John Swofford, the Commissioner of the ACC and Coordinator of the BCS, told a Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, that a playoff tournament for College Football would “threaten the existence of celebrated bowl games.” Are you kidding me? That makes so mad I wanted to get up and smack him!
A playoff system would only enhance college football and the bowl games. There are currently 34 bowl games. That means that 68 of the 119 Division I teams made it to a bowl game last year. As fans, we already know most of the bowl games aren’t relevant. And yet we watch them! If your team is playing in a bowl game you watch them. If there is a bowl game on TV and we remember it, most of us will watch it. College football fans have and will continue to watch the lesser bowl games just for the fun and excitement of watching college football. Imagine if there was a playoff tournament, how much more excitement and interest would it generate? I know for sure I wouldn’t miss one game.
In order to hold a playoff tournament, some changes would need to be made. It would require teams to go back to a 10 game regular season schedule. The conferences could still have their championships games if they choose to do so. There would need to be 7 “Official” playoff bowl games. The current BSC Bowls: Rose, Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar could be joined by the Cotton, Gator, and Sun (Pick any other 3 bowls of your liking). A selection committee could be formed, similar to the one used for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. They would select the Great Eight, who would play in a true National Championship Tournament.
They could meet the weekend before Thanksgiving and make their selections. The committee should select the best 8 teams and should not be bound by conference tie-ins. If the SEC has 4 of the best teams in college football they should all go. If Utah, Boise St, and Notre Dame are 3 of the best teams they should go. Someone may still get snubbed but having a committee is the fairest way to select the best 8 teams for a real National Championship. After the committee chooses the eight playoff teams, the non-championship bowls could make their selections. There could be a selection show to reveal all of the known bowl match-ups the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
This would allow the colleges to start making travel plans and selling tickets to their alumni. The networks could start planning their marketing and advertising campaigns. Teams could rest, injured players could heal, and the players could start to prepare for finals. None of the current bowl games would be left out. The non-playoff Bowl games would be played during the 2nd and 3rd week of December. The playoff bowls would start with 2 games each on the Thursday & Friday before the NFL Wildcard weekend. The winners would advance, with 1 game each on Thursday and Friday before the NFL Divisional Playoffs. The Championship game could be held the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
A major sticking point has been the concern for the player’s physical health and academic progress. The players in the championship game would play a total of 13 or 14 games depending if their conference holds a championship game. Compared to their current schedule, the players would play the same amount of games or 1 additional game. Teams would get more rest time then they currently receive. Most schools are out during the bowl season. For those schools that have restarted, the players should continue to receive academic support.
Having a playoff is the only way to crown a true National Champion. I am not sure why the college presidents and the conference commissioners are fighting so hard against having a playoff. I guess they’re afraid of losing control. It sounds as if they won’t change voluntarily, congress will force them to make a change. Mr. Swofford, I appeal to you to not fight the immovable force or you will be swept away. Or if I can quote another academic legend, Dean Wormer, “fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”