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10 Things to Change about College Football: The BCS

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Since the offseason is now in full swing and the OFD crew is rolling out content reserved for such times, I thought I would embark on a Murtaugh-esque 10 part piece on things I would like to see changed in college football.

The changes I will be proposing will range from minor (no effect on the actual game) to a little more drastic. As always, I hope this encourages a good debate as I am sure not everyone will agree with my thoughts.

For the first installment, I am going to tackle the BCS.

A brief history of the BCS:

The BCS as we know it today began in 1992 with the Bowl Coalition (which lasted through 1994). The aim of the coalition was simple--to pair the top two teams in the country in a bowl game to determine the national champion. It was successful in creating this match-up in two of the three years it existed, but also had some drawbacks.

Starting in 1995, the Bowl Alliance replaced the Bowl Coalition in order to improve the odds of pairing the #1 and #2 teams, but still didn't have the full buy-in as the Big Ten and Pac-10 maintained their traditional match-up in the Rose Bowl.

In 1997, the BCS (as it is known today) first saw the light of day under the title of "Super Alliance" since it was successful in creating as system that included the Big Ten and Pac-10. There have been several changes and modifications over its history, with one of the most significant coming in 2007 and the addition of a dedicated Championship Game rotating between the four host bowl sites.

The one important thing to keep in mind about the BCS system is this--the only thing it was ever meant to do was to pair the #1 and #2 teams in a title game to determine a "true" (or mythical, if you prefer) national champion.

For a more complete history, feel free to read up at the official BCS website.


Don't get me wrong--changes are already on the way. I may not agree with it 100%, but the old system appears to be moving towards a four team playoff scenario with all games at current bowl sites.

My plan is pretty simple, and consists of a few key points:

1. The playoffs will consist of six teams. Four is too few and eight seems like too many (at least in the beginning. For reference, the FCS D-1AA is set to expand playoffs to 24 teams (currently 20) in 2013, Division II has 24 teams and Division III has 32 teams in their respective playoffs.

2. The playoff will be run by the NCAA. I really have no idea why the NCAA is leaving so much money on the table in the television contract that a playoff would generate money that could go for scholarships to future college students.

3. Eliminate ALL conference championship games. This allows the playoffs to begin the first weekend of December.

4. Teams and seeding are determined by an independent committee. I would prefer that OFD has some representation on this committee, but I could be flexible on that one.

Teams will be selected based on the following criteria: overall record, strength of schedule (including their opponent's strength of schedule), record against ranked teams, and head-to-head wins. Sound complicated? It can't be that complicated--DIII already uses a very similar system.

5. First round (first Saturday in December) and semi-final (second Saturday in December) games will be played on the home field of the higher seeded team.

6. The championship game will be played on the first Saturday on or after New Year's Day. The site will be rotated among several different cities, much in the way that the Final Four is in basketball.

So there is my simple plan for eliminating the BCS and installing a playoff system. Under this system, the current bowl games are not eliminated or utilized in the system. Too bad it will never happen this way.

Related Reading:

Michael Collins' four part series on the BCS (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Michael Collins' break-down of media contracts and the BCS

Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan's "Death to the BCS"

Eric Murtaugh's Strange Love: The Big Ten & The Rose Bowl