Reminds me of "New Coke".

MoonHopper said...

Fewer teams included means more teams crying about being excluded. More teams included means more chance that one gets "hot" at the right time and beats a "better" team (look at basketball).

Until there is a fair, efficient tournament in place (again, look at basketball, we know who the Champ is), there will always be debate, which as far as I'm concerened, is good for us. We get to do this.

Anonymous said...

To me, a 16-team playoff (like Div 1-AA) makes the most sense. Sure, you have problems figuring out #14-16, but this way you are guaranteed to have the best teams in the field. You can do the best 16, or maybe give automatic bids to the conference champs and then a few at-large bids. (Maybe the bowl games could become the new conference championship games - Orange Bowl for the Big XII, Sugar Bowl for the SEC, Rose & Fiesta for the Big Ten and Pac-10, alternating years, etc.)

All I know is that I hate the BCS with a white-hot passion, and it makes my favorite college team the one who will create the most chaos for the computers.

I do like Dan's super playoff, though, although the schedule issues, more than anything else, make that virtually impossible.

Jason said...

Your solution is way too complicated and blows-up a sacred regular season (ie, conference play).

I think an 8 or 12 team playoff (1 and 2 have a bye in the case of 12 teams) is enough. Deciding who is the eight seed (between 9, 10, 11 etc) or between the 12 or 13 seed (in the 12-seed format) would cause controversy. But still there would be and 8 (or 12) team field in which to earn your spot, as opposed to the 2 team-field we now have for the championship game. Bottom line, there will always be some controversy, the hope is to limit it. Of course, with the human polls there are still some issues (Rutgers at 14 with one loss?).

Anonymous said...

this season is in no way shape or form as big of a problem for the BCS as 04-05 was when you had 3 teams finish the season unbeaten.

remember, no BCS would have been worse the last few years, not better.

Last year, PSU v. USC in the Rose, While Texas went to the Fiesta. Split championship?

2002, Miami goes to the Orange while OSU goes to the Rose...

at least with the BCS we have a chance at 1 v. 2 on the field.

TBender said...

How does I-AA, II, and III figure out who is 1-16?

If those folks can do it, it can't be that hard.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Hrmm... not April Fool's Day... Huh. I don't get it.

So I guess I'm just gonna pretend you didn't offer this as a serious suggestion. I recommend you follow the same course of action, even though it now exists in blog entry form.

Man... the grass in Columbus was lousy, but the grass you found in Gainesville must have been spectacular.

TJ said...

Dan, I have no idea why you always feel the need to completely reinvent the wheel with your sports "fixes."

A 4-team playoff is the way to go. Why? Because it gets two more teams into the mix. Which is an improvement. It's stupid to say a 4-team playoff is no good because it doesn't do enough. We're finally at a place where the powers that be might actually entertain the idea of a playoff, but they won't go for anything as big as an 8-team tourney, let alone something like your idea.

About the difficulty separating #4 from #5--what about it? Under the current system #5 was even further out. Besides, how many times has anyone felt, at the end of the season, that more than 2 teams were gypped out of a shot at the title? Not many--maybe '01, but even then a Miami, Nebraska, Oregon, Colorado playoff would have been exactly the right thing.

TJ said...

Man... the grass in Columbus was lousy, but the grass you found in Gainesville must have been spectacular.

Ha! Great line.

Mr. Travel Reviewer said...

My proposal...

NCAA establishes Eight football divisions / regions...

Each Division establishes rotatational schedule to determine champion...

Divisional Champions advance to the NCAA Playoffs (Second place is the 1st loser)...

Three weeks of games culminating in pre SuperBowl Bye Week...

If you really want to make this sexy, factor in a promotion / demontion process similar to the English Premier League (Soccer for all the non-Euro folk)...

Anonymous said...

A 128 team playoff? That is the single dumbest idea I have ever heard in my life.

Anonymous said...

Your plan is ludicrous and totally inconceivable. Every year there are a handful of teams at the most that deserve a shot at the championship. I'd rather screw teams 6-10 than that #3 that everyone knows is championship calliber.

Someone, somewhere is going to be upset. How many BBall teams are upset that they're not the 66th team? Go back and look at each year, there are always 4 championship teams. A 4 team playoff would be perfect!

Generik said...

I don't understand why an AD wouldn't go for a few extra games a year? You would think that the extra revenue from those potential playoff games would be enormous and any AD would nut over the idea. The other ridiculous factor is college BB season extends through 2 semesters with multiple games a week and tons more travel. I just don't understand why college football couldn't possibly add a few more weeks to get a definitive championship matchup in the end.

Anonymous said...

the more people bitch about the playing field on saturday the more I want a rematch just so Michigan can lose at a neutral site on a "NFL quality retractable grass field"

Richard said...


This solution is so easy:

11 game regular season + championship week + 3 bye weeks = 15 week regular season

16 teams in:
11 conference champions
5 at-large teams (can be picked by the same guys that do March Madness brackets for all I care)

Playoffs last 4 weeks making a 19 week season.

If you think thats too long, remember that NCAA basketball lasts 20 weeks.

Benvious said...

How about this as a "realistic" solution...

Go back to the 4 bowl BCS, allow for the tie-ins like Big 10/Pac 10 in the Rose Bowl. Keep the requirements so that if a team from a non-BCS conference is top 12 in the BCS they automatically get a bid. That means if they're undefeated, they'll get a shot too.

After the traditional bowl games, you have 4 BCS winners.

Sounds like a pretty solid 4 team playoff to me. Call it the plus 3 system. Determine seeding of the four BCS game winners by coin flip.

Have the two semi-final games in cities with either a warm climate or a dome stadium. Have these cities change every year.

Then put the National Championship game on the weekend before the Super Bowl, and have it in New Orleans.

Seems to me everyone wins. The regular season still matters because it's a race to get into the BCS games. You almost HAVE to win your conference to be one of the 8. The AD's are happy because unless they're one of the last four, the students are back in class. If they ARE one of the last four, they get HUGE money. The bowls are happy because they're still legitmate AND get to keep the rivalries alive like the Rose Bowl's Big Ten/Pac Ten game.

Why not?

Anonymous said...

how do the kids in basketball do it? they play more games, practice for a longer season, and in the end play for possibly up to a month?

16 team playoff can be done if you cut the regular season down to 10 games, and run the playoffs through december, when kids aren't in school and are playing bowl games anyway. only takes 4 weeks. Use the bowls for the semi's and championship game, everything else should be done at the home seed's field (regardless of how bad the grass is) and if the 4th bowl complains about being left out, make a 3rd place game and play it a day before the NC.

as for the 17th team gets the shaft, tough shit. they shouldn't have been 17, and when a 16 seed runs through the field and wins then we can worry about adjusting it to make a play-in game for the last spot.

as the BCS stands right now, VT is 17 and can't complain about being left out in favor of GT since GT beat them head to head.

Anonymous said...


I love it, problem is the bowls (they are the B in the BCS after all) won't let it happen because they are like insecure high school girls. They need to be at the end of the season to feel important. If you don't finish with them, they won't back it. You could do it using the same bowl locations for the last 3 games of your scenario, but then one bowl is left out every year and the argument can be made that they cheapen the games of last week by playing a game in the stadium the next. I can't think the people in Pasadena are going to be happy when they host the Rose Bowl and the next week they host the Citibank Presents The National Championship at The Rose Bowl of Pasadena California sponsored by chips and salsa.

FutureLegendVinceYoung said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nyc-steelers fan said...

Trust me, Maher, there would come a day when the 17th BCS team had the same record as the 16 (or 15, or wahtever), but had beaten that team head-to-head. And it would NOT be fair.

Like your idea, benvious. Sensible, and, possibly, sellable; the bowls that matter would likely buy in, since it would increase interest in their bowls, even if they got a shitty matchup that included georgia tech. the games would be after finals, or whateve (if they could get past the idea that they wouldn't get to hold the NC every 4 yrs, and realized that on average, they would be better off). The teams playing would cash in, serious mullah, if they got one or two extra games. And they had damn well better play their ass off to win their conference championship. And if you built in for non-BCS schools and Notre Dame, this year you would have the 6 conf champs, Boise, and ND, Lets see maybe, OSU/USC Rose-Bowl, Texas-Boise Fiesta, Ark/GTech Sugar, WVU/domer orange. I'd be satisfied with the champ coming from that group.

Benvious said...


Not gonna disagree about the bitchy schoolgirl thing, but I think the bowls wouldn't be too upset given the tradition involved. Winning the Rose Bowl, for example, would still be pretty damn important to a Big Ten/Pac Ten school.

As for the same site - I'd say get it OUT of those sites. Play them in NFL stadiums in cities that don't normally host a bowl game (like Minneapolis, or Seattle, or Indianapolis).

Of course, these cities probably do host a bowl game I've never heard of...

Anonymous said...

but again, my point being who cares about the 16th ranked team. Do you care about who is going to play Duke, UNC or FLA in round 1 of the basketball tourney? no. You are going to push all the 1 seeds to the second round and call it a day. Yes I know, any given sund...saturday...blah blah blah. GT and VT could put their best players together, be coached by Spurrier, and still lose to UM or OSU this year.

mbpollack said...

How do you decide who gets to play at home?

Anonymous said...

how about coin flip and let the winners play at home :)

Anonymous said...

I've been saying for years that I'd love to see FSU come into OSU during December and play.

FutureLegendVinceYoung said...

Dan for someone who went to Northwestern and has an MBA from Harvard that is easily The.Dumbest.Idea.Ever.

Richard said...


Who cares about the #16 team???

Are you shitting me? This isn't basketball where the 16 team is actually #64. You can equate this to the #4 seed in basketball. They can easily pull the upset.

(Disclaimer: I happen to be a GT alum)

setherton22 said...

That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard, and unbelievable coming from a man with a Harvard MBA.

Here are five (and God knows there are more) reasons why this doesn't work (all either from a financial, marketing or statistical standpoint).

5) 5 games isn't enough of a sample to rank teams appropriately.
4) OSU-Mich, et al, first weekend in October? OK, so alienate all your rich alumni who are steeped in tradition and see how much the donate next year.
3) 64 games in one weekend? Games are 3+ hrs long. Basketball games are shorter and they can barely cram half that many games in. Who wants to see OSU play FAU?? It would be 70-0! How do you sell this to TV? College football is all about tradition!
2) It would be impossible to schedule games with a week's notice. Logistically, financially, etc, etc. These "exhibition" games wouldn't even be televised outside local markets regardless of matchup.
1) Dan spent all this time typing something that is pure fantasy and may be able to exist in a utopian economic and capitalistic society, but that's not the world we live in! That's a waste of time, and time is money.

Now here's the logical scenario:
1) Reduce regualr season back to 11 games.
2) 8-team playoff. 6 BCS conference winners are automatically in but only if they finish in the Top 12 of the standings (just use the same BCS rankings) and WIN their conference. A non-BCS conference can steal an at-large bid by finishing in the top 12.
3) From here, the BCS standings are thrown out and a commitee chooses the other two or three teams using similar criteria as the Basketball committee. They also seed the teams 1-8.
4) Playoffs occur third Saturday in December, New Year's Day (Super Semifinals on New Year's Day!) and then a date in mid January.
5) Teams that don't make it can't bitch because a) they didn't win their conference and b) they probably have 2, maybe even 3 losses.

This year's bracket might look something like this:

1) OSU vs. 8) Boise St.
4) Florida vs. 5) Louisville
3) USC vs. 6) West Virginia
2) Mich vs. 7) ND or Arkansas

Potential snubs: 1 loss Wisc (3rd in conf though) and 2 loss ND or ARK (oh well, you lost twice)

Play the games at bowl sites and then play the rest of the bowls as usual.

MSU M.A. Advertising 1
Harvard MBA 0

setherton22 said...

I am assuming Texas or Oklahoma finish outside the top 12, but if they make it in, then make the Big 12 champ the 7 seed.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

I nominate benvious for King of CFB, what do we have to do to make this happen?

Benvious said...

Just thought of another argument for my idea...

This means, at a MINIMUM, the National Champion would have beaten 3 BCS level teams, in consecutive games, all at neutral sites.

Of course, I looked more at it, and realized Michigan would likely get shafted this year. BUT, my response to that would be: Win your conference. If you don't you're at the mercy of what other teams do. Hope that USC beats ND, or hope that Boise St loses. When you don't win your conference, you no longer control your own destiny, which makes winning the conference even MORE important.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Michigan fan, but I can't stand the argument that, "they had their shot."

Realize this...they lost by three points on the road. Take it to a neutral field and this match up appears brutally even. Let's not downplay homefield advantage.

As for a playoff, I also hate the argument that it would not be more fair. Granted some teams who should be included in a field of 8 would be left out, but the cream would rise to the top and the best four or five teams would be in the playoffs. For anyone left out, too bad. The best teams are in.

College seasons for some teams are more than 13 games for some teams, so lets shorten the season to 9 games and have a four game playoff for the remaining teams. Many of the games could be bowl games.

Why is this so hard to envision?

Ken said...

Want a playoff without any conference affiliation or regular season changes? Two options:

Twelve Team Playoff I: Take the 11 D-IA conference champions and the highest rated non-conference champion (using the current BCS formula) and rank them 1-12 based on the current BCS formula (with the at-large team automatically being the 12th seed). Give the top four teams a first round bye and seeds 5-8 home games against seeds 9-12. That plays into eight remaining teams, and you play it down from there, with the highest remaining seed hosting the lowest remaining seed in each round, and so on.

Twelve Team Playoff II: Use the Independents as the 12th conference instead of having an at-large bid, and proceed with the 12 teams as described above.

Eleven Team Playoff (requires the elimination of Independents): Force the four Independents (yes, I argued against this earlier in the day for Notre Dame - I'm not saying I agree with it) to join one of the 11 existing conferences, then simply take your 11 conference champions as your playoff teams. Rank them 1-11 based on the current BCS formula, give the 1-5 seeds a bye, and have the 6-8 seeds host the 9-11 seeds. That plays into eight remaining teams, and you play it down from there, with the highest remaining seed hosting the lowest remaining seed in each round, and so on. If the Independents refuse to join a conference (which is their perogative), then they are not eligible for playoff contention.

Yes, using the current BCS formula leaves the 12th team in the first scenario (not to mention the seedings in all three scenarios) open to speculation, but at least all 11 conference champions will be playoff teams.

Ken said...

It's the end of the work day, and I completely forgot I said I'd annoy all of you with this all week:


Anonymous said...

this is football, not basketball. if you are a 16 seed you will have at least 2 losses. that being the case, odds are you will lose at some point during the 4 rounds, confirming why you were a 16 seed. If the 16 seed were to pull it off, then we can just chalk it up to a cinderella story, a team that caught lightning in a bottle and they and only they could have pulled it off, not the the team left out at 17.

see how that all works out for me?

Jason said...

Shanoff, that solution is ridiculous.

It makes the BCS look great by comparison, and I *loathe* the BCS system.

You don't take into account TV conflicts, the fact that a George Mason-like run will have to keep playing away games and never make any money, the complete loss of conference play, and the fact that five games are not an indicator of a team's overall ability because there's no real basis for comparison.

The answer is a sensible playoff of 8 teams: the 6 BCS conference champions (with a solution for the Big 10's conundrum; the SEC, ACC, and Big XII are fine with the divisional system and the Big East and Pac 10 all play each other), 1 Mid-Major champion and an at-large which are calculated using the BCS.

As for the playoff games, the first round are home games for the four best, again using the BCS. The semi-finals, a consolation game, and a championship game are held at the current BCS sites on a rotational basis.

And who the hell cares about taking into exam time, for those that ask? They're fucking athletes. Considering how much school work time gets lost by basketball players during March Madness, your hypocrisy is amazing.

Shanoff, you're ridiculousness is always good for a laugh. I wonder what retarded thing you'll say next.

Jason said...

And for teams that miss the playoffs: the old bowls can keep going too.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that there are FOUR independent teams, not just Notre Dame, don't you?

Army, Navy and Temple are the other three. You might want to ask them if they want to join a conference.

Brian in Oxford said...

Geez, I've seen worse ideas, though.

Why should the BCS conferences automatically get slots? ALL the D-1 conference champs get slots, or else we're officially stating they're not D-1.

What I'd like to see is 10 D-1 conferences. Each champ gets in. Then, instead of being forced into 6 more flexible with it. Either there are teams that can clearly make points to qualify, or they don't. Some years you get 12 teams, some years you get 14, up to a max of 16. If Notre Dame doesn't want to be in a conference, then it can still qualify as an at-large if its resume is good. The point being, if it's not obvious which non-champs belong, then they didn't belong in the first place, and don't hold a spot for it just to make it work out to an even 16. If there are only 15 teams, then seed #1 gets a bye. If there are 14 teams, the top 2 get a bye.

(I'm reminded of the state basketball tourneys here in CT. It's like, any team with 8 wins qualifies, and they figure out how many top teams get byes based on however many games it takes to reduce the field to a power of 2.)

This year, Michigan would be in....the SEC championship loser....Notre Dame....and then throw them with all the conference champs.

This allows a 2nd team from a league, if it's "obvious" (subjectiveness, yeah, I know)...but like when the top team gets upset in its conference championship game by the number #18 team in the would still allow them in. But at the same time, it would have to be a legit top-3 team in the country getting upset....not Rutgers "throwing" the Big East championship to get an "extra" bid for West Viriginia....if you weren't *obviously* (again, subjective) a top team, then losing gets you actually eliminated.

Jason said...

freky, I realize that Notre Dame isn't the only independent. I just threw them out there because they're the perennial contender in discussion. If Army, Navy, or Temple had a great season, they should be considered as well.

That said, I think all four should just join some damn conferences. I know Temple's going to be in the MAC for football.

Jason said...

Brian: In D-IAA, not all of the conferences are guaranteed a spot in the tournament. And let's face facts here: the mid-majors aren't as good as the big 6. That said, the best team from those five conferences (and possibly two teams, as it was two years back with Boise State and Utah) do deserve a shot. I think that after 2-3 years of an 8 team system, if the gap starts to close just by giving the mid-majors a champ, then we up it to include all 11 conferences and 5 at larges.

Anonymous said...

I like Ken's idea (above) for two reasons:

1) It still uses the BCS formula, so we won't get stuck with bad division winners.

2) It gives the top rated teams bye-weeks, which they should have (there should be some incentive for teams to have a perfect regular season, or else games like last week's OSU-UM mean less).

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea. But I fear that heart attacks and freak-outs will rise precipitously for coaches if they are forced to develop and practice a gameplan in six days (since they won't know whom they're playing until Sat. night). By the same token, methinks the smartest players would be in much higher demand.

Drunken Loo said...

There is a reason that football isn't set up like basketball... injuries are a lot more common in football. The longer these kids play, the more likely they'll get injuried. We can't be having 11-12 game regular seasons and 4 game playoffs. Its way too much, plus what happened to the idea of "student athletes"?

Everybody just wants a system to help their team out... well guess what? This system is perfect since it screws everybody equally.

Also, we're not having a problem trying to find the #1 team in the country. We're having a problem trying to find a team to dethrone them.

Michigan had their shot and blew it. You can sing all you want about being away, but great teams perform in all situations... this isn't a who's-the-best-on-a-neutral-field... this is a who's-the-best-team-whenever-and-wherever and that's decided by the score. I'm sure you guys remember what it was, right?

Whoever finishes #2 earned their shot. If its SC, Florida, or even Michigan, they've earned it...

Steve said...

"Student athletes" Oh man that's a good one drunken loo. Funniest joke of the day.

Anonymous said...

teams are playing 13 games a season right now. Cut the regular season to 10, and at MOST we will have 2 teams playing 14 games per season with a 16 team playoff.

didn't KSU play 15 games a few years ago? OSU won 14 in 2002. Not asking them to storm the beaches of Normandy here.

Army, Navy and Temple...they don't count in this discussion. Sorry. Join a conference, and learn how to play football (in the case of Temple). Air Force is in one, you aren't better than them.

Screw it, they should all just join the Big East. ND has the basketball ties, and the rest of them are right there geographically.

Unknown said...

YOu should be a politician. You can't reach a simple decision and want the most ridiculous unworkable solution. The 9th place team in the BCS has no right to claim to be the best team. Top 8 is fine. YOu select them the same way you choose #1 and #2 right now. Simple. You are #9 and you are out. They do it in the NCAA Hoops Tourney and it can be done in football as well. Top 8 in, everyone else out.

Kevin said...

Wow...over 50 commenters, and nobody likes your idea, Shanoff. Think that tells you something?

But what's with people saying you need all 11 conferences represented in a playoff? It should be the top 8/16/whatever teams, no matter what conference they play in.

Anonymous said...

Need to cut divison 1A to 8 conferences x 12 teams. Add the WA/MAC/ or conference USA. ND joins the big 10 and PAC 10 snipes 2 teams from somewhere. Everyone plays 12 games, nine conference and 3 other BCS teams, no DIV 1AA. Everyone has a conference championship game, nd the 8 winners are seeded at random for an 8 team playoff.

I'm sure plenty of traditionalist will bitch at me, but i think it is a fair system.

The thing with the big east this year (if one team had been undefeated) is that they are a BCS league, so they should be in the title consideration. And ND should be in a BCS conference, and not just in because of history and a side contract. my 2 cents.

redman said...

4 team playoff wouldn't work, huh? What a load of crap. Give me one example of a year where a team ranked outside of the top four had a legitimate gripe about not being in the championship game. The most recent example of a team getting hosed is Auburn, and they were ranked 3rd. If there isn't a year that you can think of, then I would say that a 4 team playoff is indeed a legitimate playoff system. If you aren't in the top four by the end of the year, tough crap.

Andy said...

Dan, I love the blog, but this is the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life.

Joe (Livonia, MI) said...

This is the single worst idea I have ever seen.

Who said that all controversy had to be eliminated? That's never going to happen. You still have controversy with the 65 team NCAA men's b-ball tournament. That's ok. Someone's always going to bitch. Just make sure that whoever's bitching doesn't have much right to.

TJ said...

Give me one example of a year where a team ranked outside of the top four had a legitimate gripe about not being in the championship game.

Exactly. And you'd think Dan would jump all over a 4-team playoff. Every now and again he likes to tell us the regular season is a de facto playoff--but then he backs off of that when the regular season fails to produce a clear 1 and 2.

Well, if you expand the title contenders to 1, 2, 3, and 4 then the regular season will almost always work as a playoff to whittle things down to a final four.

If you look back to the past few years, this would have worked (almost) every time.

2001: Miami v. Colorado, Nebraska v. Oregon

2002: Miami v. Georgia, Ohio State v. Iowa

2003: USC v. Michigan, LSU v. Oklahoma (Bonus points because this actually happened, setting up USC v. LSU--which would have been an amazing championship game)

2004: USC v. Utah, Auburn v. Oklahoma

2005: USC v. ?, Texas v. Penn St. (Last year is the only recent problem year. But it's not even that big a deal. I think we can all agree Texas and USC would have won their semifinal games, but winning the semifinal games would have made them even more deserving champs. As far as who was #4--do you take a conference runner up like Ohio State? Or a 2-loss conference champ like Georgia? Still, this is a hell of a lot better than trying to pick from among 3 teams for the #2 spot.)

nyc-steelers fan said...

I'm beginning to think the 4-team playoff may be the best solution. It is the most workable from the current system. You can think that if you were designing the system from scratch how to make it perfect, but you are not. Incremental change is the only way to make it work. Start with something simple, and change it slightly, and maybe eventually you'll get your 8 or 16 game playoff.

Obviously Dan's idea is ridiculous, both in the fact that it doesn't make much sense, but also since there is not a chance in hell of the people making money off the current system changing things up so drastically. But, by changing it to a 4-team playoff, rotating the semifinal games rather than the title game among the 4 BCS sites, and then having a national championship game which was bid on in a way similar to the superbowl (I liked someone's idea of using N'Awlins every year, but then you'd have the orange, fiesta, and rose bowl people squawkin about how unfair it was, and they wouldn't let it pass). Seriously, if we're having a theoretical discussion, we can entertain anything (even Dan's ideas); but if you are trying to make things happen, you have to have a sellable idea to pitch to the people who can actually make things happen, which is the old boys clubs that run the major conferences and the big bowls - you gotta make sure they still make their money (that's the only reason they ever considered even allowing a BCS vote to set up a national championship game). Otherwise, well, it just won't happen.

Geoff-Detroit said...

Let's just forget about playoffs and the BCS and go back to the old system. At least there was less confusion that way.

Gary said...

Here is what needs to happen but never will...

There are currently 54 bowls (or something like that)

I think we can all agree that is too many. Let's increase it to 56 (Hear me out)

We make seven 8 team brackets. The top 8 are in the National Championship Bracket. Nine through 16 are in A. 17-24 are in B and so on until we rank the top 64 teams.

In the National Championship Bracket the first round games would be obvious 1 v. 8, 2 v. 7, 3 v. 6, 4 v. 5. They would each be played at a current bowl site. You can use the current 5 BCS bowls plus the two created ones. You could easily rotate the seven bowls as the National Championship.

I realize the lesser brackets would generate significantly less buzz, but I think that a mini tournament would generate more buzz for the Motor City Bowl than it currently has.

This scenerio would also eliminate a lot of those really crappy 6-6 BCS conference teams from making a bowl game. There would be half as many teams making bowls thus really putting a lot of weight on the regular season.

I know this idea will not happen, but I think if the most important thing is to keep the bowl sponsors happy, this would work.

Also, you'd have to cut the season down by only one game since only 16 teams would end up playing 14 games so it's feasible, just not gonna happen.

I bet this is confusing since I didn't really think out my formatting before starting typing, so sorry for that!

Jason said...

Bowl games need to be included in any new system, so I like your idea NYC-Steelers. I personally think the bowl games should remain for teams that don't make the Championship Tournament. And hell, if it's an eight team tournament, then the top 7 bowls (Sugar, Fiesta, Rose, Orange, Cotton, "Chick-fil-A"/Peach, Cap One or Meineke or Alamo, can all be used, even though that eliminates home field advantage.

Big Daddy Drew said...

If you think finding a 1-vs-2 is hard, try figuring out if the 2/3/4 teams are better than the 5/6/7/8 teams.

You just made the argument in favor of a 4-team playoff. It keeps some of the controversy of the current system, but in the end no one would likely dispute the final champion.

Plus, it doesn't mess with the current regular season.

Now, let's all have on orange whip.

CUSteese said...

Here is another idea that we have talked about that I thought made sense and liked.

You have a 26 team playoff. This gives you the BCS top 25 + 1. Don't know who the +1 team is and I don't really care. This year is could be Maryland, Texas A& M, TCU, whoever... This can be done by a coaches poll, a committee, or hell even popular voting.

The tournament would go like so:
-You give all BCS Conferece champoins (6 teams) a bye in the first week as a reward for what they have done throuhgout the year.
- This leaves 20 to play in the first round. Leaves 10 teams.
- Add back in the conference champs andyou are now at 16 teams. It can be set up to reseed each round with the highest versus lowest or in a straight bracket style.
- Play down to 8 - 4 - 2 - 1.

You can use the bowls as the tournament sites, with payouts to the winners and losers like it is currently now. (This would make ADs happy, as the longer their team plays the more money they make) There are 25 total games in this system and that should still leave a few other bowls for people that miss it to fill in during the tournament.

Some 1st round games right now could be:

Okla v. Va Tech, ND v. Penn St., Auburn v California, etc...

Just thought that I would share.

I think that Dan's is too far out there. Plus as long as everyone is making money and everyone is talking about College Football like this nothing is going to change...

Lance A Boyle said...

Send ONE team from each conference. Leave it up to the individual conference to decide who their representative will be. Then throw the one representative from each conference into a playoff. 27 Conferences = 27 teams. Yes, even let the little boys in there. Then add 5 at-large teams.

That's 31 games to be played. Use the existing Bowl set-ups as the game sites. Rotate the National Championship game among the traditional "Big" bowls. As Michael Scott from The Office would say, "It's a Win-Win.... Win." The Tournament contains ALL the league champions plus 5 other deserving teams. You have the potential for huge upsets, which is what makes the NCAA basketball tournament so exciting. Everybody makes money... probably more than before because now the remote bowl games actually mean something and fans might show up for the Tire Bowl, etc.

T-Mill said...

Getting to the party late, as I am in Hawaii for hte Purdue-Hawaii game, but htat is pure fuckin' genius!!!

Anonymous said...

Here is my solution


Jason said...

Why not take the conference champions plus one (probably ND because it's good for ratings most years) and randomly send them into 4 groups. The groups play a round robin, with the top team in each advancing into a semifinal. The winners play for all the marbles (or a big check to share with their conference).