I’ve made little secret of the fact that I would prefer a playoff composed of (tweaked) conference champions or the plus one format that BCS Guru has proposed over the current BCS arrangement. But, after pondering some of the comments in response to this post of mine from yesterday, it occurs to me that conference expansion may provide an opportunity to create the greatest postseason EVAH… by combining the two.
You know, kinda like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Laugh, call me crazy, whatever. Just follow me here for a minute to see how it would work.
- Start with four sixteen-team superconferences. I’ll leave it for others to game out the journey; I’m only interested in the ultimate destination. Four conferences broken into two divisions with a conference championship is where we’re at with this.
- Have all 64 schools in the power conferences play a 7-3-2 scheduling format. That is, a school plays all seven schools in its division, three in the other division and two non-conference opponents of the school’s choice.
- No matter what, all eight division winners qualify for a BCS game appearance. That part’s automatic, but there are a couple of wrinkles to come.
- The week after the conference championship games are played, the national semifinal games take place. Here’s where BCS Guru’s plus one format kicks in. The two conference champs with the highest BCS rankings host the other two schools. There’s your first incentive to win the nonconference games. And, again, the losing schools automatically qualify to play in a BCS game.
- Enter Bowl Season – with a wrinkle. Now it’s time to play the bowls, just like always. But let’s add another incentive into the mix. An awful lot of lip service is paid to the proposition that the bowls are a great experience for the kids that they shouldn’t be deprived of. Fine – let’s take that one step further by letting the players on the automatic qualifiers for the BCS games choose which bowl game they’d like to play in. Let the national semifinal losers have the first picks, then let the other four schools cast ballots for their choices and use the BCS rankings to break any ties in the event that too many choose the same venue. The final open slots would be chosen by the respective bowls, with the caveat that no team with a BCS ranking lower than fifteen can be selected. (Call that the Notre Dame Rule.) Tell me you wouldn’t watch the Bowl Selection Show.
- Play the National Championship Game. And tell Joe Barton to shove his bill… well, you know where.
- Lather, rinse, repeat. Can we all just get along now?
Seriously, what’s missing? You get a playoff. You have an objective determination as to which schools participate. You preserve just enough subjectivity in the system to keep every regular season game meaningful. You maintain the bowls and the importance of the regular season, so the money would still be there. And you even toss in a dash of empowerment for the student athletes, which seems to me to be the least you could do for them.
Now that’s unique. Feel free to pick this apart in the comments.