Designing the 64-Team National Playoff
Twists & Turns!
A 64-Team FBS National Playoff! Imagine the intense interest and incredible excitement a true 64-Team College Football Playoff would generate, gaining momentum week after week! March Madness would pale in comparison. Add in unique twists with a high unpredictability level and fans would be fascinated!
Making The National Playoff Process
Unique & “Irresistibly Delicious”
Winning Your Place in the Finals On The Field: The players and coaches decide this. Not some “committee” of good ol’ boys who repeatedly favor the same schools. This would create much more interest among fans. The opportunity for “Cinderella” teams to advance, to knock off supposed “favorites”, would captivate the nation!
Randomly Generated Matchups: Instead of having opponents predetermined, like in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, not knowing in advance who you might play – for every team, even the losers – ratchets up the anticipation, excitement, and surprise. All 32 Playoff matchups each week are randomly generated by computer or blind drawing. This will be a great suspense builder, guaranteeing huge audiences for the pairing announcements on national TV!
Losers’ Bracket: For the one-loss teams, did the ball bounce the wrong way once? Did the ref make a bad call? Did one of your key players go out? There is still one more chance at the title! How many times in the College World Series has the national champion been from the Losers’ Bracket?
Parity, Teams with Similar Records in the Playoff Play One Another: Having teams with similar records in the playoff play one another should produce more competitive games, minimizing the blowouts that now typically occur when stronger teams play weaker ones. Plus, if even teams with two playoff losses can go to “bowl” games, then there is still incentive to win.
Advancing to the 64-Team National Playoff
The Top Four Teams in each Conference advance to the 64-Team College Football National Championship Playoff.
Some conferences may have an undefeated conference champion, others with more parity may have their top four teams with one – two – three losses. Doesn’t matter. The top four teams in each conference advance to the National Championship Playoff regardless of their conference win-loss record.
Data decides, not personal opinion. Ranking within the conference is based only on win-loss records and predetermined statistical data like points scored, points allowed, point differentials, etc., etc. No committees, sportswriter rankings or personal opinions are allowed to determine advancement.
A Bottom-Four Redemption Playoff?
What of the bottom four teams in each Conference? Is their season over after seven games? No. They advance to the Redemption Playoff of the bottom 64 teams. The Redemption Playoff can use the same rules as the National Championship Playoff. This means the opportunity to become a National Redemption Champion. This will continue to keep the 12-game season interesting and meaningful for the bottom 64 teams and fans across America.
The National Playoff Process, Week by Week
32 Playoff Games Each Week
(Note: When I refer to win-loss records like “Undefeated” and “One-Loss,” that is for their playoff record, not their conference season record.)
** Week One of the National Playoff (Week Eight of the Season): The “Regional Phase”.
In the “Regional Phase” the #1 team within each conference plays the #4 team from a different conference within the same region. The #2 team within a conference plays the #3 team from a different conference within the same region. Matchups will be randomly generated. Games are held in the higher ranked teams’ stadiums. This is to reward the conference champions for their hard work.
The 32 Games: 64 Undefeated Teams play 32 Games.
** Week Two of the National Playoff (Week Nine of the Season): The “National Phase” Begins.
The “National Phase” begins. In week two, teams begin playing teams throughout the country in randomly generated matchups. All matchups are now based strictly on the teams’ playoff records. Teams with like playoff records play one another. Repeat matchups are to be avoided.
The 32 Games: 32 Undefeated Teams play 16 games. 32 One-Playoff Loss Teams play 16 games.
** Week Three of the National Playoff (Week 10 of the Season)
The 32 Games: 16 undefeated teams play eight games. 32 one-loss teams play 16 games. 16 two-loss teams play 8 games.
** Week Four of the National Playoff (Week 11 of the Season)
The 32 Games: Eight undefeated teams play four games. 24 one-loss teams play 12 games. 24 two-loss teams play 12 games. Eight three-loss teams play four games.
** Week Five of the National Playoff (Week 12 of the Season)
The 32 Games: Four undefeated teams play two games. 16 one-loss teams play eight games. 24 two-loss teams play 12 games. 16 three-loss teams play eight games. Four four-loss teams play two games.
After the beginning seven conference games and the five playoff games, all 64 teams will have played a standard 12-game college football season. Won-loss records from the 5-Week National Playoff will deliver these results:
Two Undefeated Playoff Teams
10 One-Loss Playoff Teams
20 Two-Loss Playoff Teams
20 Three-Loss Playoff Teams
10 Four-Loss Playoff Teams
Two Five-Loss Playoff Teams
- After the Week 12 games, the two undefeated teams advance to the National Championship Finals.
- Teams with one playoff loss either advance to the National Championship Finals or qualify for a “bowl” game.
- Teams with two playoff losses qualify for “bowl” games.
- The 32 teams with three, four and five playoff losses are done for the season.
Redemption? The College World Series has a “Losers Bracket”, so teams are eliminated only when they lose two games. And isn’t a second chance for redemption the American way? Do we allow any one-loss playoff teams to enter the National Championship Finals? Why not?
What Would YOU Do?
Share your thoughts. Please add your ideas (even the wacky ones) about how you would structure an FBS 64-team national playoff system. Remember, creative brainstorming is about contributing, not denigrating. Thanks.
Join us tomorrow for . . . Article Five: The “Irresistibly Delicious” National Championship FINALS & BOWL GAMES.
(This is Article Four in a five-part series on creating a new FBS Super-Division and 64-Team National Playoff – “The Irresistibly Delicious”. Each article may be read independently. Links to other articles are below.)
Article One: Fantasizing a College Football “Super-Division” & “Irresistibly Delicious” 64-Team Playoff System!
Article Two: Organizing a New FBS College Football Playoff System for MAXIMUM IMPACT!
Article Three: Imagining a New 16-Conference FBS “SUPER-DIVISION” for College Football!
Top Photo Credit: DC Photography
Walter Gray was born in Washington DC; but, thankfully, grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sun, sand, the ocean and hurricanes. He’s tri-coastal in his college degrees – College of the Albemarle NC (AA), UofO (BA 1975), Rice University in Houston (Master of Architecture) – and has lived all over the USA.
While in graduate school at Rice he started an architectural bookselling and publishing company, which he ran for years, with customers around the world. Then, he became involved in consulting with smaller IT software companies to help them grow. Now at 70 he grows and designs his garden. He and his wife Debra live in Papillion NE. His daughter Kelsey is a Lewis & Clark College graduate and lives in Portland. He loves to conceptualize new approaches to an issue or problem.
Since the 1990’s, he’s been increasingly hypnotized by the Oregon Ducks and especially loved watching Chip Kelly’s teams with their explosive unpredictability. He’s neither a “football analyst” nor a “football writer”. But, because of his architectural design education, he is someone who enjoys developing ideas that he finds intriguing.
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