I heard Nick Brunker at 1530 HOMER discuss this the other afternoon and thought a few folks might be interested in discussing whether this would work.
Woelk: Time for new college grid 'super league'
By Neill Woelk
Saturday, July 11, 2009
BOULDER, Colo. — In the world of college football, there are a few certainties:
The majority of fans and media want a playoff.
The majority of university presidents and coaches don't.
And, the current system as administered by the BCS will ensure that no serious playoff is in the future at least until the television contract expires (2014).
But that does not mean there will not be a meaningful college football playoff sometime down the line -- and the prediction here is that it will not involve the NCAA or BCS.
For years, there has been backroom chatter across the nation about the possible formation of a "super division" for college football. It would involve roughly 60-70 of the nation's top programs, and it would require those schools to abandon affiliation with the NCAA in terms of their football programs.
At first glance, this seems ludicrous. There's no way the NCAA would ever allow a group of schools to start their own college football league and still maintain NCAA affiliation in other sports, right?
Wrong. The NCAA would have no choice in the matter but to allow college football powerhouses to secede and still maintain their NCAA designation for other sports.
The reason? NCAA basketball.
Almost 90 percent of the current NCAA budget -- more than $590 million -- comes from television and marketing rights fees. A healthy part of that number comes from the NCAA Tournament television contract with CBS, an 11-year deal worth about $6 billion.
But the contract can be voided by CBS if a certain percentage of teams becomeineligible for the tournament. That number would certainly be reached if the NCAA decided to give the boot to 60-some schools who decided to form their own football league.
And, you can imagine the headache of trying to sell rights to a basketball tournament that did not include the vast majority of current BCS schools. It couldn't be done.
Thus, the NCAA would have to grit its teeth and allow a separate college football league to be formed. It would have no other choice. (Of course, if the NCAA did decide to stick to its guns, the new college football league could simply form a basketball league also and go from there).
The possibilities of a new college football league are endless.
For starters, it would eliminate needless NCAA meddling. It would allow -- in fact, it would encourage -- a playoff to determine a tournament-style national champion. It would permit member schools to rewrite recruiting rules, tossing out those that are silly or impossible to enforce, and put true teeth in those that are necessary.
And it would guarantee that every week would produce top-flight games. No more weekends of Akron at Penn State, Nevada at Notre Dame and Florida Atlantic at Nebraska.
Simply, no games outside the league -- and every game counts.
Our preliminary plan:
The new league would consist of eight conferences of eight teams each for a total of 64 teams. There are currently 65 schools in BCS conferences plus Notre Dame. We'd keep the majority of those, but toss out a few and add some from the other leagues.
Schools we'd toss: Duke, Iowa State, Kansas State, Cincinnati, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Connecticut and Washington State.
Schools we'd add: Utah, TCU, BYU, Boise State, East Carolina and Tulsa, giving us 64.
Each team would play seven conference games and four non-conference games. The scheduling process would be a formula similar to the NFL's scheduling matrix, and would rotate annually. No guesswork involved.
Eight conference champs and eight runners-up advance to a 16-team playoff. Four weeks -- and more hype than you can imagine -- later you have a national champion.
The two teams in the championship game would play 15 games, just one more game than many of the champs have played in past years.
Non-playoff teams, meanwhile, would be free to hook up with the bowl games that still exist.
All that's left is to sort out is how the conferences in the National College Football League would look (feel free to tweak to your heart's content):
East -- Boston College, Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, East Carolina, Syracuse, Florida State, South Carolina.
Atlantic -- Clemson, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Virginia, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Rutgers, South Florida.
Southeast -- Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Auburn, Mississippi State, Miami (Fla.).
Midwest -- Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Louisville.
Central -- LSU, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Kansas, Purdue, Indiana, Tulsa.
Southwest -- Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Arkansas, TCU.
Mountain -- Colorado, Utah, Boise State, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska.
West -- USC, Oregon, Oregon State, California, UCLA, Washington, BYU, Notre Dame.
Impossible? It's may not be something I'd bet on happening -- but stranger things have occurred in the annals of college football.