Walter Gray Editorials

The National Championship Finals
Two Teams, Four Teams,
Six Teams or Eight Teams???
Who Should Play in the Bowl Games?

How many teams should be in the National Championship Finals after the five-game National Playoff? We could experiment with several options:

(Note: When I refer to “undefeated” or “one-loss”, etc. teams, I’m referring only to their records in the National Playoff, not their total season records. The playoff record is what determines advancement to bowl games or the championship finals. This increases the opportunity for “Cinderellas” to go on a playoff run and maybe win it all.) 

Two-Team National Championship Game:
A single National Championship Game, with only the two teams that were undefeated in the National Playoff. And all the teams with one loss, two losses and maybe three losses (in the Playoff) go to “bowl games”??? This means a 13-game season for everyone.

A Four Team Finals: Oregon runs away with the 2015 Rose Bowl.

Four-Team Championship Finals:
Where the two undefeated teams play the top two one-loss teams??? This means 14 games total for the two teams in the National Championship Game and 13 games for the Bowl Teams.

Six-Team Championship Finals:
The two undefeated teams receive a first-round bye. The top four one-loss teams play in first round games. Then each of the two undefeated teams plays a winner from the first round games. Winners of those games play in the Championship Game.

Eight Team Championship Finals:
Where the two undefeated teams and the top six one-loss teams play in a three round Finals??? This would mean 15 games total for the Championship Game teams. 13 games for the Bowl Teams.

Which Championship Finals possibility should we try? Maybe one version one year, another the next?

The reality is the “Irresistibly Delicious” College Football Playoff System will generate enormous excitement and interest, building week by week in intensity! Las Vegas will have a field day! It could rival or exceed March Madness in capturing viewer attention.

A few of the 2016 season Bowl Games.

Bowl Games?
Who should have the opportunity to play in bowl games? The teams with either one or two losses in the Playoff certainly. What about the teams with three Playoff losses? Perhaps the two undefeated teams from the Bottom 64 Redemption Playoff too?


Revenue & Interest?
Will replacing the existing 10 FBS conferences with a 16 conference Super-Division generate as much revenue and viewership for college football as the existing setup? Or, maybe more? Think of what comprehensive coordination has done for the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the FIFA World Cup.

Will the “Irresistibly Delicious” change the face of recruiting? Would there be more parity and opportunity for smaller schools to recruit top athletes? Might that then make athletes more inclined to choose closer and smaller schools? Or, would the elite football schools continue to dominate recruiting?

Conference Loyalties?
How easily will existing conference loyalties transfer to new conferences based primarily on state and region? I suspect more quickly than people might think.

The Value of Conference Titles?
Does the “Irresistibly Delicious” diminish the value of conference titles? No more than they have been already. They will still be important. And, conference champions will gain an advantage for the Regional Phase of the National Playoff.

Bias vs. Opportunity?
The “Irresistibly Delicious” 16 Conference Super-Division is, in my opinion, biased toward the Power 5 schools. Most should have better possibilities of advancing to the National Playoff (even Rutgers and Vanderbilt). However, the smaller schools will have much more opportunity than before, both to win conference championships and move into the Playoff.

College football is cyclical, no team stays on top forever. Alabama’s record in 2000 was 3-8, in 2003 4-9, in 2006 6-7, in 2007 7-6. Then, of course, Nick Saban arrived.

The Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

Game Sites?
How do you select game sites for the playoffs? And eliminate home field advantage? Do you pre-select certain large or warm weather stadiums? You’ll need 32 game sites each week with the best reserved for the undefeated teams. That sounds very doable. Stadiums would probably compete to host National Playoff games.

Attendance at Playoff Game Sites?
If Playoff teams are not in their home stadiums, will fans travel? Will it matter? The great bulk of the money will come from TV anyway (In March Madness, relatively few fans actually attend the games as compared to the TV audience.). But fans of the undefeated teams especially should want to travel. I suspect the American travel and hospitality industry will make some irresistible “College Football Playoff Packages” available.

A “Redemption Playoff” for the Bottom Four Teams?
The 64 Teams in the Bottom Four of each Conference could move into “The Redemption Playoff”: use the same playoff concept of random parity matchups — undefeated teams playing undefeated teams, one-loss Teams playing one-loss teams, etc, etc. At the end of a 12 game football season with five Redemption Playoff games, there would be 2 undefeated teams left who could play for the “National Redemption Championship“.

(NOTE: There is a real possibility that the team that wins the Bottom Four Redemption Championship could actually have a better overall win-loss record than the team that wins the Top Four Title.)

The College Football 128 Team “Super-Division”?
For organizational purposes, keep the NCAA FBS at 128 Teams for football. If top FCS teams like North Dakota State want to be included, then downgrade the FBS team with the worst win-loss record over the last five years to the FCS level. Shuffle conference make-ups accordingly to maintain geographic proximity.

LINK: View the surprising new conference groupings here. Where are your favorite teams? 

Please Comment

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.

(This is Article Five 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 the other articles are below.) 

Article #1: Fantasizing a FBS College Football “Super-Division” and “Irresistibly Delicious” 64-Team Playoff System. 
Article #2: Organizing a New College Football Playoff System for MAXIMUM IMPACT!
Article #3: Imagining a New 16-Conference FBS “SUPER-DIVISION” for College Football. 
Article #4: A UNIQUE 64-Team FBS Playoff: Exciting and Unpredictable!

Walter Gray
Papillion, Nebraska

Top Photo Courtesy of the Fiesta Bowl

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