Division 1A college football needs a playoff system. Why this is the only sport in the known world without a means of determining champions through direct competition is a mystery. Yeah, yeah, tradition and all that. And college administrators are mostly worried about those large donations that can flow in with a bowl victory, even a small bowl victory against a small opponent.
Is Division 1A football simply a farm league for the NFL and side show/cash cow for the universities, or is it sport?
We have the BCS system, which seems to always struggle to justify itself. Rules are adjusted every year, and they still won't please everyone, or even anyone. Last year's championship matchup between the only two unbeaten teams in the country was a fluke, and most likely will not be repeated very often.
Therefore, if we are to endure this wretched BCS system, we propose a simple and modest standard for BCS qualifying teams:
To enter the National Championship game, or to win an at-large BCS bowl bid, no team may play a sub Div. 1A team.
Currently, this proposed rule of ours would exempt the following teams in the BCS top 25 (of the last month) from National Championship consideration or any BCS appearance without winning their conference outright:
Florida (Western Carolina)
Arkansas (Southeast Missouri State)
West Virginia (Eastern Washington)
Texas (Sam Houston State)
Wisconsin (Western Illinois)
Boise State (Sacramento State)
Wake Forest (Liberty)
Georgia Tech (Samford)
Cal (Portland State)
Boston College (Maine)
Maryland (William & Mary)
Virginia Tech (Northeastern)
Nebraska (Nicholls State)
Texas A&M (The Citadel)
Penn State (Youngstown State)
Oregon (Portland State)
What is the difference between, say, a good Portland State team (who played three Div.1A teams this year and actually beat one of them) and Buffalo, or Temple? That's for the NCAA to decide. Often the Division designation has more to do with attendance and stadium size than quality of play; but the sports budget of a school does have a huge impact on the quality of coaches and players it can attract.
There is something to said for Div.1AA schools getting a shot at the big money of playing a BCS conference team. Some of these payouts are as big as a minor bowl game for these schools. It can be argued that playing patsy to a big BCS team is the only way for these schools to climb out of Div. 1AA obscurity.
However, all other things being equal, even the computer rankings cannot account for how sub Div.1A play amounts to little better than a practice scrimmage. Let the Div.1AA creampuffs get served to the teams that need it, like Stanford and Utah State. Let those teams blight the schedules of those who don't stand any chance of winding up in the top 25.
This whole scheme might devastate certain conferences who feast on sub-par opponents to boost their overall rankings. SEC, we're talking about you. And Tom Osborne's legendary Nebraska teams were fond of those early Pippy Longstockings and Goliath matches to stay atop everyone's early season rankings.
We know that Athletic Directors are fond of saying how tough it is to schedule games with non-conference opponents, but c'mon, it's no accident that Florida is playing Western Carolina at the end of a tough SEC season.
Let's keep the big boys honest and maintain real competition throughout a season where every game counts.