College Football needs a playoff system for a number of reasons, and I think that they should follow lacrosse’s example to a large extent. Dan Wolken lays out the reasons that college football needs a playoff system in his recent article on Fox Sports, and I won’t go any further than to say I agree with him. Read his post for the “why”, and then get back to me, and I’ll fill you in on just how that playoff should be run… it’s no surprise that I think they should be run a lot like lacrosse.
Each conference should have a champion, and each conference champ should qualify automatically. This means that every conference has a shot at playing for a national championship each year, and if you’re going to group all of these conferences under one divisional umbrella, it’s only fair that each one gets represented. Since there are only 11 conferences in D1 football, the NCAA could still have a 16 team playoff AND allow a couple of highly ranked runner up schools to make the playoffs, and vie for a title. Just imagine if Team A and Team B were #1 and #2 in the country, and Team A beat Team B in the regular season by 1 point, and then lost to Team B by 1 point in their conference championship game, but only Team B got a shot at the title… in most sports people would cry foul, and that would be right.
And a 16-team playoff would solve this issue immediately.
The first round games would be held at the higher seed’s home stadium. It rewards the local fans with a playoff game, and allows the schools to host an additional game on campus. It also gives the higher seed a big advantage in the first round, which increases the importance of seeding, which in turn makes the regular season that much more important. So you lost a close game early to a top team? Well don’t fret, because you could still get a home game in the playoffs if you win out big… Talk about “Every Game Counts”!
Then, the Elite 8 games would be split into four regional locations, which would be determined before the season began, and each location would host two games. Ideally, one would be played at noon, and the second game would be played at 6pm. That way, the atmosphere at the stadium would never truly die down, but the fans from the first game would have enough time to leave before the fans of second game started coming in. Each game is a separate ticket, but the atmosphere at the event overall could be greatly improved. It would be more of a celebration of college football.
The semi-finals and finals could all be held in the same city, similar to how lacrosse is run, except the Final Four weekend would turn into a Final Four Week plus. 4 teams would show up on Wednesday, and play their semifinal games on that Saturday. Then the two winners would stick around all week, train and do media events (remember the FF is happening over Winter Break), and then play each other for the National Championship the following weekend.
The playoffs could start the week after conference championships were decided, and then there wouldn’t be any gap between the season and the playoffs. If guys need more time of between the two, then cut out a regular season game, or push the playoffs back another week. There are creative tweaks that can be made in situations like this, and they are much better than just sticking with what we have now.
My proposed playoff structure is a lot like lacrosse, which makes sense because I love lax. But it also makes sense because the lacrosse championships are some of the best-attended in all of the NCAA, and because a big playoff just works! It’s the BEST part of the college lax season, and it’s by the far the best part of the college basketball season. For football, every game will still count just as much it does now, but perhaps just a little differently. As Dan Wolken said, the #1 vs #2 regular season game might not be as big, but every single Top 10 matchup will have major implications. To me, this spreads the wealth, opens up the doors, and creates an organic event worth watching. Lacrosse and baskteball have it down to a science, and it’s been working for YEARS… you’d think football could learn from the little guys once in a while!
LACROSSE IN OTHER NEWS:
– Brockport remembers former teammate Jon Fiorillo, who recently passed away at age 22 | The Stylus
– Providence Men’s Lacrosse kicks off “Initiative 1000″ Community Service effort | Friars.com
– William “Skeets” Harrison will be greatly missed in Windsor, Ontario. A sporting legend! | Windsor Star
– Is the NALL planning to expand already? | In Lax We Trust
– NCAA to MLL: A trend for former college coaches? | Lacrosse Magazine
LACROSSE VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
Notre Dame pretty much puts their practices out there for the world to see. They host open practices, and practice at in-state high schools… but they also put their drill online for the world to watch and use. They want people to become better players, and better coaches, and that’s pretty darn cool. This time, we’ve got the Dynamo drill, which ND adopted from UVA. And being the classy guys that they are, ND gives a full shoutout to the Cavs. Also cool. If you’re a coach looking to find some new drills to throw at your guys, check out their full offering of drill tutorials on Youtube.