This week Gamblin' Rob tackles the issue of a college football playoff, something I took on (ok, ranted about) when I wrote for my college paper, but as I am increasingly busy, we'll let old Rob have the reins on this one. Before you start crying about how this isn't much of longshot just stick with our boy until the end. I'll have your Week 5 picks on Thursday, so stay tuned for that. But now, I give you Gamblin' Rob:
Let's start with four factors for consideration when forming a college football playoff.
1. First of all, the changing landscape of college football revolves purely around money. Athletic Directors can say that academics and strength of conference are what's important, but I call bull on these. Texas A&M wanted out because of the money Texas was getting, not because the SEC is a smarter conference, because if that was the case, the Aggies would be heading to the ACC. If there's a playoff, money better be top priority. Bowl games should still be considered.
2. Conference play. How will going to a playoff affect conference play? Will it make it just as important as every other game they play, as it is now where you pretty much have to go undefeated, or have the best record and be in a major FBS conference to even be considered for the BCS Championship game. OR, would it make conference games the ONLY ones that matter. Simply winning your conference, regardless of out of conference play, gets you a playoff berth.
3. A playoff system must be divisible by four. If conference champions are the teams added to the playoff bracket, we'd only have 11 teams going at the moment, and with talks of conferences joining up to fill gaps and make super conferences, we could even see 9 conferences in the near future.
4. Make the numbers do the work. We need to stop relying on voting to get schools into a national championship ring. In the NFL, you win your conference by having the most wins. I think it should be the same for an NCAA playoff. Win your conference division, win your conference, win your regionals, your semis, and then the Natty. Simple maths.
So what would a playoff potentially look like?
With a merger and upgrade of conferences, each conference would have 16 teams, eight in two divisions. That means seven games of your season have been dictated already, which leaves five more games to fill under the system we have now. Lessen the regular season to 11 games, because let's face it... adding only one more round of games is a lot less of a demand than adding two.
The two teams that meet in the finals will be on their 15th game of the year. The remaining four games of the regular season should, hypothetically be filled with only in-conference opponents, to make rankings easier, and so players don't play pointless tune-up games... why tune-up? The only thing it does is give an already good team a boost in morale, and gives a lower team a boost in cash when the big papa schools pay them to drive to their house and lick their floor. Doesn't seem like a very good use of university funding, now does it?
So now that the team has gotten the best record in their division of their conference, it's time to face the opposing conference division leader in a highly touted conference championship game. This one seems self-explanatory. I mean, if the SEC can sell out their conference championship game halfway through the season, anyone can get to that standard, especially when it means you could have a potential national champion on the field in front of you. No one cares about the MAC Championship game, but if the winner is going to the playoff to vie for a national title, you may want to check that game out if you're in the area.
Let's not forget, if any conference can go to the playoffs, then there might be a little more parity and more chance to have that breakthrough athlete at an unusual contender school (like say... Buffalo...NOBODY CIRCLES THE WAGONS! Editor's note: HELL YES.)
The conference championship winner will be placed in a seeding of eight teams based on national location (East and West seem to be the best way of splitting up the seeding). As of now, there are 11 conferences, so that's what we'll go with for our info. If there are only 11 conferences, you would need to fill the remaining five spots. What would be the best solution to this problem? I could never tell you.
The simplest and most logical answer would be to include the top five Non-conference championship teams, but then you might run into situations where you have two teams that played in a conference championship against one another in a rematch, and that can either be a good, great, boring, or terrible thing. Depends on how you think about it. If Alabama beats Florida for the SEC Championship, and then they have to play in round 2 of the playoff, I don't know how I feel. But, I think this way you certainly get the best teams in the country in the playoff.
(DISCLAIMER: I know there are independent schools. Under this system, they would need to buck up and join a conference, or be good enough to be an at-large school. We can't put the world on hold for four schools.)
But perhaps we only take the top four at large schools in the country and bring in...
(Here's where I'm going to lose you. I know. I know. But this IS Longshots.)
YOUR FCS CHAMPION!
The team would be placed as an 8 seed, so basically you'd have your No. 1 seeds playing an 8 seed. Seeding would be purely based on strength-of-schedule. So an SEC team might get the 1 seed in the East due to the number of contenders they had to play, or if the Big Ten has an upwards year, they can take that one. Meanwhile they would be playing the team with the easiest schedule: an FCS team. I mean if we're going to make FCS teams play us in the regular season, why can't they be considered for a national championship? Seems unfair to me.
|A potential NCAA football playoff tree under Rob's suggested format.|
Your eight first round games, four quarterfinals, two semifinals, and final game would act as bowl games. Each one would have a title (Rose Bowl, Sugar, Orange...etc.) Fifteen major bowl games, all of which would sell out, undoubtedly, and get major national attention... no more Music City Little Caesar's Pizza Burt's Plumbing Bowl that no one cares about or attends. These would be sell-outs. Big time money.
Everyone has their opinion on how it should look, this is mine. I love the idea of including an FCS team in the mix, though I know the NCAA would never go for it. Longshots.