The perfect bowl/playoff system to fix the BCS. You’re welcome.

Every single year we hear complaints about the Bowl Championship Series. The process is flawed. The BCS was intended to fix problems of bias, but it just made them worse. After growing weary of hearing the whining EVERY SINGLE YEAR I have decided to fix the problem.

My idea is a national championship that takes all of the best elements of the traditional New Year’s Day bowls, and marries it to a playoff. How? It’s not easy. That’s why I’m here.

My idea is this: There are eight New Year’s Day bowls. The eight winners of these bowls will play a single elimination tournament to decide a National Championship. Who would play in these bowls? I’m glad you asked.

Rose Bowl: Pac-10 vs.Big 10 champion

Sugar Bowl: SEC champ vs. one of three at-large teams

Orange Bowl: ACC champ vs. one of three at-large teams

Cotton Bowl: Big 12 champ vs. one of three at-large teams

Fiesta Bowl: the two remaining teams from the play-in tournament (wait for it)

Three additional bowls (Gator? Sun? Tangerine? Chick-fil-a?) featuring the other six conference champions in some order (WAC, Big East, C-USA, MAC, MW, SW).

Now let’s back up: what’s this about a play-in tourney? That’s right: Eight teams will be selected to compete for a chance to play for the title on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, along with the three at-large invitees to the “big” bowls. These eight teams will play games the second and third week in December to decide the two participants in the Fiesta Bowl. (Alternatively, 10 teams could play one week for the 5 at-large spots, OR, 20 teams could do the same over two weeks, OR 16 teams could play for two spots over three weeks. This plan is brilliant because it is so flexible).

One of the prerequisites of this plan is that the College Football season MUST be shortened to 10 (or at MOST 11) games. Any playoff games would have to be played on or around Thanksgiving. All regular season and conference title games would have to be concluded by the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

But without the insane BCS/ranking system in place, there really would be no need for conference championship games. And hopefully, with fewer games on their schedules, teams would schedule primarily conference games (9 out of 10? Wouldn’t that be nice?).

So let’s review: the playoffs would start with an 8 (or possibly 16) team tourney in mid-December. This way all of College Football gets at least two weeks off for finals. Most teams wouldn’t play again until New Year’s Day. Only 8 (or maybe 16, but really why bother? If we took 16 instead of 8 this year, we’d be adding teams 21-28 in the BCS standings. Do any of those teams have a chance? Wouldn’t it be beter to give those teams the time off? Or let them play in non-BCS bowls?

Yes, there would still be non-BCS bowls, but none would be allowed to play after December 30th. New Year’s Day will be bowl day again in America. Thank God!

And now you’re probably looking at this and saying, “well, why aren’t the teams seeded? Why is it fair that the PAC-10 champ has to play the Big 10 champ while the Big East champ plays the MAC or WAC? The answer: too bad. Bowls aren’t a seeded tournament. They shouldn’t be. AFTER the bowls the NCAA is welcome to seed the 8 teams for the second tournament.

You should win something for winning your conference. Otherwise, why have conferences? If the MAC, WAC, etc, aren’t good enough to play with the big boys, why are they allowed in 1-A? Why not give them their own league? This way two of these conferences are pretty much guaranteed to get to the final eight.

I imagine the quarterfinals being played the second week in January, and the Semis the following week. Again, we have only a few teams playing into the spring semester. And the final game the week before the Super Bowl! How perfect is that? The championship game would rotate at the 8 bowl sites or the 5 “major” bowl sites.

So how would this work this year? We’d be gearing up the hype for the play-in tourney with #20 Missouri at #10 Ohio State, #18 BYU at # 14 OK State, #16 Georgia at #15 GA Tech, and #19 Oregon at #11 TCU. There would be lots of lamenting at Michigan State, Northwestern, and Pitt, but how loudly could they really complain?

Imagine that Georgia and Ohio State advanced to the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. Ball State could play Tulsa in one bowl, Utah could take on Troy, and Boise State could fight Cincinnatti. BC could face Texas in the Orange Bowl, Oklahoma could take on Florida in the Cotton, and Alabama could face Texas in the Sugar. And the Rose would pit Penn State against USC.

Then the winners of those eight games would fight it out for the title! All three Big 12 teams could move on! Or maybe Alabama and Florida would meet for the title!

The whole point of the BCS was to lessen the influence of the polls. This would emphatically do that. The worst “disaster” would be if there were four juggernauts who did not win a conference title and one were left out of a major bowl. But how likely is that? Ohio State would be the top ranked team left out this year, and how could they complain?

The main arguments against a playoff are lengthening the season for student atheletes. In my opinion, this system shortens the season significantly for most teams. Indeed, if we were to do away with non-New Year’s Day bowls (and really, with a playoff, couldn’t we live without them?) the vast majority of teams would end their season on or around Thanksgiving. College football season should really only run for three months, September, October, and November.

Yes, between 22 and 34 teams WILL have somewhat longer seasons. And if a team “plays in” and continues to the championship game, they will play six playoff games. But how likely is that? And wouldn’t it be worth it? What a Cinderella story!

Admittedly we could do all this without the play-in tourney. Just have 8 bowls New Year’s Day to kick off the playoffs, and then three weeks to winnow the field to one. But I think the play-ins help maintain the prestige of the bowls.

This plan is bulletproof. Someone forward it to the NCAA.

You’re welcome.