How To Crown A
In 12 Easy Steps
One Great Season
I have an idea. If we don't like the computers very much, let's take some of the influence away from them while at the same time revamping the regular season schedule beginning with the 2012 season. In the end, it might be the best way to determine a true national champion.
Here's what I'm proposing:
1) Every team plays one out-of-conference game on opening weekend.
2) Beginning in Week 2, every team begins a stretch of eight straight conference games in nine weeks. Each team gets one bye week — but it must be in either Week 5, 6 or 7 — and every team will play its ninth game in Week 10.
3) In Week 11, the leagues with two divisions (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 10 and SEC) play their conference championship games. The MAC and Conference USA also will play their championship games.
4) Also in Week 11, the Big East champion, plus the five champions from a second-tier of leagues beyond the BCS conferences (MAC, Sun Belt, WAC, MWC and Conference USA), plus the two top Major Independents, will play four playoff games based on a 1-8 seeding system. The higher-seeded team will be the home team.
5) Also in Week 11, teams not competing in these championship or playoff games will be idle.
6) Losers from Week 11 will have their championship dreams crushed, but their respective league offices will have arrangements with other leagues to determine who will play whom and where, as each school will play two more games — one home and one on the road. This will obviously apply to the teams that were idle from Week 11 as well. Perhaps a sample plan could look like this:
+ Week 12: SEC's 4th place-team overall at Big 10's 4th-place team overall
+ Week 13: Big 10's 4th-place team overall at PAC 10's 4th-place team overall
* 7) The games from Weeks 12 and 13, though not perfect from a logistical standpoint, are still key because they count toward a team's record and will help determine its bowl invitation, which will be announced on the Sunday after the Week 13 games, say, around Nov. 28-ish.
8) Week 11 will produce 11 winners. The winners of the five highest-ranked conferences will get a bye for Week 14 (Dec. 4). But three games will match the No. 6 seed vs. the No. 11 seed, as well as 7 vs. 10 and 8 vs. 9. (Seeds are determined by conference rating)
9) Week 15 (Dec. 11): The three lowest-remaining seeds will play the top seeds, and No. 4 will play No. 5 on quarterfinal weekend. Perhaps we can call these games the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange bowls.
10) Week 16 (Dec. 18): Semifinal weekend.
11) Mon., Dec. 20 (for example): Bowl games begin, involving the teams that did not qualify for the 11-team tournament. We do not need 70 teams playing in 35 bowl games. I'd say an average of two bowl games a day for the next 11 days.
12) Jan. 1: National Championship Saturday
* = To help ease the logistical difficulties, perhaps the conferences can agree that the Big 10, for example, will play only home games during Week 12 and only road games during Week 13. So fans can plan on a home date one week and a television viewing party the next.