by Kevin Burton
Are you ever going to be glad you tuned in to Page 7 today!
That’s because today we look at my fix for college football, the best way to determine a champion. Everybody’s doing it, I’m jumping in.
And I’m doing so without necessarily agreeing that college football is broken. I haven’t been watching closely enough to determine that independently.
I read this week that a major conference commissioner walked out of the high-level talks being held to consider expansion of the college football playoff. OK, so imagine they all walked out. I walk in with my briefcase, settle in and get right to work.
As I said, I have been a sort-of fan, certainly not a fanatic of college football this year. I did notice one thing though: two of the fixtures (as the English call them) have not been especially compelling. That would be the national semifinals. The current de facto system pits the top SEC school in one semi and the second-best SEC school in the other semi both facing some overmatched team from the north or west. Not exactly must-see TV. My plan scraps that. Here’s how:
First, let’s get the SEC beefed up to either 20 or 24 schools. Big 12-defectors Texas and Oklahoma will bring it up to 16. Under my plan we add Clemson for sure, then maybe Florida State, North Carolina and Miami FL, if you’re stopping at 20.
If you’re going on to 24, add Virginia Tech, NC State, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Let’s get a southern super conference with the right schools based on football relevance and geography.
Then let’s put the entire rest of the country in its own conference. I call it the North-West Alliance.
In my plan we keep the bowl system, because planet earth would cease its normal rotation if we eliminate bowl games. That would be a mess.
You will have a four-team SEC Championship and a four-team North-West alliance playoff. Those semi-finals and finals account for six of the major bowls.
This would change from year to year of course, based on competition. But just for sake of example, a reasonable SEC field could be 1-Alabama, 2-Georgia, 3-LSU and 4 Oklahoma. A reasonable North-West Alliance championship field could be 1-Ohio State, 2, Utah, 3-Michigan, 4- Oregon.
No, the winners don’t play each other. You have divisional champions. You don’t like that? How did you like watching the best Cincinnati team ever get throttled, summarily dismissed, by an Alabama team that was sort of B-minus or B by its own standards?
To create five more bowls for the blessed bowl geniuses, let’s take the next five teams from the NA and the SEC and pair them off. That gets us up to 11 bowl games.
Your 5-through-9 bowls could get you games such as Cincinnati-NA, vs Auburn-SEC; Notre Dame-NA vs Clemson-SEC; Michigan State-NA vs Texas A&M-SEC; Wisconsin-NA vs Arkansas-SEC and BYU-NA vs Florida-SEC.
The rest of the country may fend for itself. If Central Michigan would care to play San Diego State and both are .500 or above, by all means knock yourself out but don’t bother me with it. Clicker off.
Now, let’s say this plays out and you start seeing the Michigan States of the world whipping Texas A&M a few years in a row in those 5-through 9 bowls. Then and only then do we start talking about the two conference champions meeting.
Want to make sure my system works? Add European-style relegation to the mix. So Florida State for example, if they don’t return to their former prowess can be sent to some lower level and somebody else, such as Houston or Georgia Tech, can take their place.
Or, even better. Let’s take this transfer portal business to its logical conclusion. We’ll standardize the university curricula, so that players can seamlessly transfer at any time. Why wait for semester? So if through some technicality you can’t get the right schools into the big game, just switch out the players. You’re guaranteed a blockbuster game for your championship final.
Under my system there is no probation. Nobody’s cheating because there are no rules!
I’m not saying mine is the best idea. Your system may be superior to mine, fellow fan. If so, by all means put it forward and save us all from Michigan-Georgia. Please!