Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NCAA Explosion!!!!!

With the 2007-08 College Football Bowl Season a little more than a week away, it is time once again to pound your head against the wall while you watch 2-3 weeks of meaningless football before getting to the only game that matters, a wait that is only worsened by the fact that you spent nearly two weeks watching no football at all (since there wasn’t any on). We all know the system currently in place is fucked, and numerous people have presented alternatives (the best being the Crystal Bowl, which this is loosely based on and is unfortunately no longer online). The problem with these alternatives is that they don’t do enough for me. Sure, a playoff would be sweet, but there would still be problems. Therefore, I present the follow completely-unrealistic-yet-totally-sane solution to the BCS Problem. Yes, there is a playoff, but before that can happen, this must happen...


The key to any system reboot of college football must begin with making sure every conference has a championship game. In order for this to become a reality, however, the composition of many of the conferences must be shaken up. While this may upset some hardcore purists, let me just say that by creating conferences that can all support a championship game the integrity and importance of the conference regular seasons will be maintained and perhaps even strengthened. To begin with, the SEC and Big 12 must remain the same, serving as shining examples of how things are supposed to be done. The rest of the conferences will shake out like this (with new members in italics):




South Florida

Wake Forest

Florida State


North Carolina State


Virginia Tech


Georgia Tech

North Carolina

Miami (FL)


The ACC was actually alright the way it was, but Boston College just doesn’t make geographic sense, while South Florida definitely does. Boston College then will go to the…



Boston College







West Virginia






See, doesn’t that feel better? While Boston College strengthens the league, Navy, Temple, Marshall, and Buffalo weaken it (although it has always been a pretty top-heavy league anyway). But the league roster must number 12, and since geography obviously is important to me, these must be the teams. It does add some intriguing turf wars, though, with Marshall-West Virginia, Temple-Rutgers, and Syracuse-Buffalo.





Michigan State


Notre Dame



Ohio State


Penn State




This is the conference that gave me the most trouble. Although I only added one team, it is the biggie that everyone knows should be in the Big Ten, but never will be. Beyond the sweet deal Notre Dame has with NBC, they also have rivalries with teams all over the country, and joining the Big Ten would put an end to most of them (at least on their current yearly basis). The bigger concern, however, is whether or not to put Michigan and Ohio State in the same division. On the one hand, it would be awesome to have them facing off in the conference championship game every year. It would not be so awesome, however, if they played that game one week after they just met in their annual regular season finale match-up. By putting them in the same division, that game could still happen without the risk of a repeat the next week. I’ll leave them in separate divisions for now, but am totally on the fence.




East Carolina


Southern Miss










Only a minor shakeup will be required here, with TCU returning to the C-USA to take the place of the departed Marshall and Tulane moving to the East Division for geography and balance’s sake.



Bowling Green

Miami (OH)



Eastern Michigan


Kent State


Central Michigan

Ball State

Western Michigan

Middle Tennessee


Northern Illinois

Army comes in to replace Buffalo as the token shitty New York team, while Middle Tennessee plays the southern oddball role filled earlier by Central Florida. Neither of these teams makes a whole lot of sense here, but somebody had to replace the departed Temple and Buffalo.

PAC 10


Oregon State


Boise State

Washington State





Arizona State




Fresno State

I really like how this conference shakes out. Boise State can definitely hang with the Oregons and Washingtons, while Fresno State can always get hot again like they were a few years ago. Both schools seem to fit in both style and geography.



Florida Atlantic


Florida International

Western Kentucky



Louisiana Tech


Arkansas State

North Texas

Being at the bottom of the conference barrel, the Sun Belt is the only conference with fewer than 12 teams and unbalanced divisions. Perhaps some other D-II or whatever the hell it’s called now teams will step into the conference as Western Kentucky will in a year or so. Louisiana Tech returns from the West to see familiar faces in Monroe and Lafayette. All in all, who really cares?






San Jose State

Utah State

New Mexico State

San Diego State



Air Force


New Mexico



Colorado State

The former Mountain West and WAC re-combine forces to form the largest conference in the country. While the re-shuffling deprives the conference of mid-major powers TCU, Boise State, and Fresno State, the payoff of the new conference championship game is worth it. You see, under the new rules…


…while there will also be six at-large bids determined by BCS rank. See what I meant about the conference schedule still mattering? Getting into the conference championship is akin to getting into the first round of the playoffs, since most teams will have to win their conference to assure a spot among the sixteen team national playoff field. Let’s just go through what this year’s conference title games would look like and see how much each match-up would mean to each team (the number indicates BCS rank, while CAPS signals my projected [or the actual] winner).

ACC: 15 Clemson vs. 3 VIRGINIA TECH

Virginia Tech would probably still have a shot at an at-large berth following a loss, while Clemson would absolutely have to win.

BIG 12: 6 Missouri vs. 4 OKLAHOMA

We’ve already seen how this plays out, with both teams still securing playoff berths.

BIG EAST: 14 Boston College vs. 9 WEST VIRGINIA

Both teams would be playing for their playoff lives due to the relative weakness of the Big East.

BIG TEN: Michigan vs. 1 OHIO STATE

Michigan would obviously need to win while Ohio State would probably not fall out of the top 10 with a loss (despite their weak schedule).




Obviously all three of these games would be do-or-die.

PAC 10: Oregon State vs. 7 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

This game would be a must win for both teams since USC would have three losses after a defeat here.

SEC: 16 Tennessee vs. 2 LOUISIANA STATE

This could possibly be a must win for either team, as well, as LSU would suffer their third “L” with a loss.

MWAC: 10 HAWAII vs. 17 Brigham Young

Here’s yet another win-or-go-to-the-Hawaii-Bowl game, with Hawaii’s consideration for an at-large team resting entirely on their undefeated record. With a loss to BYU, you can kiss that cow goodbye.

After the 10 conference champions have been crowned, the BCS Rankings will then be used to determine…


…who will be:

5 Georgia

6 Missouri

8 Kansas

11 Arizona State

12 Florida

And, for all the people who say debate is good for the game, I present your sixth and final at-large team…

13 Illinois

Following a national bye week (which would have been last weekend), these teams will then play a


held at the higher seeds’ home stadium (with the exception that an at-large team cannot host a conference champion, as seen in this season’s Kansas-West Virginia match-up). The bracket will play out as follows (with the numbers being the seed and the CAPS signaling the projected winner):

16 Florida Atlantic @ 1 OHIO STATE

8 Kansas @ 9 WEST VIRGINIA

Ohio State should be prepared for a home laugher after already hosting Youngstown State, Akron, and Kent State earlier in the season. Kansas versus West Virginia has the makings of a shootout.

13 Illinois @ 4 OKLAHOMA

12 Arizona State @ 5 GEORGIA

Both Illinois and Arizona State have the weapons to cause some teams trouble; unfortunately, neither Oklahoma nor Georgia falls under that category.

11 FLORIDA @ 6 Missouri

14 Central Michigan @ 3 VIRGINIA TECH

Florida should win another shootout involving a Big 12 school versus Mizzou, while Va Tech rolls Central Michigan.

10 Hawaii @ 7 SOUTHERN CAL

15 Central Florida @ 2 LOUISIANA STATE

People expecting a shoot out between USC and Hawaii will be gravely disappointed, as will anyone expecting Central Florida to be in the game past half time.

The next week will kick off…


which will start off by building up to the playoff games with lesser bowls. Now a loud argument against a playoff system has been that it will render the bowl system meaningless. In order to test this theory, I will now present each bowl match-up with and without a playoff and you tell me how much more meaningless the bowls become (and, just for kicks, I’ve put my picks to win in CAPS and an * next to the actual bowl game and a + next to the game that I feel would be more exciting).


Poinsettia Bowl: UTAH vs. Navy

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

New Orleans Bowl: MEMPHIS vs. Florida Atlantic *

Memphis vs. TROY +

Papa Bowl: Southern Miss vs. CINCINNATI

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

New Mexico Bowl: NEVADA vs. New Mexico*+

Ball State vs. NEW MEXICO

Las Vegas Bowl: UCLA vs. BRIGHAM YOUNG

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff (and BYU will win)

Hawaii Bowl: BOISE STATE vs. East Carolina*

FRESNO STATE vs. East Carolina

This game’s about a wash in excitement level between the actual and imaginary match ups.

Motor City Bowl: PURDUE vs. Central Michigan*+

PURDUE vs. Bowling Green

Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. TEXAS*+

Oregon State vs. TEXAS

Champs Sports Bowl: BOSTON COLLEGE vs. Michigan State

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Houston*+

TCU vs. Nevada

This match-up would change because TCU and Houston would now both be in the C-USA.

Emerald Bowl: Maryland vs. OREGON STATE*

Maryland vs. BOISE STATE+

Meineke Car Care Bowl: CONNECTICUT vs. Wake Forest

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Liberty Bowl: CENTRAL FLORIDA vs. Mississippi State*+

TULSA vs. Mississippi State

Alamo Bowl: PENN STATE vs. Texas A&M

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Independence Bowl: ALABAMA vs. Colorado

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Armed Forces Bowl: CALIFORNIA vs. Air Force

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Humanitarian Bowl: GEORGIA TECH vs. Fresno State*

GEORGIA TECH vs. Indiana+

Sun Bowl: SOUTH FLORIDA vs. Oregon

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Music City Bowl: KENTUCKY vs. Florida State

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Insight Bowl: Indiana vs. OKLAHOMA STATE*

WISCONSIN vs. Oklahoma State+

Chick-fil-A Bowl: AUBURN vs. Clemson

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TENNESSEE*

Michigan vs. TENNESSEE+

Gator Bowl: Texas Tech vs. VIRGINIA

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

International Bowl: RUTGERS vs. Ball State*

RUTGERS vs. Northwestern+

GMAC Bowl: Bowling Green vs. TULSA*+

Ohio vs. IOWA

The meaningless bowl games remain just as meaningless, with 12 of the games going unchanged and five of the changed games producing more exciting match-ups. Also, three more slots would open for bowl-eligible teams that have gotten passed on this season (Ohio, Iowa, and Northwestern) which will make those university presidents and alumni associations happy. As for the remaining bowl games, they will be used for the…


with the idea being that the 5 BCS Bowls (plus the national championship game) and two relatively major bowls will be used to host the remaining playoff games. For this exercise, I chose to add in the Capital One Bowl and the Cotton Bowl. Both usually host marquee match-ups, and are located in markets that could handle a major bowl (Orlando and Dallas). Where each match-up is held is up to the bowls on a rotating system. For the quarter finals, the BCS Bowl (or host city, since the actual bowl doesn’t decide the championship anymore) furthest from the last time it hosted the national title game would have first choice for its game. Therefore, Pasadena would select

Rose Bowl: 7 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA vs. 2 Louisiana State

USC is the natural choice for the Rose Bowl and the Trojans should handle LSU in what amounts to a home game.

The next choice would go to Tempe, who would select

Fiesta Bowl: 1 OHIO STATE vs. 9 West Virginia

Ohio State has a history of traveling well to Tempe, and the Buckeyes will step up and finally beat the spread offense that has vexed them in the Jim Tressel era.

Being the first year they have been involved in the national title picture, Dallas and Orlando would flip a coin, but it doesn’t really matter since the obvious sites are

Cotton Bowl: 4 OKLAHOMA vs. 5 Georgia

Georgia is the better team, but Mike Richt’s teams just have too long a history of choking.

Capital One Bowl: 11 FLORIDA vs. 3 Virginia Tech

LSU already showed what the speed of the SEC can do to the Hokies, and—like Georgia—Va Tech has a history of choking.

The remaining BCS Bowls would make up the semi-finals, with the city not hosting the national title game getting first choice. Therefore, Miami would select

Orange Bowl: 11 Florida vs. 7 SOUTHERN CALIFONIA

USC has the speed on defense to slow down the Gators, while also possessing enough firepower on offense to overpower the Florida defense.

New Orleans would then be left with

Sugar Bowl: 1 OHIO STATE vs. 4 Oklahoma

The Sooners would be heavily favored in this game, which means that they would most likely lose, as Bob Stoops has failed on three previous occasions (’04 Sugar Bowl, ’05 Orange Bowl, and ’07 Fiesta Bowl) to win when favored. Jim Tressel, meanwhile, has proven he can be quite effective as the underdog (’03 Fiesta Bowl), which he would be again in the

National Championship Game: 1 OHIO STATE vs. 7 Southern California

USC is fast, but not Florida-fast, and the Trojans run a conventional offense, which the Buckeyes have proven they can stop. Beanie Wells would grind out a tough game on the ground to give Ohio State the edge in a relatively low-scoring affair. A rivalry would continue from the Woody Hayes days that would continue over the next two seasons (USC and Ohio State start a home-and-home series next year) and, more importantly, Ohio State (or whoever your favorite team is that you would pick to win if you wrote this) would prove without a doubt that they are the best team in the country, which, come January 8, 2008, we will unfortunately still not know.