This is the continuation of the article posted this morning looking at a solution to the current problems.
Many people have spilled an incredible amount of ink over the years trying to determine a just system for selecting a national champion. Our own Malibuckeye came up with his own system a while back and expounded upon it in length. I honestly believe there is only one possible method of satisfactorily deciding a champion with all of the proper criteria. That answer is to allow the teams to decide it on the field in a playoff format. But, unlike with many other views, the playoff isn’t the critical factor. The biggest issue is to start to make the regular season important again.
The best way to determine who gets to play in the Division 1A Playoff, while simultaneously allowing fair access to all of the conferences, is to restrict access only to conference champions. Yes, you heard that right – conference champions only.
One of my biggest issues with Alabama being in the national championship game is that not only did they not win their conference, they didn’t even win their own division. I strongly believe that if you are not the best team in your conference, you should not be allowed to be considered the best team in the nation.
Currently there are 11 conferences, plus the independents, in Division 1A. Here are the rules for my playoff system.
With those playoff rules, this year’s playoff would look like this:
There are a few things worth noting here.
I will readily admit that letting teams like Lousiana Tech and Arkansas State into the playoff picture is counter-intuitive. Everyone’s perspective on the playoffs is to try to create the most interesting matchups possible that will draw the most money. I think that is the wrong mentality, particularly with the mid-majors constantly gnashing their teeth about getting a chance to break into the big money picture. This way, everyone is given a fair shake towards earning a national title.
But what about teams like Alabama, Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford, and all of the other teams that had a great season but didn’t win their conference? In this picture, the regular season actually matters. You lost during the regular season to a conference opponent, you didn’t win your conference championship (or didn’t even win your division) you get to go to a regular bowl game. If you want to cry about it, cry to your conference or cry about your team not getting the job done.
As for money and payouts, obviously the same system can’t pay 14 teams like it currently pays 10. My preference would be that teams that make the Semi-final matchup pick up the “full-payment” BCS money, while the other 8 pick up the “second conference team” money. Teams that make the National Championship get an additional bonus. Obviously this requires more money than is currently allotted by the BCS games, but you’re also playing more games with more teams. It should balance out reasonably well in the end.
This playoff picture is as all-inclusive as it can possibly be, and makes certain that every team has an opportunity to justly earn what they get on the field, as opposed to having it be granted to them by some nebulous group of voters that may or may not have an agenda at hand.