Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday playoff scenarios: living the dream

Because of the lack of an Alabama game this past Saturday, there's not much to discuss in the way of a roundtable. If you want to throw up in your mouth about the difficulty of the season's final month, then I say read this post at RBR.
But it is the middle of the week, obviously, and since we've only a month left in the regular season, let's have some fun by giving you some possible playoff scenarios for this season, that exist in an alternate universe in which college football's postseason doesn't completely suck (think of it like the parallel universe on "Lost," only we don't eventually find out that everyone in that universe is ... aw, never mind).

My favorite tournament scenario — and apparently it's just me out here — remains the 6-team bracket, in which the top 2 receive bye weeks while the lower 4 play in the first round. I like it because it keeps meaning in the regular season while still providing a chance for the best teams to play things out on the field (besides, do we really want anyone outside the top-6 playing for a championship?).
Here's what it would look like based on the current BCS standings:
First Round
(6) Alabama vs. (3) TCU
(5) Utah vs. (4) Boise St.
6/3 vs. (1) Oregon
5/4 vs. (2) Auburn

BCS National Championship Game: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

Problems: Obviously, only TWO of the "Big 6" conferences are represented in this bracket, with notable one-loss programs like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Ohio St. all left out of the mix. On the other hand, with a month left in the season, it's likely most of that would sort itself out eventually (as it typically does). But you'd get a lot of bleating from people like, say, Bob Stoops, in December.
The other problem: where to play these games. If you play the first round on home fields — in Fort Worth and Boise — you'll hear it from the top 2 (who'd be cheated out of an extra home date and the resulting revenue). So someone smarter than I would have to figure out how to sort things out financially.

Of course, you could just blow the whole thing up, junk the entire system and start over with a 16-team bracket. That would look something like this:
First Round
(16) Iowa vs. (1) Oregon
(9) Wisconsin vs. (8) Oklahoma

(12) Missouri vs. (5) Utah
(13) Stanford vs. (4) Boise St.

(11) Ohio St. vs. (6) Alabama
(14) Michigan St. vs. (3) TCU

(10) LSU vs. (7) Nebraska
(15) Arizona vs. (2) Auburn

Problems: As much as I enjoy some of these matchups — seriously, who doesn't love MIke Stoops vs. Gus Malzahn in Round 1? — this is the end of the big-ticket non-conference games during the regular season — no way you're getting Michigan St.-TCU in the regular season when there's a bloodbath awaiting them in the tournament. It's also (probably) the end of the conference championship games, since that game probably won't help any of these programs in the broader national championship picture.
Also, for all the talk of "making the season too long," this bracket will make the season stretch to frigging forever. I enjoy the expanded baseball playoffs as much as anyone, but because of the extended schedule, the World Series stretched until Nov. 1 (and it was only Game 5!), and by the time it was over, barely anyone was paying attention.
Now, if you want to get REALLY nuts, check out this 16-team DOUBLE elimination bracket.

One more thought before we go: what's ultimately blocking a tournament in I-A college football is money and control: yes, the tournament could make a ton of money, but that money would likely be controlled by the NCAA — as opposed to the current bowl system, in which the programs themselves keep the lion's share. If we can find a way to fix THAT problem, everything else will follow after.
Got a better idea? Leave it here in the comments, or chirp at me on Twitter.

More coming later today.

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