Thursday, December 2, 2010

BCS Playoffs - More Possible, Still Not Probable

My thought on the BCS versus a playoff system was that the BCS is the perfect system given the current structure of the NCAA Football conferences - only three of the six conferences play an additional conference championship game and divisions. Those three conferences, the Big 10, the Pacific 10, and the Big East conferences are all adding one or more teams to their conference, and the Big 10 (plus 2) and the Pac 10 (plus 2) have already outlined their plan for divisions and conference championship games. The Big East (plus 1 at this point) hasn't finalised adding a second team to the current 8 team conference, although divisions and conference championships might not be in the mix until they get into 12+ teams. However, since the Big 12 is losing 2 teams to dip to 10 teams, they will likely reshuffle their divisions or do away with them altogether.

The biggest hurdle for the playoff system that everyone is envisioning is uniformity. The SEC plays 12 regular season games which includes 4 non-conference games, 5 division games, and 3 inter-division games. The Pac 10 also plays 12 regular season games, but 9 of them are conference games, 3 are non-conference. The Big 10, who has just 1 team than the Pac 10, has 12 regular season games, but 4 non-conference games, and 8 conference games, leaving out 2 conference opponents any given year a Big 10 team doesn't play. Now, with the additions in these two conferences, that will likely change, but We still have 6 conferences that aren't perfectly aligned. The Big East has 9 confirmed teams, Big 12 is down to 10, Pac 10 up to 12, Big 10 up to 12, and the SEC and ACC remain at 12. If the BCS wanted to implement their own playoff system, they would likely try to bribe the conferences to these guidlines:

  • Each conference must play the same number of conference opponents and non-conference opponents.
  • Each conference must play a conference championship held on the same weekend.
  • Each conference must have the same number of teams in each conference and divided into 2 divisions.
  • Each division team must play each other once during the year.
  • Each team in the conference must maintain a level of schedule integrity.
Let me elaborate on that last point. Every team in the country schedules 1-2 very small schools to play, either at the beginning of the year or for homecoming. Those higher tiered teams, or BCS teams, must be held accountable for playing a FCS team if they choose. So, if a team does schedule a FCS team, they must either even their schedule integrity out by scheduling a BCS conference team as a non-conference opponent, or forfeit a spot in the BCS playoffs if they qualify. For instance, Alabama played Georgia State this year, yet they played a Big 10 team in Penn State. That would be fine. But, Ole Miss played Jacksonville State, an FCS school. They did not play an out-of-conference BCS school, therefore their eligibility to be a BCS playoff team would be void. In maintaining a schedule integrity, schools are still allowed to play smaller schools in order to benefit both parties, but that game should not count towards a BCS playoff ranking unless it is paired with a competitive non-conference game with a BCS conference team.

Now, the BCS would probably not add that last stipulation, however, I feel that is the last thing the BCS would need in order to have playoffs. Now the 6 BCS conferences are aligning into 6, 10-12 team conferences, the possibility is higher. The probability, however, is not improving.

No comments: