We’re all tired of the path towards power and money for the few dictating the details of the BCS contract. That road has proven to involve the federal government and turn off fans. This final article will contain not only what I think should happen with the next BCS contract, but what is best for college football. IMHO as Lord High Commissioner.
The next BCS agreement, while making some concessions to vested relationships, will fit within the structure and timeline outlined by the University heads and for maximum fan appeal. We will finally have a limited seeded playoff. The top four teams play at two neutral sites in semifinal games with the winners play in the national championship game the following week around January 1st.
This arrangement adds three additional games, gives all top four teams - regardless of conference affiliations - an opportunity to win the championship, contributes to maximum fan appeal, and brings a NCAA or NFL type playoff atmosphere to college football. Imagine the first time #3 and #4 upset the top two teams.
We will be talking playoffs.
The Devil’s Details
The Ranking systems need revisions. I’d like to drop the Coaches Poll like a crystal trophy due to their obvious bias and wish to be secretive, but have settled for decreasing their participation to 25%. Either the AP or the Football Writers’ polls can be added, excluding potential voters in any other polls. This reduces the impact of the other polls, including the computers, too. More importantly, polls begin after the fourth week of the season, which decreases the bias of preseason rankings and cupcake non-conference scheduling. No FCS game counts. The human polls’ rankings get a 5% weighting based on weekly strength of schedule. This should encourage an increase in competitive games early in the season and add back in the decrease in SoS that diminishing the computer polls by 8%.
Strength of schedule was less emphasized and margin of victory was eliminated due to possible bias against non-BCS teams. With the absorption of the major non-BCS competitors into major conferences, this again needs to be a consideration. By 2013, the former AQ conferences and ND will comprise seventy-five FBS teams.
Let’s have a little sympathy for the devil.
The Second Tier - Major Bowls
Now that the national championship format has been determined, it’s time to address the major bowls. I am expanding the four major bowls to five, with the fifth up for bidding. The next ten ranked teams (5-14) will play in those five games. The Rose Bowl gets a Big Ten-Pac 12 matchup. The Sugar Bowl gets a SEC team of their choice. The others choose their matchups regardless of conference champions. Since we no longer have any AQ status or conference affiliations for BCS bowls, the games should be more competitive with greater fan appeal.
This allows flexibility in bowls’ choices involving either choosing geographical or historical considerations or who they think will present the best matchups among those next ten ranked teams. If a bowl chooses first, they get their second choice last. The Sugar Bowl’s rotational choice depends on where their SEC team ranks. If they have the fifth ranked team, they will have the last choice. If they have the fourteenth ranked team, they have the first choice, etc. Otherwise, second tier bowl choices rotate annually, as they currently do.
Also, in the four days after the conference championship games, the fans get to vote for their choices in the matchups of the ten teams through the media partner’s website. Fans and writers will jump all over this, leading to increased interest and anticipation. Conference teams will have to meet the same standard that Notre Dame and non-BCS teams have to achieve for inclusion.
All have an equal opportunity for participation. All will be rewarded.
What’s Best for College Football
As Lord High Commissioner, I am imposing the following riders to this contract:
- 50% of this future BCS contract revenue goes to the universities to distribute for academic goals, e.g. faculty raises, research, scholarships for non-athletes, etc. It willl be harder and harder to justify a for profit arm of an institution with charitable status with these windfalls and to administrators, faculty, students and the federal government. The average TV contract alone for the major conferences already provides about $20 million per school annually.
- No teams can be selected for the playoffs or second tier games unless they graduate 50% of their players
- 15% of the revenue from the contract will be earmarked for non-major conferences/universities for distribution. 10% will go to non-BCS FBS conferences and the other 5% will go to the NCAA for distribution among the other football Divisions
- for their continued participation, Notre Dame receives the equivalent to the payout for a Big Ten team under this agreement, calculated annually, and an equal opportunity to participate for the national championship and the other bowls. Notre Dame receives the same payouts as any top four or top fourteen teams for participation. The BCS receives access to five of the top ten TV markets, a huge fanbase and a non-compete clause.
- preserving long-standing rivalries as detailed below
Some of these riders will provoke storms, but cooler heads usually prevail when the heat is on.
While fans of the game rejoiced to hear Texas and Texas A&M will continue their rivalry at a neutral site in 2013, too often a switch in conference affiliation has ended some great rivalries due to nine game conference schedules with three non-conference games.
College football is diminished with the losses of Texas-Texas A&M (118 games), Missouri-Kansas (120 games), Pittsburgh-West Virginia (104 games), Oklahoma-Nebraska (86 games) and even Baylor-TCU (107 games).
I am giving those teams with long-standing rivalries the opportunity to renew these rivalries by allowing them to schedule a thirteenth game either at a neutral site or home-and-homes. Teams like Navy and Army will have more scheduling room, which may allow Army to join the Big East. If the Big 12 fails apart for some reason, the Texas - Oklahoma games could continue. Syracuse could continue to schedule a former Big East rival like Rutgers or West Virginia in the Meadowlands, for example.
In these ways, the new contract would be fair, contribute to university goals, offer equal opportunities, act to preserve what’s best in college football and increase fan appeal.
What do you think?
**For those that missed the first three installments links are below.