How the new college football playoff format can include everyone.

As a a fan of a couple of ACC schools, I am satisfied to know the ACC has a contract with the Orange Bowl and access to the 4-Team playoffs, but doesn’t mean I have to be pleased with the overall landscape of college football. 5 Conferences have contracts with existing bowls that are likely to be the Big 6 Bowls.

The Pac 12 and Big 10 have the Rose Bowl. The SEC and Big 12 have the Champions/Cotton Bowl, and the ACC the Orange likely with a tie-in with a qualified Notre Dame team or another highly rated team.

I don’t know the Irish criteria but I’m assuming it will be 9+ wins, ranked in the top 12, or something to that effect. The heavyweights are all taken care of, but what about the rest of the teams in college football?

This is only roughly half of the Division 1 football teams. I don’t want to see college football become so exclusionary. Time and time again we’ve seen schools from non-Contract conferences make huge splashes. From Stony Brook and Kent State as recently as this year’s CWS to the recent Butlers and VCUs in basketball, we’ve seen it.

In college football Boise St has proven itself worthy of a chance to compete for a national title. With 6 Bowls, that’s 12 total spots. 5 are already contracted out, so that’s 6-7 at large opponents remaining depending on Notre Dame. Here’s how I’d hope to see the Big Five conferences and the non-contract conferences work something out to benefit all of college football.

1)      Now more contract conferences bowls…

Stop right there where things are. I wouldn’t worry about the Sugar or Fiesta bowls for example, bowl participants will still be as geographically tied as possible, but if the Fiesta contracts up another Big 12 or Pac 12 team, the Sugar the SEC, the Chick Fil A if they are one of the Big 6 bowls possibly locking another SEC and/or ACC team, where’s the non contract team going to play?

2)     Make an undefeated provision in the top 4 selection teams. 

I’ve said this before when I’ve discussed playoff formats, any undefeated team from any conference ranked in the top 6 gets automatically in the 4 team playoff. I would say a Boise St. for example running through a Big East schedule undefeated would certainly be ranked in the top 6. Let them have their shot.

3)     Make a 2nd undefeated provision in the next 7-12 teams.

Any undefeated team from any conference ranked in the top 7-12 gets an automatic at large invite to one of the non-contract positions. Why can’t a Marshall or Hawaii type team not have a shot at something? Maybe you get a blowout ala UGA overHawaii in 2007, but maybe you get Utah over Alabama type result from 2008.

4)    A two loss or more team can’t leap frog a one loss team if they are more than 2 spots behinds the one loss team.

Say a 1 loss Boise St. team finishes 7th in the selection committee rankings, then a two loss Arkansas team ranked 10th can’t be selected over them for an at large spot. I leave the 2 spot rule to provide the committee some leeway with strength of schedule for example as a component.

I don’t know what provisions if any will exists for the non-contract conferences. I hope there are some hard rules to give them an opportunity, because if not the new playoff system isn’t any better than what we had previously.  

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