Friday, March 5, 2010

Why Have a College Football Tournament?

submitted by Chris Miller

The conversation regarding a college football playoff has been heating up recently, and with the Obama Administration taking an interest, this is the first sign of life for those in favor of a tournament.

But why have a tournament?
What about the kids, who need to go to class?
What about the fans who will have to travel to more games?
Will the Universities be worried about losing money if bowls no longer exist?

All great questions. Let me provide the answers. And just think about my idea for a playoff. Does it excite you as much as cheeseburgers excite Terrance Cody?

Forget the "settle it on the field" argument that is so common. America has an obsession with tournaments. The annual college basketball tournament is an event that almost everyone has an interest in, mostly due to office pools and gambling. Rick Neuheisel even lost his job because of it (but he's in L.A. now, so advantage Neuheisel). The playoffs for each of the four major sports are always the most-watched and most exciting times of the season.

And think about this: two of the most-watched primetime reality shows this season, "The Bachelor" and "American Idol," are tournaments. (Look it up; they trumped the Olympics). One is a dating tournament, the other a singing tournament. Both of them have made substantial amounts of money (as evidenced by multiple seasons of success for each show), so there's certainly a guarantee that the tournament will be more than slightly profitable.

Can you only imagine a college football tournament?! Startin' to smell good, right?

Onto my playoff proposal ... all the questions listed at the beginning of the article are about to be answered.

Each of the six BCS conference winners will have automatic bids. There still must be SOME perk for playing in the six most profitable conferences in college football; and no matter how bad one conference might suck that year, they'll still get an automatic bid.

A committee similar to the college basketball selection committee will select ten at-large teams to comprise a 16-team bracket. The committee will also seed the teams 1-16. BCS conference winners will not necessarily get the top six spots. Example: 2009 Florida would get a higher seed than 2009 Cincinnati, although Florida didn't win its conference title. If you have to ask why, logic is not your strong suit. (See Sugar Bowl). Also, non-BSC schools may be ranked above BCS conference champions. TCU and Boise St. were arguably better than Georgia Tech last year, and should be reflected as such when seeding begins.

Here's where it gets fun (and where university presidents will be pro-playoff).

The top eight teams in the tournament will host a HOME PLAYOFF GAME for the first round. This means increased revenue to schools with strong regular season performances, and a chance for those same top-eight teams to stay in school that week. Two birds, baby.

Next, let's say for argument sake that there are five BCS bowl venues: Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, and Cotton (gotta love that new Cowboys' Stadium).

Two of these locations will be featured for the Elite 8. On quarterfinal weekend, each day will have a double-header. On day 1, Site A will host an afternoon game and Site B will host a primetime spot. On day 2, Site B will host the afternoon game while Site A gets the night game. That should yield enough time to clean up and re-paint each endzone with new team colors.

The Final Four will be held at BCS Sites C and D; and the Championship will be held at Site E.

So, let's look at a hypothetical based on last year's end-of-refular-season results.

BCS Conference Winners: Alabama (SEC), Texas (Big XII), Georgia Tech (ACC), Oregon (Pac-10), Ohio State (Big Ten), and Cincinnati (Big East).

Ten At-Large: Florida, TCU, Boise State, Iowa, Virginia Tech, LSU, Penn State, BYU, Miami, and West Virginia

I would seed them this way.

1. Alabama
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Cincinnati
5. TCU
6. Oregon
7. Ohio State
8. Boise State
9. Georgia Tech
10. Iowa
11. LSU
12. Penn State
13. Virginia Tech
14. BYU
15. Miami
16. West Virginia

Round 1 Games:

16 West Virginia @ 1 Alabama
15 Miami @ 2 Texas
14 BYU @ 3 Florida
13 Virginia Tech @ 4 Cincinnati
12 Penn State @ 5 TCU
11 LSU @ 6 Oregon
10 Iowa @ 7 Ohio State (The Big Ten needs a title game, anyway)
9 Georgia Tech @ 8 Boise State

Just look at those matchups. Sexy, isn't it.

Elite 8 Matchups:

Fiesta Bowl (University of Phoenix Stadium, Glenwood, AZ)
Saturday, 3:30pm: #1 Alabama vs. #9 Georgia Tech
Sunday, 7:00pm: #4 Cincinnati vs. #5 TCU

Cotton Bowl (Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX)
Saturday, 8:00pm: #2 Texas vs. #7 Ohio State
Sunday, 3:30pm: #3 Florida vs. #6 Oregon

Final 4 Matchups:

Sugar Bowl (Superdome, New Orleans, LA)
Saturday, 8:00pm: #2 Texas vs. #3 Florida

Orange Bowl (Orange Bowl, Miami, FL)
Sunday, 7:00pm: #1 Alabama vs. #5 TCU

Championship Game:

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
#1 Alabama vs. #3 Florida

What's not to like? The top eight schools, due to their hard work during the season, get the opportunity to increase their revenue and keep their students in school; BCS sites still get to host the biggest games, the little guys get to play their way into the seeding (and quickly filtered out if they're not legitimate); and other great bowl games like the Outback, Capital One, and Emerald bowls can still exist outside the playoff formula.

Are there any arguments against it?

Can we convince EA Sports to let this be an option next year?

Somewhere in rural Alabama, will Bubba look up from his fishing pole and thank Obama for the successful implementation of a playoff?

Just call me Terrance Cody with a lifetime supply of McDonalds, 'cause I'm excited.

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