Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

I'm working on the season breakdown for the Fightin' Irish, but I wanted some distance from the disappointing season before I finish it, to try to make sure my analysis is not tainted by my personal disappointment in our final record.

Lucky for me, it's bowl season, which means the same thing it means every year: BCS controversy. So, I'm setting up my annual playoff bracket which I do every year. It's all broken down below, but the most important aspects are the inclusion of at least 2 non-BCS teams, so that the Hawaiis of the world get their shot at the MNC.

Here is how my system would play out for this season, with my picks (or actual winners) in bold:

Week 1: Championship Week
- require all major BCS conferences to have a championship game
- this is the first round of the playoffs

ACC Championship game: Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

Big East Championship game: West Virginia vs. Connecticut

Big Ten Championship game: Ohio State vs. Illinois

Big 12 Championship game: Oklahoma vs. Missouri

Pac-10 Championship game: Southern Cal vs. Arizona State

SEC Championship Game: LSU vs. Tennessee

Independence Bowl: Independent/BCS at-large Hawaii vs. Non-BCS Boise State

Capital One Bowl: BCS at-large Kansas vs. Non-BCS Brigham Young

Second Round
- played over Christmas

Cotton Bowl: SEC Champion vs. Big 12 Champion
LSU vs. Oklahoma

Gator Bowl: Independence Bowl Champion vs. Big Ten Champion
Hawaii vs. Ohio State

Fiesta Bowl: ACC Champion vs. Capital One Bowl Champion
Virginia Tech vs. Kansas

Orange Bowl: Big East Champion vs. Pac-10 Champion
West Virginia vs. Southern Cal

Third Round
- played over New Year's

Rose Bowl: Gator Bowl Champion vs. Orange Bowl Champion
Hawaii vs. Southern Cal

Sugar Bowl: Cotton Bowl Champion vs. Fiesta Bowl Champion
LSU vs. Kansas

Championship game (played the week after New Year's):

Rose Bowl Champion vs. Sugar Bowl Champion
LSU vs. Hawaii

This system allows the remaining bowl games to remain in place, comprising the teams that are bowl eligible that did not get into the playoffs. Under this system, the only people who currently play in bowls but will not are the losers of the Conference championship games, and a couple of the fringe teams that don't really deserve bowls for a .500 season.

The games are all played during traditional bowl times, except some New Year's bowls are being moved to Christmas. The other bowls could be used to fill up the season between Championship week and the second round.

There are no complaints from non-BCS schools, as they get two slots (from five conferences). There may be some complaints about who gets the at-large BCS slots, but they can't complain too much, because they didn't win their conference.

It maintains traditional bowl matchups in most seasons (SEC-Big 12 Cotton; Big 10-Pac-10 Rose, etc.).

And, most importantly, it gets decided on the field.

Now we just need to make it happen.