Once upon a time I used to create an NCAA National Championship Football playoff for either 16 or 32 teams and publish it in the local newspaper. I have railed against Bowl Championship Series since it was created. Since I was the sports editor at this bi-weekly, I would just up and create the brackets and playoffs (with better graphics, unfortunately). This year 32 teams would have just been more complex than I wanted to deal with. But this particular 16-team bracket is pretty damn good and a tough road for any team to win. They'll deserve it in the end.
For one, such a creation shows how easy this actually would be. Doing the picking and the set up was the hardest part. I explain the nuances, but basically all conference champions (and in most, but not all cases, the team who lost the CCG) are accounted for, with a three-team limit per conference. You get some possible stinkers, Nevada (12-1) and UConn (8-4), but every fairy tale needs a Cinderella.
The most striking thing this year - like most - is that winning one game is a pretty easy route to the title. Here you have to win four and they're all reasonably tough games. Plus I include a Christmas break between the second and third rounds. So, in this ideal world, we'd be talking about the semifinals and the four teams with a shot at earning the on-field title.
From my point of view, this type of playoff would put more of a premium on conference play rather than out of conference games. You certainly don't have to be undefeated if you win the conference title or if you're a major school and have a loss or two. Doing well in the conference counts. Thus, I think it would probably lead to the development of manageable conferences without great numbers current realignment suggests more and more. This would push more regional conferences and conserve costs.
I kept an eye out for good regional contests because I would think that this type of playoff should be fan friendly and available. As a matter of fact, with the bulk of these schools being public institutions using public funding, I would insist all televised games be on public TV as well, accessible to all. Not the present monopoly created by ESPN where 32 of the 25 bowl games are on cable, including some of the major BCS bowls and the MNC. Someone should sue the sonofabitches over that.The point of the NCAA doing this is so member schools - and all Football Bowl Division teams - get the lion's share of the profit. The TV networks just witness and telecast; not direct and control.
You might quibble with the seeding, with #17 who should have played just a little better, or the way I have drawn up the brackets with the logical rules I developed for this; you might even have some improvements. You might disagree that the NCAA and its member schools shouldn't get the benefit of the cream of the crop playing. But you gotta admit, this isn't that hard. Even 350 rabid monkeys on speed could have done this in 24 hours. Unfortunately, we have college presidents making decisions instead of rabid monkeys, and we're much poorer for it. Join us over the jump for a dip in the more practical side of modern college football, 2010 version.
Update: Standardized seeding bracket now included.
2010 general consensus seeding:
1. Auburn** 13-0 SEC
2. Oregon* 12-0 Pac10
3. TCU* 12-0 MTW
4. Wisconsin* 11-1 Big 10
5. Stanford 11-1 Pac10
6. Ohio State* 11-1 Big 10
7. Michigan St.* 11-1 Big 10
8. Oklahoma** 11-2 Big 12
9. Arkansas 10-2 SEC
10. Boise State 11-1 WAC
11. LSU 10-2 SEC
12. Nevada* 12-1 WAC
13. Virginia Tech** 11-2 ACC
14. Oklahoma State 10-2 Big 12
15. Nebraska 10-3 Big 12
16. UConn* 8-4 Big East
* Conference Champion
**Conference Title Game Champion
Seeding: I don't use the straight 1-8 against 16-9 normal match-up for seeding. One, that gives the top dogs a big edge; two, this is football, not basketball; closer match-ups make for better games (as a general rule). So, a reverse match-up (1-8 vs 9-16) scheme reduces the distance between the top and the bottom.
To facilitate drawing up the brackets, I created logical rules:
1. Take the seeds by fours, like basketball, to facilitate better brackets.
2. No more than three teams per conference. Conference champs (or title game champs) are in the bracket opposite from others from their conference. Therefore, they wouldn't meet unless they made the finals.
3. No replays of regular season/championship games, if possible, until finals.
4. All major conference champions/title game champs are represented. In this particular year, the Big East champ UConn's 8-4 is pretty pale and gives South Carolina (9-4) a real bone to pick; however, the three-team rule came into play. It came down to the number three team in the SEC, LSU or South Carolina, which had two more losses. Tough.
Not everything lines up perfectly, but you get the idea. Who do you think would make the semis and the finals?
2010 NCAA National Championship Football Brackets
2010 Left Bracket: 2010 Right Bracket:
1. Auburn 2. Oregon
10. Boise St. ______ ______ 12. Nevada
5. Stanford 7. Michigan St.
16. UConn ______ ______ 14. Oklahoma St.
13. Va. Tech ______ ______ 15. Nebraska
8. Oklahoma 6. Ohio State
11. LSU ______ ______ 9. Arkansas
4. Wisconsin 3. TCU
First Two Rounds, Saturday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 18
Semifinals Jan. 1
National Champion Saturday, Jan. 8
I just want to add the traditional bracket with standard seeding. This year it is interesting unto itself.
Left Bracket Right Bracket
1. Auburn 2. Oregon
16. UConn 15. Nebraska
5. Stanford 6. Ohio State
12. Nevada 11, LSU
8. Oklahoma 7. Michigan St..
9. Boise St. 10. Arkansas
13, Va. Tech 14. Oklahoma St.
4. Wisconsin 3. TCU