He then asked what I thought should be the NC game when I roundly dismissed the possibility of BSU or TCU playing in the game legitimately this year. A rematch between Alabama and Florida (although such a rematch can never happen because OSU/Michigan was denied one in '06) or Alabama and Georgia Tech--winners of the two best conferences in college football this year.
It was at this point that the idea of a reasonable college playoff system came into my mind. I already sort of addressed this issue and came to the conclusion that,
|A playoff still brings controversy, though, as the teams that make it
into the playoffs are still ranked on a computer-generated basis a la
RPI or BCS computer polling and there will be a debate as to what 10-1
teams should get the final playoff spot etc. etc.|
But giving the major conference champions automatic bids into an 8-team playoff seems perfect to me. Take the six major conferences' (ACC, Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, SEC, Pac-10) conference winners and have two at-large births for independents and mid-majors.
What I like about this system is that it eliminates the drama that a playoff system of "the best 6 (8) teams in the country" would inevitably bring. If a 6-team playoff system were in place right now, whose to say that Ohio State or Oregon should be left out instead of TCU or BSU, based on the strength of the teams respective conferences--BSU has the edge over Oregon due to a head-to-head win, but after seeing the game last night, are you so sure that OSU couldn't beat TCU or BSU? (Simply, I'm not sold on the idea that going undefeated in the WAC > One or two losses in the SEC/Big Ten/etc.)
This would bring in a few issues, though, namely that nonconference play seems completely worthless now. But seeding in the playoff could be determined by record and strength of schedule in nonconference play. The seeding would look something like this:
In the end, this system would eliminate any griping from the major conferences (and probably most from the mid-majors/independents as there's unlikely to be more than two teams from those conferences worthy of such an at-large bid). It would give each conference a chance to settle it on the field, and would avoid the rematches that the BCS is so clearly opposed to. It would also remove any drama from the selection process and bickering over who gets in among the major programs.
As for the rest of the bowls, I don't quite know how this would pan out. This is the biggest issue against this system. Without a national ranking system, it would be difficult to match teams appropriately, but with all of the conference tie-ins that the bowls currently have, something could easily be established. The #2s of each conference meet somehwhere, etc. The point being: It could be done with the most important issue--the playoff--set in place. And if you were to match teams by their conference rank, you wouldn't end up with terribly overmatched Big Ten teams getting blown out in bowls.
It's basically the NFL model, but instead of wildcards and first-week byes, you have at-large bids being matched up against the conference champion with, presumably, the best resume. By the end, you have a champion who has beaten three conference champions, the final being on a neutral site. Opposition may come in the form of universities complaining that teams are playing too many games or too long, but, well, deal with it. It's three more games than the current system and, in some cases, only one more than a national champion would play in a 6-team playoff scenario.