So, a question I get quite often is "Chris, what would be your playoff format in college football?" "Is it a plus-one?" "How about eight teams?" "Should it be 16?" Actually, I disagree with all of these. My ideal format would send 20 teams to the postseason, with every conference being represented.
20 teams? Am I nuts? Not really...at least not on this topic. It's not overkill to have that many teams make the playoffs...actually it represents about 17-percent of the entire division (the 68-team basketball tournament represents about 19-percent, with no true complaints other than a handful of teams complaining they didn't get in), and would have at least one representative from every conference(like in college basketball as well).
Here's how it would work...example being the 2010 season's standings/rankings
11 Automatic Bids-Conference Champs
ACC: Virginia Tech
Big East: Connecticut
Big 10: Wisconsin
Big Twelve: Oklahoma
Conference USA: Central Florida
MAC: Miami (OH)
Sun Belt: FIU (They beat Troy)
Mountain West: TCU
9 At-Large Bids: Stanford, Ohio State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Boise State, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Alabama
There would be four brackets with three teams ranked 1, 2, and 3. There would also be one play-in game in each bracket, with the winner taking on the 1-seed. For example, the play-in game would be FIU v Missouri for a chance to play Oregon.
The play-in games would give us 16 teams, leaving four weeks of exciting entertainment. So, you are looking at a total of five weeks of playoff action. If it were this season Dec. 11th would have been the opening weekend, with Jan 11th being the championship. The NCAA could also cut the season down to eleven games, and even eliminate one of the bye weeks to make the schedule even shorter. The bottom line is that kids will be done before the spring semester begins. Though time shouldn't matter. Hell, college hockey players roll from October to April.
Like in college basketball, the games would be played on neutral fields, and could have names like the Rose or Fiesta. Plus, the teams that don't make the playoffs can still play in the Mickey Mouse Bowls.
Simple in theory, but would college presidents ever get on board? Doubtful. The money continues to roll in from the BCS structure, with no end in sight...especially with ESPN's connection.
The BCS does give college football an extremely competive regular season, but a playoff system wouldn't change that...in fact, it would only heighten it. And, who the hell doesn't want to fill out more brackets?