This blog post was written by Trent Read, chief financial officer of Goal Zero.
With college football teams kicking off summer camp in preparation for the upcoming season, I thought I’d put out an idea that’s been brewing in my mind for some time now. As a Utah-based company, we are staffed with a good number of grads and fans of two teams that have played minor roles in how this system has unfolded.
BYU played a role when it won an improbable national championship back in 1984. College football power brokers did not like the way the season unfolded and still, basically, deny the validity of that championship. Situations like BYU’s national championship were what these power brokers were trying to avoid by implementing the BSC…I mean BCS. They decided that by implementing an inherently exclusionary system they could avoid the BYU of the ‘80s or the Boise State of the ‘00s from “lucking” into a national championship. It worked for them, but it had unintended consequences.
Utah played their part along with multiple others by showing very clearly that the existing BCS system left most of the country unsatisfied with the new method of determining a champion. Utah’s teams of ’04 and ’08 were granted access to a BCS game, and in both years embarrassed their opponents and finished with undefeated seasons, yet never got a real shot at the title. Utah of ’04 killed virtually everyone they played including an under-matched Pitt team, but had to be happy with just getting into a BCS game. Utah of ’08 had some squeakers to remain undefeated, but humiliated an Alabama team that many thought would be in the national championship. Situations like these have led to what appears to be on the horizon…a plus one/final four system.
So now we’re about to get stuck with yet another tweak to a broken system. A tweak that will still leave the vast majority of people unsatisfied by boxing out anyone not in a “power conference” or even teams from “power conferences” that have slightly less pull than the SEC, Big 10, or PAC 12.
What’s even more annoying than the lame way of determining a national champion is the sequence of events the BCS inequity has put into motion. In an effort to get into the club, either for teams like Utah into the PAC 12 or teams from “power conferences” that are less favorable to those that are more favorable. We now have idiotic conference configurations and the end of some of the best traditional rivalries that helped make college football what it is. Nebraska not playing Oklahoma was already painful, but now for us Utah local yokels we could be nearing the end of our BYU/Utah rivalry. The rest of the nation and world may not care, but for us it really stinks! Utah and BYU should play each other every year during rivalry week, but after this year we won’t have it at all for two years. Ugh!
So here’s what I propose (though I fully acknowledge it’s not going to happen). College football no longer aligns with the other college sports anyway. So if BYU, Notre Dame, and many other schools are already in one situation for football and another for basketball and Olympic sports, then why not just realign the whole thing and forget trying to match football with other sports? I think there should be four regional 18 team super-conferences each split into two divisions of nine teams. The 72 teams included would be determined by numerical measures like ranking, attendance, win/loss records, etc. Whoever is left out probably isn’t that strong of a contender to begin with. That said, to eliminate the perpetual class system, those same measures would be applied on a regular basis and bottom dwellers of the four conferences could lose their status and the Boise States of tomorrow that come out of nowhere could earn their way into the super-conferences. It would be kind of like the EPL and would eliminate a permanent caste system. After all, who knows who will be the BYU of the ‘70s and ‘80s or the Boise State or University of Utah of the ‘00s? Here in Utah for example, the lowly Utah State seems to be getting better every year.
Since the divisions would be composed of nine teams, each team would play four home and four road games within their division with two cross-divisional games each year (which could include a rivalry game if traditional rivals happen to not be in the same division). You could also schedule one, maybe two cross-conference game(s) per year. Division champions would play one another for the conference championship. Conference champions would play each other in a final four format that actually did give every team in the 72 team system a chance at making it by simply winning their own division and moving on through the eight team playoff.
The season would remain just as short as it is today. The regular season would be just as important as it is today (LSU lost two games and made it to the national championship, so don’t give me the crap about every game counts when that only applies if you’re not in the SEC of Big 10). There is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t still do as many bowl games as you want (they would mean just as much as they do today…one more game for the team you love, hopefully in a fun location to visit, hopefully matched up against an interesting opponent, providing more practice time in preparation for next season).
All this would practically require an act of Congress, but it would be AWESOME! I’d love to hear what you think. Other than the fact that it is highly improbable, do you see any issues? Tweet me @TrentRead.