Posted on: January 7, 2010 6:43 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2010 2:52 am

How I am Going to Fix College Football

Everyone has a bone to pick with College Football.  Anyone you talk to will find something wrong with the game.  Weather it's the lack of a playoff system or the emphasis on pre-season rankings.  Maybe you do not like the fact teams from non-bcs automatic qualifying conferences have played in a championship game.  Maybe you do not think they deserve too.  Now, you do not think so, but school president's think the schedule is too long as it is, but the championship game continuously gets pushed back ever year (odd, huh?).

It's ok, because I've got the answers, or the solutions, whichever you prefer to call them.  Conference Realignment. Check. 24-team Playoff. Check.  Lose the bowl system, but still keep an emphasis on the regular season? Check.

Let's get to this.  I'll start off with the conference realignment because I feel like once that is out of the way, everything will become simpler.  I based the conferences mostly off of a regional basis.  I tried my best to keep traditional rivalries intact.  Some did, and some did. not  However, with the way the schedule will be set up, the traditional rivalry games can still be played.  Drum Roll Please.....

Appalachian Conference
Ball State Cardinals (2-10)
Bowling Green Falcons (7-6)
Cincinnati Bearcats (12-1)
Marshall Thundering Herd (7-6)
Miami (Ohio) Red Hawks (1-11)
Ohio Bobcats (9-5)
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)
Pittsburgh Panthers (10-3)
Toledo Rockets (5-7)
West Virginia Mountaineers (9-4)

Thoughts: This is an improved MAC conference essentially.  It's very top-heavy, and likely the same four teams will be competing every year for the championship.  If a smaller team like a Bowling Green or Marshall returned to some of the better times they saw in the early-2000's this could be a good conference.  Cincy is becoming a power and will challenge OSU for all the top recruits in Ohio now.

Chesapeake Conference
Duke Blue Devils (5-7)
East Carolina Pirates (9-5)
Maryland Terrapins (2-10)
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (10-3)
Navy Midshipmen (10-4)
North Carolina Tar Heels (8-5)
North Carolina State Wolfpack (5-7)
Virginia Cavaliers (3-9)
Virginia Tech Hokies (10-3)
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-7)

Thoughts: This is the basketball portion of the ACC, mixed in with some strong "mid-majors".  I wanted to put Tennessee in over MTSU, but the strong ties to the SEC overcame the fact they were actually the closest team to Virginia Tech.  Marshall and West Virginia were considered, but they fit just fine in the Appalachian Conference.  The Mid-Atlantic is a talent rich area, so recruiting should not be too difficult for the top teams in the conference and adding MTSU could open roads to the south some teams do not have.

Colonial Conference
Akron Zips (3-9)
Army Black Knights (5-7)
Boston College Eagles (8-5)
Buffalo Bulls (5-7)
Kent State Golden Flashes (5-7)
Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-4)
Syracuse Orange (4-8)
Temple Owls (9-4)
UConn Huskies (8-5)

Thoughts: This is clearly Penn State's conference.  Rutgers and UConn are improving and Boston College has established itself as a good team year in and year out.  Penn State will still recruit nationally, but other teams will be stuck with their Northeastern limitations.

Great Lakes Conference
Central Michigan Chippewas (12-2)
Eastern Michigan Eagles (0-12)
Indiana Hoosiers (4-8)
Michigan Wolverines (5-7)
Michigan State Spartans (6-7)
Northwestern Wildcats (8-5)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-6)
Purdue Boilermakers (5-7)
Western Michigan Broncos (5-7)
Wisconsin Badgers (10-3)

Thoughts:   This is an intriguing conference.  It could be very strong (if Notre Dame rebounds and Northwestern continues to build) or it could be very weak (Central Michigan drop-off and Purdue and Michigan State spiral downward).  Michigan is the big wild card though.  If Rich Rodriguez can turn them around, this will be a good conference and you could imagine seeing a National Champion out of this conference, otherwise.... this could be the weakest hypothetical conference.

Gulf Coast Conference
Central Florida Golden Knights (8-5)
Florida Gators (12-1)
Florida Atlantic Owls (5-7)
Florida International Panthers (3-9)
Florida State Seminoles (7-6)
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (6-6)
Louisiana State Tigers (9-4)
Miami (Fl.) Hurricanes (9-4)
South Florida Bulls (8-5)
Tulane Green Wave (3-9)

Thoughts:   Honestly, any one of these teams COULD be good.  I mean, they are in the south in talent-rich areas.  A realignment would challenge Florida and Miami for the state of Florida, both in the win-loss column and in recruiting.  To this point this has to be the most loaded conference.  I think South Florida would finally become a power in this conference.

Lone Star Conference
Baylor Bears (4-8)
Houston Cougars (10-4)
North Texas Mean Green (2-10)
Rice Owls (2-10)
SMU Mustangs (8-5)
TCU Horned Frogs (12-1)
Texas Longhorns (13-0*)
Texas A&M Aggies (6-7)
Texas Tech Red Raiders (9-4)
UTEP Miners (4-8)

Thoughts: "I wouldn't do it".   The traditional Big 12 powers are combined with smaller teams within the state.  Texas, TCU, Houston and Texas Tech make this a very strong conference.  It's similar to the Appalachian Conference where it needs a weaker team to stay competitive (preferably A&M and SMU).  Rice was recently strong, but has taken a nose dive and do not look ready to come out.

Midwestern Conference
Illinois Fighting Illini (3-9)
Iowa Hawkeyes (11-2)
Iowa State Cyclones (7-6)
Minnesota Gophers (6-7)
Missouri Tigers (8-5)
Northern Illinois Huskies (7-6)
Oklahoma Sooners (8-5)
Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-4)
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5-7)
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (0-12)

Thoughts:   This has the potential to be a very, very strong conference.  Oklahoma will reload.  So will Oklahoma State.  Iowa just doesn't lose more than four games.  Missouri has really started to improve the last five years.  Tulsa and Minnesota usually have good offenses.  Illinois is the wild card, if they can turn things around this could be a scary conference.

Mississippi River Conference
Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0*)
Arkansas Razorbacks (8-5)
Arkansas State Red Wolves (4-8)
Auburn Tigers (8-5)
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (6-6)
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (4-8)
Memphis Tigers (2-10)
Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-7)
Ole Miss Rebels (9-4)
Southern Miss Golden Eagles (7-6)

Thoughts:  Like most of the conferences there are 4-5 strong teams at the top, and a few teams that are considerably weaker.  Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Southern Miss should dominate this conference.  Miss. State could rebound.  The teams here should have no problem recruiting, as most don't bother recruiting out of state.

Pacific Northwest Conference
Boise State (14-0)
California Bears (8-5)
Idaho Vandals (8-5)
Nevada Wolfpack (8-5)
Oregon Ducks (10-3)
Oregon State Beavers (8-5)
San Jose State Spartans (2-10)
Stanford Cardinal (8-5)
Washington Huskies (5-7)
Washington State Cougars (1-11)

Thoughts: Boise State was the most winning-est program of the decade, they are a strong team.  They are 2-0 in BCS bowl games.  Oregon, Cal, Oregon State, Nevada and Stanford are all good teams in their own right.  Idaho is a team on the rise, while Washington and Washington State are mired in a stretch of mediocrity, or worse.

Rocky Mountain Conference
Air Force Falcons (8-5)
BYU Cougars (11-2)
Colorado Buffaloes (3-9)
Colorado State Rams (3-9)
Kansas Jayhawks (5-7)
Kansas State Wildcats (6-6)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-4)
Utah Utes (10-3)
Utah State Aggies (4-8)
Wyoming Cowboys (7-6)

Thoughts:   I should have just called this the "Versus Conference" since that is the only place you will ever see these games.  I am sure the other 11 conferences would find a way to bar Nebraska, Utah or BYU from the playoff.  This covers a big area geographically, and recruiting, while not great, is prosperous.  BYU and Utah will open recruiting areas to the mid-western states. 

Southwestern Conference
Arizona Wildcats (8-5)
Arizona State Sun Devils (4-8)
Fresno State Bulldogs (8-5)
Hawaii Warriors (6-7)
New Mexico Lobos (1-11)
New Mexico State Aggies (3-10)
San Diego State Aztecs (4-8)
UCLA Bruins (7-6)
UNLV Rebels (5-7)
USC Trojans (9-4)

Thoughts:   USC should control this conference, but presuming some of these teams can rebound from a few down years it could be a good conference.  This is not a far stretch from what the Pac-10 is now.  USC and everybody else.  San Diego State should be good, how hard is it to show a recruit a photo of Marshall Faulk and tell them its sunny year round... who would not want to go there?

Southeastern Conference
Clemson Tigers (9-5)
Georgia Bulldogs (8-5)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-3)
Kentucky Wildcats (7-6)
Louisville Cardinals (4-8)
South Carolina Gamecocks (7-6)
Tennessee Volunteers (7-6)
Troy Trojans (9-4)
Vanderbilt Commodores (2-10)
UAB Blazers (5-7)

Thoughts: I am not sure if this is an incredibly strong conference, or an overrated conference.  If Lane Kiffin can stop acting like a spoiled 7-year old and gets his program under control this could be a good conference.  Same for the Ol' Ball Coach at South Carolina.  Louisville is a mess right now.  Troy is an unheralded program, but could really gain national exposure in this league.

Now that we have the conferences taken care of, the next step is the regular season.  With ten teams in each conference, there is no need for a conference championship.  Now, people will argue that this will cost the teams and conferences money.  However, with a 24-team playoff, you can subtract the conference championships while simultaneously solving the bowl issue, since you will have 23 playoff games, and then have "bowl" games for 20 more teams.  Teams will play nine conference games and then have two out-of-conference games.  This will allow teams to play traditional rivalry games if they are in different conferences.  I am really imagining Ohio State-Michigan, Tennessee-Florida and the Commander-In-Chief games.

The Playoffs are the next issue, 24 teams is not something other divisions have.  Division three has 32 teams, Division two and FCS have 16.  So the way the playoff will work is the ten conference winners will all get seeded and have an automatic bids into the playoffs, and the top eight of the ten conference winners will get byes in the first round.  Then, the next 14 teams will seeded and the opening round matchups will be determined.  #24 will travel to #9, #23 will travel to #10 and so on to #17 traveling to #16.  These first games will be played at the higher-seeded teams home stadium.  Then for the next round the eight teams with the byes would host the eight winners from the previous round, but the highest seed will face the lowest seed.  So in a normal playoff bracket, the 1 seed would play the winner of #16 vs. #17, however, to keep the best matchups we can, if say #21 is the lowest seed remaining, rather than #21 play #5, they would play #1 and so on down the line.  Now these games are home games for the higher ranked teams, but we can assign a "Bowl" to them.  So the sponsors still get in, but teams can be rewarded with a home game and all the revenue from the game.

There are six Bowls with too much history to take away and just call them the bowl, but not play them at the actual stadium.  These Bowls are the four BCS Bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange) and the Cotton and Gator Bowls.  It was a tough decision among the Gator, Capital One (Citrus) and Chick-Fil-A (Peach) Bowls, but ultimately, I decided on the Gator.  The Championship will rotate among the six games every year.  So the round of eight will be held at four of the stadiums, and then the round of four will be held at the other 2, with the championship held at one of the final two stadiums.  The stadiums will rotate the championship every year.

Teams who make it to the championship game could play as many as 15 or 16 games, depending on their seed.  This is in line with every other division where the champions will play at least 15 games.  So this system is no different from the other divisions, leaving the President's no "out" for saying they think the Student-Athletes are playing too many games. Most of the country wants a playoff anyway, I am here to help the country.

Then there is the issue of dropping 11 bowls.  I think the easiest way to solve the issue is to just have Bowls for teams that do not make the playoffs.  It's somewhat like a one-off NIT.  Obviously teams are going to have arguments as to who should be the final teams into the tournament, and at least they will not feel like they are empty handed here.   The extra bowls will also help some of these cities out which rely on this tourism revenue.  I would say you pick some of the smaller bowls, like the GMAC Bowl, Music City Bowl, Humanitarian Bowl and Sun Bowl.

This sums it up pretty well, feel free to leave comments if you agree or disagree.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com