I know there will be naysayers to my suggestions. There will be so-called football logicians that will give me some hot from the farm bullshit as to why this won’t work or why it simply isn’t feasible. Let me respond to you first to save you the trouble and be clear. If you hate this plan, you hate the following seven things:
- Indiana Jones
- Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs
- Killing Bears
I am starting to hear a lot of the early reports about the death of the traditional BCS and the new +1 format and all the iterations of it that are being thrown around. I know we’re in for something that solves nothing because Larry Scott is actually making sense about killing Rose Bowl tradition and SEC’s PR engine skewing who gets in the dance. Let’s be honest, once they threw out the “having to win you conference clause”, the SEC was planning how they could just get all four teams in. I mean, I know we’re all stoked to see some more epic LSU and Bama matchups where as good as the defensive personnel is, run offenses that should hang above cribs to help babies go to sleep.
So let’s be clear, the following seven things will need to happen to allow my plan to work:
- Someone tazes the SEC and negotiates while they are passed out
- Wait for the SEC to drink to much, drag it to a barn and have it wake up naked in the sheep pen and negotiate while they are putting the pieces back together
- Have a structure that conceivably allows more than 2 SEC teams in
- Have a structure that conceivably allows more than 2 teams from any conference in
- When SEC wakes up, hit them in head with lead pipe and drive them towards the US-MEXICO border in a car filled with narcotics and let them explain it while we finish negotiating
- Don’t add games to the schedule
- Make sure everyone gets paid like a motherfucker
The big concern for years was adding games to the schedule. Let’s fix that a couple ways. For one, everyone plays 8 conference games now. Let’s cap it at that (you heard me Larry Scott). We’re cutting that back. We’re also cutting down 2 preseason games. It will hurt USC being able to go to Hawaii, but it will eliminate that weekend or two where you get treated to Ohio State vs Youngstown State or LSU vs Louisiana Tech or Florida vs Florida Inter-fucking-national. Those games are just about home games and money. Last week, the University of Florida cut it’s science department and raised the budget for athletics. A school that takes money away from science for football doesn’t deserve more games. They should just be rich like USC and pay for everything. Duh. Read a manual, South.
What we want from a playoff is killer matchups, a true display of conference vs conference to eliminate (or foster) bias for SEC (if they really are the best, let’s prove it and let them own it, I just never see it when they play USC), a spot for all 6 big conferences, room for more teams who are deserving in the public opinion.
So, here’s my plan.
- 8 team tournament
- Winners of each conference plus 2 at-large teams selected by ranking
- Conference winner must have no more than 2 losses or the spot goes to a new at-large spot.
Now I am not touching the scheduling of games or where they need to be. I mean, the fact is we can shave the games off the schedule and generate 3 weeks of playoffs. What’s even better is other bowls can bond together and form other tournaments that would be big for making statements for the next year.
The most important part of extending to 8 teams is simply that all conference champions (assuming they only lost 2 games) will get a shot to defend their conferences honor. As good as the SEC is, they rarely play elite OOC games. Not that most schools do, but when you factor that USC has voluntarily scheduled Auburn, Arkansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Texas (can’t wait) makes it hard to take the fact the LSU got Oregon at a neutral site that seriously.
It’s not that the SEC wouldn’t win those games, but we’d all like to see. The south watches a lot of football and thus, they get a lot of special treatment. So does USC normally because we’re interesting, like a hot girl who wears black rimmed glasses when she studies. The thing is, when USC gets in trouble, the world tries to drop them. When the SEC does, they sweep it under the rug because the South prints money for football. In Florida, they cut science degrees for it. Computer Science, because we all know that them there internet thang ain’t catchin’ on any them there time soon.
If a champ loses two games, drop them. If you look at the season ending records, the best teams drop 2 or less. If they drop 3, then they are subject to the at large process which is polls. It’s the eyeball test. This is, as Teague Egan would say, “crucial, brah” because it will still foster the kinds of circular, pointless debates ESPN gets off on (and frankly milks for 24 hours so they have content) by debating who the final 2-3 teams that get in are, but it will not be as passionate a fight as a four team will create.
Let’s get real. 4 teams is just going to be 2 SEC teams every year with the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12 fighting for 2 spots. Schools like Ohio State play easy schedules in the Big Ten (sorry, it’s an awful conference every year since the spread happened and if you would like to argue, please don’t do so to a USC fan who has seen Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois and Penn State all in winning seasons barely compete) and they travel well so they will always get a spot. Last year, out of nowhere, the Pac 12 was probably the 2nd best conference at the top. If I give LSU and Alabama their cred, the Pac 12 had 3 teams in the AP top 6 going into the bowls when USC was too handsome to participate.
The point I am making is that when money is involved, 9 of 10 times the final slot is going to Oklahoma, Texas or USC. That’s just revenue. We don’t have details yet, but I am of the mind that the polls are rigged and that things work out the way the money goes. Every time.
Look, I’m not complaining because USC is treated well when they are playing well. But the POINT of a playoff is to see the fucking teams PLAY OFF.
Four teams will leave us wondering. Eight would as well, but if you can’t finish in the top 8, how relevant were you really. What we really want at the core is to see all the shit-talking culminate with some ass-on-the-line competition. Is a four team playoff going to do that? This is one of those cases where it’s better than it is now, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Eight teams would give you the most mind-blowing matchups over a month.
To finish top 8, you have to be elite. The regular season still really matters. 2 losses may be too much. The only way to get in is to not lose, but with polls mattering, maybe we’ll see some good OOC games for a change as teams try to have a better resume going in. Nothing sucks more than getting excited for the season and being rewarded with highlights of Alabama dropping 70 points on UAB. ROLL TIDE…
Would love to hear your thoughts. I expect some awesome hate mail to get me ready for Bachelorette season. Stay tuned for all that and of course, my arrogant season preview sometime in early August. It’s all written in my head already.
Lastly, to my USC seniors, good luck squeezing the last drops of college out until you realize you haven’t gone far at the first tailgate come next season. You’re a Trojan for life, no matter what they throw at you. You can’t sanction that kind of thing.