Before we get started, can we all agree that Premier League Football is the best thing ever? Any conflicting arguments? *Gazes across imaginary room concocted in mind for purpose of argument* Ok, great.
So from my high horse I have noticed that you’ve all been complaining about the College Football Playoff recently, and rightfully so. Whether you think it should be 8, 16, 32, or even every single FBS team playing in one massive single elimination tournament spanning roughly 10 years (awesome idea, by the way), the system is broken. Everyone with a smartphone and a Twitter account has had their say about the CFP nonsense. Since I have a smartphone, Twitter account, AND access to a semi-successful sports blog/meme page, it is time for my two cents.
So there needs to be a new way of doing things. We need something that will not only level the playing field, but also give each school equal representation in staking their claim to be the best in the nation. It’s a tricky conundrum. UCF fans- do you call them fans for college football?- seem to think that they’re the real “national champs.” Ohio State and Georgia fans are convinced that they should have been part of the lucky four this year. And everyone outside of South Bend, Indiana, is pissed that Notre Dame even got a sniff. It’s an incredibly difficult problem. As it turns out, I have the solution. The NCAA is going to get together with the brains behind England’s FA, and do this Premier League style.
Wait before you go crazy, pure-blooded, pickup truck-owning Americans, this might make sense. Remember, your problem here isn’t necessarily augmented school spirit. It’s not even the selection committee’s frigid takes on the whole “best team in the nation” thing. Your real problem is that teams don’t play each other enough. Don’t try to tell me that 12 games is enough to separate 10 teams in a clear ranking. Thus, the solution is to have teams play more. Like Alexander Hamilton at the Constitutional Convention, I shall now propose my own form of government:
So this is all easy. You can separate your Alabamas from the pack, but you’ve got a glut of 10-15 teams who are all of equal-ish skill level. Your solution? Have everyone play everyone like a premier league season.
The logistics are surprisingly simple. You already have the best 25 teams in the nation. Let’s start with the relatively easy task of cutting that down to 20. So, goodbye to 21-25. No offense to those who missed out, but if you’re 15 weeks into the season and can’t define who you are as a team, you don’t deserve to be in the top flight. Don’t believe me? Talk to a Huddersfield fan.
Right, so you’ve got your best 20 teams in the nation. What’s next? In fairness, what with the whole academic obligation and fact that a college football season is already long enough, each team shall play each other only once. As much as I’d like to see Florida play in frigid Ann Arbor, or Boise State play in sunbaked Austin, one matchup per season is enough. Rather than only 12 games against varying talent, you now have 19 against only the best.
And let’s go one further. Forget the whole win/loss record and win percentage and whatnot. Premier League games can end in a win, loss, or draw. Three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. No reason why that won’t work. (I do realize this means a game can indeed end in a tie. This is not the call for the apocalypse, rather, it’s how real sport works.) This works for two reasons. First of all, it separates teams numerically, with no “strength of schedule nonsense.” Secondly, it means that even if Alabama kicks the living daylights out of Utah, the Crimson Tide gets the same number of points as Washington would get for a narrow win over Kentucky.
Therefore- and I’m talking to you salty Crimson Tide fans- the game is a lot more exciting. You really think you’re the best team in the nation, Alabama? Prove it. Don’t spend most of your season beating Northern- eastern- somewhere- near- Chicago- Illinois- State by 40 points, edge out Georgia, and then be done with it. Consistently beat top-20 talent. If you still come out on top, fair play to you. Conversely, if you really think you belong with the big boys, Fresno State, go to Tuscaloosa and give Alabama a game. Park the American-footballing bus and squeak out a draw against the reigning champs.
So that’s pretty self explanatory. But what about the however many other college football teams? They all want to make money play some sports. Well, that’s when you rely on a combination of math and coaches polls. Schools will be placed into one of 12 20-team divisions. If they finish top of their league at the end of the season, they get promoted. Bottom and they get relegated.
As for the whole TV/marketing/cash issue, let America do its thing. More games, more fun, more unhealthy food and intoxicated alumni trying to relive their glory days. Meanwhile, Alabama will win it all every year anyway.
So I’ve said my bit. The funny thing is, halfway through composing this nonsense I realized it’s far more practical than your current system.
Think about it and get back to me.
Tom Hindle, confused Englishman.