The BCS Anti-Trust Playoff Solution
Jason Campbell, Matt Leinart, Jason White
Jason Campbell, Matt Leinart, Jason White
Posted Feb 2, 2010

With Washington taking a look at the BCS, here's the easy solution to the anti-trust problem and what might have happened if it was always in place. Had the BCS gotten it right from the start, the 2004 fight between Jason Campbell's Auburn, Matt Leinart's USC, and Jason White's Oklahoma would've been settled on the field.

The Answer To The BCS Anti-Trust Debate

How would past seasons have gone?

- CFN Analysis - The BCS Anti-Trust Debate 

By Pete Fiutak

The answer to all of our problems is so simple and so easy that it's literally insane to not make it happen.

If the government types really do find out that the BCS violates anti-trust laws and there's a need for a simple solution that allows everyone an equal shot to win the national title, we've got it.

The CFN solution has always been an eight team playoff with the six BCS conference winners, the top-ranked non-BCS conference champion, and one wild-card, but that might not be good enough if Washington really doesn't like the idea of the six big conferences getting preferential treatment. Instead, just have an eight team playoff of the top eight ranked conference champions, with the caveat that if either Notre Dame, Navy, or Army finishes in the top eight.

There. Quick, simple, easy, very, very profitable, and very, very doable.

All of BCS director Bill Hancock's bullspit arguments (with the corporate PR spin laughably put on-line with BCS PRESS WIRE articles that look like they're written by The Onion at would be answered and destroyed because of the extreme ease to put this plan in place.

You'd still have the bowl system in its current form. All the same people who watch the non-BCS bowls now would still be interested, if not more so because there'd be even more of a college football buzz. The integrity of the regular season would be kept intact since we're limiting this to just conference champions, and to make the sport even better, there'd be no excuse and no reason whatsoever to not schedule great non-conference matchups. It wouldn't matter if you didn't win a non-conference game against elite teams since your ultimate goal is to win the conference title, as it should be. The national title combatants would only play two extra games; they're football players and they want to play football. The concerns about schoolwork would be totally moot, at least compared to the time lost for college basketball teams during March Madness, since the playoff would start over winter break.

Everything else stays the same. Around Christmas Day, the first round would be played at the home sites of the top four teams. Logistics and economics have to be taken into consideration, and getting the home game would be a major reward. The Final Four would be played on New Year's Day with the rest of the bowls, the Gator, the Cotton, the Outback, and the Capital One still going off as is with one of the current BCS bowl games (among the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange) getting a good matchup of the top teams who didn't get into the playoffs. The extra BCS Championship Game would be eliminated with the the national title to be played in a rotation of the four current BCS bowls (and played at least a week after New Year's Day), and the Final Four would be played at the end of New Year's Day in a rotation of two of the four current BCS bowls. That way, the BCS bowls, and Hancock, get all their money and attention, the other bowls are still in place, and there's a quick, clean, three-week playoff that doesn't do anything to disturb the current way college football is run.

You're welcome, Barack.

So how would this have worked if it was in place from the start of the BCS era instead of the cockamamie thing we have in place now? As you'll see, all the big boys still get represented, the little guys get their shot, and remembering that you shouldn't be able to win the national title if you can't win the conference championship, this would ultimately be very, very fair.

Remember, the top eight conference champions are selected and then seeded accordingly. The seeds don't necessarily correspond with the final rank in the BCS standings. For example. Kansas State finished third in the final 1998 BCS Rankings, but lost to Texas A&M in the Big 12 championship so Ohio State, the Big Ten champion, gets the No. 3 seed.


No. 1 Tennessee (SEC) vs. No. 8 Marshall (MAC)
No. 2 Florida State (ACC) vs. No. 7 Syracuse (Big East) 
No. 3 Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. No. 6 Tulane (C-USA)
No. 4 UCLA (Pac 10) vs. No. 5 Texas A&M (Big 12)

The BCS title game result in 1998: Tennessee 23, Florida State 16

Wisconsin would've been hosed since it tied Ohio State for the title, but it finished ninth in the final BCS rankings and Ohio State finished fourth. The top four seeds would've won in a walk, the Tennessee vs. UCLA shootout would've been a classic, and Ohio State likely would've beaten the Marcus Outzen-led Seminoles. It likely would've been an Ohio State vs. Tennessee national championship in a coin-toss of a game.


No. 1 Florida State (ACC) vs. No. 8 Boise State (Big West)
No. 2 Virginia Tech (Big East) vs. No. 7 Stanford (Pac 10)
No. 3 Nebraska (Big 12) vs. No. 6 Marshall (MAC)
No. 4 Alabama (SEC) vs. No. 5 Wisconsin (Big Ten) 

The BCS title game result in 1999: Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29

The Florida State team of that year, led by Chris Weinke and Peter Warrick, would've rolled through for the national championship, but Nebraska would've made things interesting after getting by Ron Dayne's Wisconsin team that likely would've outslugged Shaun Alexander's Alabama. The upset potential would've been there as an explosive Marshall team would've given the Huskers all they could've handled, but in the end it would've likely been a Seminole-Nebraska matchup for the title.


No. 1 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. No. 8 Colorado State (Mountain West)
No. 2 Florida State (ACC) vs. No. 7 Purdue (Big Ten)
No. 3 Miami (Big East) vs. No. 6 TCU (WAC)
No. 4 Washington (Pac 10) vs. No. 5 Florida (SEC)

The BCS title game result in 2000: Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2

The first round matchup of Chris Weinke and Florida State vs. Drew Brees and Purdue would a wild and fun shootout. Florida was good, but it wasn't the monster that it was about to become and would likely have had major problems with Marques Tuisasosopo's Washington squad. Miami would've rolled through TCU, would've likely have won the rematch with Miami, and would've likely beaten a very good, very sound Oklahoma for the national title. Remember, there was a controversy at the time that Florida State, who lost to Miami, got into the national championship over the Canes.


No. 1 Miami (Big East) vs. No. 8 Louisville (C-USA)
No. 2 Colorado (Big 12) vs. No. 7 BYU (Mountain West)
No. 3 Oregon (Pac 10) vs. No. 6 LSU (SEC)
No. 4 Illinois (Big Ten) vs. No. 5 Maryland (ACC)

The BCS title game result in 2001: Miami 37, Nebraska 14

There would've been a major uproar over the playoff matchups, but the conference championship games would be to blame. Florida was probably the best team in the SEC, and finished fifth in the BCS rankings, but it didn't even get to the SEC title game. Nebraska was No. 2 in the BCS rankings but it didn't get to the Big 12 title game after getting steamrolled over by Colorado. With Tennessee, the SEC title game loser, ranked sixth, that would've meant that three of the top six teams in the BCS rankings wouldn't be in the playoffs. Again, though, if you don't win your conference championship, you don't deserve a chance at the national title. BYU would've had a decent shot at Colorado and Louisville might have given Miami a bit of a run. Miami, Colorado, Oregon and Maryland would've likely won in the first round and the Canes would've rolled with ease to the title.


No. 1 Miami (Big East) vs. No. 8 Colorado State (Mountain West)
No. 2 Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. No. 7 Boise State (WAC)
No. 3 Georgia (SEC) vs. No. 6 Florida State (ACC)
No. 4 Washington State (Pac 10) vs. No. 5 Oklahoma (Big 12)

The BCS title game result in 2002: Ohio State 31, Miami 24 OT

There would've been some screaming. USC was fourth in the final BCS rankings and ended up tied in Pac 10 play with Washington State, but the Cougars won the head-to-head battle and ended up winning the tie-breaker to get to the Rose Bowl. So despite being ranked lower, Wazzu gets in. Iowa also would be grouchy after going unbeaten in Big Ten play, but it was 11-1 going into the bowl season and Ohio State was unbeaten. Notre Dame would've just been on the outside looking in finishing ninth in the BCS rankings. Oklahoma beats Washington State, Georgia whumps a bad Florida State team, Ohio State and Miami win without a problem. On a neutral field, let's go on a limb and say the red-hot Bulldogs find a way to beat a Buckeye team that won game after game by the skin of its teeth. Miami beats Georgia for the national title.


No. 1 LSU (SEC) vs. No. 8 Boise State (WAC)
No. 2 USC (Pac 10) vs. No. 7 Miami University (MAC)
No. 3 Michigan (Big Ten) vs. No. 6 Kansas State (Big 12)
No. 4 Florida State (ACC) vs. No. 5 Miami (Big East)

The BCS title game result in 2003: LSU 21, Oklahoma 14

The mega-controversy of the 2003 season would've been avoided (but another would arise) when USC, who was ranked No. 1 in both human polls, missed out on the national title game because of the computers. In what would be the wackiest of all scenarios, Oklahoma, who was ranked No. 1 by the BCS at the end of the regular season, wouldn't be in the playoffs after getting routed by Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship. That would move LSU up to No. 1 and would likely end up creating the LSU vs. USC matchup that many thought should've happened at the time. The MAC gets into the mix as Ben Roethisberger's Miami team would've gotten a shot and a strong Boise State team would've gotten its cut against LSU. 


No. 1 USC (Pac 10) vs. No. 8 Michigan (Big Ten)
No. 2 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. No. 7 Louisville (C-USA)
No. 3 Auburn (SEC) vs. No. 6 Boise State (WAC)
No. 4 Utah (Mountain West) vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech (ACC)

The BCS title game result in 2004: USC 55, Oklahoma 19

This was the worst season ever for the BCS with three deserving unbeaten teams for two national title spots. Auburn was the odd team out, and as unlikely as it might seem now for the SEC champion to miss out on the national championship, there was a lot of room for debate. For the first time one of the traditional BCS conference champions would've been out with Pitt, ranked 21st in the BCS rankings, not giving the Big East a representative. The Mountain West, WAC, and Conference USA would each get in deserving teams and Urban Meyer, Alex Smith and Utah would get a shot. In the most interesting playoffs ever, USC would've cruised past Michigan, would've outlasted Utah, and would've beaten Auburn for the national championship.


No. 1 USC (Pac 10) vs. No. 8 Florida State (ACC)
No. 2 Texas (Big 12) vs. No. 7 TCU (M-West)
No. 3 Penn State (Big Ten) vs. No. 6 West Virginia (Big East)
No. 4  Notre Dame (Ind.) vs. No. 5 Georgia (SEC)

The BCS title game result in 2005: Texas 41, USC 38

It was the cleanest of BCS Championships with no one having a problem with Reggie Bush and USC facing Vince Young and Texas. In a first round upset, West Virginia might have gotten past Penn State and Notre Dame, who finally bust in the playoffs after being ranked sixth in the final BCS rankings, would've gotten rolled by Georgia. In the end, it would've been USC vs. Texas again, and hopefully there would've been the same type of game.


No. 1 Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. No. 8 BYU (Mountain West)
No. 2 Florida (SEC) vs. No. 7 Wake Forest (ACC)
No. 3 USC (Pac 10) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (Big 12)
No. 4 Louisville (Big East) vs. No. 5 Boise State (WAC)

The BCS title game result in 2006: Florida 41, Ohio State 14

At the time, Michigan, who lost a classic game to Ohio State, would've had a beef, but it turned out that it didn't deserve to be in the playoffs. Florida ended up winning the national title by steamrolling the Buckeyes, but it would've been a rough ride to get past USC on a neutral field. That would be the national title game as the winner would've beaten Ohio State.


No. 1 Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. No. 8 BYU (Mountain West)
No. 2 LSU (SEC) vs. No. 7 Hawaii (WAC)
No. 3 Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. No. 6 West Virginia (Big East)
No. 4 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. No. 5 USC (Pac 10)

The BCS title game result in 2007: LSU 38, Ohio State 24

This was a mess of a season that desperately needed the playoffs. USC beats Ohio State in the second round and beats a battered and bruised LSU in the national championship. That LSU team, two losses and all, might have been the best in the nation, but it needed every second of layoff time before the BCS Championship and might have had a problem dealing with three straight playoff games.


No. 1 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. No. 8 Virginia Tech (ACC)
No. 2 Florida (SEC) vs. No. 7 Cincinnati (Big East)
No. 3 USC (Pac 10) vs. No. 6 Boise State (WAC)
No. 4 Utah (Mountain West) vs. No. 5 Penn State (Big Ten)

The BCS title game result in 2008: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14

The season that started the whole anti-trust brouhaha in the first place. Had Penn State tried, which it would've, Utah would've been bounced out of the first round. But Florida was by far the best team and would've cranked out three straight wins beating out Oklahoma for the national title.


No. 1 Alabama (SEC) vs. No. 8 Georgia Tech (ACC)
No. 2 Texas (Big 12) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (Big Ten)
No. 3 Cincinnati (Big East) vs. No. 6 Oregon (Pac 10)
No. 4 TCU (Mountain West) vs. No. 5 Boise State (WAC)

The BCS title game result in 2009: Alabama 37, Texas 21

Boise State beats TCU, Oregon blows past Cincinnati, and Alabama and Texas get through. The Tide and Longhorns would've ended up playing for the national title, and hopefully this time around, Colt McCoy can feel his right arm.