Johnson's Playoff Idea - Just Four Teams
Posted Jan 24, 2012

Terry Johnson's ideal playoff idea - Just four teams

Tuesday Question 

Playoff Idea - Top 4

TQs - 2011 TQs   
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Playoff Ideas
- The 64-team format
- Cirminiello: 4 Teams, No Automatic Qualifier
- Sallee: Plus One
- Harrison: Top Eight
- Johnson: Just 4 Teams  

With college presidents, professors, and NCAA bigwigs currently considering playoff ideas, here are a few of our own.

TQ: What's your dream playoff scenario?

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

It is time for college football to change the way it crowns a national champion.

The 2011-12 season illustrates this point perfectly.

According to its mission statement, the BCS is "designed to ensure that the two top-rated teams in the country meet in the national championship game." At the same time, the BCS seeks to preserve the significance of the regular season, giving fans the assurance that "every game counts."

The BCS failed miserably on both counts this season.

Alabama's inclusion in the national title game was one of the most controversial selections in BCS history, and while the Crimson Tide's impressive victory might appear to have validated the BCS formula, there's still a strong argument against its inclusion in the game.

Oklahoma State won the Big 12 title, and according to the BCS computers, played a much tougher schedule than Alabama did, so does every game truly count when one team defeats tougher opponents than the other, but does not advance to the championship game?

If the goal of the BCS is to get the best two teams on the field for the national title game, and ensure that "every game counts," the BCS needs to make two very important changes.

The first thing that the BCS needs to do is to tweak its calculations. In order to make every game count, the BCS formula needs to re-implement the "quality win" component, which would add value to all wins over teams in the BCS Top 25. By adding this component, the BCS will reward teams for defeating quality opponents, and make some part of the formula based on fact rather than opinion.

With this change in place, Oklahoma State would have advanced to the national championship game this season because they defeated four teams in the final BCS poll, while Alabama only defeated two.

But does anyone really know if Oklahoma State is better than Alabama? Without the two teams settling it on the field, it is impossible to know which team is better than the other.

If the ultimate goal of the BCS is to put the best two teams on the gridiron for the national championship, then it needs to expand the field to include four teams. Two weeks after championship Saturday, the top four teams – provided that they meet the existing BCS selection criteria - will play in the first round of the BCS playoffs. The No. 4 team will travel to the No. 1 team, and the No. 3 team will visit the No. 2 team. The winners will advance to the National Championship game, and the losers will play against each other in a BCS bowl game, which will rotate between the Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta Bowls, on January 1st.

This solution provides a little something for everyone. For proponents of the bowl system, the existing system remains intact, which will allow players and coaches to enjoy all of the benefits and perks of playing in a bowl game. On the other hand, playoff advocates win under this new system because the national championship participants will be determined on the field, rather than in the polls.

However, college football fans will benefit the most with these rule changes. Fans will see better non-conference games in the future because aspiring national championship contenders will have to play top-flight opponents in order to pick up quality win points in the BCS formula. More importantly, this system allows for a better national championship game because teams will no longer suffer from the rust of a month long layoff.

The only shortcoming of the proposed new system is that the national championship game could possibly feature a rematch from the regular season. Unfortunately, this will be an inherent flaw in any system. However, since each team will have to defeat a top 4 opponent in order to reach the title game, there should be no question about whether or not they belong in the national championship game. That was not the case this season.

Is the BCS committed to maintaining its goal of putting the two best teams in the national championship game, while preserving the significance of the regular season?

If they are, they will implement the aforementioned changes effective immediately.

Playoff Ideas
- The 64-team format
- Cirminiello: 4 Teams, No Automatic Qualifier
- Sallee: Plus One
- Harrison: Top Eight
- Johnson: Just 4 Teams