Monday, December 7, 2009

BCS Playoff Plan - 2009 Edition (Updated)

The end of the college football season means another bowl season of questions. In previous seasons the question was "Which 1 loss team deserves to play for the championship?" This season we have FIVE undefeated teams, three of which cannot win the title. For shame.

Last year I wrote an extensive blog articulating a BCS playoff format. You can read it here. The goal of this model is to give every team a chance to win the championship every year via a playoff system. To summarize, it calls for a 16 team playoff including the 11 conference champions and 5 at-large bids based on the BCS rankings. Seed the tournament based on the BCS rankings as well. Use existing bowl games to play the tournament, half the bracket on Thursday nights and half on Saturdays. Play the semi-finals on New Years Day and the Championship a week later.

Since this is the second season I've been using this model, some interesting facts came forth putting this together. We have 11 returning participants with only five newcomers. I thought there would be much more turnover than that. The highest ranked newcomer is Oregon with the 7 seed. It just goes to show you how hard it is to win a NCAA Football Championship. I will also point out that in creating my fictional outcomes only three teams from last year returned to the Elite Eight with only one team (Alabama) returned to the Final Four. That seems very likely.

The teams who qualify by winning their conference championship are Alabama, Troy, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, TCU, Boise St, Cincinnati, Central Michigan, Oregon, Texas and East Carolina. Wild Cards are Florida, Penn St, Virginia Tech, Iowa and LSU.

Here is this season's playoff schedule. Results are chosen for scheduling purposes.

First Round:
(1)Alabama (SEC) v (16)Troy (Sun Belt)
in the St. Petersburg Bowl Thurs Dec. 17th

(8)Ohio St (Big 10) v (9)Georgia Tech( ACC)
in the Little Caesars Bowl Thurs Dec. 17th

(5)Florida (Wild Card) v (12)LSU (Wild Card) SEC Showdown!
in the Meineke Bowl Thurs Dec. 17th

(4)TCU (Mountain West) v (13)Penn St (Wild Card)
in the Las Vegas Bowl Thurs Dec. 17th

(6)Boise St. (WAC) v (11)Virginia Tech (Wild Card)
in the New Mexico Bowl Sat Dec. 19th

(3)Cincinnati (Big East) v (14)Central Michigan (MAC)
in the Music City Bowl Sat Dec. 19th

(7)Oregon (Pac 10) v (10)Iowa (Wild Card)
in the Poinsetta Bowl Sat Dec. 19th

(2)Texas (Big 12) v (15)East Carolina (C-USA) Rematch from last year.
in the New Orleans Bowl Sat Dec. 19th

Round of Eight:
(1)Alabama v (9) Georgia Tech
in the Sugar Bowl Wed Dec. 23rd

(5)Florida v (4)TCU
in the Emerald Bowl Wed Dec. 23rd

(11)Virginia Tech v (3)Cincinnati
in the EagleBank Bowl Sat Dec. 26th

(7)Oregon v (2)Texas
in the Rose Bowl Sat Dec. 26th

Semi-Final Round:
(1)Alabama v (4)TCU
in the Orange Bowl Friday Jan. 1st

(3)Cincinnati v (7)Oregon (the Cinderella Story)
in the Fiesta Bowl Friday Jan. 1st

National Championship:
(1)Alabama v (7)Oregon
BCS National Championship game Thursday Jan. 7th

Using these bowl games would eliminate 14 of the current 66 teams set to play bowl games this season. I have already stated that 6-6 teams should not qualify for a bowl game, so the following 6-6 teams would be bumped this year: Wyoming, Texas A&M, UCLA, Minnesota, Iowa St., Florida St., Michigan St., and Marshall.

This leaves us needing six 7-5 teams to be cut. Since the bowl committees love big schools that can travel, I would imagine the following teams would be cut as well: Southern Miss, SMU, Bowling Green, Idaho, Air Force, Northern Illinois. While losing these schools is sad, I think the end result of a true national champion is worth it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. As a parting note, I want your opinion on something. The only tweak I am considering is making it a 14 team tournament. This would eliminate two wild cards (this year would be Penn St. and LSU) and would give the 1 and 2 seed a first round bye. So I ask you, which would be better? 16 seeds with more wild cards or 14 teams and rewarding the top 2 seeds?

Turns out 14 of my 16 playoff teams played another playoff team in a bowl game. Although it wasn't a true tournament it gave a little insight as to who might be good enough to advance. Just for fun, using my seeds here would be the match-ups of those teams who won their bowl games.

(1)Alamaba v (14)Central Michigan

(8)Ohio St v (10)Iowa in a regular season rematch

(6)Boise St v (11)Virginia Tech....which was a first round match-up. whatever.

(5)Florida v (13)Penn St

So I'd say it was a good showing from the Big 10 who has three teams on this list. Also, only 2 non-BCS schools made it. But that is a misleading stat because of the 5 non-BCS schools in the tournament, four of them played each other in bowl games. Also, four of the five Wild Card teams won their games. Not much I can read out of these stats except that it seems the Wild Card teams showed their quality and gives me something to think about for next season.

No comments: