Eh, championship, shampionship…

So, having read this debate at ESPN about the ACC’s plans for its conference championship game (aka The World’s Smallest Outdoor Cocktail Party – h/t Jim Donnan) and keeping in mind Todd Graham’s whine about the fairness of the Pac-12 choosing to play a championship game while the 10-team Big 12 doesn’t, I’ve got a few questions.

  1. As Todd Fortuna asks, “…why does the NCAA even have authority to determine how leagues govern their title games, anyway? As we’ve seen recently, particularly with the SEC sticking with its eight-game league slate, conferences are free to determine their respective league schedules however they wish. It’s only right that they get to choose how to determine their league champion, too.”  I get that adding a game needs the NCAA’s approval, but as to the makeup of who plays, why is the NCAA involved?
  2. That being said, what is the point to maintaining divisions for the regular season if they’re going to be ignored come championship time?  I mean, aside from money.  As David Hale points out, in the ACC, all that’s going to do is make the Clemson-FSU regular season meeting less meaningful, if those two are your ACC front-runners.  And further, “… after FSU completely dominated Clemson this past season, was there really a need for those two to face off again? And if Clemson managed to sneak by the Seminoles in the title game by a point or two, would that have proven the Tigers deserved the league title instead of FSU? And would it have been worth costing the ACC its shot at a national title?”
  3. As silly as that seems, it’s not nearly as ridiculous as a conference with a round robin regular season schedule adding a championship game.  But if college football heads down that road to appease the Todd Grahams of the CFB world, why stop there?  Wouldn’t the truly fair thing be to mandate that only conferences with fourteen members and a championship game be eligible for the national title postseason?

Now I’m not suggesting that I’m on board for any of this.  It’s just surprising to me, at least a little, that we’re hearing talk, some of it serious, about tinkering with Roy Kramer’s invention, one that’s served the sport pretty damned well for more than a couple of decades.  The reason for that, of course, is the birth of the four-team national playoff and the power conferences gaming out the best scenario to maximize their prospects in that.  That most of the decision makers don’t have a clue what might work best doesn’t mean they won’t try.  You tell me how optimistic we should be about that working out well.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

2 responses to “Eh, championship, shampionship…

  1. Bobby Fenton

    Divisions are a much less effective structure when you have this many teams. If I were the ACC, or SEC for that matter, I’d look at a way to have it all. If you have 14 teams, drop divisions. Everyone gets three permanent home-and-home partners who you play every year. For UGA they’d be Florida, Auburn, and a third one, whoever. Then, of the other ten teams, you do a two-year home and home with five of them, then another two-year home and home with the other five.

    That would put you in every stadium in the conference once every four years, and you’d face each and every team twice every four years. Top two teams go to Atlanta.

    One pitfall: rematches. What if Auburn-Alabama happens two weeks in a row? That’s no good. Here’s and even better plan that accomplishes the same goal and avoids that problem


    This would make guys like Joe Alleva happy while also preserving all rivalry games annually. In addition, you keep divisions to satisfy the NCAA, and you don’t go 12 years between visiting some campuses, which is a joke when you’re supposed to be conference-,mates. It’s got everything.


  2. Macallanlover

    While I stated my support for adding a CCG in addition to the round-robin format yesterday, you raise an interesting point: I thought the NCAA had no control of scheduling after the regular season ended for football. I know their overall rules regulating the sport still govern (eligibility, etc.) but I thought regular bowls, and BCS bowls, kept the NCAA on the outside. Guess I thought conference championship games were in that category.