If you were to cobble together a 16-team bracket of non-power conference schools, this is what you'd get.
This is the one millionth blog post that began with a tweet. They all do, these days. You float an idea out there, people start talking, and then one is compelled to put it into blog post form.
Of course, disclaimer: it is a HYPOTHETICAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SYSTEM. Also the one millionth one ever created. Get out the confetti and bikini-clad woman granting me a prize or something. If we have any left in the stockroom.
So take that for the grains of salt, sand and any other particles lurking beneath your couch. It's a proposal. In no way do I have any emotional or mental investment in this playoff theory. It might be neat. It might be awful. But it does satiate one hunger many teams have: the desire to winning something beyond their one game.
Clearly if the BCS-bound teams get richer, eliminate Automatic Qualifier status from all teams and then take who they want, then that's going to vastly separate the SEC/Big Ten/Pac-12 teams from everybody else. So if there's a separation line — be it arbitrary, well-defined or imaginary — then I thought it might be cool to see what a 16-team playoff would look like this year between the 16 best teams in the MAC, Conference USA, Mountain West, WAC and Sun Belt. I probably spent no more than 10 minutes paring together the seedings, so don't read too much into 'em.
A few notes on why I picked this structure: I made sure each conference champion was given a home game, and I also plucked at least two teams from each conference. And if I had a first-round matchup of same-conferenced teams, I broke them up and changed the seeding a bit. So it ain't perfect. The spacing of the first round brackets also bugs me a bit but what're ya gonna do.
The big downside to a struct like this would be: what in the world are they playing for? It'd be creating a championship from a kiln. Then again that's how bowls are created: people sit in a room, think they should start a bowl, and then they do. It has practically as much clout as any one of these corporate-backed entities. Heck, if you wanted to call it the Arby's Championship, then so be it. People like Arby's.
And like I said, the MAC Championship is all I need to percolate my football optimism starting in August. Anything else is bonus bucks, and this seems like a nice alternative to one game. Hey, let's see how much farther they can go. It'll be like winning the NIT but you'd be surprised at little schools who enjoy their one-off trophies. And while people may not necessarily care, they'll watch and it's an added recruiting pitch to the schools: we have playoffs. Or you could go to Michigan State and play in a "bowl." It's your choice.
I guess if someone was plucked from the mid-majors to play in the national championship or a similar big bowl, they could go to that instead. It's a free country. But what this seems to mainly do is acknowledge that there's going to be separation between the haves and ain't-haves in a few years. It may be chasmic, and it might even break Division I into three terciles. Or maybe it would somehow unite everybody. You never can tell.