2010 NCAA Football Playoff Proposal
It's time again for my NCAA Football Playoff Proposal. When I put together my first NCAA playoff proposal in 1999, I really believed that college football was on the path to adopting a playoff system. I could not have been more wrong. The NCAA, the men in the funny-colored sportcoats adorned with their bowl's logo and the university presidents of the top dozen or so power football schools will never allow such a sensible thing as a Division 1-A college football playoff to take place. The groups who control college football are like activist judges. They make decisions that suit their own needs even though those decisions run contrary to the desires of 90% of the people involved and the spirit of college athletics. If college football was in fact like every other sports league on the planet (including all other NCAA football levels, beer league softball, The World Series of Poker and even the WNBA) the playoffs might look a little something like this:
Here's how the 2010-11 playoffs would shake out if I were the committee:
Auburn (SEC), Oregon (Pac 10), Virginia Tech (ACC), Wisconsin (Big 10), Oklahoma (Big 12) and TCU (best BCS ranking among other conferences).
At Large Teams
That leaves two spots for at-large teams. My short list is Ohio State, Michigan State, Nevada, Boise State, Arkansas, LSU and Stanford. Those are the one-loss teams and the two-loss teams from the strongest conference (SEC). Because a single conference cannot have both at-large teams, it makes sense to pare the list down to one team per conference. In head to head matchups, Nevada beat Boise State and Arkansas beat LSU so I'm going to eliminate the Broncos and the Tigers. Michigan State and Ohio State did not play this season but I'm going to eliminate Ohio State because the Spartans beat league champion Wisconsin and the Buckeyes did not.
That leaves four teams: Michigan State, Nevada, Stanford and Arkansas. Although Arkansas lost twice, they are clearly my first at-large selection because of the strength of the SEC. Six SEC teams were 8-4 or better this season. By contrast, only three Big 10 and two Pac 10 teams lost fewer than five games. Obviously, Nevada did not play a difficult schedule. Nevada is an excellent team with a phenomenal quarterback but they don't belong in an eight team playoff. That leaves Michigan State and Stanford. Both teams were 11-1. The Spartans beat current #5 Wisconsin. Their non-conference slate was Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic and Northern Colorado. Stanford's best conference win was USC (8-5). Their non-conference foes were Notre Dame, Sacramento State and Wake Forest. Clearly, the advantage goes to MSU.
Clearly, the top two seeds will be Oregon and Auburn. Because the SEC is much stronger than the Pac 10, Auburn will be the top seed. Undefeated TCU is the clear #3. The next three spots should go to Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Arkansas. You can make a strong argument for any of these teams at #4. Wisconsin has the best record, Virginia Tech is on a long winning streak and Arkansas played the toughest schedule. I'm going with Wisconsin at #4, VA Tech at #5 and Arkansas at #6. Michigan State is #7 and Oklahoma is #8. This requires no re-seeding because the conference foes are on the opposite half of the bracket. So here we go:
SEMI-FINALS - Saturday, January 22nd (day prior to AFC and NFC Championships)
(Note: the semi-finals might also be played on Thursday, January 13th and Monday, January 17th. This would avoid the competition with the NFL and reduce the time off between the first and second rounds.)
CHAMPIONSHIP - Saturday Jan 29th (Superbowl off week)
2008 Playoff Proposal
2007 Playoff Proposal
2006 Playoff Proposal
2005 Playoff Proposal
2004 Playoff Proposal
2003 Playoff Proposal
2002 Playoff Proposal
2001 Playoff Proposal
2000 Playoff Proposal