So any college football fan can agree, this debate shows itself numerous times throughout the course of a season.
After years of bickering, and complaining, the NCAA finally gave in, and agreed on a 4 team playoff that would determine the National Championship.
Of course now that 4 teams (rather than 2) get the opportunity, that still isnt enough, as every year schools, and analysts moan on how certain schools get robbed of their national title hopes.
Talk is already begun that the NCAA might very well cave again at one point or another, and expand the playoff to 6 or 8 teams. Thats all well, and fine, but we have a playoff scenario (that will likely never happen, but it completely should) that would appease not only power 5 conferences, but all FBS schools (yes, mid-majors, we’re looking at you).
So, what scenario would possibly not only appease the power 5, but the ‘other 5’ FBS football schools? Certainly there couldnt be one, right? Wrong.
Here we go…
Step 1: The Season Setup
The regular season needs to be cut to 10/11 games (10 with a conference championship, 11 if you were to rid them all together). Bare with us…
Step 2: The Playoff Setup
The playoff turns into a 4 week, 16 team tournament. Because some teams will be playing up to 4 extra games, its neccassary to cut the regular season by a game or two. So with our plan put in place, schools at most (National Championship game) would be playing 15 games.
Step 3: The Conference Champions
There are currently 10 FBS football conferences. Conference champions would automatically receive a bid (just as in basketball). So 10, undisputed spots would be decided without any argument.
This would appease teams like UCF who felt they deserved at least a right to play for the title this year. It would also appease every mid major conference, as essentially, all 120 plus FBS teams have a somewhat realistic chance of playing for a national title.
For those who are unaware, some mid-major conferences were discussing creating a playoff exclusively for mid-majors (the other five), and while nothing has officially unfolded from these suspected talks, implementing automatic playoff bids for conference champions would end any of that immediately.
Now, I’m sure were at a point where fans & alum of the power 5 conferences want to jump through the screen, and ring our neck.
Hold up, your appeasement is next…
Step 4: The Remaining 6
So that leaves 6 bids (not 4) to award to finish the field. Meaning, (directed at you, power 5 conference schools), there are not only 2 more spots available, but your conference champion is already given a bid, so your chances are even better.
These 6 bids would be ‘at large’ bids (again, taking a page out of basketball here), and would be determined by the NCAA selection committee.
Step 5: The Seedings
Now, because a team like Appalachian State could very well be awarded an automatic bid for winning the Sun Belt, the NCAA would determine the seeds of the entire ‘bracket.’
Have two sides of the bracket (East & West), each side of the bracket seeded 1-8. So teams like Appalachian State would likely be awarded an 8 seed.
Step 6: The Rationale
Take a step back, think about this scenario. Who loses here? We’ll wait… The answer is nobody.
The power conferences get 6 additional playoff schools.
The ‘other 5’ conferences finally have an opportunity to compete in one.
The NCAA will bring in big money with the slightly extended season (not to mention additional playoff games).
The media would have a frenzy over discussing ‘bubble’ teams, as well as potential cinderella stories that are just so rare in college football, and a contributing factor would be lack of opportunity.
The fans would obviously get to enjoy all this mayhem playout, and what college football fan doesn’t want an extended season with more playoff teams?
So before you laugh, before you kick & scream, before you throw your phone against the wall, take a step back, and honestly think about any potential loser in this situation. We’ll wait again… And again, there is none.
While this scenario is likely all but a pipe dream, its a scenario that brings in more money, appeases all parties, and is just plain out awesome to think about.