TCU vs Auburn Won’t Happen and More on the BCS

A week before Auburn vs Oregon came down to the final play we made the inquiries.  Could TCU play the winner of Auburn vs Oregon ?  TCU had only played 13 games. Oregon would only have played 13 games. Auburn, 14 games.  If Oregon won , would it be possible to play TCU as their 14th game ?

The schools, on an off the record basis, were not opposed to it.  They didn’t come out and agree to it, but they certainly were not opposed to the idea. The problem ? It wasn’t money.  The problem was that when we asked anyone who could know whether or not the NCAA would approve another game , a +plus one playoff game, the response was unanimous , and I’m paraphrasing here “There is no way in hell the NCAA would approve a +1 playoff game between any two teams .  There is no way TCU vs anyone could happen”

Hey. We asked.

We projected that there would be about $50mm available to the schools. But it wasn’t a question of money. It was a question of yes or no from the NCAA.  We decided it was better not to actually pop the question to the NCAA. We decided to rethink the question of whether or not there should be a BCS playoff.

The first step in rethinking the process is to first work from the most likely premise and try to adapt it to the goal. So we started with a simple perspective: “What if the current BCS system is a good system and the only system available to determine which two teams should play for the national championship ?”.

To some, this may be a non-starter.  They believe that the BCS is so flawed and incapable of crowning a true national champion that it’s not worthy of consideration. I disagree. When you look at the system, the current BCS system it is actually a very, very good starting point for determining a national champion. It is not perfect. It is far from  perfect from a financial perspective. It leaves a lot of money on the table.  But maximizing revenue is not a stated goal of the BCS system. So you can’t really blame them for that.

The BCS system actually reaches quite a few of its goals. It retains tradition. It makes every game of the regular season important. It retains some semblance of normality for student athletes schedules and it allows them to enjoy the unique experiences of the bowl system – a week in a cool location with family, friends, fans and teammates.  You may argue about these goals, but the current system gets there from here.

The one goal that is not arguable is that the best two teams are always in the BCS Championship game.  Even the staunchest BCS supporter will tell you that every year there are going to be disappointed teams and fans who feel that the only barrier between their team and a National Championship is the lack of a true playoff.

So I set off to think about whether or not there is a way to work within the current BCS system to optimize the likelihood that the last two teams playing were the two best teams.

In technology there is the very simple principle of GIGO. No matter what the algorithm, if the data going in is incomplete or misapplied then the results will be less than optimal or just plain wrong.

THe problem with the BCS is that the data going into the system is bad.  I’m not talking about the polls. Yes we can argue about the polls the BCS uses and their problems of which they are many. But no polling or ranking system, whether built on votes or on technical analysis is going to be anywhere near perfect. (And for the record, in FOOTBALL  the margin of victory weighted and re-weighted for the quality of the competition  should be a factor in ranking teams )

The biggest  problem with the BCS system is that there are no parameters or constraints on who BCS eligible teams schedule. Pretty much every BCS eligible school tries their best to game the system to put themselves in the best position to qualify for a bowl and to go undefeated. Put another way, almost every school schedules at least 2, if not 3 “cupcakes” every year.  There in lies the rub of the BCS system. Cupcakes distort the system.  Rather than playing games that could further contract the number of teams in the championship hunt, these games increase the number.  GIGO.

The way to fix the system is to replace the cupcakes with a mid-season playoff system .

The first question in replacing cupcake games with BCS impactful is to ask whether or not teams can change their game schedules, many of which are planned years in advance. In the words of an AD “changing games is a lot easier than you think”. Particularly when you realize that the cupcakes take on the role of sacrificial lamb purely for the money. It would be relatively easy to buy out the cupcakes.

Then there is also the consideration that the cupcakes are scheduled so that schools can become bowl eligible. Bowl eligibility is not just about the experience, but also about the bonuses. Get to a bowl. Get paid. Nothing wrong with that. But in order for some to consider making their schedules more difficult they are going to want to have their bowl bonuses covered.  We can do that as part of this new approach.

With those little inhibitors eliminated the question becomes “what is the optimal approach to an in season tournament”  ?

I don’t have the perfect solution, which is why I wanted to throw it out for people to discuss on http://www.facebook.com/pages/HDNet-CFB-Playoff-Series/171212686252635

My first thought on this is that we ask the BCS to require any school that would like to be considered for the BCS championship game to be leave as open dates on their schedule the 6th , 7th and 8th  weeks of the season.   Then we take the published BCS rankings and we “playoff ” zero loss teams against each other. We do the same with 1 loss teams, 2 loss teams, etc.  So the best undefeated teams play each other in a 3 game playoff. In the event there are an uneven number of undefeated teams, we take the highest ranking one loss team (s).  You do the same all the way down the line.

In the first round the highest ranked undefeated team plays the lowest ranked. The teams are then re ranked after the results of the first games. Then we do the same thing all over again.  Formerly undefeated teams are placed in the 1 loss ‘division’ , 2 losses in the 2 loss division, only this time there is one huge change. Starting with the 2nd round, each team plays the team ranked directly below them . So 1 plays 2. 3 plays 4. 5 plays 6, all the way through however many eligible teams are participating.  Then we do the same thing all over again in the 3rd week.

By the end of these 3 weeks the number of undefeated teams are reduced, and there is the real possibility that there are no undefeated teams left. Any and every Non AQ undefeated team is going to get their chance.  We will have had some amazing matchups between conferences and probably even intra conference.   And on the bottom of the heap, every winless team is going to face another winless or at worst a very poor team and have a chance to get on the board with a win. More importantly, the rankings in the BCS system will now reflect the results of games designed to be competitive. By the end of the season, the likelihood that they two best teams are competing in the championship game has increased substantially.

What about the money ? How much do you think the value of these games will increase for current TV partners ? Auburn vs TCU as the 7th game of the season vs Auburn vs Chattanooga ?  How much will sponsors pay to brand this tournament ? How much more excited will fans be ?  Of course there is the issue of who gets the home game in this series, that can be handled via a flip of a coin. And there is the costs associated with uncertain travel expenses, which can easily be picked up via sponsorship and increased TV revenues.

And what about the Bowl Games ? They can continue on as they always have, BUT, they have the opportunity to create “re-matches”.  If Boise State knocked Penn State from the ranks of the undefeated in the first match-up game, but both ended up with 2 or 3 losses, why not a re-match ? In addition, if there is a Cinderella team(s) from the tournament, they now have a much higher national profile which in turn will make the bowl game they are involved in much more attractive.

What does everyone think ? I’m not saying this is a perfect solution. That doesn’t exist. Even in a playoff system, someone will always be disappointed. But I do think that this works within the current system in a manner that is completely in control of school ADs who do the scheduling and works within the guidelines set by the BCS and the NCAA (as far as I could tell in a first pass look), and results in a far better chance of the BCS Championship game hosting the two best teams.

How can I make this approach better ?

64 thoughts on “TCU vs Auburn Won’t Happen and More on the BCS

  1. Hi Mark,

    I know I’m a little late responding to this post, but I think I have a great solution for a BCS playoff system. It’s not too different than it is now, but it a little wrinkle which adds that NCAA Basketball “Final Four” element. Here it is…

    As I watched the LSU vs. Texas A&M Cotton Bowl in the New Dallas Cowboys stadium, I felt like I was watching a BCS Bowl game. It had that big game feel and it led me to think of a great BCS playoff format that would make everyone happy…

    1. The first and most important change is to add the Cotton Bowl as the fifth BCS bowl site. It’s a Great stadium, great central location and the Cotton Bowl has tons of history.
    2. Keep the top ten BCS ranked teams in the BCS and have a rotating championship game….same as it is now. The big difference comes in what happens with those 10 teams…
    3. Seed the BCS teams 1-10.
    4. Have seeds 5-10 play each other in three of the BCS bowls which would rotate on a yearly basis (i.e.: #10 vs. #9 Orange Bowl, #8 vs. #7 Sugar Bowl, #6 vs. #5 Cotton Bowl).
    5. Then seeds 1-4 would play in a “Final Four” format (i.e.: #1 vs. #4 Fiesta Bowl, #2 vs. #3 Rose Bowl).
    6. Finally, the winners of the “Final Four” would play in the rotating National Championship game site a week or so later(i.e. #1 vs. #2 Orange Bowl).

    I believe the advantage of this format would be the ‘playoff’ element everyone wants without losing the major bowls which is one of the biggest debates regarding a playoff. Instead of a race to get to #1 and #2 so you can play in the BCS Championship game, it would be a race to get in the “final four” and have the best 4 teams in the country battle it out.

    Basketball has the NCAA tournament to get a final four, in this format the season is the tournament and the final four is based on final BCS rankings. It’s a win-win for the BCS Bowl system, the NCAA and most importantly the fans! The NCAA and schools would be even more popular and make more money. The time frame of the games would remain the same with the BCS bowls being played on or around New Years day and the Championship game a week or two later.

    Thanks for your time and great blog! Keep up the great work and I appreciate your feedback!

    Comment by breal99 -

  2. Pingback: Headlinin’: Illini trio is moving on up | kazukilund

  3. Pingback: Mark Cuban Vs. the BCS, Part Three (or Maybe 50) - SportsNewser

  4. Pingback: How BCS Schools Use Cupcakes To Impact Rankings / Brainyloft Press SOHO / Feed Your Brain

  5. I’ve been pimping Pool Play in CFB since 2006.

    http://austin.fatheree.googlepages.com/PoolPlay.pdf

    This solves the where to play when problem, lets the bowls be bowls, and allows for sub par teams to have something to play for at the end of the season.

    Comment by skilesare -

  6. Pingback: How BCS Schools use Cupcakes to impact rankings more than Don King does for Boxing | Daringminds.com

  7. Pingback: How BCS Schools use Cupcakes to impact rankings more than Don King does for Boxing / Brainyloft Press SOHO / Feed Your Brain

  8. Tca vs Auburn
    Go Tca Go….
    4 the place in the final can Tca thanks by Brendon Taylor.
    The last Year was the best session of his life.I hope Brendon make his into the NBA.A very strange and social boy he is.One of the postive attributs they give the postive spirits to the team really he is a “Teamplayer”

    Comment by leuchte11 -

  9. I wish Oregon would win.

    Dan Jones
    http://www.strayimpact.com

    Comment by strayimp -

  10. The solution to this is really simple:

    – Choose whatever number of teams for playoff 4, 8, 16.
    – Use the current BCS system to seed those teams. Argument about whether a team got shafted moves from 3rd place team to 5th, 9th, 17th, etc where no one will care. No one cares about the 65th team to miss the NCAA tournament or the 7th to miss the NFL playoffs or the 5th to miss MLB playoffs.
    – To keep traditional matchups meaningful late in season, tweak formula to make late season losses count enough to potentially knock a team out of the playoff. Formula can probably be tweaked any # of additional ways to make it better.
    – Rotate playoff games among existing bowls.

    If you’re concerned about number of games, remove cupcake games, replace with byes.

    Get rid of month long layoff between Thanksgiving and Bowl Season. At most two weeks, then a 2-3 week playoff culminating with Champ. game on New Years Day. If you want to keep multiple bowls on New Years tradition, have consolation games among teams that lost in earlier rounds.

    And please give these kids some work study money for the hours spent practicing and playing.

    Problem(s) solved.

    Comment by smorkingapple -

  11. I don’t know if Mark reads my comments anymore, however, it would seem that to tie up several posts, his social game that he wants to develop could very well be Fantasy NCAA Football, wherein the community decides who’s number one, based on who participates, and why….

    And I wouldn’t be the one that wants to program this, simply because any system created on a computer is going to have most of the same inherent flaws that the current BCS system has….

    I should probably plug what I’m currently doing, as it seems everyone else has…. http://my168project.com.

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  12. @gtstigall: Contact me if you’d like a writer for your site. Reasonable rates. Your niche may be a bit too narrow, unless you believe you can keep this conversation going throughout the year. Maybe I can help with that….

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  13. While I don’t see a mid-season tournament working:

    I do think what needs to be done is a 32-team playoff that would give every conference champion at least one home game (with the top conference champs getting two home games) and also incorporating the existing BCS Bowl games into the mix and otherwise keeping the existing bowl system pretty much in tact. You can see much more at:

    http://www.toosmarttofail.com/32teamplayoff.html

    Comment by wallyhorse -

  14. Pingback: Cuban’s Latest Proposal: Mid-season Tournament | For Playoffs

  15. I just don’t see the mid-season playoffs being any different than end-of-season playoffs. Scheduling is the major factor you are trying to overcome so wouldn’t teams try and put cupcakes in their first few weeks so they have the chance to play against other undefeated teams? You will have some teams with more difficult schedules at the beginning of the year than at the end. Finally, what purpose does winning the mid-season tournament provide the winning team? If they lose a ‘post-playoff’ regular season game, then they fall down also.

    No. What needs to happen is simple-a playoff scenario that incorporates every conference champion. Anything else is substandard and all excuses against it can be argued against.

    Name me another sport where a team can take the field, win every game they play, yet are not considered the best team because of a few votes, or the conference they play in. I think that the current set up is disrespectful to the players that play the game and the fans who follow it.

    This is coming from a former football letter winner at a BCS School.

    Also, for fans who may be interested, I have started a blog/website compiling news, information, quotes, and proposals. Right now I am just linking to stories, but I will add features once I see traffic increasing. Check it out at http://forplayoffs.com. I’d appreciate any suggestions/help.

    Comment by gtstigall -

  16. To me, the real problem has always been the college Presidents are worried about two factions:

    1. A very small, but highly vocal group of professors (many of whom think they actually are bigger than the coaches and so forth) who would be firecely opposed to any “expansion” of college sports whatsoever as many of them are completely anti-sports, at least at the level we are at.

    2. Donors who in some cases are not exactly fond of sports and might withold endowments and other things to protest a playoff in college football.

    Those to me are the real stumbling blocks to a playoff in college football.

    That said, I do think we need a 32-team playoff in college football that would incorporate the existing BCS Bowls into it and also keep the existing Bowl system pretty much as it is. You can see how one such can work at: http://www.toosmarttofail.com/32teamplayoff.html

    Comment by wallyhorse -

  17. I have always thought a way to at least make the regular season fair is to do similar to NFL scheduling and college basketball with the Big Ten/ACC challenge? Why dont the big 6 conferences rotate so that they play say 2 of the other conferences each year? In one of the two games the prior years #1 teams play each other and so on…in the other game, it is a random draw between teams in the conference done a year or two ahead of time…then each school has 1 week they can schedule a cream puff AA school (probably week one like a preseason game), then 4th non conference game can be reserved for a rivalry game or has to be against a non AQ team.

    If every year each top team played a top team from 2 other conferences, we would see the schedules even out more…

    You could see a team like Auburn play its equivalent Big Ten school (Wisconsin) a random draw from the Pac 10 (say UCLA) then a cream puff game and another game…

    Or say a Michigan example could be its equivalent Big 12 team (say Oklahoma State), a random draw from ACC (Boston College) a cream puff opener, and the traditional Notre Dame game….

    At the end of the year we could use the bowl system as a playoff system if people want…I hate the argument that it would make the other bowls irrelevant…does anyone really think the Armed Forces Bowl is as prestigious as the Rose Bowl? Of course not…just use the BCS bowls plus the cotton bowl and capital one bowl. Every year the 6 conference winners plus the top two non AQ conference winners/independents play a 3 round playoff within the bowls….they take turns…so year one, first round is Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, round two is Sugar Bowl and Capital One Bowl, last game is National Champ game hosted at one of these sites as it is now…the season would be about the same length…this year the Cotton Bowl was a week after the Rose and the NC game was 10 days after…

    And the regular season still means the same because if you dont win your conference you are SOL… actually makes regular season and winning conference more important then now! No second BCS bid to look forward to like now… Also everyone basically plays a similar schedule, there are more interesting matchups, the conferences have early season bragging rights by having all of their teams play each other. And the Non AQs have a chance but only the top 2 each year which eliminates the weaker ones who may squeak by on an easier schedule.

    Comment by zshultz -

  18. Mr.Cuban,

    it is a good thing that so many of us, college football fans, have similar interests when it comes to determining a champion of college football’s upper division. I too have expressed thoughts of how to better accommodate what is clearly of high demand, please check out centrasian.wordpress.com , and let’s keep this thing alive. With you, and others of high profile in the world of sports showing their support, I believe it is only a matter time. College Football’s upper division will have a tournament.

    Comment by centrasian -

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  20. I think this is a great idea as far as maximizing revenue and fine-tuning the BCS rankings; however, I don’t believe you’re thinking about the fans who go to the games. Its the fans who creates the college football experience, as opposed to corporate USA who creates the NFL experience.
    -For fans who travel, they often have to book hotels a year in advance (330 days, or whatever the limit is), in order to have a bed to sleep on. Same applies to airfare, which is often cheaper and more flexible options as far as departure times if it it bought way in advance.
    -How would you handle season ticket sales / student tickets for these games?
    -Does the lowest seeded team now have to play 3 road games? As opposed to the cupcake games which would have been home games.
    -One of those cupcake games is typically homecoming. Having a cupcake team for homecoming allows older (60+) alumni and families to go to games at a reasonable price (face value of the ticket or cheaper, as opposed to paying a premium for the ticket)

    Comment by jemiller19 -

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  23. I totally love your idea overall. I love the regular season, but at the same time there is nothing worse than seeing an undefeated team not win it all. I would just tweak a few things.

    College football does not have a preseason so it’s understandable for teams to play one cupcake game to start off the year.

    Conference expansion should really help move this along. There is no reason for any given team in a 12 team conference to have to play more than 7 in conference regular season games a year. If you have a 12 team conference than any one given team faces the the 5 other teams in their division and up to two from the other division. If you add in the conference championship game then you have a total of 8 in conference games and 9 if we include the one cupcake game. A bowl game and a possible championship game if we go with the plus one model gives us a total of then 9 or 10 games. This then gives you 3 games to work with.

    Only once has a team from a AQ conference finished the entire season undefeated and not won the national championship( 2004 Auburn) in the BCS era. This leads me to believe that a tournament would be too much. A better idea would be to:

    Week 2 of the season: First off after every season all the conferences are ranked based on some computer ranking. Actually another idea would be to rank the conferences based on their bowl records from the previous season. This would create some interest in all the bowl games. Anyways the conferences are ranked 1-12( the 12th being the independants…actually there are only 4 independants so there would have to be some more moving around) and the conferences would face off. 1 vs. 12 and 2 vs. 11 and so on. In each case the highest ranked teams face off and then the 2nd highest ranked teams face off.

    This should be done one more time mid season, but this time maybe we rank the conference based on how well they did the first time. This would create even more interest in the earlier games. This is then done a final time where we make sure that if there are more than two undefeateds left they play each other.

    I like this idea more than your midseason tournament because it’s unfair for teams in the SEC to have to face the same teams that a non AQ would in your system. I also feel like their will be too many one loss teams in your system. We don’t need that much parity. I love where you going with this overall though. Good luck!

    Comment by eric11111 -

  24. I think the current system works pretty well. It’s certainly better than it used to be, pre-BCS. Ideally there would be a +1 playoff, but any more than that would be far worse than the current system because it would have 3 extremely detrimental side effects:

    1. It would diminish the importance of ‘regular season’ games. (Which is a big part of what is so great about CFB.)

    2. It would diminish the importance of non-championship (non-playoff) bowl games.

    3. It would significantly increase the likelihood that an injury or a bad call determines the national championship.

    If you’re sad that your school will never have the chance to play in the big dance under the current system, well you should have gone to more schools (Tennessee, Nevada, Oregon, Texas alumnus here.)

    Comment by jonottawa -

  25. The solution isn’t that difficult to figure out, Mark. Seriously. You start with the power conferences and work your way down the list. How ever long it takes, get buy-in from the SEC, then the Pac 10, or the Big 10, or however you want to rank order them. I don’t mean to sound patronizing, but for God’s sake, you’re MARK CUBAN. Who the heck won’t talk to you if you called? Call any conference commissioner, fly him down for a Mavericks game, spend time laying out the benefits (read: money) of what creating a true National Championship brings in terms of prestige. As soon as you bag ONE conference in your corner, you ‘reference sell’ the heck out of the others (“so-and-so is on board, wouldn’t you want to be”). Need help? Call me. I’d be glad to run with this. It’s fun, and it WILL be profitable… for everyone involved.

    Comment by florida727 -

  26. Pingback: Obama Wants Playoffs » Blog Archive » TCU vs Auburn Won’t Happen and More on the BCS

  27. It’s funny, everyone wants to “fix” the ails of college football by moving it further and further away from its traditions. It seems to me its traditions are what set it apart. A playoff system is the ultimate tradition killer, and something that should never take place. I fear the day when a #2 Ohio State is matching with a #4 Michigan with nothing on the line as they both are going to make “the playoffs”.

    Make conference championships mean something again. If you don’t win your conference, you don’t win the national title. This allows teams to schedule better in the NC (more local rivalries, tougher games acting a tune-ups, no penalty for NC loss), adds a pseudo playoff round 1 in the conference title games and realigns the bowl alliances of years ago to be played on New Years Day again keeping traditions and allowing for at larges such as TCU and Boise access (I think it was Feista and half of the Orange…used to be ND and Miami every year). And for all those playoff dudes out there, this could be pseudo round 2 with the current BCS formula giving a +1 at the end.

    Honestly, I just don’t want to give up New Years Day, the Rose Bowl, meaningful games in November, and decades long traditions for a “true” national champion. Not worth it. Let college football be different.

    Comment by kwoodfan1 -

  28. @cbraaten: I think you nailed this dilemma. I have always said there has to be a way to get a playoff systems USING the current bowl games.

    The only thing I think some will have problems with is… back to money. Teams and their conference get money for going to bowls and, in this scenario, teams will go to multiple bowls in order to advance in the playoffs.

    I think that could be fixed as well… Pool all the money that would have been given out to teams in the bowls and disseminate it to the Top 12 teams (and their conferences) based on FINAL ranking.

    Mark, I wish you well in this venture. Many college fans would be overjoyed that it is finally fixed!

    Comment by chigdon73 -

  29. Mark I also wish you the best on the playoff front.

    This post targets the goal as “So I set off to think about whether or not there is a way to work within the current BCS system to optimize the likelihood that the last two teams playing were the two best teams.”

    Although I am dead set against the current BCS system, I don’t think it does too bad against that goal. And certainly any system, such as yours posted, which puts more competitive games into the top teams schedules will make the result closer to said goal.

    However, the goals I have for a playoff system, which I think may be shared by some are:

    – Complete Eligibility. All D1A teams can win a Championship each year if they play perfectly. I think this is the main point that sticks in the craw of the general public.

    – More games “that count”. This is my main goal. I am a casual college fan, so I don’t really care to watch the game for “The Iron Hammer” or whatever. I want to pick from a menu of games with great drama, and nothing beats the drama of a “Win or go home” playoff game.

    Your mid-season playoff, or a traditional one, or other methods would satisfy these other goals.

    But your underlying point, that a 120 team league, with a 12 team schedule, is hard to resolve to a champion without central scheduling control, is right on the button. The NCAA keeps wanting to abdicate central control of the colleges and the current scheduling ratsnest is the result.

    Comment by darvon86 -

  30. Great read regarding the situation: http://bit.ly/hxRxDX

    Comment by Tom Nielsen -

  31. Mark’s points are well taken. As usual, innovative solution to a sticky problem. I am somewhat surprised the Media, Fans, Coaches, (even TCU it seems!) have anointed Auburn this year’s undisputed champs. Reminds me of Coach Denny Green’s immortal “You wanna crown their asses, go ahead and crown their asses!”
    Having watched both Auburn and TCU in their respective bowl games, I graded them out about evenly. And consider that TCU beat a Wisconsin team who, down the stretch, was scoring about 70 points per game. STANFORD actually impressed me the most out of all bowl teams. They were not in consideration for a BCS title because they had one loss, of course, OREGON. Should one-loss teams with plenty of momentum rolling into the post season be excluded from this consideration. A tournament style format would likely include them.
    I remember back in the 70’s when only ONE team, the tournament champ from the ACC, could go on to the NCAA’s. During NC STATE’s reign, great teams like Maryland, UNC, Wake, and Virginia were left home or NIT invitees. Eventually, the powers that be expanded the tournament, rightly so. The BCS brantrust? should follow such precedents and adopt a playoff system in college football.

    Comment by jwtrolli42 -

  32. Mark,

    All the scenarios we can come up with are moot until you solve the financial problem. You stated that you can solve this with your means. Possible, but improbable, sad to say.

    In my opinion, the main stumbling block isn’t the conferences or the bowl games and the dollars they command. A workable solution can placate those individuals and entities. The problem lies with the ADs and the coaches.

    Every AD and every coach (both assistant and head) have bonus structures in their contracts that reward them financially for simply making a bowl game. The prestige of the bowl game can sometimes increase the payout. While you financial means can solve the dollars to the participating schools and conference issue, you cannot solve the issue of the payments to these coaches and ADs from the schools they represent. I would wager at the top 30 jobs in America, the bonuses for the ADs and coaches for simply making a bowl game are upwards of $250,000 per school. $50k to the AD, $100k to the head man, and then another $100k to his enormous staff.

    So my solution is to keep the bowls. How do you do that and make a playoff? Here is my scenario.

    – Regular season and conference championships remain in current form.
    – BCS formula remains in current form.
    – Top 12 teams in BCS rankings exempt from Bowl selection at end of season
    – Teams not ranked in top 12 can accept bowl bids from every bowl except Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Peach (Now Chick-Fil-A Bowl) Bowls not listed here can select according to their conference affiliations already in place.
    – One Week after the conference championship games, the playoffs commence. Seeding is done by BCS ranking.

    – Playoff week one (Usually in December 14 time frame) – Top 4 seeds receive byes. Seeds 5-8 have home game versus seeds 12-9 in regular tourney format.
    – Losers of playoff week one (four teams) get placed into the Peach and Cotton Bowls. These bowls get played in their normal time slots around January 1.

    – Playoff Week two (Usually right before Christmas) – Top 4 seeds have home games versus the winners of week one, no reseeding amongst the winners of week one.
    – Losers of playoff week two get placed into two of the four remaining bowl games that are in rotation, similar to how the BCS bowls operate now. One year it is Orange and Fiesta, Next year it is Sugar and Rose.

    Off for Christmas week.

    – Final Four (week of new years, after all other bowls played) – utilize the two bowls not used for the losing teams in playoff week two for the semifinal matchup.
    – Losing teams do not play in additional bowl, this was the bowl game.

    – Championship (one week after final four)- played as a +1 type game that rotates like it does now. This one will be played at the sight of one of the games that did not have a final four matchup.

    Advantages of my set up….

    1. All bowls remain. Coaches, ADs, Conferences, Bowl Committees all get paid.
    2. Regular season still meaningful – Top 12 ranked teams would be dominated by undefeated and one loss teams.
    3. Bowl tickets sold and packed stadiums – Many ideas include a 16 team playoff utilizing the bowls for the 15 games. AS the average fan will spend $2,500 on a bowl trip, no one is going to make that treck over four weeks for $10,000. You can’t utilize the bowls for that because you are counting on 30,000 fans from each school traveling. Won’t happen. By making it so that all teams, except the final two, only travel to two “bowls”, you allow the fans to travel to a single bowl, spend their money, and fill the stadium. By utilizing a home game based playoff system in the first two rounds, the home team’s stadium will be filled by the home team’s fans. All tickets would be sold because you are only counting on 5,000 or so visiting fans to travel. In Summary, a 12 seed running the table would be financially feasible for its fans.

    Downside and mitigants

    1. I don’t see much, but the downside is the championship team plays 15-16 games, which is a non-starter allegedly. Throw the billions a playoff tv deal would generate and I think the universities would act right pretty quick. The CBS March Madness tv deal funds nearly every basketball program in America into profitability. Imagine a prime-time 15 game football championship, utilizing the existing BCS bowl structure!

    My $0.02

    Thanks for giving us a forum! Chris

    Comment by cbraaten -

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  35. Thanks..

    Comment by Bmw -

  36. Mark,

    I wish you the best in your quest.

    My one suggestion is that any proposal that you come up with does not go over 8 teams in a playoff. Talk about diminishing the regular season. 16 teams will easily have a bunch of 2 and 3 loss SEC teams making it in, along with teams like 1 loss USFs, and 2 loss Oregon States. If you’re not in the top 8 by seasons end, you don’t deserve to play for a National Title. 8 teams would mean you will have 3-4 undefeated teams max, and 4-5 elite 1 loss teams – ensuring that the regular season maintains it’s importance: If you lose 1 game, you risk being out of the playoffs. In a 16 team scenario, an elite program could easily lose 2 games and possibly 3 and still be in the playoffs without batting an eye.

    College football has a tough time determining who should play for a national title, but they aren’t off by much. We’re talking about 4 teams ideally, 8 teams max that can make the claim. Look at some of the teams from this year for example that would be in a 16 team playoff: a mich state team ran off the field by Alabama. A Boise state team that couldn’t make it out of the WAC unscathed. A Virginia tech team that lost to james Madison and got ran off the field by Stanford. We don’t need to see it and time is of the essence.

    This approach will also be more beneficial to your proposal because it consumes less time – which is one of your major roadblocks.

    Comment by boxslayersports -

  37. Plus one isn’t enough to determine a champion. Along with the meaningless exhibition bowl games an additional issue is the long layoff between the conclusion of the regular season and the bowl games.

    A 16 team playoff has NCAA precedent and can be instituted while maintaining the majority of the current bowl system. The BCS formula combined with league championships would select the 16 playoff participants.

    Compress the regular season schedule by removing bye weeks, and returning to the traditional eleven game schedule. Kick the playoffs off with the top seeds hosting the games over the long Thanksgiving weekend. This would exceed the excitement generated by the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The second round would be played the following week, again with top seeds hosting the games. In two weeks, and no later than December 8, the semi-finalists will have been determined.

    The semi-finalists would play their games in two existing bowls and the championship in a third bowl rotating amongst existing bowls at the NCAA’s discretion.

    Meanwhile, the existing bowl games would continue to operate as is. Selecting teams that did not qualify for the playoffs. In addition, the losers in the first two rounds of the playoffs would be eligible to participate in the bowls that weren’t hosting the semi-final and championship games.

    The existing bowl games would remain as relevant as they are today. Viewed and attended by fans of the participating schools and die hard college football fans. The semi-finals and championship would have more appeal as they are determined by a playoff. Plus, the first and second round games over Thanksgiving and the following weekend provide two bonus, meaningful weekends of college football.

    This system compromises determining a national champion via competition on the field and largely maintains the existing bowl system.

    Comment by thejasonmcclure -

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  39. Severl years ago I drafted a “Midseason Meyhem” proposal very similar to your concept of a mid season tournament, using the first few weeks to seed games for the mid weeks. This design was made to allow teams to opt in, rather than a fixed requirement.

    It also featured parameters to allow teams to specify how much of a difference they wanted between thier measure and their opponents measure. If the MAC wants to step it up and the SEC want a cupcake, two birds, one stone.

    One major issue with this idea is that currently that is the heart of conference games. The established conferences relish their early season scrimmages prior to the conference schedule traditionalists consider the real college football season.

    Any mid season tournament would force conference games to the start of the season, a non starter for conferences like the PAC 10, with limited non-conference games and traditional non conference rivalries.

    We would be far better served making two or three weekly invitationals throughout the season that are seeded each spring. The issue is scheduling teams that set aside games to participate with reasonable games. My sketch for this idea features awards teams with home games proportionally to their average home attendance.

    Bring more fans to the games, get more home games on average.

    I would also include a pot to subsidize the payment of top tier FCS teams playing mid tier FBS teams where they now play top tier FBS teams, to keep the financial opportunity of these programs at the present level.

    This would require a respected organization to work as an agent pairing teams and finalizing schedule negotiations. At a three percent commission on the TV contracts for the arranged games, such an organization should be very efficient at what they do.

    BCS Evolution

    Comment by benprather -

  40. Mark, why is it that everyone wants to ‘fix’ the BCS? Honestly, it isn’t perfect, but remember before when bowls were specific to conferences and there wouldn’t be a head to head of anything close to top five, if even top ten. It was a rare occurrence when an independent like Notre Dame or Penn State qualified as 1 or 2 so they could play an at large game at the Orange or Sugar Bowl.

    Why does this have to be amount money? Money is what drives the bowl game profits for the bowl games, with a small portion going to the schools. Why would the people with money want to change making money? Would you consider making an entire section at the AA center free for people, first come/first serve like the bleachers used to be at Wrigley?

    So can you ever try to use logic to solve NCAA sports? I heard some guy in LA wants to privatize school athletics, give a portion back to schools and then have VC people run their athletic departments…how insane is that? These are still schools, the students should still get an education while playing these sports, otherwise you and a few other owners should start another ‘minor’ league football farm system for the pro’s and have high schooler’s jump like they do in baseball.

    One note on your cupcake games…who is going to then pay these schools the money they get today to get the crap beat out of them? They are the ones who make money from signing up to get these beatings at the betterment of the other schools record. If they can’t get these tier 1 games, they lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to play up. You are again hurting the little people to make more money for the people who already have the money to begin with.

    Just let the system work itself out.

    Comment by hudacity -

  41. Unfortunately, I also know no solution and can also no make a proposal for the change. But I also do not think that it is a question of the money. But maybe other guys have good proposals which has read proposals I here, have liked me partly and some good proposals are present for the change.

    Comment by stefanh11 -

  42. The playoffs is whatisrich! All the rich people would love to see this for sure. When I watch the Mavs, I feel rich! Because really whatisrich?

    Comment by whatisrichblog -

  43. If a playoff is not going to happen – and that is the premise here, then the question is how to identify the most WORTHY teams to play for the national championship. We know that any two teams we pick will be argued to some degree (how could it not – especially with football’s wacky sample sizes). The problem is that the BCS formula keeps changing – the organizers do not have faith in the formula, that this properly “identifies” the best two teams.

    The question becomes “who DESERVES to play for the title”. Who the “best” teams are is not the question – although one would hope the two would intersect. First of all, I’d restrict National Champion entrants to conference champions (and independents who score highly enough in the formula to be on the board). Sure, not all conferences have title games. Who cares? After all, the title games are clear money grabs – that’s the only reason they exist, so the conference can sell a TV show. If a team gets screwed because of a TV show its school president voted to sanction – that is called justice. So that leaves 11 or 12 conference champions (depending on how you view the service academies and notre dame).

    The BCS formula should take into account margin of victory (although diminishing marginal value of point spread) weighted by strength of schedule (and yes, adding an academic component per ESPN’s TMQ absolutely is a good idea) … then the top two teams makes sense. It should absolutely not include human polling – who get starry eyed over 73-0 wins over cupcakes.

    Cupcakes don’t need to be eliminated. They have a place in the system. And these games are good for the cupcakes – when else will they get this sort of game experience? They just need to be treated property by the selection criteria. Human voters clearly are unable to do this.

    To further emphasize the value of conferences, ALL conference winners (yes, that includes the Sun Belt) get into a much expanded BCS. Instead of the current 5 games, go to 8 … which features the 11 conference champions and 5 at-large teams. The 5 at-large teams are determined largely the way it is now, maybe require being in the Top 20 of the BCS rankings generally – whatever. So now the smaller conferences get a legitimate signature game for themselves (though granted, maybe not a great TV program) instead of some weird Liberty Bowl thing.

    Comment by Sriram -

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  45. Boxslayerpoints brings up some interesting points but I think they are answerable.

    Response to Virginia Tech slow start example:

    If every first of the month game starting in October is a BCS playoff game, then a team like Virginia Tech, if off to a slow start, would face their regular opponent in the first week of October.

    But if VT got it going, by the first week in November, they may have moved past the losing teams from the first week in October bracket and they now get to play in the BCS first of the month playoff games for November.

    ————————

    Slow starting teams. Once again, by having the first game of each month be a BCS playoff game, the losers from the first week in October may or may not “bounce back” in time for the BCS first of the month November games, giving the slow starters their shot to move up for the November first of the month BCS playoff games.

    And by December first, the teams that lost in October should have had enough recovery time to get back in the hunt for the December first of the month BCS playoff game.

    —————————–

    Point three about small schools gaining revenue for being the cupcake against a better team is the trickiest to solve.

    Possible solutions could include using less known schools stadiums that have the proper facilities for some of the BCS first of the month playoff games. I might not mind watching a battle of the winless play each other during the first game of the month as well, especially if it was scheduled when the best teams were not playing. This could actually enhance revenue for smaller schools.

    —————————–

    One final point, “first game of the month” BCS playoff games has a nice ring to it.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  46. I don’t think scheduling is really the problem. But I like this exercise, so I’ll put that aside. Here’s a completely different concept to limit the cupcakes: All D1A teams are split into three groups; A, B, and C. Each year, your three non-conference games must include one from each of these groups. You get one cupcake, on mid-level, and one top 40 team.
    Initially, the groups are decided by a committee or maybe by BCS ranking all 120 teams and putting them where they fall.
    At the end of the year, the top and bottom 10% of each group changes groups (ala English Premier). The best four ranked group C teams will be group B next season. The worst four ranked group B will be group C, and so on.
    Mid-January will be a busy month as schools try to complete there schedule, but I’m sure they’ll survive. Plus it’s better than the five days notice that your system gives them.
    You can maintain your rivalries, but only if it fits the system. If your rival is in group C, you don’t get to schedule any other group Cs.
    You can always schedule up, however. You can schedule an A and two Bs, for instance.
    This system accomplishes a couple of things, neither of which is a proper playoff system. First, it solves the cupcake problem. Second, it gives importance to games that are otherwise unimportant. If Middle Tennessee is ranked 85th, a loss could mean remaining in group C and a win could mean the opposite.
    As I said, I’m not convinced that GIGO is the problem here. But if it is, I would favor a structure like this.
    However it works, I’m glad you’re trying.

    Comment by Dick -

  47. The idea of a midseason mini playoff is an excellent idea. I had thought of having the first game of each month starting in October be some type of playoff implication game that would require rescheduling the top ranked teams and undefeated teams as well to play each other.

    I had given up on the idea myself because leaving a game open the first of every month poses all kinds of scheduling uncertainties.

    However, reading your explanation of how it would work, I can see that people would buy the tickets for an unknown game because either way, it’s a win win. If the teams are really bad, they go for their first win, if the teams are really good, then it’s probably going to be a worthwhile game to go to.

    A regular season game could be scheduled for that playoff implication first week of the month, but on the ticket it would say, BCS eligible. In essence the ticket becomes even more valuable because if that team is doing well, its like getting an upgrade in midseason to a playoff game.

    Teams would agree to schedule a “soft game” the first week of every month so that if it is replaced with a BCS game it would not necessarily impact traditional games as much.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  48. Can’t start the playoffs in the middle of the season, and can’t take away guaranteed home games from big schools.

    Flaw 1: Virginia Tech. In week 6 they would be 4-2 and likely out of contention for even a playoff spot. They eventually proved to be the ACCs best team. You would have ended up with a much less qualified team in there…like Miami or NC State, who peaked early and were eventually exposed.

    Flaw 2: Emphasis on starting strong. I’ve never met a national champ who peaked in week 1, 2, and 3. This is especially true with college having no preseason game.

    Flaw 3: home teams like to get paid. Gainesville, FL, Athens, GA, etc, these places may not exist on the map if not for the money that the tourism dollars bring in to their communities. It’s part of the reason why these schools schedule these cupcakes: cupcakes dont require home and homes. Theyll come to your place, no questions asked, let your town rake in the dough, give the m their cut and theyre gone. If these big schools in small towns schedule home/and/homes with other schools, that is one less home game for the city of Gainesville, FL. Your solution will need to keep this fact in mind.

    Comment by boxslayersports -

  49. Like the idea and germinating on it. Quick look: Use the College Basketball mid-season tournament/World Cup Model.

    Three weeks mid-season: 5 pools, 4 teams per pool. Top 20 but ONLY if they opt-in. You must be invited and you must accept. If you decline the invitation, you don’t play the three games. If you don’t think you are good enough you’re not going into the pools.

    Pool Makeup:
    1 Team: 1 – 5 in the country
    1 Team: 6 – 10 in the country
    1 Team: 11 – 15 in the country
    1 Team: 16 – 20 in the country

    Selection of Pools: By Selection Committee
    Play: Round Robin. Every team plays one another.
    Constraints: Try not to schedule teams that play each other that year or are in the same conference.

    Each team is guaranteed one home game for pool play.

    If you are not in the top 20 that far into the season chances are you will not be at the top by the end of the season. This makeup keeps conference games out thus reducing redundancy of schedule and gives us a better idea of who is good or not.

    Alternative:
    Same pool system, but 1 – 4 play each other round robin, 5 – 8 and so on.

    Gives us cooler matchups and gives little guys the chance to play against quality competition.

    Comment by hangtime79 -

  50. Interesting theory. You are usually really good at giving reasons for why you state your theories. Can you explain the following?

    1) Why would the 3 week mini-playoff go from week 6-8? Isn’t week 6 the very first BCS poll?

    2) Why would hi vs lo be week 1 and then 1 vs 2 week 2? What is the logic in the change up?

    3) What happens to out of conference rivalry games like Florida vs. Florida State, Clemson vs. South Carolina, Georgia vs Georgia Tech, Notre Dame vs USC, etc.?

    I like the approach but there seems to be some holes initially.

    IMHO the problem is not so much the NCAA but the conferences and their growing strength. As the conferences get larger the ability to have a playoff seems to diminish. As their control increases their willingness to give up control diminishes.

    What you are proposing increases parity in college football. Parity is something that seems unattainable right now. No fan wants to lose one time a year much less 2 or 3. The mindset is totally different in CFB than the NFL.

    I hope you find the winning formula, I don’t think this is it though.

    Comment by jtio -

  51. It’s really simple. Do exactly what the other divisions in College Football do. Those divisions really have “student-athletes” and for some reason it works just fine. If teams that don’t qualify want to go to bowl games great.

    Comment by Tom Nielsen -

  52. TCU v. Auburn shouldn’t happen, and not because the system is screwed up. Why does Auburn have to bruise their way through the SEC, beat the #1 ranked team in the country, and THEN beat TCU to win the national championship, while TCU cruises through some cupcake conference all the way to the proposed championship game? Put TCU in a real conference and then let’s find out what happens “on the field” with real opponents. There is no doubt that TCU can hang with any of the big names in college football in a one game scenario. What isn’t proven, however, is that TCU can make it through a full season in a top-notch conference with top-ranked opponents and survive.

    Comment by philhensley -

  53. Hey Mark… You’re the shit.

    I’m obsessed with this problem, and I love that you aren’t blinded by the shining light of the impossible playoff.

    Here’s what I’d say to your scenario… The premise of weeks 6, 7, and 8 would never be approved. The idea with the BCS is that it rewards the best bodies of work throughout the season. Having a playoff in the middle of the season takes that body of work and jumbles it quite a bit. It does introduce more quality opponents to each other, which is important. And it would bring teams from the south up into the more inclement weather of the north midseason, which I would love. But, if by chance it were approved sweepingly, then I think you’ll find that most seasons, you’d end up with no undefeated teams… And that makes the question of who’s #1/#2 even harder to answer.

    Most people don’t know that the NCAA doesn’t even recognize a National Champion at the FBS level. In my opinion, the real problem with the BCS is that it’s completely unregulated by the NCAA. I really like the system and the potential that it has, but I think the NCAA needs to actually step in and make a few decisions. They need to set guidelines for the FBS. Here are a few ideas:

    (1) Require that all BCS AQs have at least 12 member schools and a conference championship game at a neutral site. Require that all conference championship games be played in the same three day stretch, between a Thursday and a Saturday, on either the first or second weekend in December.

    This way, even though a playoff isn’t in place, every BCS AQ conference’s championship is decided on the field; a de facto playoff for BCS eligibility. They could even go so far as to mandate a separate eligibility requirement for BCS bowls… Perhaps: only participants in conference championship games can play in BCS bowls.

    (2)Require that all BCS AQ schools play 12 regular season games prior to the their conference’s championship game, and within those 12 games all BCS AQ schools would be required to play two of their non-conference games against BCS AQ schools from other conferences, one at home and one on the road.

    This brings a bit of balance to the strength of schedule conversation. It forces schools from the SEC to travel to the Big Ten or Pac 10 (which, despite their obvious dominance, is something that’s been an issue with the SEC) and vice versa. Also, it points out the schedule mongers. If we see, for example, that Tennessee is scheduling Baylor and Indiana every year to meet this requirement while Ohio State is scheduling Southern Cal and Texas… well… that says something, and it should be reflected in the polls. It also presents an interesting possibility: Two major programs playing in the first or second week of the season and then perhaps rematching in a BCS bowl.

    Anyway, my ideas are obviously imperfect too. But I think the need for conference and scheduling balance and a little bit of NCAA regulation are paramount. You talked about having good data. I think the ideas I suggested above make everyone’s data more easily comparable to everyone else’s.

    Comment by tybeatty -

  54. I still like a +1 or +2 better, but this is the best alternative to that I’ve heard. It’s a great starting point. Cut out the cupcakes by starting with conference play. Who wants to watch Texas steamroll Louisiana Monroe again anyway? Team would be a lot more motivated in practice if they knew they would face a legitimate conference foe early and not a cupcake.

    After the conference season is over, the bowl or tournament season would begin. There could easily be two tournaments like the NIT and the NCAA. It’s possible the more teams could continue playing in this new tournament. Wouldn’t that be great for college football. People would have a lot more to follow. I personally kept up with 0 bowl games this year, even though I’m a die hard football fan. I just don’t have time to keep up with so many meaningless games. But NCAA basketball? You better believe I’m doing research to fill out a bracket. Of course I would do the same for football.

    I don’t have time to think through the details in this comment, but I do think that cutting out the meaningless “pre-season” games is a great starting point towards a solution. They totally mess up the BCS rankings anyway. I’ll try to flesh this out when I have a little more time.

    Comment by josephwesley -

  55. Certainly an interesting thought, creating pseudo-playoff within the existing regular season. But this particular idea sounds like it would create more problems than it would solve.

    What about just requiring every AQ school to schedule other AQ schools from another AQ conference? SEC east teams rotate two SEC West teams every two years, so why not apply that type of rotation on a larger scale? Some years Florida would draw Purdue and Duke, but in others they would get Ohio State and Miami. That kind of scheduling requirement would make it harder for everybody to “game the system.”

    Of course, then you have to find a way to replace the revenue from a lost home game, which is pretty substantial for the biggest schools.

    Comment by T. Miller -

  56. Mark,

    Love your blog. A few things:

    1. College football does not have a preseason. Some teams come out game 1 and are just plain bad/rusty. Or breaking in a freshman QB. Or a new coach is breaking in a new playbook. One of the beauties of sports is a team has a chance to get better and become a different team by year’s end. They can figure out who their guys are. You are putting a 5 game sample size with no preseason to determine your BCS rankings. I think there is a reason that the BCS standings aren’t released until later in the season and it’s sample size amongst other things. I see the timing of your playoff at mid season as a major flaw, and I also feel it is a bit goofy anyway. Is there a reason outside of traditional rivalries why this proposed playoff couldn’t be pushed back?

    2. Is there any conflict with the conference schedules? In other words, are conferences going to schedule around this?

    3. I’m a big believer in the regular season and how every game is important. Look at how popular college football is. I just don’t think a playoff system needs 16 teams, or anything remotely close to that. Each year, people are complaining about 1 or 2 teams that didnt get a chance….not 15. This year, its TCU and Stanford. I love the idea about eliminating cupcake weeks in place of a playoff.

    My tweak to your concept:

    Week 1 – cupcake week. Schedule whoever you want without penalty. This will also decrease your buyout costs since these teams are getting paid by the schools. You’re also giving teams a chance to get warmed up, ala preseason.

    Week 2 going forward – conference schedule begins

    Move rivalry week up to the 3rd week before the end of the season.

    Leave the final 2 weeks open for playoffs.

    BCS determines it. Better sample size, more accurate rankings and only 1 potential cupcake game instead of 3.

    1v8
    2v7
    3v6
    4v5
    Based on BCS standings.

    Week 2:
    Winners play
    Winners play

    The 2 teams left standing will advance to title game.

    All other bowl selections go on as tradition.

    Comment by boxslayersports -

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  58. The only immediate issue I can see is, what if there is an abundance of 1 loss teams? I think with 1v2, 3v4, and so on for 2 weeks, your absolutely right – we would see less undefeated teams. But then the argument would shift back to rankings within those 1 loss teams. Initial ranking would still play a huge role here. For instance, Auburn starts #1 but then ends up with 1 loss on the last game of the tournament. TCU starts #2, loses the first game, but then wins out. Meanwhile, SMU becomes a cinderella and streaks to the tourney – and loses only 1 game. Who is the better 1 loss team? If there are no undefeated teams, then who do we put in the national championship? My gut tells me that it would be Auburn vs TCU would get in due to higher initial rankings. So in my opinion, some tweaking to how initial rankings are decided and are emphasized needs to happen.

    Comment by stewartyoungblood -

  59. The BCS does not make every game important. In fact, it’s the opposite. If you lose you’re first game of the season, you’re done. The rest of your games don’t matter because you pretty much don’t have a shot at being voted into a “National Championship”. They’re not important. They’re pointless.

    A true playoff would at least allow a school the chance to redeem itself by winning it’s conference, thus earning a playoff bid…making every game important, unlike the BCS.

    Stick to the playoff model Mark. Don’t give up!

    Comment by sfhc21 -

  60. The problem is, the cupcakes as you’ve dubbed them, can’t afford the monetary hit, and all that goes with never playing a team that has a chance for a National Championship. Who decides who are the cupcake teams? You? The as you say flawed BCS? the NCAA that can’t figure out how to disqualify Cam Newton before the big game?

    I think your solution actually creates more problems than it solves, actually.

    Comment by Matches Malone -

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  62. Mark – this sounds great. If not a true playoff system I think your proposal here would solve a lot of problems while creating great matchups increasing fan excitement and revenues. Watching the wild card round of NFL playoffs reminded me of what college football *could be* come bowl season but the fact of the mater is I’m interested in less than 10% of the bowl games – most less interesting than your typical conference game.

    You’re 2011 should look like this:

    1) Buy the Dodgers
    2) Fix college football

    Cake walk, right? :)

    Comment by mweber82 -

  63. College football is a sissy sport, decided by judges just like figure skating and gymnastics instead of on the field by coaches and players. If anyone wants to call Division I college football a real sport, it needs a playoff system.

    You could easily have a five game playoff with 24 teams. Give the top 8 teams (the equivalent of today’s BCS) a bye and having the remaining 16 teams play a first round game to get it down to 16 teams with the higher seeded teams receiving a home game. Only the national champion and runner up would have to play that fifth game and for most it would mean only one or two additional games over what they play now.

    Some teams are potentially already playing 15 games a year (kickoff classic + 12 regular season games + a conference championship game + a bowl game). Dump the conference championships, the kickoff classic games and go back to an 11 game regular season schedule. Then, only two teams would play potentially play 17 games and most would play about what they do now. Add an NIT with another 24 teams and you have the same number of games generating a lot more excitement than the current bowl system.

    Under this scenario, 48 teams are playing at least 12 games. Teams that got a bye are playing at most 16 games and the rest could potentially play 17 games, but that’s about as likely to happen as a mid-major winning the national championship in basketball. Most teams are going to play 12 or 13 games, just like now. The TV networks and advertisers would be salivating all over this scenario with real dollars.

    Comment by fastpipe -

  64. Mark, I understand what you are trying to do and it seems this would work. My only question is why would we have college football different than all other sports on all levels? The reason everybody else has a playoff system is because it works. I dearly appreciate the effort you are putting into this and I wish you all the luck. My hope is that college football will adopt something that has been proven which is a playoff system. I don’t want this to turn into something like Nascar where they are changing the system every year to make it better. Playoff systems work and that is the bottom line. Thanks – David Pegram

    Comment by dpegram -

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