With less than three weeks away from the College Football Playoffs, fans find themselves watching bowl games that will involve three teams with losing records. Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State were all rewarded with trips to College Football’s postseason despite the fact they finished the year at 5-7. Even if one of these teams were to win the game, they will still be less than.500 for the season.
Various sources have come out since the announcement of the pairings to express their disapproval of allowing teams with losing records to be rewarded with the lavish gifts that some of these bowls heap upon student athletes. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit went as far as using the terms “pathetic” and “embarrassing.” Despite this fact, the NCAA finds itself in a position where there is not enough teams to fill the 40 bowl slots this year.
This begs the question what can be done to prevent years like this from creeping up in the future. Here are just a couple of suggestions.
Get Rid of Some Bowls
This is the easiest and most obvious fix. It is highly likely that fans can expect to see the same problem next year. Simple math tells us that with 40 bowls, you will need 80 teams. There are only 128 teams playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). These teams play 12 games a year. Most of the teams, have a minimum of nine conference games. With only three nonconference games against possible opponents from a lessor subdivision, it is almost mathematically impossible for 80 teams to win half of their games.
With the College Football Playoff Committee adding in strength of schedule to the criteria for making it into the playoff, this problem is only going to be magnified. Teams from conferences like the Big 10, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and PAC 12 are all going to have to play one another more often to push the strength of schedule up. This will give them one more opportunity to lose.
Scrap the Bowl System
Traditionalists will not like reading this, but the bowl system is antiquated. There is no reason to have it, and this year is the best example. The addition of the College Football Playoff is the reason we have three teams this year with below.500 records. No one can argue that point.
Every major college sport, and the rest of the NCAA football divisions have a playoff to determine the National Champion. FBS should be no different. Most of the stadiums are only half-full for bowl games. Do you really think Nebraska fans are going to travel to watch their pitiful football team play a meaningless bowl?
The NCAA is putting together a task force to try to prevent what has occurred this year from happening. However, with 40 bowls, they will not be able to fix it. Inquisitr spoke with Johnny Baggs of the Johnny on the Line Podcast, and he really only sees one fix for all of this.
“Everyone wanted a playoff, and we kind of got that. However, it was never going to work with just four teams. There are five major conferences, and someone is the odd conference out every year. Last year it was the Big 12. This year it was the PAC 12.
“Their (NCAA) best bet is to go to an eight team playoff. Give automatic bids to the big conferences. That leaves three at-large bids for possibly a Notre Dame, mid-major, or another team like Ohio State, this year.
“You play the first round game when we traditionally see games like the New Orleans Bowl. Two weeks later play the semifinal. Two weeks after that, play the championship. It’s that easy.”
While this sounds like a natural fit, we would love to hear what the readers have to say about Baggs’ plan. Does it make sense? Is it something that the NCAA should look at? If not, how would you fix the broken system while keeping the College Football Playoff?
[Photo by College Football Playoff]