Blog Entry

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

Posted on: October 20, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:04 pm

A formal 16-team college football playoff worth at least $650 million has been proposed by Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson. obtained information from the document that was distributed to the 10 other Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners. It proposes that a human committee would rank 30 teams at the end of the season to help select the 16-team field. Those rankings would determine the 1-through-16 seedings. At least six Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) conference champions would be in the field. There would be a maximum of three teams per conference.

Thompson had an eight-team playoff proposal rejected by the BCS in 2009. With the current BCS agreement ending after the 2014 bowls, there is an opening for suggestions for new postseason models. BCS executive director Bill Hancock did not immediately comment.

Thompson's proposal was sent to those 10 other FBS commissioners, Notre Dame and Hancock.

Under his proposal, first-round games would be played the week after conference championship games (usually the second week of December).  The games would be played at the home stadium of the top eight seeds. The quarterfinals would follow on Jan. 1 or 2 at the four major bowl sites -- Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose.

The semifinals would be played at the stadium of the two highest-seeded remaining schools. Bowls could bid on hosting the championship game.

Financial bonuses would be awarded to participating conferences based on performance in the NCAA's Academic Performance Rate. There is also a clause that would allocate $50 million "to address issues of integrity in intercollegiate athletics."

Several playoff scenarios have been proposed by commercial entities. The NCAA even explored the possibly in the mid-1990s before dropping the idea.

The Arizona Republic interviewed Thompson about his proposal on Wednesday.However, was able to obtain specific detailed information about the proposal.

The FBS commissioners were to discuss Thompson's proposal at a previously scheduled meeting Sept. 20 in Chicago. But conference realignment issues forced the meeting to be cancelled.

Information from the document details the revenue windfall long anticipated from a playoff. Under Thompson's plan, a conference would receive $25 million for each top eight seed it had in the field. For seeds 9 through 16, the revenue would decrease by $2 million in descending order. For example, the conference of the No. 9 seed would get $23 million, No. 10 seed, $21 million, etc.

Conferences would then receive $20 million for each team that reaches the quarterfinals (round of eight). The remainder of the revenue from the semifinals and championship would be distributed this way: Two shares for each for each of the semifinal winners. One share for each for the semifinal losers. Each of those shares, according to information in the document would exceed $25 million.

According to a source, Thompson also asked for support from the so-called "group of five" non-BCS conferences to support and promote the proposal. There was no consensus of support from those four other leagues -- Conference USA, WAC, MAC and Sun Belt -- according to the source.

The Mountain West at least is staying in the news. Thompson's league and Conference USA announced an alliance on Friday. The champions of each league -- soon to be a 22-team consortium -- would play each other, the winner of which would theoretically get an automatic BCS bowl bid. Both leagues are currently non-automatic qualifiers for BCS bowls.

They have received no assurance that they would receive an automatic bid under the new arrangement. The current BCS agreement runs through the 2014 bowls (2013 season). The champions of each BCS league (Pac-12, Big 12, Big East, ACC, SEC, Big Ten) are guaranteed a BCS bowl. That leaves four other spots filled by second teams from BCS leagues. Notre Dame and non-BCS league champions can also qualify by meeting certain benchmarks.



Category: NCAAF
Tags: bcs

Since: Jul 28, 2008
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:04 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

If the entirely hypothetical situation where to occur where the University Presidents were to allow a playoff (won't happen as they nearly unanimously oppose the idea as do the people that empower them, namely the trustees and alumni), a 16 team playoff is a complete and total non-starter. The smaller schools would never, ever go for it as they would have the most to lose. An 8 team playoff would cause far more controversy than the BCS ever could leaving a four team as the only realistic scenario. Thankfully, a playoff is a pipedream and has no chance. Thankfully, when the BCS falls (and it will) we will return to the old bowl system which was absolutely perfect.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:00 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

In a Plus 1 format the importance would change because teams would suddenly have a shot at playing in the BCS NCG.  For the 2 BCS bowl games that do not have a shot at participating in the BCS NCG, then they would be relegated to the same level as the Cotton Bowl, Chick-fil-a Bowl, or the Capital One Bowl.  It could have a serious negative impact on ticket sales, TV ratings, sponsorship

VThokies, I disagree completely.  A Plus 1 format within the existing BCS Bowl is essentially a 4 team playoff.  Aside from it being a mini playoff, a Plus 1 is barely different than what we have now.  It would have little to no impact on the BCS Bowls that are not involved in the NC chase.  Let's say VT finishes #6, and the Fiesta and Orange host the top-4 teams.  Wouldn't Hokie fans still be excited about playing in the Sugar or Rose?  I would think VT would more than sell its allotment.

Now let's shift gears, and look at this Plus-1 as the semi-final and final games of a 16 team playoff.  For starters, the schools that don't crack the playoff will still love going to bowls.  This would be business as usual. 

You say:

Bowl games and playoff will not be able to co-exist with each other.  Once you have a playoff then you might as well kiss the bowl games good-bye because TV ratings, TV coverage, and sponsorship will shift towards the playoffs.

The first two rounds of a 16-team playoff would be held on December 10 and 17 this year.  Let's again use VT as a hypothetical example.  Let's say VT wins on Dec 10 at home, but loses on Dec 17 in Madison, WI.  The Hokies NC dreams are over, but they are invited to play in the Orange Bowl against Stanford or WVU.  I know I would be watching these matchups.  I'm betting plenty of Techies would make their way to Miami.

With your thinking, there would be no college football game to watch after the Rose Bowl (playoff semifinal) on New Year's Day evening...and that would suck.  I agree, there might not be as much money involved for the Orange Bowl participants, but there would still be more than enough money to make it attractive.   Face it, people like watching lots of good football games over the New Year's holiday.  I can't see people being content with just 2 good games on New Year's Day.  That, and you forget the original intent of bowl games.  The whole point is to attract tourism to the host cities.  The TV money just sweetens the pot. 

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:46 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

I'd like to see a 24 team playoff where teams 1-8 have a first round bye.  You could even come up with 8 - and only 8 conferences that actually make geographic sense, and have the conference winners make up the 1-8 seeds, but I think a better option would be to have 5 or 6 AQ conferences and then 2 or 3 at large bids for the 1-8 seeds.  Teams 9-16 also play their first playoff game at home.  Teams 1-8 then play the winners at home.  That would be 16 teams getting an additonal home game.  That would be a huge revenue boost.  Revenues should be shared with the visiting teams so they have a boost as well.  I'm not saying it should be 50-50, I think 60-40 makes sense - maybe even 70-30.  I am assuming that all of these games would be on TV so there would be a huge amont of revenue to split.  All remaining games would then be at neutral sites, I think holding them at the current traditional bcs bowl sites makes sense.  Allow the sites to rotate so that they can host the title game and/or semi finals at least once every 5-6 years.

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:43 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

The three team max per conference makes this unworkable, and is clearly intended to limit SEC teams.  Back to the drawing board...

Since: Mar 13, 2010
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:36 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

Any playoff would be better than we have now, but why go back to exclusively human polls? For years we complained about them alone, and thus the human plus computer rating system was created. Let's keep it and have all 25 teams in the playoff. Hold a play-in game between Nos. 24 and 25, then give the top 8 seeds a first-round bye. Hold the final 8 on New Year's Day, so you can use four major bowl games for real playoffs games, two more a week later, and the National Championship game in the second week of January, either in the Rose Bowl or Cowboys Stadium.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:35 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

There are way too many flaws in this plan to mention, but I will mention the first problem.  LIMIT OF 3 TEAMS PER CONFERENCE..  How can you have a playoff and not take ALL the best teams regardless of conference???  based on current rankings, teams like South Carolina, Michigan or Michigan State, Kansas St or Texas A&M would be left out because they would be the 4th representative from he respective conferences.  Thats total crap.  If you want a playoffm you hve to take the best 16 teams NO MATTER what.

Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:24 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

A playoff system would be very exciting for the fans, and I personally would be in favor of it.  But let's not pretend that it's a surefire way to determine the "best" team.  In fact, a one-and-done, extended playoff format virtually guarantees that the "best" team will NOT be crowned champion.  Just look at all the wildcard teams to make the Super Bowl in recent history, as well as all the #1 seeds that do not even make the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.

Football outcomes are particularly subject to the vagaries of injuries, match-ups, weather, fluke turnovers, and home field.  In a 16-team playoff format, we would routinely see teams with 12-0 or 11-1 records, including 7 or 8 solid wins in tough conferences, being tripped up by teams that would normally be beaten 85 times out of 100.  Sometimes the better team is too close to call and you have to settle it on the field, but really, by the end of the year, aren't most of us convinced that the team ranked #1 is better than #16?

One critical point for any playoff system is that if any playoff games are held in early to mid-December, the losers MUST be allowed to participate still in bowl games.  That is the only way the two systems could co-exist.  You can't have 8 of the top 16 teams missing from bowl season.

My suggestion would be to try an 8-team playoff first, with the first round in mid-December, the two semifinals on New Year's Day, and then the championship game a week or so later.  The 4 major bowls could rotate the 2 semifinals, (over 4 years so they each get 2).  Coordinate an East-West pattern, like Orange/Rose, Sugar/Fiesta, Sugar/Rose, Orange/Fiesta.   &nb


Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:09 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

The Mountain West is a joke.  THey have what one team.  Boise may be a great team, but they never play two major teams in a row.  Let them play Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, or Georgia after playing Alabama or LSU and we will see if they got what it takes.  Or just put them in the PAC 12+ they will lose more than one game.

Option: Have 8 team playoff one from each of the following conferences with two wild card.

Have Six major conferences Big 10,  Big 12, ACC, Pac 12, SEC and the No Body Cares Conference (NBCC).  Let Boise State, West Virginia, BYU and Notre Dame fight it out on NBC for the NBCC title. Boise could have a schedule which would give them respect.  It could be a good conference with West Virginia, Notre Dame, BYU, Louisville, UCF, South Florida, Boise State, East Carolina, UConn, Cincinnati, SMU, Houston  and the other 50 or so other schools.

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: October 20, 2011 3:54 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff

This all sounds absolutely wonderful.  It is fair, profitable, would generate unprecedented interest and excitement for the fans, it doesn't threaten the minor bowl system at all (or much at all), it eliminates all of the ridiculous computer-generated models, it supports academic standards, and it addresses long-standing inequities and biases. 

So, naturally, it doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of finding support.  The four major conferences will pooh-pooh the idea instantly.  The only question is which of the musty, dusty, crusty, tired old arguments they will use to dismiss it this time.  The MWC is smart enough to fix things, they just aren't powerful enough to do it!

Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: October 20, 2011 3:54 pm

Mountain West proposes 16-team playoff


I-AA recently expanded the tournament to 20 teams (I think 2 years ago) and there is talk of expanding it again to either 24 or 32 teams.  I believe D-II uses the 16 or 20-team format and D-III uses the 32-team format (hence D-III finishes 1 week after D-II).  If the NCAA was smart then they would organize it so D-IA, D-IAA, D-II, and D-III played their championship game on the same weekend.

Championship Saturday - D-III @ noon, D-II @ 4pm, D-IAA @ 8pm
Championship Sunday - D-IA @ 8pm

At least with this format it could help reduce the amount of time people would have to take off from work.  Unless someone wants to take the entire week off, then they could get by with only missing Thursday and Friday (for a Saturday game) or Friday and Monday (for a Sunday game).

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