A Real National Championship

  • So I made this suggestion last week. Immediately heard from the short-sighted and dreadfully negative naysayers.

    Forget that.

    And remember, the only reason this doesn’t happen is because of the tired, worn out, and ridiculous bowl system. Meaningless exhibitions.

    Imagine – The 24 team playoff begins NOW.

    Top 8 teams get a bye and play a home game to start, and higher seeded teams host the round of 8. Power 5 conference winners get automatic bye, plus the next three best teams. Use the same CFP formula and rankings.

    Major motivation to get a bye. Major reward for winning a conference title.

    Major motivation to play at home in first round. Major motivation to get into the playoff.

    More money than we can imagine.

    Heading into the last couple of weeks, teams as low as #50-60 may be in the mix winning their last two games.

    Since the 5 power conference winners get automatic byes, UCF was ranked #8 and Washington #9 in the college football playoff poll, but because Washington won its conference, they get the bye and flip spots with UCF. Next best 3 teams get byes. Again, huge, huge motivation for large numbers of teams – the “every game means something” thing.

    #1 Alabama

    #2 Clemson

    #3 Notre Dame

    #4 Oklahoma

    #5 Georgia

    #6 Ohio St.

    #7 Michigan

    #8 Washington*

    Games played on Tuesday, Dec. 11; Wednesday Dec. 12; and Thursday, Dec. 13.

    #24 Iowa St. @ #9 UCF*

    #23 Missouri @ #10 Florida

    #22 Northwestern @ #11 LSU

    #21 Fresno St. @ #12 Penn St.

    #20 Syracuse @ #13 Washington St.

    #19 Texas AM @ #14 Kentucky

    #18 Miss St. @ #15 Texas

    #17 Utah @ #16 West Virginia

    Now, every game might mean something.

    Format can either be to have true bracket form, or have worst winner in first round play best remaining team. I prefer true bracket form.

    So lets assume ISU, Missouri, LSU, PSU, WSU, Texas AM, Texas, WVU win. Remember, pure bracket form so even though ISU is #24, they’ll go to #8 Washington – with a real shot at winning.

    Round of 16 starts the weekend of Dec. 28. Better seed is the home team until the Final Four. The Final Four and National Championship at Neutral sites as currently done.

    Top Half Of Bracket

    #16 West Virginia @ #1 Alabama

    #24 Iowa St. @ #8 Washington

    #12 Penn St. @ #5 Georgia

    #13 Washington St. @ #4 Oklahoma

    Bottom Half Of Bracket

    #19 Texas AM @ #3 Notre Dame

    #11 LSU @ #6 Ohio St.

    #23 Missouri @ #7 Michigan

    #15 Texas @ #2 Clemson

    This is how a true champion is decided. A real tournament.

    You think ISU might have a chance at Washington? Or that OU might be sweating WSU? Or that ND might be a bit concerned with LSU looming? How might Michigan match up vs. Clemson – if Clemson survives Texas? And what injuries could occur that might throw a wrench in everything?

    Can you imagine if Les Miles came in and KU snuck into this thing come year three? KU #23 @ #10 (insert the opponent). Wow.

    Or we can make it our season’s goal to play in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

  • @HighEliteMajor About the only thing I like about expanding the playoffs is your last point. It gives everyone a chance. Anyone can be a top 25 team and have their shot. UCF, Buffalo, Fresno St., Utah St., KU, etc.

    It would create more excitement.

  • My only issue with the playoff is this - it doesn’t exist to crown the overall best team, it only exists to make the P5 more money.

    UCF has not lost a game since December 2016. Yet they can’t get a shot at the national title. P5 schools might say they need to have a tougher schedule, but I doubt any P5 schools are trying to get UCF on their non-con slate right now. This system is ultimately just a money grab.

    Last year, people said that if UCF went undefeated again, they should be considered for the playoff. Well, they did that, and once it was clear that UCF was closing in on another unbeaten season, those people that had said they deserved that shot went strangely silent.

    And that’s why a top 8 is necessary. Each P5 champion, plus the top Group of Five team, then three at larges. Sadly, it will never happen because it is a money grab.

  • @justanotherfan

    Going to an 8 team playoff is doable but any more teams than that is not. I thinks it is realistic to expect that while there would be controversy about the last 1 or 2 teams inthe top 5-6 teams would be without a question the better teams in College football.

    There are currently 41 bowls which means 80 teams go bowling (2 play twice) and they all make some money while a 24 team playoff would do away with most of the bowls and only the top 24 programs would benefit…it just will not happen not even considering the nightmarish logistics of organizing a 24 team playoff.

  • @justanotherfan Exactly, the SEC teams are scared to schedule anyone in the non-conference because if they lose, they may not be considered the best conference. I’m tired of most the higher rated SEC team dodging good games. I read an article earlier this season about how teams won’t schedule UCF because they don’t wan to lose to them .If Nick Saban had any guts he just schedule them, I think Bama prob wins that game 8 of 10 times but hey if you are really the best lets go.

  • @kjayhawks

    Alabama scheduling UCF is like KU scheduling Wichita State, very little upside and way too much downside and unlike basketball, you don’t have 30+ games to make up for it, one loss to UCF and you are out of playoff contention; too much money at stake to risk it.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I agree to a certain extent for sure. The difference to me is KU already plays a stacked non-conference schedule every season, with teams like Dook, UK, MSU, ASU and Tennessee. While Alabama plays a joke of a non-conference schedule. Speaking of WSU I saw they beat Baylor Saturday night. Baylor looks really bad from what I’ve seen, maybe last place in the league bad.

  • @kjayhawks The SEC still plays 4 non-con games too. Imagine scheduling an extra W per year. Also your conference feasts while the other conferences begin taking Ls. No way to avoid conference losses when you’re playing in conference, so the SEC gains ground they don’t deserve over the other conferences.

  • UCF isn’t one of the top 2 teams, so it doesn’t really matter if they’re in or out. As long as Bama and Clemson get a chance the rest is moot. No legit complaining from undefeated, but consensus 3rd place ND, as they get a shot at the title. Oklahoma, Ohio State and Washington should not have lost if they wanted a shot. Oklahoma got lucky to be included, but has no legitimate chance to win with a defense that gave up 40 to KU. The current system gives the best teams a chance to duke it out for the title. A larger playoff would include more teams, but would it crown a better champion? SEC grievances aside Alabama is very deserving of the title shots they’ve had.

  • As of the last poll and a quick count shows: SEC 8 (57%) teams in the top 25, Big 12 4 (40%), Big 10 4 (29%), PAC 12 3 (25%), MWC 2 (17%), ACC 2 (14%). Granted that because of the two divisions in the SEC, Big 10, ACC and Pac 12 and MWC teams do not play every other ranked team but it still shows the strength of the conferences as a whole…no question the SEC is the top football conference.

  • I’m not questioning Alabama, or the SEC overall. My point is that UCF proved this year that no non P5 team, other than Notre Dame, will ever be in a position to get into the playoff the way it is currently put together. They have not lost in two calendar years. They did everything they could do, and weren’t even in a position to just barely miss.

  • @justanotherfan At one point the Big 12 was allegedly considering adding UCF, along with Houston, UCinn, and maybe BYU. With UCF being the largest student body in the country, and having the visibility of Orlando, plus having morphed from a commuting to a residential school, I thought it would be great.

    But I suspect that because UT and OU did not want to find out if the fb program is legit, expansion died.

  • @justanotherfan

    UCF has played one team that was ranked in the top 25, Cincinnati at #24 and which is not longer ranked. In comparison KU has played 4 top 25 teams. Last year their only regular season win against top 25 teams was against Memphis which was #20 but finished the season at #25. Yes, it is unbeaten in 2 years but the wins have been against weaker competition. Notre Dame does not even belong to a Conference and yet manages to schedule much better competition.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Yeah, it is the same exact situation. Schedule either one, take your pick. Guaranteed national television, huge revenue stream, etc.

  • @mayjay I’m really glad Houston wasn’t added to the big12. It would kill any chance KU has of recruiting Houston. Not that KU is great at recruiting Texas, but it would be one more power 5 team to recruit against in an area KU’s had past success.

    UCF was an interesting option good football, huge student body. Would open up Florida recruiting/exposure to the Big12.

    Louisville was the team I was hoping would be added. Even with the current shenanigans Louisville, long term, looks ok.

  • mayjay said:

    @JayHawkFanToo Yeah, it is the same exact situation. Schedule either one, take your pick. Guaranteed national television, huge revenue stream, etc.

    Sarcasm? Any team with championship aspirations is already on national TV and has sold out before the season even begins regardless of who they play.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    As I’m sure your aware football schedules are set years in advance. 4 years ago UCF was 0-12, 3 years ago 6-7. I can’t imagine they could foreshadow going 25-0 over the next two seasons and not even having the opportunity to play for a national championship. What AD/school can prepare a schedule from a smaller school/conference that is good enough to make the Top 4? Pretty impossible in today’s climate. Imagine a P5 team in that same scenario snubbed from the Top 4. It would never happen. Never.

    This is about the same issue Boise St had years ago trying to get into the big bowl discussion from a smaller conference. And the same issue is still here.

    I agree with @justanotherfan here that this is benefiting P5 only to continue to rake in cash.

    Regardless of UCF’s schedule or who they have beat, they haven’t lost in 2 years. At what point is that accomplishment rewarded with the chance to be the actual champion. As they proved last season by beating Auburn in the bowl game, if you give them the opportunity they can prove themselves on the football field. That’s what’s missing from this whole thing. UCF isn’t even in the discussion to have a chance after going 25-0 in the last two years. Unfortunate

  • @BeddieKU23

    Good points. Some games are scheduled years in advance and some are not and there is always the opportunity of buying out a smaller program to play a bigger one. 3-4 years ago CFU was probably getting paid to play bigger schools but now probably pays to play smaller schools like most better programs do.

    Again, to the major programs there is little upside and too much downside playing a team like CFU.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    It’s tough. UCF had North Carolina on its schedule but the game was canceled I believe due to the hurricane. Of course UNC was really bad this year so the game wouldn’t have benefited them. I’m just pointing out UCF did schedule two P5 teams, UNC/Pitt out of its 4 non-conference games. UCF did beat Pitt by 31, Pitt just played in the ACC championship game.

    UCF has no margin for error while the P5 does. Until that changes this is the result

  • I can see both sides @HighEliteMajor. The thrill of making a bowl game right now is extended to almost every D1 team. Teams have crappy years like my Badgers have and alas, we still get to play in a game, one last chance to watch them play. Kind of a hollow thrill, but I’m still looking forward to them playing the Canes (grrr…for the 2nd year in a row, thanks ncaa) On the other hand, I can see a playoff like you described being a pretty fascinating tournament, as long as you like to see 24 teams including about 11 SEC teams a year because ESPN controlled SEC gets about that many teams ranked every year. “Why is that team ranked? Because it’s in the SEC” “Why is the SEC good? Because it has so many ranked teams”.

    That all being said, unlike the NCAA basketball tournament which yields some surprise winners, I’ll be surprised if anyone other than the top seeds wins a football playoff so you might as well keep it the way it is. And I like " the tired, worn out, and ridiculous bowl system. Meaningless exhibitions" So bring on the PInstripe bowl, I will be watching!

  • @dylans in football where you start season in rankings can have overarching impact on where viewed at end.

  • @Bwag Yeah, but even KU was knocking on the door with an undefeated (nearly) season. Play a good schedule and win and you’re in. Lose and you better have been highly ranked to begin the season to stand a chance.

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