(Editors note: the Van Gundy is happy to welcome Charles Barnard to our staff. If his first article is any indication of things to come, Bill Simmons may have competition for the position of Sports Czar.)
When it comes to sports, I have two real loves in my life, soccer and college football. With the college football season starting up, I was pondering how my team Utah would do playing in the PAC-12 this year against the “big boys.” It was kind of like a European soccer team being promoted to a higher league. Then the thought hit me how great the relegation/promotion system would work in college football. And I realized this really would be the best way to fix the BCS.
Now I am a realist. I know that what I am about to propose will never come to pass. There are too many people that have power and money that they don’t want to give up. But if everyone could put this aside, it would make the college football season even better than it is now.
Before I get into my idea, I need to explain what relegation and promotion is in soccer for those who don’t know. At the end of most European soccer seasons, the bottom three teams of the league are relegated and the top three teams from the lower division are promoted. It is like sending the worst three baseball teams to Triple A and bringing up the best three Triple A teams to the Big Leagues.
So how would I implement relegation/promotion to college football? Here is how I see my plan working. First, you form the four 16 team super conferences that everyone is talking about. These super conferences would be formed by region (West/Midwest/South/East). You would then form four more conferences based on the same geographic regions making up the rest of the teams in Division 1 football.
The end of the season would work out this way. Each super conference would have a conference championship game. The winner of that game would then proceed to a four team playoff against the winners of the other super conference’s to crown a true national champion.
Now here is where it gets fun. Based on conference records, the worst four teams of each super conference would then play one game against each other (1 vs.4 & 2 vs.3) with the loser of each game getting relegated to the lower league. To go along with this, you will also have playoffs in those lower leagues to see which teams would then be promoted to the super conferences of their region. In this scenario, you would have eight teams relegated each year with eight more taking their place.
These changes would correct a lot of the problems that people complain about in regards to the BCS. This eliminates any teams complaining about a lack to access to the BCS. If they are in the lower league, they have a route to get to the super conferences. This also deals with those football “powerhouses” like Duke, Baylor, and Indiana that, even though they have very poor football teams, still get to cash a BCS check every year. They will have to step it up or lose their spot to someone else.
This will create incredibly competitive games for those teams that are at the bottom of the standings fighting for their super conference lives. Can you imagine the pressure of last game of the year between two teams towards the bottom of the league? Especially if a win means that they avoid the relegation playoff game? The drama of that would almost be more intense than that of teams playing at the top of the league. Or how about watching a playoff game between teams with the winner being promoted? That would be much more interesting to me than a run of the mill bowl game with nothing on the line.
Like I said above, I know that my scenario will never come to pass. But how much more fun would college football be if it actually did happen?
Charles Barnard is an avid football fan. His favorite teams are the Utah Utes, Real Salt Lake, and Tottenham Hotspur.