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Blog Entry

Mountain West 16-team playoff close, but no cigar

Posted on: October 20, 2011 2:54 pm
The Mountain West conference proposed a 16-team playoff to the other conference commissioners last September, which will most likely get discussed this April, when the BCS has its annual meeting.

Personally, I like the idea of going straight to a proper 16-team playoff if the poobahs in charge ever decide to get rid of the BCS.  If you're going to bit the bullet and create a playoff, you might as well get it right from the start.  Four- and 8-team models aren't inclusive enough to get full buy in.

The nice thing about MWC commissioner Craig Thompson's plan is that it is big enough to include all 11 conference champions.  Wait -- ten conference champions after his league merges with Conference USA.  However, his plan then makes the mistake of failing to include all of the conference champions.  Instead, his plan requires conference champions to be in the top 30 of some committee vote.  This committee is the selection committee.  Its 1-30 ranking would be used to select and seed the tournament.

That's too much work, plus it's politically expedient to include all the conference champs.  The basketball committee model is much better.  Just give the committee the ten conference winners, let them select the six at-large teams and seed the bracket.  Easy peasy.

His proposal also has a limit of a maximum of three teams per conference, which is probably unnecessary.  The odds of one league having three of the best six at-large teams are pretty small.

Another place his plan fails is trying to mix bowls and playoffs.  Bowls aren't playoffs and not meant to be part of them.  Bowls are week-long, chamber of commerce fueled events.  They're vacations.  Playoffs are business trips.  Thompson wants the four BCS bowls to host quarterfinals.  That is after the first round is played at campus sites, and before the semifinals are played at campus sites.  There is no need for a neutral site round in the middle of the tournament.  Just do it like every other level of football and play the whole thing at campus sites until the final.

The powers that be aren't ready for something like this yet anyway, and may not be for some time.  However, if they ever do go to a 16-team playoff, include everyone, skip the bowls, and just play it.

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:15 am


The NCAA sets the criteria for what a D1 team is.  So any school that is playing who meets that criteria should be able to play their way into the D1 championship game from the first game they play in D1.  Thus a conference of D1 schools should have their champion going every year with no exceptions.

Who would tell the conferences of George Mason and Butler that perceptually their champion doesn't have it this year in basketball so no matter what you did we don't feel you need to be given a chance to play?  That's why games are played.

Why do I focus on "criteria", because that is the biggest and most atrocious part of the BCS.

There is no written criteria that a team can aspire to and work towards to become an AQ for the BCS championship.  No individual team can be handed a slip of paper and told to meet these goals and you can then play your way in.  I await the day when some member of Congress asks a BCS executive to show him the written criteria that any team can attain on their own, without invitation, that allows them to play for the championship.  It doesn't exist.

The BCS is an invitational tournament, pure and simple.  If it were an open tournament then every team no matter their name could play themselves through the year and through a tournament.  And as such it is a monopoly in many ways and with many schools it is a perpetuated monopoly with tax dollars.  Tax dollars are helping fund the biggest monopoly in America and doing it on the backs of our children.  What a message!  It is not what you attain by your efforts, but rather what relationships you can attain and maintain.  Ask South Florida and Rutgers if they aren't feeling that reality about now.

In the next few years Old Dominion and Charlotte are going to field D1 teams and other teams like Appalachian State are considering moving up to D1.

The day they do and get their letter of admittance it should say...."good luck, and if you win your conference championship next year we'll see you in the playoff's."

But it doesn' essence it says..."thanks for joining, if we feel like you are good enough we may let you play beyond your regularly scheduled season in the future."

16 teams, and all D1 conference champions go automatically.  That spreads the wealth of talent too.  If all the BCS teams start coming from one or two conferences the players will all migrate there.  If everyone is equal the hometown boy may want to play for the hometown team!  And that makes for good rivalries, which leads to passion, which leads to games with the excitement of a fight or a hanging, and both draw crowds, History shows that fights and hangings draw huge crowds and in this day and time lots and lots of TV's.

In time no one will turn on a TV to see an empty stadium surrounding a team from somewhere out west versus some team in the NE. 

Duke and UNC are 9 miles apart and yet that basketball rivalry built by fans attending the games has spread all across America and draws huge tv crowds.  Why?  Not because there are millions of TV's surrounding Durham and Chapel Hill, but because they put a quality product on the floor and play the game with a passion that can be "felt" through the TV.  Auburn/Alabama, Texas/AM, Georgia/Florida, need I go on?  A few "pop up" like USC/Notre Dame that are built on something else, but in the end they fade.  The fans have to be there in person to make rivalries work.

College sports are about the fans and the closer the fans are together the deeper the rivalry and the more it is obvious.

That's something that some college administrators seem to be forgetting.

Do you know why a Rutger's fan would much rather lose to Houston than to Temple?

He doesn't know anyone who went to Houston!

And therein is the secret to college sports at the local level.  So those conference champions in regional champions bring it all....and they bring the fans with them.  Those to cheer get to the game, those that jeer are glued to the TV or to an Ipad as the case may be.  Rivalries create the interest and fan interactions make the rivalries.

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:26 am

Mountain West 16-team playoff close, but no cigar

Actually you are's what you are missing.

Use the formula, to be honest the formula is not that bad.  Take the 8 highest rated Conference Champions and 8 at large's as determined by the formula.  That means 2 CC's aren't going to make it, which eliminates programs that dont schedule or beat anyone OOC.  The MAC, Sun Belt and WAC will basically be vying for one spot and most likely that will be the 16th seed.  The formula can also be used to determine seedings, although minor changes can be made to eliminate re-match's.

I REALLY like the idea of using on campus stadiums for 1st round games...these are some of the best places in the country to watch football, why wouldnt we use them.  Finally, I believe Dallas can just be the permanent home for the champ game.  Best stadium, centrally located.

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