About a year ago, I posted a proposal for an eight team college football playoff that would involve only conference champs. Recognizing that the biggest flaw in my pitch was the lack of balance between the conferences, I surmised that the power conferences would have to be restructured somewhat to level the playing field.
My thought was that the new eight power conferences would consist of ten schools each, play a round robin conference schedule and do away with a championship game. For the four conferences with more than 10 members currently, I proposed a “last in, first out” rule with regard to which schools get shuffled out.
But I never went through the exercise to see if the end result would be fairly competitive. What I want to avoid is having the winner of a weak conference become eligible for a national title playoff at the expense of a strong second place finisher in a power conference. Using last year as an analogy, it would have been a joke for, say, Central Michigan (MAC winner) to play in a BCS game while Georgia played in the Capital One Bowl.
So I thought I’d take a shot at fashioning my brave new world. In setting up two new conferences, as well as adding two teams to the Big East, I’ve tried to be mindful of geographics, both in terms of the conferences’ overall structure, but also in terms of trying to establish rivalries within each of them.
Keep in mind that I would have every school on my list play a nine game conference schedule. With regard to the three OOC games, I would allow each school to designate one or two opponents in order to maintain traditional rivalries. The remaining games would be assigned each year by the NCAA to promote competitive balance, much like the NFL does with its scheduling annually.
To start with, here’s what each BCS conference loses:
- SEC – South Carolina and Arkansas
- Big 10 – Penn State
- ACC – Miami and Boston College
- Big XII – Texas and Texas A & M
Here’s the list of mid-major schools that I would throw in the mix:
- Conference USA – East Carolina, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulsa, Central Florida and Memphis
- Mountain West – BYU, TCU and Utah
- Sun Belt – Troy
- WAC – Boise State, Hawai’i and Fresno State
Most of these mid-majors have been competitive over a period of time, if not quite dominant. All three mid-major participants in the BCS have been included. The biggest stretch on the list by far is SMU, which, quite frankly, has sucked for a while. I admit to betting on the come with regard to the Mustangs, but the money the school raised for the Jones hiring was impressive and indicates to me that SMU is ready to provide the resources to step up and play with the big boys. If you disagree, pull them out and substitute another program – perhaps Houston or Air Force.
Finally, I’ve added two independents to the list, Notre Dame and Navy. I’m glossing over the substantial road block to Notre Dame’s historical reluctance to join a conference, but if Charlie Weis can’t get the Irish car out of the ditch pretty soon, the TV money may start drying up and force ND to be somewhat more amenable. In any event, I’ll just pretend that somehow a satisfactory deal gets struck.
So here we go. First, the Big East gains two new members: Boston College (which was an old member) and Navy. Here’s how it would then look.
- Boston College
- South Florida
- West Virginia
South Florida is a bit of an outlier, geographically speaking, but overall the conference lays out pretty nicely. The only dog in the Big East from last season’s won-loss standpoint is Syracuse.
The new conferences I’ve divided on an east/west basis. On the east side, here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Central Florida
- East Carolina
- Notre Dame
- Penn State
- South Carolina
- Southern Mississippi
That’s five BCS schools and five mid-majors. The worst record of the bunch from last year – by far – is Notre Dame’s. (Miami’s wasn’t the greatest, either.)
The west conference looks like this:
- Boise State
- Fresno State
- Texas A & M
This one is more top heavy with mid-majors, but, again with the exception of SMU, all have been competitive over the past few seasons.
Are these perfect? Perhaps not, although each is clearly stronger than any of the current mid-majors (jeez, does the MAC suck) . And I wouldn’t be offended by the winners of either of the new conferences appearing in an eight team playoff.
Let me know what your thoughts are on this, if you’re bored too.