Sports Briefs: College Football Bracketology

Chris: After over 100 years of using hanging chads, computer systems and Paul the Octopus to determine college football’s national champion, the NCAA’s move to institute a playoff system is a clear indicator of one thing: the NCAA is vibrantly embarrassed by having a lower television viewership on New Year’s Day than SyFy’s “The Twilight Zone” marathon.

Brad: Finally. I don't understand why college football doesn't have their own version of March Madness with a bracket system to determine the championship.

Chris: There would be no better way for me to kindle a passion for DeVry University football than to have them face Alabama in the Round of 64.

Ralphie: I think anything is better than the BCS system. It kept some teams out who really deserved to play in the National Championship game.

Joe: A playoff system in college football would remove some of the bias of the press and certain conference coaches in voting placement in the standings. That's a good thing.

Chris: I am already receiving glossy postcards and flyers in my mail box encouraging monetary donations to Nick Saban’s campaign. Just this week I received a phone call asking, “If the final Top 25 poll were held today, can Coach Saban count on your vote?” It was automated, so I hung up.

Brad: A total overhaul of the system would give the new playoff system the best chance of working. They should ditch it completely and start from scratch.

Ralphie: I think the BCS rankings could stay. I think changing up the way the playoff system works is the change that is most important.

Joe: Rankings have to be used, but until someone understands the BCS formula, it should be abandoned if it cannot be explained in three sentences.

Chris: The computer system the BCS uses is allegedly the offspring of Agnes the femme fatale and HAL 9000, thereby making it inherently evil. Whoever volunteers to sit in front of said system, click Start in the lower left-hand corner and Turn Off Computer should be willing to sacrifice their life.

Ralphie: I just learned about the last system. The good thing is that I like to learn—especially about sports, so it will be a fun challenge to learn about the new system.

Joe: Consider a 10-team playoff tournament as follows: First round 1 plays 10, 2 plays 9, etc. games to be played over one weekend. Of the five winners, the next weekend features highest seed with a bye; next highest seed against remaining lowest seed, and two middle seeds against each other. Of those two, the winners play each other the next week for the right to play No. 1 seed in championship the following week. Total time to play is four weekends—two in December and two in January. All other bowl games to be concluded by the beginning of playoffs.

Brad: It's about time to change things up and provide more team interactions. The more players you compete against, the better your game becomes.

Ralphie: I think it makes sense to use 4 teams. If they added more, it wouldn’t feel like much of an honor to get to play. It would make it feel like it was easier to get in.

Brad: How can you really determine a championship team from only four teams? You would need at least 12 to get a better idea across the board. There are too many players and teams to have to figure it out from only four teams.

Joe: The bowl game structure, as it now exists, is merely the product of ESPN making money (they own most of the bowl games, which is why they are only shown on . . . ESPN—except for a couple of the majors, and those shown on ABC are really the sister of ESPN).

Ralphie: There should be other bowl games. It will affect them by making some mean more than the others. I don’t know how many, but I think every team that plays a really good season deserves a chance to play in a bowl game.

Joe: Other bowl games would have to be played before the playoffs, and the market principles of profit and loss will probably eliminate most.

Chris: I’m giving this idea away, free of charge, as if it were a sample at a grocery store: the other bowl games could be playoff games. The somewhat untraditional bowls sponsored by cleaning products and prescription medications could be the opening round of the tournament, leading up to the bowls sponsored by flowers or fruit hosting the semifinals or final.

Brad: I think they still need to have bowl games. But since they involve pageants and parades and stuff, they should not count them as any sort of playoff game. Instead they should be like exhibition games, ones that don't really count toward regular season play or championship play.

Chris: Non-meaningful bowl games are Rod Serling's favorite bowl games.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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