Saturday, December 03, 2005

How I would fix the BCS - Mirek Style!

We've been living with this less than perfect system for almost 10 years now. About every other year it gets it right. Compare this to the old system of coaches and sportswriters who got it right every other year as well. I think we can all agree that the BCS is not what we want in America. It may play in France, but this is not Gay Paris. OK, so I offer more than just criticism - I offer a solution. Please, everybody involved, hear my plea and take action. I'm offering up the blueprint this time.

I mean come on. These 'Conference Championship' games are crap. 70-3 Texas. 66-19 SC. 34-14 Georgia. And now it looks like the Orange Bowl will be Penn State vs. Florida State in Miami (AARP Bowl). Bowden versus Paterno. We all know that these conference championship games are just about money - that's it. Otherwise, they suck. I would rather watch Ashley Judd on the sidelines of any Kentucky home game. By the way, the CATS lost a shocker today at home to the TARHEELS, who lost to those ILLINI on Tuesday.

OK, so enough of the diatribe. Here is my solution.

1) Enough is enough - the regular season should end Thanksgiving weekend with all of those great rivalry games: The Iron Bowl (Auburn/Bama), the Civil War (Oregon & OSU), Texas/A&M, etc....let's just make this a delcaration. When November ends, so does the college football regular season no matter how many games they play between August and then.

2) the BCS rankings are not bad. They are a composite of computers and human polls. Sure, we can tweak them more going forward, but the general idea of a multi-variable ranking system is a good one. So, I say let's use it.....

3) Take the top 12 BCS teams at the end of the regular season. Sorry #13 and below - goodbye, your national title hopes are over. Enjoy your bowl game. El Paso is nice in late December - Feliz Navidad! Bowl games are great rewards for those programs who qualify (and their fans, alumni, corporate America, etc). We need to keep the bowls around because they are part of what makes college football so great - if not the greatest sport in the land.

4) Once the TOP - 12 is known, we have 2 consecutive playoff weekends in early December; that's it. In the first weekend, there are 5 regional games that first Saturday involving only teams 3-12 (10 teams in all). The top 2 in the BCS get a first -week bye (hey, they earned it). #3 plays #12, #4 plays #11, and so on. After the first play-off weekend we would then re-rank the teams 1-12. At this point, only the top-8 would be guaranteed a BCS birth in the current format of 4 BCS game: Fiesta, Rose, Orange, and Sugar. 4 schools would be eliminated from BCS consideration but can and should go to other bowl games. For example, this year that first play-off weekend would look like (December 3rd):

Penn State / UCLA (#3 and #12)
LSU / WV (#4 and #11)
Va. Tech / Auburn (#5 and #10)
Ohio State / Miami (#6 and #9)
Oregon / Notre Dame (#7 and #8)

These games would be played at pre-determined regional sites that get announced at least 1 year in advance so there is plenty of time to sell tickets and such. I would insist on spreading these 5 games out across the country: coast to coast in cities like Seattle / Phoenix / Dallas / St. Louis / Atlanta / Chicago / Detroit / you get the idea. Remaining logistics can be worked out.

5) The 2nd weekend (December 10th) would pit #1 against the new#8, #2 against the new#7, and so on. After week 2 of the playoff, we re-rank the top-8 teams in the BCS. At this point, the BCS schedule is set: #1 plays #2 in the championship game, #3 plays #4, #5 plays #6, and #7 plays #8. The Championship game would continue to rotate yearly between the 4 major bowls. This year, weekend #2 of the playoff might look something like:

SC / Notre Dame
Texas / Ohio State
Penn State / Auburn
LSU / Va. Tech

6) There would be no conference alliances with the BCS games. Only the best teams (BCS ranking) would qualify. They suck and must go. I mean come on, West Virginia gets an automatic bid to the Sugar Bowl this year? What - that's nuts, the BIG EAST SUCKS. NO offense. They're not even in the top-10 of any poll.

7) While this system has its flaws (not perfect) it would be a better test of college football than what we have today: politics, scandle, more politics, confusion, inequity, frustration, lack of legitimacy in our national title victor, etc....

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