I recently had a dream about life in a perfect world. Among the many benefits of a utopian society – basics like world peace, free healthcare and iPhones for all – is a playoff system in college football.
My proposition, based on the BCS rankings, is to give the Top 4 teams in the nation a first round bye, and have Nos. 5 through 12 play each other in a seeded tournament. The winners of the first round games would play the Top 4 teams. Specifically, No. 1 would play the winner of No. 5 versus No. 12, No. 2 would play the winner of No. 6 versus No. 11, No. 3 would play the winner of No. 7 versus No. 10, and No. 4 would play the winner of No. 8 versus No. 9. I would suggest that the first round of games be played Dec. 5, with the higher-seeded team hosting.
With the latest BCS standings, the games would fall as follows. Undefeated Cincinnati would likely beat a two-loss Oklahoma State team in a high-powered offensive game. Boise State, also undefeated, would get a shot 10-2 Iowa team. Georgia Tech, who has only stubbed their toe on a trip to Miami, would get a chance to knock off two-loss Ohio State in a contest between two storied programs. Finally, an Oregon team who barely escaped Arizona Saturday (44-41) to become 9-2, would play one-loss Pittsburgh.
For the second and third rounds, as well as the national championship, I would use the seven most popular bowls to alleviate logistical challenges in adapting a new post-season system. This would obviously spark much debate, but they would likely be Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, Capital One and Holiday. Just as the current BCS bowls pick their teams in a predetermined order, the playoff bowls would be able to make logical monetary and regional decisions regarding the matchup they select. The second round of games could be played the following Saturday, Dec. 12, in the respective bowls.
My best guess would put Cincinnati against Florida, Boise against Alabama, Ohio State against Texas, and Oregon versus TCU. This is where the Top 4 teams get upset-tested. I think they all pass the test this season. Assuming that’s the case, the college football nation gets the early holiday gift of watching Florida play Alabama and TCU play Texas.
The results of those games – in the perfect world – would be Florida over Alabama and TCU over Texas, for two reasons. First, TCU would silence the thousands of obnoxious Texas fans who worship the holy trinity of Mack Brown, Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley in front of a national audience. Second, TCU would get the opportunity to beat Florida, who has been No. 1 for the majority of the season, and become the undisputed national champion for the first time in 71 years.
As perfect as this all sounds, there would certainly still be a number of details to work out. One thing important to decide is whether or not the first round of playoffs would be in lieu of conference championships.
One underlying benefit of moving to a playoff system is it would likely discourage schools from scheduling non-conference teams they know they will blow out. TCU and Texas both routinely schedule inferior teams – such as Baylor, SFA, Texas State, and Sam Houston State – because a “style points” win often helps their BCS ranking. If they knew all Top 12 teams had a shot at the national championship every year, they might be motivated to beef up their non-conference games.
With any change comes advantages and disadvantages. The bowls are slow to warm up to the idea of a playoff system, as well as many schools already in automatic-qualifying conferences. That being said, it’s almost impossible to argue that a playoff system of this nature would not make postseason play exponentially more fair. And with the universal appeal of the specific games produced, how could you not want to see playoffs implemented?
John Andrew Willis is a junior environmental science major from Dallas