A Tournament to Rival March Madness

March Madness is an exciting time of year. A lot of teams play in the tournament, some upsets happen here and there, and occasionally there is a Cinderella story. It all makes for exciting sport to watch. Unfortunately, there are so many games the first two rounds that no one can watch them all. Many people frankly don’t even care until the Sweet Sixteen. How can college football learn from this?

College football could learn for starters that a tournament is much more exciting than a bowl game, especially when 33 of 34 bowl games don’t mean anything whatsoever. What motivation does anyone have in their bowl game? Nothing, there’s hardly any glory in winning a bowl game. It’s much more important to win your rivalry game, not some trivial bowl game that’s not played anywhere near your home anyway.

A playoff format is so obviously necessary for college football. And yet the BCS maintains its stranglehold on the college football postseason. Is it better than the previous system? I don’t think so. Now instead of set conferences playing each other in bowl games, you have 10 good teams play each other in BCS bowl games and a bunch of other still useless games going on. In the end the national champion is still decided by a bunch of coaches who never watch anyone outside their conference play and a bunch of sportswriters through polls.

Is BCS just American Idol? It certainly is. Instead of teenage girls calling in for their favorite singer, you have even more human bias as coaches write up a poll which is based on nothing but pure speculation and opinion. Might as well call it College Football Idol, that’s really all it is. People vote on a winner.

Why not create a tournament to rival March Madness? Copy their format, only with less teams. Allow all 11 conference champions into the tournament. Then use BCS rankings and committees to determine the five at large bids. Keep in mind, committees currently select who plays in BCS bowl games anyway, so no change there. Use the BCS rankings to seed all 16 of the tournament teams.

Format the season and number of games so that it ends Thanksgiving weekend. The first two weeks of December are the first two games of the tournament. Then there is a two week break for finals and for the meaningless bowl games to be played for tradition’s sake. Teams already eliminated can be invited to these bowl games.

Then, on New Year’s Day, the two semi-final games are played. Winners square off in a national championship the following weekend, same timing as it currently is. The season isn’t extended time wise, just more games are fit into the same time period. The regular season isn’t any less important as it determines if you get into the tournament and at what seed. Now that is a tournament that would be even bigger than March Madness!

Who wouldn’t watch that? Who wouldn’t watch the college Super Bowl game? What college player wouldn’t want the opportunity to prove themselves on the field? This allows access to a fair postseason for all FBS schools. It allows schools to keep more revenue as the host schools of tournament games get a home game rather than a neutral field. The semi-final and championship can rotate locations each year, just like the Super Bowl does.

This is a no brainer. There is no good reason not to implement a playoff. More money is generated because more games are played. More fairness is brought to the sport. More validity of national titles is achieved. Recruiting could level off now that non-BCS conferences have equal access to the playoff. There would be no controversy over who is playing for the title, as both teams would have had to beat three great teams to get there. Not to mention win their conference or have a great regular season just to get into the tournament.

The only question is, what would we call it? March Madness has a great ring to it. What can we use with December?