Fair Bowl-ing? The Answer to College Football's Playoff Conundrum

adam blackburnContributor IJanuary 1, 2009

Over the past few years, I have heard every pro and con on why we should or should not have a playoff system in major college football. After taking in this wealth of information, I sat down and have created what I think is a foolproof way to determine every year who our NCAA national champion should be.

First, I will let you know that if you go to the very bottom of this article and copy and paste the link I have left for you there into a new window, it will help you to better understand my "playoff proposal." (PLEASE MAKE SURE TO ENLARGE IT.)

Also, as I go along, I will use the 2009 calendar year as my initial mock year of my system, so all dates mentioned will be from the 2009 calendar unless otherwise noted.

Very simply put, my playoff is seven games pitting the top schools out of the major six conferences against one another, as well as two not so at large bid teams.

The first step in my process is to move college football's schedule up a few weeks. The first Saturday game will be played on Aug. 22, 2009, thus officially starting college football weekends.

The second step in my process was to eliminate one game and move the football season back down to a mandatory 12-week season (11 games including one bye week, if applicable).

After the conclusion of Week 12 (Nov. 7, 2009), the following week the conference championship games would be played (Nov. 14, 2009). After these games the winners from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10, and SEC would be placed into the bracket (link below), with the first four games being played on Nov. 28, 2009.

The conference matchups will be rotated each year so that the same two conferences do not meet in the same round in consecutive years.

* As you may have noticed, there are still two vacant spots on the bracket. The two teams that fill these slots will be chosen based on rankings in the two major polls (AP and Coaches Polls) The two highest ranked undefeated teams that did not win their conference championships and/or are not part of the six major conferences will be put into these spots.

If there is only one or no undefeated teams, then the two highest ranking teams who did not win their conference championships and/or are not part of the six major conferences will be selected, thus completing the bracket for a total of eight teams.



Everyone has at some point heard that we will never see a playoff because bowl sponsors are afraid that they will lose money or not draw as big a crowd. I have tried to solve that problem to the best of my ability.

The NCAA has an agreement with four major bowls to carry their BCS games each year. I have dropped this list down to three (Rose, Orange, and Sugar). These three will host the two semifinal games, as well as the national championship game, with each allowed to host the national championship game every three years in rotation.

As for the other four playoff games each year, the day after the national championship game is played the NCAA would hold a drawing where every bowl's name would be placed on a small ball and placed inside of a cage. The cage would then be spun and the first name drawn out would host the first playoff game, and the second name drawn would host the second game, and so on until four bowls had been selected.

This would not only be fair, but it would allow smaller bowls to attract a crowd once in a while and generate much needed revenue to help keep their establishment open for years to come.


Many of you will still wonder how this is fair! I can already hear the comments on how a team could go 8-0 in conference and 0-3 out of conference and still play for the national championship if they win their conference title game. That is very true. However, if every team knows at the beginning of the year that they must win their conference championship to have a berth in the playoffs, then it is not unfair!

Everyone starts out 0-0, and everyone knows that if they lose an in-conference game, it could crush their hopes of a national title. This will keep conference play competitive while the two bonus teams on the bracket will keep out of conference play competitive

If you do miss out on your conference title game, then you can still make the playoffs if you have played a strong schedule and have remained ranked in the polls. Your team could very well be one of the bonus teams!

I also realize that some of you are fans of the few conferences that were left out of the "Automatic Six." This system also favors these teams more than the BCS. The two bonus teams could very well be Boise State or Utah (the two highest ranking undefeated teams in 2008 who were not part of the six major conferences), thus allowing them to play for a national championship as they deserve!



This system would allow for plenty of time for players to rest in between playoff games. It would not lengthen the season by much at all and would still give the players time to study and prepare for what is really important: an education and life.



This is a small side note to all of you who, like me, want to see New Year's Day be more celebrated as it has been in the past. The national championship game would be played every year on New Year's Day as it should be, according to the tradition that surrounds this day as "the day for big bowl games."

In conclusion, I would like to add that all other bowl games not associated with this playoff system would still go on as planned. I believe this is the most simple way to alter our current bowl system while still including revenue, rankings, competitiveness, and also giving the smaller schools a chance to show their worth against larger opponents on a national stage!



If I have failed to mention anything, please feel free to comment. If you don't understand my system, please post your questions and I will answer them as soon as I can. If you disagree with my system, also leave your comments. Thank you for taking the time to read my proposal. Please share it with your friends.





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