SI’s Stewart Mandel unveiled the third iteration of his “Mandel Plan” to improve college football’s postseason. Mandel believes a playoff impracticable and his intent is to improve the system within a BCS structure. His plan, boiled down, is as follows.
* Expand BCS to five bowls – Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton
* No AQ status. No two-team limit per conference. (Tradeoff: more equitable revenue sharing). Teams must be selected from the Top 16 in the BCS standings
* Two Bowls would host semi-finals seeded 1-4
* Final – Following weekend.
Mandel’s plan implements a plus-one, gets the consensus best ten teams into the marquee games and does not piss off any powerful bowl executives. Any system moving toward an equitable playoff is an improvement, though I believe this has a major flaw. It screws non-AQ teams. A small conference team would not reach the title game. It would struggle to even earn a BCS bid. Mandel has “no doubt” an undefeated Boise would be selected, but Boise is the exception to the rule.
Houston, undefeated, misses out on Mandel’s projections entirely, as would an undefeated New Mexico or East Carolina. Bowls don’t choose those teams on merit. There’s a reason the BCS implemented a rule to ensure one of them would be selected. Removing AQ status is not a nod toward equality. It creates a freer market for exploitation in a system the major conference cartel has rigged.
Unlike every level of football and every other sport, a significant percentage of FBS football teams enter the season with no opportunity to win the championship. Not no realistic chance to win, no opportunity. Their ceiling is pre-ordained. San Marino has a microscopic chance to win the World Cup. Their chance of even reaching the tournament is unfathomably small, but they receive an opportunity to play their way in as every other FIFA nation does They miss the World Cup because another team beat them. The odds are against the Orioles, but the Red Sox and Yankees still must beat them.
Houston is never granted an opportunity. Their fate is sealed before the season begins. They don’t play in a competition. They play in a popularity contest. They can win every game. They can win every game by 45. It matters not, because their conference is decidedly unpopular. They might not be able to beat Alabama or LSU, but they don’t even get a chance to prove that. Voters keep them down. “Computer” polls factor in strength of schedule, but not margin of victory. Houston can’t play for the tile. Mandel’s plan would rely on the beneficence of bowl executives for them to even receive a BCS bid.
Mandel wants to “ensure all worthy contenders” have a chance at the championship, but he’s defining “worthy” subjectively before the season. Not all teams are eligible to compete for a BCS title, which is why it is a “BCS” Championship rather than a “national” one.
[Photo via Getty]