Ok, I've said this before, but I'll say it again: It's clear that a lot of us all have different ideas on what we think is the best way to fix CFB's lack of playoffs. I for one am a proponent of 8. But this isn't about my idea for 8. I think part of what has hurt CFB's chances outside of ESPN and B1G Commish's is not having a unified voice. Now that 'fan support voice' probably makes up a small fraction of decision making, probably somewhere like 47%-47%-6%. But I still think it matters. I think we are starting to see some real traction for the plus one model, and I think it's time us as CFB fans to unify and embrace it. Stanford's AD thinks it's inevitable. I think the more people talking about a plus one model, the better off we are of changing some opinions further up the line. But more importantly I think the plus one model will soon thereafter show its flaws and the ripple affect will be in full swing ultimately leading us to an 8-team model (and perhaps more teams on down the road). Follow the jump as I roll out how I think the plus one might work.I will begin this exercise with a few assumptions. First off is that the BCS still exists as it does today. The idea is that this particular +1 model will exist for the next two seasons as the BCS tries tdeem itself as an entity in order that it might survive past its contract when it comes time for renegotiating. Second, I will use this seasons' 2011 final BCS rankings as a basis for my outline. And lastly, assume current Bowl arrangements see no changes. We will use five bowls and four sites with the same dates.
Final BCS Standings for 2011: 1. LSU, 2. Alabama, 3. Oklahoma State, 4. Stanford
All 35 bowls remain in tact (though if it was up to me I'd toss out at least 6 of 'em), but are not allowed to start until 15 days after championship week (which was actually the case this year Dec. 18th was the first). The reason being the opening round of the plus 1 would start 2 weeks following championship week, post finals week on a Saturday. The opening round would serve as a kick off and finishing to the CFB post season. This keeps huge resting periods between Dec. 3rd and January 9th, yet allows rest/time off to heal and stay sharp at the same time.
To use this year, the first round would have been December 17th, pairing #1 LSU vs #4 Stanford, and #2 Alabama vs #3 Oklahoma State. #1 gets the prime time spot. Games will be played on campus, however by rule ticket allotment has to be distributed 75%-25% of stadium capacity of the host site between the #1 and #4 seed and has to 60%-40% stadium capacity of the host site between #2 and #3. In these scenarios, if sold LSU can only have 69,000 Tiger fans in their 92,000 seat stadium. If ticket allotment is not entirely sold from the traveling team, they will be returned to the host team (and likely gobbled up).
In most years, home teams would be picked truly on seeding. However like this year a preference shall be given to the teams who won their conference first and then to seating(I find it hard to believe, except if it's 2003 that #1 would not have won its conference title game, though if they choke like those Sooners they deserve it). So in this case Oklahoma State by winning its conference and Alabama not would be selected as the #2 host team. This places a premium on winning your conference. If you don't like the "tough road" you created for yourself, then win your conference. So T. Boone Pickens stadium could only be 36,000 Orange fans, while Bama fans are allowed to sell 24,000 tickets.
So what about the other BCS bowls? Ok, there are still 5 bowls to fill 4 sites.
In our 2011 scenario, due to conference tie ins, the Big 12 and SEC bowls would have to remain on hold for picking. In this case the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowls, but could fill one spot each with an At-large bid. For the sake of argument, let's just say the 2011 Sugar Bowl has selected Michigan or KSU as its one at-large team and the Fiesta Boise State. The Fiesta Bowl would have had to pick 2 at-larges this year. K-State vs Boise State. The National Championship Game site shall rotate as it does now. The other 2 Bowls end up filling out as they are now with the ACC, B1G, PAC-12, Big East champions, and the Orange and Rose look identical to the way they were.
I could spend a ton of time hashing out every scenario on the winners/losers scenarios, but let's just say we get the NCG we all wanted this year: OSU vs LSU. Ghost of Miles Past and Ghost of Miles Present. The losers of the opening rounds would be 'Bama and Stanford.
Bowl tie-ins would remain the first preference in placing. Proximity would be the next preference. In our 2011 scenario, obviously the Consolation Sugar Bowl ends up being Alabama vs. KSU/Michigan and the Fiesta Bowl ends up being Boise State vs Stanford. (KSU not an at-large for Fiesta this year as a possibility of KSU vs OSU was avoided). All BCS bowls would have to operate on flexible schedules depending on conference affiliations in a given year. The eligible consolation bowls (this year the Sugar and Fiesta) would then take the two later available dates (Jan. 3rd and 4th) while those not eligible for the consolation bowls (Rose and Orange) would be on New Year's day (or Jan. 2nd as was the case this year). Though requiring Bowl planning committees to have 2 different plans would be inconvenient these people need to have something difficult in their lives for once. Tentative schedules could be finalized anyway the week following championship week...meaning by Dec. 4th of 2011, all the bowls could unreserve ballrooms for 3 days on the front end or tail end of their 10 or 14 day window or whatever and proceed following their option A or B.
Whichever host site is selected for the NCG, they too will host the Consolation game 1 week prior to the NCG. Stanford and Alabama would have played on January 2nd.
The NCG continues to be a rotating site, but this year would conflict with not having a week between games with the Consolation Sugar bowl and NCG. Possible solutions to this would either be to allow it to be a week after the Consolation game (if it shook out that way, perhaps it wouldn't always as it would this year) or bite the bullet and rotate it between JerryWorld and Lucas Oil Field as they seem to be pretty centrally located for the entire nation.
It's a little messy, but I could get behind it. I think it causes a little suspense for the other two teams selected in the consolation bowls. Yea they wouldn't necessarily know who's tape to review, but that levels the playing field to those who lost in playoff games. Anyway, I think this would have great entertainment value for certain. It'd be interesting to go back and apply this system to each of the past 3 or 4 seasons to see what other rules might have to be in place. Also I'd have to think about what if all #1-#4 were conference champions. How would you put what bowl on hold? This would lessen the value of conf tie-ins but I don't know if that's a bad thing or not. It'd help move more towards a playoff. I'd like to think of who OU would have to travel on the road and play in 2003 as the losers of their conf championship game and only have 25% of the fans at someone else's stadium.