In case you don't know from the things I've said on air, I hate the BCS, but I don't have a problem with the BCS formula. I just don't want it used to narrow the field from 125 to 2.
Although I'm thrilled we will have a 4-team playoff next year, I've always wanted a 16-team playoff. I'm not being greedy, because the new system will be so much better than the BCS. I just want to implement some of the greatness of March Madness while rewarding conference champions.
I put before you the Doug Franz College Football Playoff. The "DFCFP" makes every non-conference game vital to each conference because each game determines conference strength. Conference strength determines conference rank. The DFCFP improves on the NCAA basketball tournament because teams don't get in the playoff just by winning their conference. They have to win one of the conferences ranked in the top 8 (as opposed to the NCAA basketball tournament where every conference champion is in).
This playoff does something no other system does. It ranks the conferences. Instead of the bare speculation that "Team A" would get crushed if it played in "Conference B," the DFCFP rewards you equally for having No. 1 Florida State while you're getting equally penalized for No. 96 Virginia and #=No. 100 North Carolina State.
This is the final playoff standings. The DFCFP starts this weekend. It's up to you to pick the winners. Tweet me @doug620 with the hashtag #DFCFP or put that in the subject line of an email. I'll tally up the votes and report back for the second round. You don't have to vote for every game.
If you want an explanation for the way my formula works, check the bottom of the blog.
Here are the playoff pairings:
16) Bowling Green @ 1) Florida State
15) Fresno State @ 2) Auburn
14) UCF @ 3) Alabama
13) Oklahoma State @ 4) Michigan State
12) Clemson @ 5) Stanford
11) Oklahoma @ 6) Baylor
10) Oregon @ 7) Ohio State
9) South Carolina @ 8) Mizzou
Every week, different teams left the playoff and other teams eagerly took their place. The MAC is the seventh-best conference, so its conference champion earns a playoff spot. Northern Illinois lost the MAC Championship Game, so the Falcons of BGSU will go to Tallahassee this week.
Arizona State is the other team that was knocked out and replaced by Oklahoma. The key was Notre Dame. ASU lost and Oklahoma won.
Some would argue the playoff is a joke since Arizona State is clearly the better team than Bowling Green. I'm not disputing that my playoff does not guarantee the top 16 teams. I want to add value to the conference champion. I also want to reward the No. 1 seed. Florida State has earned the No. 1 seed and the benefit of playing a school from a lower conference.
The old playoff haters used to say a playoff ruins the regular season. Get real! Since Ohio State lost but remains in the playoff, someone would ask if the regular season matters. Last week, OSU was the No. 2 seed playing UCF at home, yet this week the Buckeyes remain at home but host Oregon. Not only is that a dramatic change, but OSU would have hosted a second round game as a No. 2 seed; but if they beat Oregon, they now must travel to Auburn. And we all know what happens when Ohio State plays the SEC.
The win for Michigan State does the reciprocal for the Spartans that the loss did to Ohio State. Michigan State had made the DFCFP last week, but a loss would have knocked them out. Now, instead of being a No. 10 seed traveling to a brutal game at No. 7 Stanford, Michigan State vaults all the way to No. 4. If the seeds hold, instead of leaving for Stanford in the first week of the playoff, they would host Stanford in the second round. The regular season still matters.
Speaking of Michigan State, I can't wait to see the nation's best defense against the stout Oklahoma State offense. Plus, any playoff that gives me Oregon at Ohio State is a winner.
A big question with the playoff would be rematches. I have no problem that Oklahoma and Baylor meet, or that South Carolina must return to Mizzou. If you saw that great Gamecocks-Tigers game, you'd want to see more of it, too.
By ranking every team 1-125, you get a true representation of the best conference by taking the average BCS rank of every team in the conference. This playoff system makes every college football game in the country vital because it rewards teams and conferences alike.
The conference champions need to be rewarded, administrators do not. I don't want a system similar to men's basketball that when you make a conference, you get an automatic bid. In this system, conferences have to earn an automatic bid for their conference champion.
Here's the ranking of the conferences for the final standings of the BCS and the average BCS rank of the teams in the conference:
1) SEC: 36.64 (stronger by 0.57)
2) Pac-12: 40.08 (stronger by 0.66)
3) Big 10: 45.42 (stronger by 0.09)
4) ACC: 51 (stronger by 0.14)
5) Big 12: 51.1 (weaker by 0.1)
6) AAC: 71.7 (stronger by 0.2)
7) MAC: 80.46 (stronger by 0.16)
8) MWC: 83.75 (stronger by 0.5)
9) Sun Belt: 84.25 (unchanged)
10) C-USA: 85 (weaker by 1.29)
This is the strongest the Pac-12 has ever been in the DFCFP. In the pre-season, Bob Stoops wanted to whine how unfair it was people didn't rank the Big 12 above the SEC. In the final standings, the SEC is stronger, the Pac-12 is stronger, the Big 10 is stronger and the lowly ACC is stronger.
The magic of this playoff is how every game matters. There are only two spots left for three conference champions of the Sun Belt, MAC and Mountain West. If anyone team in the Sun Belt would have won one more game, Louisiana-Lafayette would have made the playoff. This fact shows how every game for every program affects the playoff.
Conference-USA is a sham. Every round of realignment, it raids the Sun Belt. Ever since massive conference realignment, the Sun Belt continually outranks C-USA. The Big 10 proudly welcomes No. 84 Rutgers and No. 62 Maryland to the conference in 2014. For all the Big 10 fans that know so little about the current state of the game and claim yours is still an elite conference, with that decision, the Big 10 would drop to the fourth-best conference. The ACC not only passes the Big 10, but also replaces Maryland with No. 18 Louisville. The Big 10 weakens itself by almost four points in its overall conference average, and the ACC improves by 3.14.
The magic of the DFCFP is how it highlights the regular season more than any other system. Here's the process for coming up with the teams for the playoff:
1) Rank all D-1 (FBS) teams 1-125 (from Florida State to Georgia State) 2) Rank all the conferences 1-10 based on the average BCS rank of the teams in the conference.
3) Reward the first-place team in the top eight conferences with an automatic bid.
3. Michigan State
4. Florida State
7. Bowling Green
8. Fresno State
4) Independents -- this means you Notre Dame -- get no special treatment if they're not in a conference, earn a wild card bid or join a conference.
5) Select eight wild-card teams based on BCS rank, excluding those already selected with an automatic bid.
2. Ohio State
4. South Carolina
8. Oklahoma State
6) Rank the 16 teams based on BCS rank with no regard to status as an automatic qualifier or wild card entry. The tournament would follow a bracket format. Although re-seeding would be a better way to reward the regular season, nothing is better than filling out a basketball bracket, and I want that momentum and attention on college football.
7) First two rounds are at the home of the better seed. 8) Final Four games are played at a rotation among Fiesta, Cotton, Sugar and Rose. 9) Championship game is hosted by the city that bid the most.
We wouldn't have 35 bowl games anymore -- sorry, Pinstripe Bowl -- but some of the big ones with tradition don't have to go anywhere. If you're an Arizona State fan, are you saying you wouldn't go to the Alamo Bowl against Texas? You'd still get the benefit of extra practices to prepare for your bowl game. Players would still get to enjoy the goodies they receive for participating. And, as for the fans, we get a real champion.