It’s that time of the year again where we’re flooded with 34 meaningless bowl games and just one that matters, as it determines the BCS Champion. It’s a system that does make the regular season very important (was FSU’s 80-14 win over Idaho really THAT important?), though it comes at the expense of a final month of games that mean absolutely nothing unless you’re in the big one. Of course, this is seeing a slight change next season as four teams will compete in a mini-playoff instead of just the final two, but while better, it’s clearly not great.
That’s why I’m creating my own 2013 College Football Playoff (no NCAA because I want to leave out the corruption). In my perfect world, we would have a 32-team playoff that would start around the 2nd weekend of December. For this particular season, it would breakdown as follows:
Round 1 – Thursday 12/12 (4 games), Friday 12/13 (4 games), Saturday 12/14 (4 games), Sunday 12/15 (4 games)
Round 2 – Saturday 12/21 (4 games), Sunday 12/22 (4 games)
Elite 8 – Saturday 12/28 (2 games), Sunday 12/29 (2 games)
Final 4 – Saturday 01/04 (1 game), Sunday 01/05 (1 game)
Championship – Sunday 01/12 (1 game)
It would make for the most exciting 5 weeks of the college football season and would give us 31 meaningful and must-win single-elimination games to watch in December and January. Not to mention, the conference championships would add a sixth straight exciting week and the use of a selection committee to pick teams would make it more important for teams to choose challenging non-conference games instead of cupcakes (so the regular season becomes more exciting).
Here’s how it’d work. Each of the Division 1-A conferences would get an automatic bid for its conference champion. This would mean automatic bids for the following:
AAC - UCF
ACC – FSU
Big 12 – Baylor
Big 10 – Michigan State
Conference USA – Rice
Mid-American – Bowling Green
Mountain West – Fresno State
Pac-12 – Stanford
SEC – Auburn
Sun Belt – Louisiana-Lafayette
For this season, there would be 10 automatic bids including four from conferences that would require near miracles (perfect season plus happen to get a few major conference teams to play them in that particular season) to even have a chance at National Championship without a playoff system.
This would give the Cinderella’s a chance while also not screwing over the teams that play in difficult conferences because of the possibility of 22 at-large bids. These bids and the seeding would be made by a selection committee — in this case a selection committee of one (me). Here’s the breakdown:
#1 – Florida State
#8 – Louisiana-Lafayette
#4 – LSU
#5 – Fresno State
#2 – Missouri
#7 – USC
#3 – Clemson
#6 – Texas A&M
#1 – Auburn
#8 – Rice
#4 – UCF
#5 – Louisville
#2 – Ohio State
#7 - Miami
#3 – Oklahoma
#6 – Northern Illinois
#1 – Alabama
#8 – Bowling Green
#4 – Arizona State
#5 – Wisconsin
#2 – Baylor
#7 - Vanderbilt
#3 – Oregon
#6 – Georgia
#1 – Michigan State
#8 – Texas
#4 – Oklahoma State
#5 – UCLA
#2 – Stanford
#7 – Notre Dame
#3 – South Carolina
#6 – Duke
In order to make the regular season have more meaning, the first two rounds will be HOME games for the higher seeds. The seven games that make up the final three weeks — Elite 8, Final Four, and Championship — will be played at rotating neutral sites much like the current Bowls.
And even though it looks like the first weekend could have some potential stinkers, there are some very intriguing match-ups, such as:
MWC Champ #5 Fresno State gets a chance to show it belongs against #4 LSU at the Superdome.
Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M head into Death Valley to take on Tajh Boyd and #3 Clemson.
While likely to be a lop-sided game, you better believe #7 Miami heading to Columbus to take on the #2 Ohio State would be one of the most-watched and most-hyped games of the first weekend.
Despite the late season loss, #6 Northern Illinois and QB Jordan Lynch would get a shot at redemption against Big 12 powerhouse and #3 seed Oklahoma.
Aaron Murray and #6 Georgia would head to the North West (not Kim’s and Kanye’s baby) to face off against Marcus Mariota and the high-flying Ducks.
Texas would be the #8 seed with the best shot at an upset against top seed Michigan State.
And #7 Notre Dame at #2 Stanford would rival even the Miami vs. Ohio State game in National ratings and attention.
The best part is that upsets can and will happen (just see every 1-AA upset over a 1-A power the past few seasons). Just how crazy would it get in Texas if they upset MSU in the first round, then beat OSU, and Stanford to make it to the Final Four against Alabama (and it just so happened to get lucky with this game being played in the state of Texas).
It would also provide a real measuring stick for conference supremacy. Would the SEC just wipe the floor with the “lesser” conferences and end up with an all-SEC Final Four? Could any of the small conferences make it out of the first weekend or manage a deep Cinderella run? It would be so unbelievably crazy and it’s sad that it’s not happening.