2 Plans to Replace the BCS

2 Plans to Replace the BCS

I know this is a sports design blog, but I don’t have any other outlet to share my thoughts with the world, and the following is a sports topic, so it’s half related, right?

The BCS sucks. This is a fact, and even if you’re for some reason against a playoff, decimal points choosing only two teams to compete for a national championship is ridiculous. In the NCAA, only diving, gymnastics, and the top level of the NCAA’s most popular sport, football, decide their champion this way. There are plenty of realistic solutions to replace the BCS, and I’ll get to one of those in a bit, but first I want to share with you my dream scenario.

My Dream College Football Scenario (aka “Plan Impossible”)

I hate super-conferences. The Pac-10 used to have it right. 10-team conferences = 9 conference games and an undisputed conference champion with no conference championship game necessary. If there was a tie, they had played each other. Tiebreaker complete. If there was a 3-way tie, the problem was the same as it would be now. As an added bonus, 10-team leagues make playing each team home and away in basketball possible. If you’re in the same conference as someone, why can you go years without playing them in football? This is why the first step to my dream college football scenario involves a massive conference realignment.

The top factors in my conference realignment are that every team has to be in a conference, every conference has 10 teams (no more, no less), and it’s all based on geography. No state will have two teams in separate conferences – with one caveat. I’ve separated the conferences into two tiers, just like they are now. The teams from the current 6 BCS conferences + TCU and Boise State (to round it out at 70 teams, and because they deserve it) are in the first tier. The rest are in the second. The only time that matters is in my “no two teams from two states in two different conferences” declaration. That’s still true within each tier. You’ll see what I mean.

I present to you, my ideal conference realignment (click to see full size):

There are 12 conferences of 10 teams each. I think the fact that there are 120 FBS teams, and that there are 68 in BCS conferences with Boise State and TCU making 70, proves that this is meant to be. And now every intrastate rivalry is a conference game. Teams can use their non-conference games to play far-away rivals.

So now everyone in the country plays 9 conference games, no conference needs a conference championship game, and you have 12 conference champions based on the whole regular season, not one game. Now that we have 12 conference champions, what’s the next logical thing to do? The same thing college basketball does. Place those champions and a select number of at-large teams into a bracket and let them determine who the national champion is on the field.

In addition to the 12 conference champions, a selection committee can decide which 4 teams that didn’t win their conference are worthy of playing in the playoff and seed the 16 appropriately. By including all the conference champions, you’re not only giving every school in the country a shot – like basketball does – but you’re rewarding most likely the top 5 teams by giving them a first round game against a weaker opponent. 4 at-large teams should include every non-conference-champion that would have a legitimate shot at the title. It’s certainly more than the 1 that gets a shot now. Also, having a strong non-conference schedule will still be important in case you’re up for an at-large big. And every week of conference play will certainly matter since the regular season determines the conference champions.

The first 2 rounds can be played at the home field of the higher seed, giving more incentive to perform well in the regular season in order to get a top 4 or 8 seed, and the “Final Four” games and National Championship can have existing bowl names and be played on a neutral field. But all the bowls can still exist for everyone .500 or over outside these 16 teams. Bowls are already pointless aside from money and entertainment, and they’d still serve both purposes. But the playoff games would certainly have much more viewership than any current bowl game.

If the regular season starts when it currently does and everyone plays 3 non-conference games and has one bye week, you finish the regular season the weekend after Thanksgiving. That Sunday can be Selection Sunday. If you give everyone a week off after the regular season, the playoff would start in early December and finish in early January, assuming you give the championship teams another bye week before their game.

Here’s how this would look this year (using BCS/Sagarin rankings to determine fictional conference champions, at-large teams, and seeds):

Now, as much as I wish everything above this sentence would come true, I know it’s not possible to reshuffle all the conferences for all sports. So here’s a less exciting plan that’s still much better than the BCS.

The Realistic Plan

It’s quite simple, really. Take the 6 BCS conference champions, add in the two most deserving at-large teams, and have an 8-team playoff. You could add in every conference champion and have a 16-team playoff like above, but since we’re going realistic here, we’re sticking with the BCS conferences. Since conference championship games are December 3, give everyone a bye week and play the first round on the home fields of the higher seeds on December 17. Then the “Final Four” and championship game can be bowls on neutral fields.

Here’s how it would look this year (using BCS/Sagarin rankings to determine at-large teams and seeds):

So that’s how I would do it, both if I could do anything and if I had to stick to the conference system we have now. What do you think? What would you do?

4 Responses to “2 Plans to Replace the BCS”

  1. Steve L
    December 6th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I love it. Both the conference realignments and the Championship playoff. It’s seems so simple and I wsih we could get a legitimate reason why a playoff isn’t considered. I think the thought of money being the issue is stupid. They’d make so much money with a playoff it would be insane!!

  2. John
    December 6th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Seems well though out….If will never work. Thanks for trying though.

  3. Gon Lamperouge
    October 15th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I love it. I think both options by far much better than what we have right now.

  4. Zax
    May 3rd, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Cool idea, only problem I see is having Bowling Green in the Atlantic instead of the Great Lakes. Bowling Green, OH is about 30 minutes from Lake Erie, and closer to all the Michigan schools than Kent State or Akron, which both would be closer to many of the Atlantic schools. Although it is probably a moot point :)

    Love the concept though!

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