There isn’t much better than having the day off of work, propping my feet up at 11am, and watching college football till midnight. The following week of kissing my wife’s ass so she doesn’t divorce me isn’t so great, but it’s a sacrifice I make every year. It’s not just football games. It’s football games I have had a month to read about. Games that have a myriad of story lines. This region playing that, the big school vs. the small school, and so on. The problem with the current line up of bowl games is they are competing with pregame shows about the playoffs, and that takes away from just how great they are.
Move Them To Labor Day!
With the playoffs, it’s a new world in college football. It’s time to think outside the box a bit. This year is the perfect year to discuss it, because we almost already have it. Lacking catchy titles named after fruit and flowers, we have a lot of great match-ups week one. Alabama vs. USC could be a Rose Bowl match up. Clemson vs. Auburn, LSU vs. Wisconsin and Kansas State vs. Stanford almost seem like rematches of bowl games from years gone by. Let’s just make it official. It doesn’t mean we have to stop playing the New Year’s bowls, but we could limit it to teams with winning records.
Lots of Options
There are a variety of scheduling options to choose from. The old way, where the bowl committee invites teams they think will generate buzz would be great. There could be a way to include the preseason AP poll, and slot set match-ups every year. My preferred option would be incorporating it into the playoff system. Guarantee the big 5 conference champs are playoff bound, and then have 3 at large spots for an 8 game playoff. That way no one gets butt hurt too bad by losing opening weekend in a clash of titans. No seasons ruined week one. The Big Bowls and their money could still get the key games early, thus a diminished New Year’s Rose Bowl of number 9 vs 13 isn’t so costly.
Conference Show Down
As I said, it’s a changing world. When I was a kid, no one cared how conferences fared. The joke here was I am a fan of Ohio State and whoever is playing Michigan. As recently as 2007, Buckeye fans cheered like the Super Bowl when Michigan lost to Appalachian State. I remember my dad turning beet red in the face, trying to explain that non conference losses to Big Ten schools cost the Buckeyes. The listener would nod for ten minutes as he tried to make his point, and then go back to the old joke. Well, now everyone roots for their conference. Why not settle it on the field?
There are two ways it could be done. First, individual rotating head to head match-ups. A committee or the AP would rank each team in a conference, and then just play them based on seed. A point system could be implemented to weight the higher seed games a little more, but who wouldn’t tune into an Indiana vs Vandy match-up if the honor of the Big Ten and SEC was at stake? For the 6th conference, you could just use the non power 5 and the independents. The other option would be to compete the conferences in a point based challenge, with the number 1 from the Big Ten playing the number 1 from the SEC, then the number 2 from the Big Ten against the Pac 12 and so on. A rotation every year to insure different match-ups would be preferred, and a lot of math, which is why I am championing the head to head battles. A nice bonus to the latter plan, however, is the playoffs could be seeded based on the finish of the conferences, with the higher seed actually hosting a playoff came. It would give the “play in the snow” crowd what they want, plus let towns generate money that normally wouldn’t get to do so. Imagine the economic boost to Happy Valley if Penn State made the playoffs. Of course if the powers that be are worried about being able to handle the load of some of these smaller towns, the home field a venue could be of the conference’s choice, like Atlanta for the SEC.
The third option would be to do both, one at the beginning of the year, and one at the end, and just kill a lot of the meaningless regular season games at the beginning of the year. Before the first bowl weekend, you could have an exhibition game to give teams a chance to tune up before the season, and the smaller schools their paycheck. You could also do a smaller version of the conference bowl challenge at the end of the year(like Thanksgiving Day Weekend), with possibly the champ putting their team into the playoffs or some such thing.
It’s something to think about. Just don’t ask the wife, because I am sure she would say no.