OK: so how about a playoff?

If Seth's or any of many predictions for conference realignment come true, the BCS could easily have a playoff to determine the 1 vs 2 matchup for bowl season.

Assuming that the ACC and Big Ten absorb the Big East, the SEC absorbs one or two Big 12 teams, and what's left forms a giant "Big 12-Mountain" conference, that would throw most BCS teams except the indies into five conferences: Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac Ten, and whatever the "Leftoverture" conference (which would, of course, include Kansas) calls itself.

Then, the BCS could easily hold a "qualifying tournament" using the five champions and one at-large team to be taken from indies and/or conferences that aren't in the BCS, such as whatever is left of the CUSA, but not from the losers of conference championship games or teams that didn't win their division. That would "cover their assets" legally and ensure that there would be no antitrust suit. To promote "fairness" and interest, not to mention money, there could even be a play-in game among the "best of the rest" during conference championship week.

The easiest format for the playoff, once the conference championship and play-in games are over, would be to seed the top two champions, selected just as they are now, into the semis and have the other four teams play a quarterfinal round. Then, the semis could be held the next week and the final after the bowls, just as it is now.

Then, the bowls and the title game would look the same, but the two teams in the title game would have had to win a playoff to get in. Would there still be "sour grapes?" Of course there would; that is part of sports. But this would give six (actually 12 counting the conference championship and play-in games, which would be de facto playoff games) teams a legitimate shot at the National Championship after the end of the regular season. And, really, anyone who wasn't a conference champion really wouldn't have much of an agrument under a true playoff system.

Some say it would diminish the regular season to have a playoff, but I say it would do just the opposite. It would encourage a lot better non-conference games because teams would know that an early loss against a great team from another conference wouldn't ruin their chances at making the title game. Those who want to see, for example, Michigan play Georgia or Florida in a non-conference game, might get their wish if the conference champions were guaranteed a berth in the playoff. Also, it would make the conference championships more important than the polls. That would be a major bonus.

It's time for the champion of the NCAA's signature sport and biggest cash cow to be determined where it belongs: on the field. It's also time to stop rewarding teams for playing patsies during the non-conference schedule or for being from a conference that is weak on the field but strong on the computer. A playoff would accomplish both.

Most of all, we would get to see a true champion, and the word "mythical" could officially be removed from "National Champion."

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