Super 6 Playoff

Super 6 League. Six-team playoff. No brainer.

While most playoff proponents aim for a multiple of 4 (with 4 being too few and 16 too many), there’s really no reason to lock yourself into that paradigm. Six could work itself out very nicely.

The regular season would still have a high premium on it with a more concise playoff (smaller than 8 or 16), and each conference wants to maintain its own value for TV deals. That’s still where the power of the Super 6 comes–each conference’s lucrative TV deal. Another advantage for the Super 6 is that the conference championship game almost becomes a pre-first round playoff game in and of itself, which means more TV dollars for that highly important game. Conference championship games will certainly occur where no winning team has a chance of breaking into the top 10 with a victory, but those will be a minority.

Two teams would receive first round byes (the two highest ranked Super 6 conference champions or Notre Dame/BYU if they are top 2). Some sort of poll would need to be maintained still (in place of the BCS poll) to determine this. By rewarding the top 2 teams, you still place the highest regard on regular season results and even “remind” fans of the good old BCS system which carried college football for nearly two decades. Then, you’d have four teams play a first round game two weeks after conference championship game weekend. Any top 10-ranked Super 6 champion makes the playoff. Any non-championship team (including Notre Dame and BYU) that ends up in the top 4 also automatically makes the playoff, thus trumping the lowest ranked Super 6 champion. No conference can have 3 teams in the playoffs. Once the four teams are determined, they are seeded 3 through 6 according to their place in the fianl poll. #6 travels to #3 and #5 travels to #4. (Unless those two teams are from the same conference. In that case, #5 at #3 and #6 at #4.)

The games are played two weeks after the final Saturday of the regular season to allow teams time for preparation, travel (road teams), and final exams. Plus, college football will be CENTER stage for those two weeks with the TV networks. Rather than a long lull (with just awards ceremonies and lesser bowls to fill in the gaps), college football will be revving up towards the Super 6 playoff.

This format not only prevents travel fatigue for fan bases (away teams won’t have many tickets anyway) but it also captures the one of college football greatest assets–home stadium charisma. The stadiums will fill up easily for the games, plus fan bases will still be eager to travel for their bowl holidays, a tradition worth keeping in college football (especially for us Northerners). The 16 bowl games continue on as normal. Some match-ups can be announced before the first round’s results; some will need to wait.

The two mid-December, first round winners are then pitted against #1 and #2 in the Super 6 College Football Semifinal (the NCAA has “Final Four” licensed but the Super 6 Semis has a nice ring to it). Number 1 will always take on number 4 and 2 takes on 3 unless either pairing pits conference foes (then it goes 1 vs. 3, 2 vs. 4). The matchups will rotate through the bowls of the highest seed. If the SEC has #1 or #2 in the playoffs every year, then the Sugar Bowl will be a Super 6 Semi host site every year. Only the Rose Bowl really has the scales tipped in its favor (with two locked-in conference alliances), but the Super 6 knows the value of that bowl. No one denies the drawing power of TV audiences to that site. The semifinals are played on January 4th or before so that the Super 6 Championship game can occur on the third Monday in January. The championship game will rotate among the current four BCS bowls, giving each of them a second major game every four years. Click here for scenarios borne from previous season’s results.

10 Responses to Super 6 Playoff

  1. Brian says:

    Why would the schools agree to this? None of the conferences would agree to a system where ND or BYU could bump them out. You would have to have automatic bids for all conference champs, which thus means you need at large bids for independent teams or get rid of independence.

    • This is where the conferences would abandon a tiny bit of individual clout. Yes, it’s a price to pay. I admit that. But what is the reward? A more lucrative commodity for them to negotiate with TV moguls. If you keep unranked UConn out of the playoff and #23 Florida State in 2005, you make the playoff better. Heck, you’re even leaving #9 GaTech and #10 Oklahoma out. But again, how else can the conferences KEEP the premium on the regular season if they allow any lucky team in a weak division to squeak through its CCG and make the playoffs? You have to be good…real good…all season long…AND then win the CCG to boot! I think it’s feasible.

      And as for the ND/BYU bias, again, the conferences have the power still to spin the polls in their favor. If they can convince enough pollsters to keep an unworthy ND team out of the top 4, they’ll do it. But if ND/BYU are legit, then the Super 6 will WANT them in there to make the game better, even if it costs the Big Ten an eighth ranked team or the PAC-12 a #7 champion.

  2. Brian says:

    6 teams makes little sense to me. Why do the top 2 deserve a bye every year? Is #3 really much worse? Is your rating system that accurate?

    • What is the favorite past time of fans from Corvallis to Jacksonville? Arguing about the BCS. Little unfairnesses (not big ones like being DENIED a shot at a national title, like we currently have) are fine. The #3 team still has a shot…they get a (supposedly) weaker team to come to their home field and play in front of their insane fans on one of the biggest national stages of the year. Plus, as I wrote above, you REWARD the regular season as much as possible still. The conferences want to make sure that the regular season has every built-in attractiveness it can possibly get.

  3. Brian says:

    Why delay conference foes meeting in a playoff? I think the NCAA has this wrong, too. The first thing that should happen is conferences being reduced to 1 team by playing each other. This also will make sure that ticket sales are not a problem as both teams are regional.

    • Because, theoretically, we already know which conference foe is better. Take the best, most recent example. OSU/UM in 2006. #1 and #2 most of the season. Meet in last game of year. OSU barely wins at home. Now, why would you want to rematch OSU and UM right away? Why not, if you have a 6 team or even 4 team playoff, let UM earn their way back to the rematch? Plus, you risk having a regional TV audience with an intraconference playoff match. What if Oregon/Stanford played last year? You’d get much better ratings for Stanford/Wisconsin or Oregon/Oklahoma.

  4. joe4psu says:

    One nit I have to pick is the extra week layoff for the top two seeds. I think that the two week layoff to allow for finals and preparations is a good idea but how long a layoff does it take for a team to get stale? At what point does a team that has a game under its belt the previous week actually have the advantage?

    If six is going to be the number, I’d go with all six playing week one. Then give the top seed coming out of that a week off before playing the winner of two and three. Heck, I wouldn’t mind having eight teams, all conference winners and two at large bids, playing week one. Even if a team like UConn sneaks in they’ll be playing an away game at a higher ranked teams site and if the higher seed loses that’s on them. I think there is something to be said for making conference races count for something. Otherwise, why bother having a CCG for conferences that aren’t going to qualify for the playoff anyway? Imagine the excitement that would create. Heck even the end of season games would become meaningless in that situation.

  5. It’s one thing to ask a college bball program to travel with 4 days notice (as they do at tourney time)…I believe it’s harder to get a football team to travel with 5 days notice. Plus, the hype is a good thing. They talk about the darn BCS champ game now for 5 weeks straight (too much), so having 2 weeks to talk two playoff games isn’t too much by any means.

    The CCG’s mean very little now. How can you lament their lack of meaning in my system? At least in my system, the game COULD mean something more. I maintain the “auto-bid” to the great bowl…but add in there the possibility of cracking the top 10.

    Example: VaTech in 2005 was 10-1 and ranked #5. They went into the ACC champ with a chance (in my system) at an auto-bid. But, they lost to 7-4 FSU, and then had to rely on chance/fate/good ranking. The game would have had high interest/stakes…and nobody wanted ACC champ FSU to even be in a BCS bowl but they were. In my system, VaTech (and the ACC) blew their chance at a playoff spot.

    I should do a “study” of how many of the CCG’s over the past 10 years COULD HAVE actually produced a top 10 conf. champ.

  6. I don’t think that you START the playoff and then rely on seedings. Use the seedings/polls. The fans don’t want uncertainty and chance AFTER the playoff is already underway.

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