Fixing the BCS: Four-Team Playoff

If you must have a playoff, here’s how to do it. Proposal #3 is a four-team playoff using the current BCS bowls as the semi-final sites with an additional game played for the national championship.

Proposal #3: Four-Team Playoff

  • Conference Champions will continue to play in traditional BCS tie-in games.
  • Teams ranked #1 and #2 will always automatically qualify for the playoff.
  • Conference champions ranked in the top six will automatically qualify for the playoff. If there are more than two conference champions ranked #3-#6, the two highest-ranked champs will qualify for the playoff.
  • Lower-tier conference champs must be ranked in the top 14 and upper-tier conference champs must be ranked in the top 16 to play in a BCS game.
  • The two BCS games with the highest-ranked conference champions will select from remaining teams ranked #3-#6. The highest-ranked conference champion will play the lowest-ranked additional selection and the lower-ranked conference champion will play the higher-ranked additional selection.
  • In the event that an independent or a team from a lower-tier conference is selected for a semi-final game, the bowl at the top of the BCS selection rotation will host the semi-final game.
  • The other BCS games will be selected following the procedures from proposal #1.

For example, this year, #1 and #2 are both conference champions. Therefore, the first semi-final location would be the Orange Bowl with Florida State and the other semi-final would be the Sugar Bowl with Auburn. The two BCS games that have the highest-ranked conference champs will be the semi-final sites. This will preserve some of the tradition of these games. The other two teams will be selected from the teams ranked #3-#6 with the higher-ranked team playing the lower-ranked champ and vice-versa. This year, that would mean that #4 Michigan State (Big Ten champ) and #5 Stanford (Pac-12 champ) would be the remaining teams in the playoff. Michigan State would go to the Sugar Bowl to play Auburn and Stanford to the Orange Bowl to play Florida State.

Here are all of this year’s BCS games based on this proposal.

Semi-Final #1: Orange Bowl #1 Florida St* #5 Stanford*
Semi-Final #2: Sugar Bowl #2 Auburn* #4 Michigan St*
The Rose Bowl Game #7 Ohio St** #10 Oregon**
Fiesta #6 Baylor* #3 Alabama***

*Conference Champion
**Conference Champion Replacement
***”At-Large” Selection

And what past seasons would have looked like:

2012

Semi-Final #1: Fiesta #1 Notre Dame #6 Stanford*
Semi-Final #2: Sugar #2 Alabama* #5 Kansas St*
The Rose Bowl Game #4 Oregon** #16 Nebraska**
Orange #12 Florida St* #3 Florida***

*Conference Champion
**Conference Champion Replacement
***”At-Large” Selection

2011

Semi-Final #1: Sugar #1 LSU* #5 Oregon*
Semi-Final #2: Fiesta #3 Oklahoma St* #2 Alabama
The Rose Bowl Game #4 Stanford** #10 Wisconsin*
Orange #15 Clemson* #6 Arkansas***

*Conference Champion
**Conference Champion Replacement
***”At-Large” Selection

2010

Semi-Final #1: Sugar #1 Auburn* #3 TCU*
Semi-Final #2: The Rose Bowl Game #2 Oregon* #5 Wisconsin*
Orange #13 Virginia Tech* #4 Stanford***
Fiesta #7 Oklahoma* #10 Boise St*

*Conference Champion
**Conference Champion Replacement
***”At-Large” Selection

2009

Semi-Final #1: Sugar #1 Alabama* #4 TCU*
Semi-Final #2: Fiesta #2 Texas* #3 Cincinnati*
The Rose Bowl Game #7 Oregon* #8 Ohio St*
Orange #9 Georgia Tech* #6 Boise St*

*Conference Champion
**Conference Champion Replacement
***”At-Large” Selection

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