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Jonathanís Journal
August 7, 2001
Possible Playoff System Scenario

What would a playoff system actually look like?

Iíve wondered that same thing, and Iím sure a lot of you have too. I with all my heart hope that as soon as it is possible, the NCAA begins a College Football Playoff System. In my opinion, the system we have now, the BCS, is better than before. But ask Miami what they think? The formula changes every year. One year they might have made it, the next they didnít, and they next they would have. Itís too confusing; hardly anyone but the creators understand it anyway. But whatís hard to understand about watching a game, seeing the final score, and have the winner advancing. Seems simple to me.

Now I know all of the arguments. Costs everyone $$$, takes too many kids away from class too long, gives fewer teams a chance to play postseason, etc, etc, etc. But seriously, couldnít you play most of these games on weekends in December and the beginning of January? Half of it would be in Christmas break, anyway. I donít think theyíd miss any more class time than the kids who play in the NCAA Basketball Tourney in March.

So hereís the system Iíve created. Iíve put some thought into it, tried to be fair, tried to do this and that to make everyone happy. But in the end, I decided that there is no possible way 100% of the college football fans would be happy. It just ainít gonna happen. The idea I have cuts the number of Division I-A competitors from 117 in 2001 to 80. From those 80, I made 8 conferences of 10 teams each. The conferences are based mainly on geography, though there is a case or two you may think does not make sense. I also tried to keep the conferences as even as possible, while also attempting to keep together as many rivalries as possible. The 10 members of each conference have been split into 2 divisions of 5 each. These divisions were created mainly on evening out the conference to the best of my ability, while also slightly focusing on geography. Thatís why one division may be called the West when a team in the West may not be as far geographically West as another team thatís in the East. Now with 10 conference members, that would give each team 9 conference games. That would leave room for 2 out-of-conference games, if we were to keep the traditional 11-game season (which seems to be more and more untraditional every year). But weíll keep the 11-game regular season for now.

That season would begin on the first Saturday of September and would be complete by the middle to end of November (around the 20th). On the first Saturday of December, the two divisional champions of each conference would play in what could be considered a conference championship game. What it would actually do though is allow a 16-team playoff, using 2 teams from each conference. Those 8 teams who won the conference championship game would meet in the second round of the playoffs (in a pre-determined matchup; say we already knew the Southeast champ was going against the Midwest champ before they were decided and these matchups could rotate from year to year) on the second Saturday of December. The next round would match the remaining 4 teams in 2 games, beginning on the third Saturday of December. Those two winners would take the next week off, and they would play the next Saturday, which would probably be the last Saturday of December or the first Saturday of January.

I have divided the 80 teams into these 8 conferences. No, theyíre not all exactly even. Thereís no way to do that. No, theyíre not perfect. Yes, the names of the conferences are a little stupid, but forget the names. They were used mainly to keep me from going completely crazy while trying to figure this out. Yes, theyíre the best way I could come up with. So check it out, and tell me what you think.

North Central Conference

Michigan State
Western Michigan
Ohio State

Notre Dame

Northeast Conference

Penn State

Boston College
West Virginia
Virginia Tech

Mid-Atlantic Conference

North Carolina
NC State
Florida State

East Carolina
South Carolina

Southeast Conference

Georgia Tech

Mississippi State
Southern Miss

Northwest Conference

Boise State
Oregon State

Washington State
Colorado State
Air Force

Southwest Conference

Fresno State
San Jose State
Arizona State

Southern Cal
San Diego State

Midwest Conference

Iowa State

Kansas State

Mid-South Conference

Texas Tech
Oklahoma State

Texas A&M
LA Tech

There they are, like Ďem or not. Now call me stupid, weird, a freak, whatever, but... Letís just see what this thing might look like if it were really in place. Now Iím not even going to look at the conferences but merely the location of each when I set up these second round matchups: (1) Southwest vs Northwest, (2) Mid-South vs Southeast, (3) North Central vs Midwest, (4) Northeast vs Mid-Atlantic. Iím just going to pick a pretend winner of each of the divisions of each of these conferences. Then Iím going to simulate in my head the results of all of the games until the national championship game, using what I know and how I think each team will do this season. I think all of the games should be played at a neutral but somewhat local site. In ( ) by each conference, Iím going to list the city in which the game would be played. Of course, this decision would be made prior to the season and would probably change every year. Like it or not, want it or not, here it is:

First Round Matchups (East/West, North/South, etc of each Conference)
Southwest Conference (San Diego): UCLA vs San Jose State -- UCLA advances
Northwest Conference (Boise): Colorado State vs Oregon State -- OR State advances
Mid-South Conference (Dallas): Texas vs Oklahoma -- Oklahoma advances
Southeast Conference (Memphis): Tennessee vs Georgia Tech -- GA Tech advances
North Central Conference (Detroit): Michigan vs Notre Dame -- Michigan advances
Midwest Conference (Minneapolis): Nebraska vs Northwestern -- Nebraska advances
Northeast Conference (New York/NJ): Pittsburgh vs Virginia Tech -- VA Tech advances
Mid-Atlantic Conference (Jacksonville): Florida vs Miami -- Miami advances

Second Round Matchups (Midwest champ vs NE champ, etc)
Southwest champ vs Northwest champ (Los Angeles): UCLA vs Oregon State -- UCLA advances
Mid-South champ vs Southeast champ (Birmingham): GA Tech vs Oklahoma -- GA Tech advances
Midwest champ vs North Central champ (Chicago): Nebraska vs Michigan -- Nebraska advances
Northeast champ vs Mid-Atlantic champ (Atlanta): Miami vs VA Tech -- Miami advances

Third Round Matchups (To get to 2 teams)
UCLA vs Georgia Tech (in Denver) -- UCLA advances
Nebraska vs Miami (in Nashville) -- Nebraska advances
National Championship Game
UCLA vs Nebraska (Rose Bowl in Pasadena) -- Nebraska 2001 National Champs

Now, like it or not, and I know some of you are confused, I think this would work as good as anything. Each teams has a chance to win the game and move on. The games are at neutral sites so thereís no home-field advantage. Sure the fans would have to travel but in cities as big as Atlanta, San Diego, Dallas, etc, the general public there is going to eat up a lot of tickets to see a big-time college football game. If you wanted, still have the bowl games for the rest of the teams, but maybe just have like 15 or 20 at the most and play them during the week between the playoff games on Saturday. The NFL would have to stick to Sundays until January. So what? I donít think the NFL is going to take away any college viewers anyway. I just sit around watching NFL waiting for the polls to come out on Sunday afternoon.

In case youíre wondering here is a quick run down of the teams left out of the new 80-team Division I-A. The teams closet to the top were the last left out, but by the time you get to the last 15, they were all left out at the same time (the very beginning), so no one was the very first one out. Here are the 37 teams eliminated from Division I-A: Cincinnati, Houston, Utah State, Toledo, Utah, Middle Tenn. State, Duke, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Temple, Baylor, C. Florida, Connecticut, S. Florida, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, C. Michigan, E. Michigan, Kent State, Miami (OH), N. Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arkansas State, LA-Lafayette, LA-Monroe, New Mexico State, North Texas, Nevada, Rice, SMU, Tulsa, UTEP, and Troy State.

I would love to hear everyoneís comments on this. Do you want a playoff system or not? Do you think this idea or a similar one would work? What did I do wrong? Did I do anything right? I hope personally we have a playoff system in place as soon as possible. I wish we had one for 2001, but the BCS will do for one more year. Email me and let me know how you feel!