You've been appointed College Football Commissioner

Congress has taken up the issue of College Football, and after they’ve had their hearings and gotten their publicity, they’ve dumped it in your lap. Ostensibly you’re supposed to ensure fairness, but they don’t really care, and you’ve got carte blanche. Do what you will.
Here’s what I’m doing:

Conference realignment: 10 conferences, 12 teams each. Conferences may not overlap each other geographically. Each conference has two divisions of 6 teams.

Schedule: Each team plays other teams in its division (5 games) 2 teams from the other division, and 4 other teams at their own discretion for a total of 11 regular season games. The teams in each division with the best records play a conference championship game on the first weekend in December. Teams not in the conference championship game may schedule an additional game that week.

Playoff: The playoff uses a ranking formula similar to the original BCS formula. The 10 conference champions and the two highest ranked teams that did not win their conference are seeded according to their rankings. The top four teams get a bye the first round. For the first round, a coin toss determines which team plays at home, for the second round, the games are played at the home of the team with the bye. The semi-final and final games are played at neutral sites as described below.

Bowl Games: Each bowl puts up a purse, and the bowls are ordered by the amount they’re offering. The highest purse gets the national championship game. The next two get the two semi-final games. The remaining bowls, in order, select any two teams they wish (with no duplication). This may include designations such as “The loser of the first semi-final” vs. “The loser of the second semi-final.”

Feel free to discuss my ideas, but mostly I want to see what you would do.

Division I games against Division I-A opponents do not count for ranking purposes.

The National Championship game shall be played on Jan 1st, and in a city with real weather and no dome, ie Soldier field.

Not even the embarrassing losses?

Tampa has plenty of real weather. Ever seen a football player melt?

My first order of business is to make sure Greg Robinson is banned from coaching any member team ever again… he is to colege football (Syracuse University in particular) what Pavulon is to Richard Cooey.

I like the idea of 10 conferences of 12 but I see no reason to break up existing conferences and rivals just for geographic reasons. Would college football really be better off if, for example, Penn State was taken out of the Big Ten and stuck in a conference with Buffalo, Kent State, Connecticut, Temple, and Marshall (among others), just because those teams were closer geographically? Or if the SEC gets broken up just so Florida can be in a conference with its fellow Floridians South Florida, Miami, Florida State, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International? Ick. As I say, I like the idea of ten 12’s, but I’d rather see a few teams added to the existing conferences to make 12–like, say, Pittsburgh or Notre Dame joining the Big Ten, and BYU and Utah joining the Pac-10–rather than have conferences broken up.

Some of my ideas:

  1. We have to do [sub]something something[/sub] with OT…but I don’t want to get that thread started again.

  2. Keep the season at 12 games. Five games in your conference “division”, two out-of-division games, three out-of-conference games scheduled by you, and two games (one home, one away) scheduled by the NCAA.

  3. Once upon a time I had this great idea for a “playoff flex schedule.” The idea was that teams would play three out-of-conference games, then seven in-conference games. Once those nine games had been played by each team, the NCAA would set the schedule for the rest of the year based on BCS rankings or polls or whatever ranking system was in vogue. The 120 teams would be split up into 15 “pods” of eight teams apiece based on their ranking, and each pod would be seeded based on the same ranking.

During Week 11, each of the eight teams in each pod would face each other based on their seeding (with the proviso that teams which had already played each other would be kept apart). The four teams in each pod which won their games would be moved up to the next-higher pod, while those which lost would drop down to the next-lowest pod (except for the lowest pod of all, of course). The winners of the Week 11 games in Pod #1 would move to a National Semi-Final, while the losers would be out of the national championship picture and play the winners of the Week 11 games in Pod #2.

Week 12 would work the same way, with the winners of the National Semi-Finals advancing to a Championship game. Now it’s bowl season. The Championship game is played at a rotating site, while the other bowls get to pick teams based on their final pod placings.

So, let’s say the Outback Bowl gets a Pod #3 and a Pod #4 team this year. State U. started the Pod System in Pod #3. They won in Week 11, moving up to Pod #2, but then lost to State Tech in Week 12, and were kicked back to Pod #3. Now they’re eligible for the Outback Bowl, along with a hypothetical team that started all the way down in Pod #6 but won their two pod games to move up to Pod #4.

I’m probably not explaining it well, but I think that the Pod System would generate a lot of excitement in the late season, while keeping the bowls (which, antithetical to competition as they are, are at least fun and generate money, so they’ve got that going for them). We’re still stuck to some extent with the rankings, but with 120 teams and only 12 weeks to play it’s inevitable.

  1. Make Notre Dame join the Big 10.
  2. Make the 6 “major” conferences (Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, SEC, ACC, Big East) have a conference championship.
  3. 8 team playoff. The winner of the 6 major conferences get in. Seeding will be determined by BCS rank. That leaves 2 at-large spots, at least one of which must be filled by a non-major conference team. This system could easily accomodate a 12 or 16 team playoff as well.

I would make the National Championship transferable at any time- kinda like in boxing.

For instance, lets say, oh, L.S.U. won the National Championship under last year’s BCS format. They will be given the Championship Trophy and will retain it until another team beats them…whether its their next game, three games from now, next year, two years, whatever. Whoever has Championship Trophy at the end of the regular season will play in the bowl game of their choosing (most likely the highest bidder). After the bowl game, whoever has the trophy will begin defending it at the beginning of next season, regardless of loss of starters, new coach, whatever. No more polls or BCS title games.

There’s a title defense every weekend, and more teams have shot at becoming champ (even if for a brief period of time). Plus its true to the concept of “To BE The Man, you gotta BEAT The Man!”

Plus, I would declare that Notre Dame can do whatever they want. Its only fair.

I knew people wouldn’t like that part, but I’m wondering if it would really be a big deal given the rest of the changes. Since only two teams that didn’t win their conference can make the tournament, would you really want to be in a “Power Conference?” Since bowl games no longer have conference affiliations, how important is the conference you’re in? Obviously people want to keep important rivalries, but how many of those are long-distance?

I think it’s an interesting idea, but I don’t like that only the top 8 teams (based on poll rankings) have a chance at the title. Of course it’s still four times better than what we have now. . .

Nice idea, but here’s what I’d do. As soon as a team in my conference won the title, we’d immediately just schedule cupcakes. That way the only teams that have a real chance at getting the trophy are in my conference. Sure, it’s not real fair, but you did want it just like boxing. :slight_smile:

I think that no matter what playoff system might come to pass, realistically it can’t involve many more than 8 teams. Even 12/16 is pushing it. The NCAA basketball tournaments can get away with 64/65 because teams can play more than once a week. I just think a four-week tournament is going to be pushing it for college football, especially if teams stick to a 12-game regular season with a conference championship. The teams reaching the national championship could be playing 17 games, and that seems to me like at least one game too many.

No playoffs if your graduation rate is not the greater of
one standard deviation of the school as a whole.

I want to bring back the student athlete (plus Stanford would start winning more games…)

I’m not enamored of the 2-division / championship game format…just because some conferences went for the money and now they’re whining about how it keeps them out of the BCSCG doesn’t mean it should be shoved down the throat of the smarter conferences.

I think the Pac-10 has it right, so let’s use that as a model: 12 10-team conferences. Each team plays all 9 of their conference members, plus 3 OOC games.

And whoever said we should tinker with OT should be sentenced to watch Syracuse play Wazzu over and over again. College OT is the coolest thing in sports.

You are both right and wrong.

You are absolutely correct that with the current lack of a playoff, a 2-division/CCG format is terrible.

Unbalanced conference schedules are extremely unfair in college football, where dodging games against the top 1 or 2 teams in your conference gives a huge advantage.

An obvious example was last year when Missouri played Oklahoma twice, and Kansas avoided them altogether. As a result, Kansas made the BCS and Missouri didn’t.

Aside from ridiculously unbalanced schedules, the 2-division/CCG format also doesn’t even work. Teams that lost their championship game have still been sent to (and gotten crushed in) the national championship. This is the one thing the CCG format should prevent, and it didn’t even do that.

However, if there was a playoff system that took the CCG winners, then they would be a great thing to have.

Essentially, the 2-division/CCG format was made to work with a playoff that takes the CCG winners, and doesn’t make any sense without such a playoff.

Nope. They are few and far between, and all the big schools fatten their schedules against cupcake teams. It’s wrong for a team to improve it’s ranking by defeating St. Swithen’s State College by a 72-14 score, while another team squeaks by to defeat a real opponent.

Relegation and promotion, European soccer style. As in English football, renaming the various divisions is probably inevitable, but in reality, there’s still Division I, Division II and so on as high as you need to go.
Worst teams in Div I at the end of the year get sent to Div II. Best teams in Div II at the end of the year get to move up to Div I. Etc. for the lower divisions.

Div I teams may play Div II teams, if the game was scheduled when both teams were in the same division, but a win only counts as a fraction of a win for ranking purposes. A Div I team playing a Div III team gets a fraction of a loss for ranking purposes, even if they win. Perhaps some provisions may be made for traditional rivalries (e.g. when Yale improbably makes it to Div I, they can still play Harvard every year).

A single objective ranking system is used, based primarily on wins (with, as mentioned, wins against lower-division opponents weighted less). Top two play in a championship game that rotates from Bowl to Bowl; numbers 3 and 4 also rotate from Bowl to Bowl.

My idea is similar to your original idea ICC except:

8 12 team conferences with a CCG (so essentially you start with a 16 team playoff field).

Keep the conferences similar to as they are now, as much as you can (ie PAC 10 add 2 teams, Big 10 add ND (you know that’s what they are waiting for, having only 11 teams), WAC can merge with Mountain West, etc)

10 game schedule: 5 from your Conf Div, 3 from the other Div, 2 at large. At large can be cupcakes if you want tuneups, or tough foes if you want to get you team experience. It won’t matter since only conference record matters.

Only conference Champs advance to playoff.

These first four games are randomly pre-determined before the start of the season, or you can keep traditional bowl rivalries (ie the Rose Bowl could always host PAC10 vs Big 10)

Rankings are abolished (by voting for which team you think is best you’ve reduced the sport to figure skating).

Now I love English sports (and there’s a reason the “pod system” I suggested bears more than a passing similarity with the “bumps” of English university rowing :smiley: ), but I don’t like the idea of relegation and promotion in college football. In English soccer when a team gets relegated or promoted the first thing they do is hit the transfer market, bringing in better players if they’re promoted, selling players if they’re relegated. College football teams don’t have that option.

So what? Given the greater variability in college football, the promoted team should have just as good a chance of competing in the new division as the current teams. And everybody on a college team is out of there in a few years, anyway.
The main point of relegation/promotion is to make sure that the best teams really are playing each other, rather than inflating their W-L record by playing cupcakes all year, and to identify the best (and worst) teams in an objective way, while having competitive games at every level.
The NCAA tries to do that, by having different divisions, but the problems is that a) the NCAA doesn’t prevent cross-division games, so the cupcake issue is still there, and b)the NCAA doesn’t assign divisions based objectively on the strength of the team anyway.