Meanwhile we solve the playoff conundrum …

By Trey Gregory
Copy desk chief

Without fail, just about every night at the Lariat a discussion about sports breaks out. Like most in the Baylor Nation, the Lariat staff is paying close attention to the college playoffs committee’s rankings. Yesterday we continued our hopeful discussion about how Baylor could, and should, crack the top four and make the playoffs over TCU and Ohio State.

Following this conversation was the inevitable statement that the College Playoffs aren’t much better than the BCS, and the system is still broken, even thought we don’t have a much better solution other than expanding it to eight teams.

The purest way to find the best team would be a true playoff system similar to college basketball’s March Madness. However, due to the physical nature of football, the players could never play that many games without risking severe injuries and a general breakdown of their bodies.

Last night, however, the Lariat sports editor and I may have found a legitimate solution that could ease the frustration over a committee deciding who the best teams in the nation are.

The answer? Eliminate all nonconference games from college football. Instead, each team would only play against conference opponents to determine the conference champion. Then, each conference champ would go to the playoffs and the last two teams standing go to the national championship.

This system would eliminate the many problems that cause frustration for, and bickering between, college football fans.

First, it would eliminate a committee from deciding who the top teams are, and leave it to the play on the field. It would also eliminate all the arguing about strength of schedule and which conference is the strongest. The top team from each conference would duke it out in the playoffs for their team and for their conference.

Many also believe the playoff committee has a monetary reason to not actually allow the top four schools into the playoffs. A large school in a big market, such as Ohio State, would theoretically produce more revenue in the playoffs than a smaller school in a small market, like Baylor. This system would also fix that problem or at least the appearance of it.

Since it would be all conference play, the regular season could easily be shortened to about six to eight games, which would allow the player’s bodies to stay fresh for the playoffs. If a team made it to the National Championship, they would probably have to play more than the current 13 game season, but not by much. The NFL already plays a 16 game season plus the playoffs, so we know it’s possible.

The biggest downfall I can see with this system is that it would eliminate great out of conference rivalries like the University of Florida vs. Florida State. However, I think the pros outweigh the cons. Also, those teams would be bound to meet in the playoffs eventually, even if it wasn’t annually. Also, for the teams that didn’t make the playoffs, they would need some system to extend their season to at least 12 games, maybe some sort of compensation bracket.

This obviously isn’t a complete idea and all the kinks aren’t worked out. But think about it, a true college playoff system. The idea of eliminating rankings, polls and committees altogether is exciting to me, as is the idea of ending the nonstop bickering about strength of schedule and conference between fans. I know change is slow, and the current system is a step in the right direction, but I hope the NCAA takes more steps in a direction like this.