As I close my eyes at night thinking about ways to fix the world, one of my dreams is how to repair college football. College football is broken, can't you see? There are 5 undefeated teams in the FBS. Yet, through a maze of numbers, TV contracts and sponsorships, 3 of those teams won't get a chance to play for the National Championship.
My solution is twofold: fix the regular season and fix the post season. You could do one and not the other, but true fairness can only be found by doing both. Let's start with some numbers, shall we?
Here's a list of the number of schools per FBS conference. Every conference is equal. Yes, the WAC is on the same level as the SEC.
That's 11 conferences plus 3 independents. 107 schools. Plenty of teams there to put together an out of conference schedule. But for the sake of intrastate "rivalries" we'll allow 1 game per year against a directional opponent.
RULE CHANGE: TEAMS ARE ALLOWED A MAXIMUM OF ONE (1) NON FBS OPPONENT PER SEASON.
RULE CHANGE: EACH FBS TEAM SHALL PLAY AN ELEVEN (11) GAME SCHEDULE.
The problem with conferences of varying sizes is creating a schedule that is balanced. From an NCAA standpoint, they will allow the conference to decide the number of games in a conference schedule and how they will determine the champion.
RULE CHANGE: THERE WILL BE NO +1 GAME TO DETERMINE THE CONFERENCE CHAMPION.
So, now we've completed a season and each conference has determined the order of finish.
RULE CHANGE: EACH CONFERENCE CHAMPION WILL RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC BID INTO POST-SEASON TOURNAMENT.
Let's look at this year and see what we have (remember, I'm tossing out conference championship games)
Florida gets a * for the following reason:
RULE CHANGE: THE BCS STANDINGS WILL STILL EXIST FOR SEEDING PURPOSES. EACH CONFERENCE WILL SEND NO MORE THAN TWO (2) TEAMS TO THE TOURNAMENT, TO GIVE BROADER ACCESS TO TOURNAMENT.
Florida is SEC champion in the scenario only because there is no way to tell a difference between Florida and Alabama by comparing schedules. They were both undefeated. Florida is champion because they were ranked higher in the BCS, and Alabama will get in the tournament anyhow. The Conferences will obviously have to change their procedures.
For this instance, we'll use the November 29 BCS Standings, as (for the most part) it is the final poll prior to the conference championship games. I'll walk through the top of the poll and show you how the tournament is seeded:
So, Penn State and LSU get passed over. Worse things have happened. But that leaves us with these matchups (and possible venues):
The top 8 revenue generating conferences get to select the first round venues. That will aid ticket sales, merchandising and overall venue management. In this manner, conferences can schedule this game years ahead, just as they do in the current scheme. As you can see by the above chart, the "home team" will be the team from the host conference, if possible. The ACC Champion Georgia Tech was not a top 8 seed, and therefore could not "host" so Alabama goes there to replace them, because they are the only At-Large team in the top 8. In years where there is more than one case of this, then the higher seed picks the venue.
The quarterfinal games would use current, non BCS bowls, selected due to their demographics and quality of previous bowls. Possible nominees are: Cotton Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Gator Bowl and Peach Bowl. The conferences would need to schedule their 1st round venues after the NCAA schedules the venues, so they don't match.
The semifinals and National Championship games would rotate between the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and the Rose Bowl...or at least their venue.
As far as the calendar goes:
Round 1 games played 2nd Saturday of December (Dec. 12)
Quarterfinal games played 3rd Saturday of December (Dec. 19)
Semifinal games played on New Year's Day (Jan. 1)
National Championship played on Monday following NFL's first round games (Jan. 11)
So what can we conclude from all of this?
*Should a team go to the National Championship, they will have play a total of 15 games. That's only 1 game more than some teams play now.
*Only 4 teams will play more than 13 games.
*In this scenario (and I haven't figured out dates for other years yet) the National Championship is only 4 days after what's actually scheduled.
*The "BCS" in this scenario would encompass 7 games (from the quarterfinals to the championship). That would mean the NCAA would control the media/advertising/etc. money for 7 games instead of 5.
*The top 8 conferences would control the rights to the 8 games that they host in the first round. That contrasts with the 3 conferences that actually stage a championship game currently.