This isn't about Kansas City. It's not about advertising. But the time has come for me to pipe up. It's becoming an embarrassment that my favorite sport, College Football, remains the only major sport in the world that does not determine a national champion through some type of playoff system. If I want a national champion chosen based on someone's opinion of who's better, I'll start watching more gymnastics, diving or figure skating (not that I'm bashing those sports, or the talented athletes in those sports, I just don't like the winner chosen based on someone's opinion).
There are many reasons people give for not changing the current college football system. To the best that I can tell here are the major reasons why people feel like college football should not have a playoff:
1) The Bowls, and the cities that run them would be out the money from the bowls being in their area.
2) With so many games in a playoff, it would drive travel costs up significantly for fans, causing games to not sell out.
3) There is history and tradition in the bowls.
4) Too many games for players.
No one really claims that the current system works, but I can see #1 and #2 being pretty significant factors. #4 is bunk as the average high school champion team plays as many games as the current college guys, so I think they can handle a couple of extra games as they mature. So, here's my plan, that I think covers off on most of the objections, and gets college football a true national champion, with a bonus thrown in. Here's the deal:
1) 8 team playoff. 6 teams are chosen based on being the conference Champions of the 6 BCS conferences. 2 would be at-large teams to capture great teams from non BCS conferences (this year's Hawaii) or the best of the conference #2s. For the purpose of my discussion, I'm going to use Hawaii and Missouri for this (although my guess would be in the real world Georgia would fill this role in real life).
2) Games are played at a predetermined location based on conference affiliation, tradition and location for easier travel by fans. I'm less concerned with "seeding" these teams than I am with having them play each other in a playoff -- this would be the High School concept where all the Kansas City teams play first to meet with the St. Louis area schools in the HS Championship. It doesn't matter that the best two teams meet in the National title game. So here are the matchups and locations:
a) Rose Bowl - Big Ten winner vs Pac 10 Winner (Ohio St vs USC) -- keeps the Big 10/Pac 10 tradition alive and makes for easy travel for the USC fans. Maintains the pagentry of the Rose Bowl.
b) Cotton Bowl -- Big 12 Winner vs the Western Most At Large team (Oklahoma vs Hawaii) -- Most Big 12 schools are within relatively close driving distance to Dallas, and most of the at-large teams will be too (Hawaii of course is not within driving distance to anywhere).
c) Sugar Bowl -- SEC Champion vs Eastern most At Large Team (LSU vs Missouri) - -Maintains the historiy of the affiliation between the SEC and the Sugar Bowl. New Orleans is easy to get to for the vast majority of SEC teams, and likely the Eastern most at large also
d) Gator Bowl - (ACC Champ vs Big East Champ) - Virginia Tech vs West Virginia -This one is chosen base on location more than the quality of the current Bowl.
e) Fiesta Bowl - Winner of Game A and Game B
f) Peach Bowl (Atlanta) - Winner of Game C and Game D (chosen more for location than the quality of the bowl currently)
National Championship - Orange Bowl, Miami (figuring these teams know this is the last game and folks will travel to the National title game regardless of location).
I think the geography helps fans prepare for trips they plan to make (seeding would make it a very last minute decision on where to go) and the geographic proximity will help teams' fans to travel.
The bonus here is that if you win your conference championship, you're in the playoff and have a chance at a national championship. I think the now not having the fear of losing a pre-conference game hurting your national title hopes, will also encourage more big schools to play each other during the pre-conference season. That would be a bonus for all college football fans (I can do without another Mizzou/W. Michigan or KU vs anyone matchup personally).
Every team from a BCS school has a chance to make it in the tournament and win it all.
I think it'd be a huge hit, and huge boom for these cities. If they wanted to keep the 2nd tier bowls for other teams to get a chance to play somewhere (and to entertain me during the week between playoff games) that's fine with me.
What do you think?