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10/05/2006

Solving the playoff debate

Lloyd Carr (for it), Joe Tiller (against it), Steve Spurrier (for it) and Tommy Tuberville (for it) shared their thoughts on a college football playoff system this week, here's mine:

A 16-team playoff is the only fair way to determine a national champion. Give automatic bids to the winners of the six major conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC), then fill out the rest of the field with at-large selections, including the top-ranked mid-major team, using an NCAA Tournament-like selection committee.

First-round games would be played at home sites of the higher-seeded team the second week of December. Second-round games would be played the following Saturday at rotating regional sites that are current bowl destinations. One year it could be San Diego, Detroit, Charlotte and Orlando, the next San Antonio, Nashville, Tempe and Tampa Bay.

The semifinals will always be played Jan. 1, and a national championship game will follow the next that's Saturday seven or more days later. The final three games will rotate between the current BCS bowls, the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange, with the previous year's national championship site sitting out one season.

To accommodate the (slightly) longer season, the regular season would start the last week of August, include a bye, and require conference championship games to be played the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The Birkett Plan is designed to limit class time missed to little more than it is now; allow for proper media build-up and travel-making time for the fan; and incorporate some of college football's long-standing traditions (Jan. 1, the bowl games).

Tiller, the Purdue coach, wouldn't approve of the plan because it excludes too many bowl-eligible teams. He said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference Tuesday that he likes the current bowl system because of the opportunity (32 bowl games) it provides. If unimportant games are that important to the powers that be, they can still be played the week between Christmas and New Year's leading up to the semifinals. No one but the gamblers and the alumni care about those games anyway, and that wouldn't change under The Birkett Plan.

What would is how a national champion is determined. Take the responsibility away from the pollsters, the coaches and the computers and let the players hash it out. Sixteen teams is enough to include everyone that proved itself worthy over a 12-game schedule (and it can always be expanded), and it's enough so one loss suffered in a tough road environment won't ruin a season.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A 16 team playoff renders the regular season nearly meaningless. The goal will no longer be perfection - a 3 loss season by a big time conference team is all that will be required. The beauty of college football is that a national chmpionship contender has pressure to win every week. Imagine this year if there's a 11-0 Michigan vs. an 11-0 Ohio State. What are they playing for? Seeding in the 16 team playoff? A now worthless Big Ten championship?

9:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the perfect amount for me would be 4 teams. However that can't be done without pure speculation. A top 4 this year would have excluded USC, WV and possibley the best team at seasons end UGA. I think you have to with 8, allowing the 6 BCS champs with 2 at large. Unless you are planning on having it without the Rose Bowl, the Big 10 and Pac 10 you would have to play it without seedings(of which I would be in favor). Just keep the natural tie ins and let the ACC champ play the B.East chmp in the Orange bowl.

10:31 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

You guys dug up an oldie, but so relevant the way things played out this year.

Four teams to me is too few exactly for the reason you mention: Too many worthwhile teams left out of the mix. In '07, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, USC, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and even Hawaii all had a claim to playing for a title at the end of the year. Some more than others, obviously, but four teams just sets the stage for more debate.

To me, 16 remains the most inclusive number, and I still believe it can be played out using regional bowl sites for the early-round games and the current BCS bowls for the championship rounds. I like Jan. 1 as a semifinal day and the Saturday at least a week later to decide the title.

Despite some of the debate, I don't know that we're much closer to it than we were a year ago. These things get talked about all the time, action's another thing. I will say this: If a plus-one is added, then a full-blown playoff isn't too far behind.

11:25 PM 

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