If I Were NCAA Dictator: A College Football Playoff System
by Drew Pelto, AKA *censored*
Every year or two, something comes along to make the nation scream for a college football playoff system. In 1997, it was the National Championship being shared between Nebraska and Michigan, which led to the adoption of the BCS. In 2006-07, it was Boise State shocking Oklahoma. 2008-09 was Utah beating Alabama, a year after West Virginia took down Oklahoma. And in 2012-13, it was Louisville taking Florida to the woodshed.
While it’s all well and good that the NCAA has agreed to start using a four-team playoff, to me that’s not good enough. As we saw from Louisville’s drubbing of #3 Florida, sometimes a team outside the top 5 could make a major run. College football needs a legitimate playoff system.
And so this is why I, your benevolent dictator of NCAA football, have come along. I have a plan that will bring forth a true playoff system for the NCAA FBS teams. Of course, the current NCAA, conference bigwigs, and bowl chairmen would poo a brick if this plan were to ever be brought up so it will never happen. Hence why I usurped the throne and declared myself dictator.
The NCAA FBS currently consists of 124 teams. For my plan to work, we need an expansion to a nice even 128 teams. Charlotte, Old Dominion, and Georgia State are moving eventually to the FBS anyway, so they’re in. Need one more team? Well, there’s an App for that: Appalachian State gets tossed into the mix.
128 is just an easy number to work with. This comes out to an even eight conferences with 16 teams each. Those 16 teams could be divided into two eight-team divisions. I’d also keep the conferences as geographically-accurate as possible. You know our colleges are failing our nation’s people when Boise State gets put in the Big East. While Boise isn’t exactly Pacific, that’s a heck of a lot more accurate than calling it “East.” And so, I present you with the divisions.
North: Washington, Washington State, Idaho, Boise State, Stanford, California, Oregon*, Oregon State
South: Fresno State, USC, UCLA*, San Diego State, UNLV, Hawaii, Arizona, Arizona State
North: Wyoming, Colorado, Colorado State, Air Force, Utah, Utah State*, BYU, Nevada
South: San Jose State*, New Mexico, New Mexico State, UTEP, Texas Tech, UTSA, Texas State, Texas
East: Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami Ohio, Cincinnati, Louisville*, Kentucky, Ohio, Akron
West: Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Illinois*, Missouri, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Easterm Michigan
BIG-16 (Formerly the Big-10)
East: Michigan*, Ohio State, Akron, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Penn State, Buffalo, Syracuse
West: Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, Notre Dame*, Purdue, Michigan State, Toledo
North: Boston College, UMass, UConn, Army, Temple, Maryland, Navy, Rutgers*
South: Old Dominion, NC State, Wake Forest, East Carolina, South Carolina*, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Miami Florida
North: Marshall, Virginia Tech, Virginia, UNC, Duke, Appalachian State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt*
South: Charlotte, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida*, Florida State, South Florida, Florida International
East: Kansas, Tulsa, Arkansas, Arkansas State*, Memphis, Ole Miss, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky
West: Houston, SMU, Baylor, North Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State*, Nebraska
East: Southern Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia State, South Alabama, Auburn, UAB, Alabama*, Troy
West: Rice, Texas A&M*, TCU, LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Tulane
Pretty simple really, and it all comes out relatively nice and even without too many drastic changes. It also keeps plenty of top rivalries intact.
Each team plays 12 regular season games throughout September, October, and November. Eventually, each division winner meets for the conference championship the first week of December. And after that: playoffs.
The playoffs will consist of 24 teams. Each conference winner gets an opening-round bye. The division winners that didn’t win their conference play in the first round against eight at-large teams selected by the currently-used BCS formula. The top eight non division winners will go to the playoffs. The BCS will also be used to rank everyone: the conference winners will be ranked 1-8, the the division winners 9-16, and the at-large 17-24.
So, let’s have some fun with it now. Starred above are my predicted divison winners for this season if it had been played out in this format. So the schedule for championship week and the bowls (and my predicted results) would look a little like this…
PAC Championship: Oregon over UCLA
MWC Championship: Utah State over SJ State
MAC Championship: Louisville over Northern Illinois
B16 Championship: Notre Dame over Michigan
ACC Championship: South Carolina over Rutgers
SEC Championship: Florida over Vanderbilt
WAC Championship: Kansas State over Arkansas State
SBC Championship: Alabama over Texas A&M
So from that (using the current BCS formula), your top 8 would be Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon, Florida, Kansas State, South Carolina, Louisville, and Utah State. 9 through 16 would be Texas A&M, Northern Illinois, UCLA, Michigan, SJ State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas State, Rutgers. And the 9 at-large bids would go to Stanford, Georgia, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, Florida State, Oregon State, Clemson, and Nebraska.
From here, we’ll need a total of 23 bowl games to decide a winner. I’m going to keep the 22 longest-running bowls with one rotating-site national championship. To go along with this, I think each bowl should be played at as neutral a site as possible, the more historic bowls should get the more prestigious games, and as many cities as possible should be represented. And I prefer the traditional names over crap like the galleryfurniture.com Bowl, so I’ve gone with the traditional names wherever possible. So, here’s how I would stack up my predictions in each bowl game.
BYE: Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon, Florida, Kansas State, South Carolina, Louisville, and Utah State
Nebraska at Texas A&M, Motor City Bowl
Clemson at Northern Illinois, San Francisco Bowl
Oregon State at UCLA, Music City Bowl
Florida State at Michigan, Houston Bowl
Oklahoma at San Jose State, Humanitarian Bowl
Louisiana State at Vanderbilt, Hawaii Bowl
Georgia at Arkansas State, Mobile Bowl
Stanford at Rutgers, Alamo Bowl
I’m calling A&M, Clemson, UCLA, Florida State, Oklahoma, Louisiana State, Georgia, and Stanford to win each of these. So from there, we move on to…
Clemson at Notre Dame, Las Vegas Bowl
Florida State at Alabama, Holiday Bowl
Oklahoma at Oregon, Outback Bowl
Louisiana State at Florida, Fiesta Bowl
Georgia at Kansas State, Liberty Bowl
Stanford at South Carolina, Independence Bowl
UCLA at Louisville, Peach Bowl
Texas A&M at Utah State, Citrus Bowl
We’ll pick Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon, Louisiana State in the upset, Kansas State, Stanford, Louisville, and Texas A&M. And so, we get into the quarterfinals with…
Louisiana State at Notre Dame, Cotton Bowl
Stanford at Alabama, Sun Bowl
Texas A&M at Oregon, Gator Bowl
Louisville at Kansas State, Sugar Bowl
Now we’re talking! This should make for some fun games. Notre Dame, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Kansas State win. So that leads us into the semifinals…
Texas A&M at Notre Dame, Orange Bowl
Kansas State at Alabama, Rose Bowl
Johnny Football’s luck finally runs out here, as Notre Dame and Alabama will– as expected– meet for the Title, somewhere between January 11 and 14. It would rotate yearly between a number of cities. Who do I say wins it?
What, you want me to spoil the real game on Monday?
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