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The Best College Football Playoff System Ever Designed

May 11th, 2012

This article is part II to an article I wrote a year ago about the most sensible way to align the teams in Division I college football to allow for a workable format for a playoff system.

In this article,  not only do I show you the way the conference can be broken up with regional sense but I also walk you through how the conference championship games would look,  how the playoff brackets would be set and how the bowl games can still be played in conjunction with this system.  In addition,  I lay out the dates that each event could take place and show how it can all be worked into the same amount of time that is currently being allotted for the current BCS system.

Just as a reference point,  I am posting my suggestion for conference alignments once again as I will need to point back to it in explaining the other aspects of the plan.  You will notice that the alignments have a regional feel and quality to it.  You will also notice that I do not lump all the mid-tier teams into a conference together.  The mid-tier teams are mixed in amongst others.  Those programs’ desires to obtain a championship will promote parity.

Each team each year would play every team in their division once and then matchup against a division from another conference for their remaining games.  For example.  In 2011 the Southern Conference East Division would play all the teams from Southwest Conference West Division for their non-conference games.  This would be rotated each year and no conference division would play the other division within their own conference.  So, in no given year would the Eastern Division of the Southern Conference play the teams in the Western Division Southern Conference for their non-divisional games.

Your overall record would be used to determine division winners with record within the division to be used as tiebreakers.

In this plan,  every team plays 11 regular season games.

Conference Alignments

East Region West Region
Southern Conference Southwest Conference
Miami Alabama LSU Tex A&M
FSU Florida TCU Texas
Georgia Tech Georgia Baylor Houston
FAU USF Louisiana Tech SMU
UCF Troy St. Rice N. Texas
FIU UAB ULL Arkansas St.
Southeast Conference Mid-American Conference
Auburn South Carolina Iowa Pittsburgh
Tennessee Clemson Purdue Illinois
Miss. St. Ole Miss. Notre Dame Missouri
Memphis Vanderbilt Iowa St. Indiana
S. Miss. Tulane Ball St. Miami Ohio
Mid. Ten. St. Lou. Monroe Bowling Green Marshall
Northeastern Conference Midwestern Conference
Penn St. Ohio St. Oklahoma Nebraska
Boston College U.Conn Oklahoma St. Arkansas
Syracuse Cincinnati Colorado Kansas
Navy Rutgers Colorado St. Kansas St.
Army Temple Tulsa Wyoming
Buffalo Kent. St. Air Force Idaho
Mideastern Conference Mountain West Conference
Virginia Tech North Carolina Texas Tech Boise St.
Virginia Wake Forest Arizona BYU
West Virginia NC State Arizona St. Utah
Louisville Maryland UNLV Nevada
Kentucky East Carolina New Mexico Utah St.
W. Kentucky Duke New Mexico St. Utep
Northern Lakes Conference Western Conference
Wiconsin Michigan Oregon California
Minnesota Michigan St. Oregon St. Stanford
Toledo Northwestern Washington USC
W. Michigan Eastern Michigan Washington St. UCLA
C. Michigan N. Illinois San Jose St. Hawaii
Akron Ohio Fresno St. San Diego St.

Below I have used the strength and records of the teams during the 2011 season to construct a hypothetical set of conference championship games to demonstrate how the system would work.  Every conference would have a championship game pitting the teams with the best records from each division against each other.   See what that would look like below.

Conference Championship Games

Conference Championship Games
East Region Winner
N23 Southern Conference Florida St. Alabama Alabama
N23 Southeast Conference Auburn South Carolina South carolina
N24 Northeastern Conference Penn St. Ohio St. Penn St.
N24 Mideastern Conference Virginia Tech NC State Virginia Tech
N24 Northern Lakes Conference Wisconsin Michigan Wisconsin
West Region
N23 Southwest Conference LSU Texas LSU
N23 Mid-American Conference Notre Dame Missouri Notre Dame
N24 Midwestern Conference Oklahoma St. Arkansas Oklahoma St.
N24 Mountain West Conerence Arizona St. Boise St. Boise St.
N24 Western Conference Oregon Stanford Oregon

Now that we know who are playoff teams are after the conference championships,  we can now begin filling our bowl games with their match ups.  In my system,  bowl match ups are predetermined by the place in which teams finished within their respective conferences.  So,  for instance, the Humanitarian Bowl each year would host the Southern Conference East Division 3rd place finisher against the Southwest Conference East Division 3rd place finisher.  Under the heading “Conference Matchup” you will see abbreviations.  This was done to preserve space.  However,  the abbreviations are for the conferences with divisions and the numbers stand for the place in which team finished.  So SECE-2 would stand for Southeast Conference East Division 2nd place finisher.  Moving further down the bowl list NECrun would stand for the Northeast Conference runner-up which would be the team that lost the conference championship game.   In the bigger bowl games like the Cotton Bowl for example,  you see ERDL1 v. WRDL1.   This provides for losers of the playoff games to play in bowl games.  So ERDL1 would mean East Region Round 1 loser v. WRDL1 West Region round 1 loser.

Bowl Game Matchups

 date  Bowl Games  Conference Matchup Hypothetical 2011 matchups
1 D11 Humanitarian SCE-3 v. SWCE-3 Miami TCU
2 D11 New Orleans SCW-3 v. SWCW-3 Florida Texas A&M
3 D11 St. Petersburg SECE-3 v. MACE-3 Mississippi St. Purdue
4 D12 Las Vegas SECW-3 v. MACW-3 Vanderbilt Pittsburgh
5 D12 Poinsettia Bowl NECE-3 v. MWCE-3 Syracuse Tulsa
6 D13 Hawaii Bowl NECW-3 v. MWCW-3 Rutgers Nebraska
7 D13 Little Caesars Bowl MECE-3 v. MWCE-3 Virginia Arizona
8 D13 Independence Bowl MECW-3 v. MWCW-3 Wake Forest Utah
9 D14 Champs Sports NLCE-3 v. WCE-3 Western Michigan Washington St.
11 D14 Insight NLCW-3 v. WCW-3 N. Illinois California
12 D18 Military Bowl SCE-2 v. SWCE-2 Georgia Tech Baylor
13 D18 Texas Bowl SCW-2 v. SWCW-2 Georgia Houston
14 D18 Alamo Bowl SECE-2 v. MACE-2 Southern Miss. Iowa
15 D19 Armed Forces Bowl SECW-2 v. MACW-2 Clemson Illinois
16 D19 Music City Bowl NECE-2 v. MWCE-2 Boston College Oklahoma
17 D20 Holiday Bowl NECW-2 v. MWCW-2 Cincinnati Kansas St.
18 D20 Car Care Bowl MECE-2 v. MWCE-2 West Virginia Texas Tech
19 D20 Sun Bowl MECW-2 v. MWCW-2 North Carolina BYU
20 D21 Liberty Bowl NLCE-2 v. WCE-2 Toledo Washington
21 D21 Chick-fil-A Bowl NLCW-2 v. WCW-2 Michigan St. USC
22 D27 Outback Bowl SECrun v. MACrun Florida St. Texas
23 D28 Capital One Bowl NECrun v. MWCrun Ohio St. Missouri
24 D29 Gator Bowl MECrun v. MtWCrun NC State Arizona St.
25 J1 Compass Bowl ERD1L v. WRD1L Penn St. Notre Dame
26 J1 Cotton Bowl ERDL1 v. WRD1L Michigan Stanford
27 J1 Rose Bowl ERD1L v. WRD1L Auburn Arkansas
28 J2 Fiesta Bowl ERD2L v. WRD2L South Carolina Boise St.
29 J3 Orange Bowl ERD2L v. WRD2L Virginia Tech Oregon
30 J4 Sugar Bowl ERD3L v. WRD3L Wisconsin Oklahoma St.
31 J8 National Championship ERD3W v. WRD3W Alabama LSU

Now that we have that out of the way,  we can take a look at what the playoff brackets look like.  In this proposed system you have a 14 team playoff. You get your Top 10 teams from the conference championship games and you also get two wildcard teams from the East Region along with two wildcard teams from the West Region.  You select those wildcard teams as the two highest ranked teams in East Region that lost their championship games.  If you end up with situation where you don’t have ranked conference losers than you set up some parameters for selection and tiebreaker to take the two next best teams from each region that weren’t champions.  The majority of the time you will end up with ranked teams that lost championship games.

The highest ranked team in the East Region and the West Region would get first round byes while everyone else would play week one.  From there you carry through the normal course of a bracket playoff system and illustrated below.  The notations at the top with a letter and number stand for the date in which the games would take place.  So D15 stands for Dccember 15th.

Playoff Brackets

Playoff Brackets
D8 D15 D22 J8
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Championship
East Region
Alabama Alabama
Bye
Alabama
South Carolina South Carolina
Penn St. Alabama
Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
Michigan
Wisconsin
Wisconsin Wisconsin
Auburn
West Region
LSU LSU
Bye
LSU
Notre Dame
Boise St. Boise St.
LSU
Oklahoma St. Oklahoma St.
Stanford
Oklahoma St.
Oregon Oregon
Arkansas

In the end,  each team plays 11 regular season games.  The two teams that play in the championship game would have either played 14 or 15 games at the end of the season.  You have teams now playing 13 and 14 games in a season.  So there’s no extra wear and tear to worry about.

I will continue to expand on this as questions and comments are received about the workings of this system.  This system makes the most sense to me.  By all means, share your thoughts.

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Gridironstuds.com Is Now on the Radio Talking College Football Recruiting, High School Football, NFL and more

May 11th, 2012

Now you can listen to Gridironstuds.com on your computer and call in to have a discussion.  Gridironstuds.com founder Chad Wilson hosts a daily radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com where he discusses issues in the World of football coming from the NFL, college football, high school and youth football plus college football recruiting.  Check out the Gridiron Studs Show daily from Noon to 1 P.M. set on Blog Talk Radio.   Click here for the Show’s home page or listen to past shows using the player located in the upper right hand corner of this page


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Many College Football Signees Fail to Make it to School They Signed With

May 4th, 2012

We have all seen the hoopla that surrounds National Signing Day.  Espn gives you 24 hour coverage seemingly on that date in February.  The major recruiting sites are abuzz for the month leading up to and the month after the signing date.  There’s much speculation about where the top recruits will sign and much analysis of each school’s signing class after the letter of intent day.  However,  what gets lost in the shuffle is the number of players from those signing classes that don’t make it on campus at least for their freshman year.

After reading a story that one of the University of Miami’s 2012 recruits,  WR Angelo Louis Jean may have to enter a prep school,  I began wondering how many athletes like Jean each year fall into this category.  In trying to research this topic,  I found very little in terms of numbers regarding this.  I am assuming and this may be incorrectly,  that these numbers are not kept but I would like it if they were. I have seen it happen all too often.  After all of the celebration of a scholarship signing we often miss the news that the player can’t attend the school.  It’s almost like celebrating a Lotto Jackpot win and finding out that the number on the promotional check was 50% less than what the winner received (before taxes wise guys!).

Prep schools are here for this purpose but it seemed back in my day that players headed to prep school didn’t sign letters of intent with major colleges.  Also,  there weren’t cameras present at signing days unless you were one of the top 3 elite players in the county. This is my way of telling you that I am getting old.  What many people don’t realize is that a number of these players that head to the prep schools don’t end up going to the school they originally signed with.  The players at the prep school can be recruited by anyone else while there.  Prep schools have incentives to protect the “property” of the universities that park players in their program but that does not always happen.

Some players also fail to meet the requirements at a prep school and never end up going to college.  How often is that reported and where does that fit into the grade recruiting analysts give these college recruiting classes?  I have heard of far too many cases where players that were picking up hats in front of a large auditorium crowd and television audience never put on the uniform that matches the hat.  I will continue to research this phenomenon and hunt down some numbers.  The only numbers I could readily find was research that said 40% of the 2012 class would have failed to meet the entry requirements that will be put in place in 2016.  A quick look at the new requirements shows that a recruit will need a minimum 2.3 GPA (up from 2.0) and they will need to have completed at least 10 of the required 16 units of core classes by the start of their senior year.    So, with this in mind,  we could see even more desks being added to prep schools across the country if athletes don’t get more serious about their education.

Stay tuned,  more to come on this topic for sure.

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