A Sweet 16 Solution To Determine College Football’s Real Champion


Published: December 10, 2008


Posted by: Chris Courtney

“Playoffs?!  You kiddin’ me?!  PLAYOFFS??!!”  Yes, as crazy and as fool-hearty as it sounds, Jim Mora, I’m talking about playoffs.  It seems these days that everyone and their mother (including your hopeless scribe) is screaming…no, pleading…for a reasoned and logical way to determine college football’s national champion.  Year after year, college football fans across the nation are left with a sour taste in their mouth after witnessing another season in which they wonder whether the two best teams in the country actually competed for the national title.  The snubbing of teams like USC, Auburn, Boise State, and yes, even Oregon, have been met with outrage due to the fact that the current BCS system for deciding a national champion is painfully flawed.  How ludicrous would it be to determine the Super Bowl, World Series, or anything else for that matter based on such a subjective system?  With all due respect to figure skating and beauty pageants, this is football.  An objective game with objective rules, for all intents and purposes.

So, as I step down from my soapbox in the spirit of logic and objectivity, I offer to you my solution to the BCS Blunder.  A 16-team playoff.

To begin, the field of 16 would be determined by the conference champions of all 11 Division I/FBS conferences, plus five at-large teams which would be decided based on the final BCS rankings at the end of the regular season.  Seeding in the tournament would also be determined by the final BCS rankings.  During the regular season, every team would play 11 games (excluding teams in the Big 12, SEC, Conference USA, and ACC who may otherwise qualify for a conference championship game, thus playing an additional 12th regular season game).

First round match-ups in the playoff, would be played at the home site of the higher seeded team (for example, the 1-seed would host the 16-seed, 8-seed would host the 9-seed, etc.)  After the first-round games are complete, the bracket would be separated in to regions a la the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  These regions would be the Dallas, San Diego, Orlando, and Glendale regions; neutral site locations which would host the quarterfinal match-ups and would incorporate the Cotton, Holiday, Capital One, and Fiesta Bowls, respectively.  The top four seeds in the tourney — in this case, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, and Alabama — are placed in these regions with proximity in mind.  Of the top four, the top team gets proximity advantage in descending order, hence 1-seed Oklahoma would be placed in the Dallas region, 2-seed Florida gets Orlando, 3-seed Texas gets Glendale, and 4-seed Alabama gets the short end of the stick and makes the cross-country trip to San Diego.  Semifinal games would be played in New Orleans and Miami, with no pre-conceived proximity advantage given to a team, and like the quarterfinal sites, would encompass the essence of the Sugar and Orange Bowls respectively.  The national championship game is played at the Granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena.

(Deep breath.)

With the table set, I unveil to you your 2008-2009 NCAA Football National Championship Bracket Presented by DucksAttack.com (forgive me for selling out):

Dallas Region: *Winner of the Dallas Region will play the winner of the San Diego Region in Semifinal #1 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

(16) Troy at (1) Oklahoma

(9) Boise State at (8) Penn State

San Diego Region: *Winner of the San Diego Region will play the winner of the Dallas Region in Semifinal #1 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

(12) TCU at (5) USC

(13) Virginia Tech at (4) Alabama

Orlando Region: *Winner of the Orlando Region will play the winner of the Glendale Region in Semifinal #2 in the Orange Bowl in Miami.

(15) Buffalo at (2) Florida

(10) Ohio State at (7) Texas Tech

Glendale Region: *Winner of the Glendale Region will play the winner of the Orlando Region in Semifinal #2 in the Orange Bowl in Miami.

(11) Cincinnati at (6) Utah

(14) East Carolina at (3) Texas

Tomorrow, the tourney kicks-off, as I will take a look at the Dallas region and breakdown those match-ups.  Each day, I will give my thoughts and opinions on these mythical match-ups, as well as, pick the winners…from the first-round games all the way to the national championship.  Comments and opinions are strongly encouraged, as this should be a fun way to pass the time before bowl games and recruiting start to heat up.  Let the games begin!

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