Monday, November 24, 2008

Eleven-Team Playoff

When discussing replacing the BCS, why must the choice for a NCAA Division I-A playoff be between eight teams and sixteen? There are eleven conferences, so why not only allow eleven teams in the tournament? Teams would be forced to win their conferences, which keeps the regular season relevant.

How would an eleven-team playoff work, you ask? Obviously, the top five teams would get first-round byes.

The first round (teams 6 through 11) would play in mid-December at the home fields of teams 6-8.

With eight teams left, the first-round winners would be re-ranked, and then there'd be four Christmas Day games at the home fields of teams 1-4. Or maybe these can be bowl games of one sort or another.

With four teams left, the teams would be re-ranked, and then there'd be two New Year's Day games. The games would either be at the home fields of teams 1 and 2, or at the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl (if the bowls decide they'd rather have conference champions instead of a couple #2s).

The national championship would be January 8, at a different site from year to year.

The Rose Bowl abandoned the Pac-10 vs. Big Ten setup seven years ago (Miami vs. Nebraska), to stay where the money was. I think they'd choose to become a semi-final instead of becoming another meaningless game. Perhaps in the final four, the matchup which has the Pac-10 champion (or, if they've lost, the furthest west school) could be in the Rose Bowl, and the other matchup goes to the Orange Bowl.

Notre Dame Rule: If an independent team is ranked higher than five conference champions, there shall be twelve teams in the tournament, with only the top four teams earning first-round byes. Only one independent team may be in the tournament.

There'd still be numerous bowl games out there, with some highly ranked teams that just happened to not win their conferences. In the current standings, for example, two of the top four teams wouldn't be in this tournament, since they're only second place in their conferences. Thus the bowl system would continue to thrive, alongside the championship tournament. Big money for all.

1 comment:

Basil said...

16 teams means that each team can only win the title if they win 4 playoff games. The playing field is level, and no conference gets any advantage over another conference, save seeding.

It also allows for qualifying independents or teams that tied for conference championships sans title game (Ohio State/Penn State, for example).

Can you be best in the nation without being best in the conference? Yes. A team could sweep its conference and lose every non-conference game, while another team wins every game (conference and non-conference) except one.

You and I agree that all the conferences should be represented. I just want to include other quality teams.