Mark Cuban is a creative guy and a few months ago he decided he wanted to bring a playoff to college football and get rid of the BCS. The answer that Mark Cuban is looking for is possibly coming from a place with a strong history in football, but not the type of football that you are all thinking of. A group of students from the University of Oxford was recently named the first prize winner in a competition at San Diego State's sixth international MBA case competition. Oxford beat out student's from Texas, Florida, Notre Dame and others.
The topic was simple: reform the BCS and determine a different way to award a college football champion.
It may somewhat peculiar that a group of MBA student's from a country that for the most part does not follow college football, but in reality they are the best fit since they are outsiders and do not have ties to the Rose or Sugar Bowl. Instead, these students have an open mind and realized how asinine how college football declares their champion through computer rankings, history and bowl games who are only in it for themselves.
The Oxford design that won was not fully released since they will be meeting with Mark Cuban later this year to go over their entire proposal, but here is the gist of the Oxford plan:
a 16-team playoff with the higher seeds hosting the games.
guaranteed payoffs to the six conferences that have automatic berths to BCS bowls, with the bribes, er, payouts exceeding current BCS awards.
the creation of a College Sports Network to air the playoffs, ideally on Cuban's HDNet. The reasoning: Selling TV rights makes you money. Having your own TV rights makes you a LOT of money.
This seems quite logical to pro-playoff fans and it would be reasonable to people who do not follow college football. Most playoffs in any sport take the teams with the best record to advance to the post season. This plan combines that with how the BCS works currently with the six BCS leagues gaining auto-bids. So, yes an unranked UConn team from the Big East would get into a playoff, but then most likely have a low ranking and be out after round one.
Having the higher seeds host home games make a lot of sense, because it would reward higher ranked teams and make sure the stadiums are full of fans and not half-empty because teams are traveling across the country which can make it hard for fans to get to.
The game changer in this proposal is for Mark Cuban to own the rights to the college football playoff. That would net Cuban the most amount of money if he can host the playoffs on HDNet.
Overall, their proposal is not much different from what I want for a playoff. Since their entire proposal is not mentioned, but it makes sense to assume that their proposal would include the top 16 teams -- however that may be decided -- since they mention that the current six BCS leagues will all earn an automatic bid to the playoffs. That gesture is a hollow gesture since only a handful of times in the BCS era a team from a BCS league has finished outside of the top 16.
Great ideas can come from anywhere in the world and even from people who are thousands of miles away from a college football stadium, but that does not mean they can not have great ideas. This competition proves that idea, and the more people to present different ideas for a college football post season is a good idea since BCS commissioner Bill Hancock has openly said that no one has presented him with a type of playoff proposal that makes sense.
(hat tip: Sam)