Imagining the perfect bowl season
For holding down a sofa and taking care of leftovers, nothing’s better than bowl season. I admit a level of hypocrisy right up front since I’ll readily watch the Idaho Potato Bowl.
When it comes to meaningful football, the 1-AA playoffs trump everything except the one 1-A bowl game which matters — the national championship game.
The FBS/BCS final four coming down the pike will be a major improvement. It will still have flaws. If this season’s final four was Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida and Oregon, it would be outstanding football. We’d also have two schools which didn’t make their conference championship games playing for the national championship.
There are 35 bowl games this time around. Subtract two semifinal games from the bowl schedule and, even assuming there aren’t two more GoDaddy.com bowls already in the works, the ratio of important vs. fun bowls is still out of whack.
A 16-team playoff using the bowl games, corporate sponsors and all, might be something fans always talk about but never see. It would seem the money pie would be bigger for all involved and make March Madness puny by comparison, but perhaps not.
It seems the three lower division playoffs go perfectly well, despite the same obstacles there brought up every time 1-A presidents, commissioners and athletic directors vouch for the current system.
Too many games for the 1-A student-athletes? Perhaps. The NCAA is perfectly fine, however, with Mount Union playing 16 games a season. FCS, D2 and D3 student-athletes can handle the “student” and “athlete” parts throughout, plus through December, and exams for most schools.
Too much travel and expense? Coastal Carolina made the FCS playoffs this season and played in the first round of the 20-team bracket, meaning the Chanticleers, who lost in the round of 16 last Saturday, could’ve played five rounds. Coastal Carolina won at Bethune-Cookman, lost at Old Dominion, would’ve played at Georgia Southern had it gotten by ODU, if the seeding held true, would’ve played at top-seeded North Dakota St. leading to the championship game in Frisco, Tex.
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What’s tougher on an institution’s respective budget? Alabama playing in Jacksonville, Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami in the course of five or six weeks or Coastal Carolina playing four straight Saturdays in Daytona Beach, Fla., Norfolk, Va., Statesboro, Ga. and Fargo, ND? The FCS quarters this week include Sam Houston St. at Montana St., Illinois St. at Eastern Washington and Wofford at North Dakota St.
As for the comfort of napping during Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, the “minor” bowl games could go on same as ever. Rice (6-6) and Air Force (6-6) should have the same meaning and same revenue as pre-real playoffs. As stupid as it sounds, we’d wind up with more bowl games: can’t leave out ACC No. 12 Syracuse (6-6) versus Conference USA No. 11 Old Dominion (6-6) in the 2015 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Here’s how this year’s Football Championship Bowl Series (FCBS) would look.
The 11 conference champions get in and five at-large spots are filled by the BCS rankings.
First Round - Saturday, Dec. 8
No. 1 Notre Dame (BCS) vs. No. 16 Arkansas St. (Sun Belt) - Little Caesars Bowl, Detroit
No. 8 LSU (BCS) vs. No. 9 Florida St. (ACC) - New Orleans Bowl
No. 4 Oregon (BCS) vs. No. 13 Utah St. (WAC) - Holiday Bowl, San Diego
No. 5 Stanford (PAC 12) vs. No. 12 Boise St. (MWC) - Fight Hunger Bowl, San Francisco
No. 6 Kansas St. (Big 12) vs. No. 11 Northern Illinois (MAC) - Liberty Bowl, Memphis
No. 3 Florida (BCS) vs. No. 14 Wisconsin (Big 10) - Capital One Bowl, Orlando
No. 7 Georgia (BCS) vs. No. 10 Louisville (Big East) - Music City Bowl, Nashville
No. 2 Alabama (SEC) vs. No. 15 Tulsa (CUSA) - Gator Bowl, Jacksonville
Quarterfinals - Saturday, Dec. 22
Chick-fil-A Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Cotton Bowl
Semifinals - Tuesday, Jan. 1
Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl
National championship - Tuesday, Jan. 8, Miami