Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My College Football Plan

(I posted this before but here's a fresh writeup.)

I wish college football was structured like this:

1)  10 regular season games.  These games take place from the last weekend of August to the 2nd or 3rd weekend of November.  Schools would have 11 or 12 weeks to play these games.  No games would be held the weekend before Thanksgiving.  (In 2013, games would be held from August 31st to November 16th.)

2)  Conferences of 16 teams would get an auto bid to the playoffs.  These conferences would have two 8 team divisions and would play 7 (or 8) conference games.  Each of these conferences would have a conference championship game.  Conferences of less than 16 teams could get an auto bid as well if they were paired another conference of less than 16 teams and the two conferences played a championship game to determine who made the playoffs.  So, conference sizes would typically be either 16, 8, or 9 teams.

3)  Conference championship games would take place the last weekend in November, Thanksgiving weekend, and no other games would take place that weekend.  This would allow college football to "own" Thanksgiving weekend.  It'd be the biggest sport during that holiday.  (In 2013, championship games would be held November 27th to November 30th.)

4)   On the Wednesday after championship weekend, the 16 playoff teams are announced and seeded.  Each conference championship game winner makes the playoffs and at large teams fill out the rest of the spots.

5)  Also on the Wednesday after championship weekend, each remaining team in the nation is ranked and put into groups of 3 by rank.  Two teams from the same conference and two teams that played each other in the current year could not be in the same group.  So, for example, the top group would be the top 3 ranked teams, the next group would be the next 3 ranked teams, etc.

6)  The teams in each group from 5) would play each other round robin during December in what I call "ladder games".  Each school would get one home and one away ladder game.  These would replace bowl games.  They would be a school's special game for the year.  These ladder games would also be a chance for teams within a conference to root for each other.  For example, there would be several SEC vs BIG12 match ups.  Which conference is the best?  These games would help decide that.  (In 2013, the ladder games would be held December 14th to December 31st).

7)  The playoffs would take place during 4 weekends in January.  (For the 2013 season this would happen January 4th to January 25th.)  Because of the ladder games in 6), playoff teams would have a month plus off from games to heal up and get ready for the playoffs.

Good things about this plan/organization:

1)  More meaningful games.  It reduces the number of OOC games (often against mediocre opponents) to 2 or 3.  Also, the championship games and the ladder games are all quality/meaningful games between teams of nearly equal rank.

2)  College football would absolutely own Thanksgiving weekend.  The championship games would be a huge four day sporting event during a time when many people have days off from work/school.  These games would be worth a ton of TV money.

3)  The regular season is still meaningful.  Teams are playing for a spot in the conference championship game/possible inclusion in the playoff.  They are also playing for a better ranking for their ladder games.  A better ladder ranking would result in a better team coming to town to play in the home ladder game.

4)  The ladder games replace the bowl games.  The attendance at many of the bowl games is a joke.  And some teams that go to the lesser bowls lose money?  The ladder games are a good deal for every team.  They are a special game for every single team that doesn't make the playoffs.

5)  The ladder games are a chance for real conference versus conference competition.  Fans will tune in to root for other teams in their school's conference.  It's a chance for conference pride/bragging rights to be put in the balance.  The games would be great.  All of December would have extremely entertaining games to watch while we waited for the playoffs to start.  The ladder games would bring in more TV money than the bowl games or meaningless OOC games to start the season.

6)  The 16 team playoff (really almost a 32 team playoff because of the conference championship games) would be a huge sporting event that would rival the Superbowl in fan interest.  The playoffs would be worth so much TV money.  It'd be like the college basketball tournament times 10.

7)  Teams would play a reasonable number of games.  Most teams would play 12 games.  A very small number of teams could play 11 games (if a team somehow made the playoffs without playing in a conference championship game and lost their first round game).  A few teams would play 13 games (conference championship losers that didn't make the playoffs or teams that won only one playoff game).  A very small number of teams would play 14 or 15 games (teams that went far in the playoffs).  However, teams that make the playoff would have a month plus off from games before the playoffs started.  This would help reduce injuries/the strain of playing more than 12 games.

8)  A 16 team playoff would allow for sixteen 16 team conferences at DI.  That's 256 teams.  It's enough for every team to have a chance to earn a spot in the playoffs on the field.  That's about twice the number of D1 teams we currently have.

9)  The college football season would have the several distinct periods of time that help create fan interest.  OOC games get fans ready for the conference schedule.  The conference schedule determines the teams in the conference championship games.  The ladder games help determine the conference ratings/relative strengths.  The playoffs determine an overall champion (and also help determine conference ratings/relative strengths).  During December and the ladder games fans/media can talk about the playoffs and there is a whole month to build that up/hype it.

The ideas above should be implemented today.  They are awesome and I'm not just saying that.

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