I’m not advocating here, but Nate Silver makes an interesting argument with this post. If the lesson to be learned from this season is that the CFP selection committee isn’t swayed by conference championship game appearances, maybe we should blow those up and come up with another way to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
My point is simply this: Conference championships, as currently devised, don’t make much sense. Because of imbalanced divisions, championship games often don’t pit the two best teams in a conference against each other (Big Ten championship participant Wisconsin was probably the fourth-best team in its league, for instance). They’ll sometimes result in an awkward rematch of a game that was already played during the regular season. And conference championship games waste a weekend that could be better spent on something else, such as expanding the College Football Playoff to six or eight teams.
And now we have pretty good evidence that the playoff selection committee doesn’t really care one way or another. So let’s get rid of them! Imagine a world in which we’re spared the annual indignation of having to watch Florida lose to Alabama 59-2. Imagine a world in which historical rivals always play each other every year and yet, by almighty Rockne, the best teams in a conference always play one another, too. Imagine a world with no divisions. By which I mean: a world in which we eliminate divisions such as the ACC’s perplexingly named Atlantic and Coastal divisions, and all teams within the same college football conference compete as one.
His solution comes out of high school debatedom and a concept known as power pairing. You can read about it all in depth in his piece.
Again, I’m not advocating here. But I do recognize that college football is doing its damnedest these days to minimize the importance of conference play. (That’s my second shout out to Bob Bowlsby’s conference in one morning. Well played, sir.) So maybe it’s time for a little out of the box thinking to see if things can be salvaged before it’s too late.