I have heard two complaints about college football. The first complaint is that none of the games are interesting until the bowl season. For example last year: Florida State 52-Charleston Southern 8, or Texas A&M 67 – Prairie View A&M 0
The second complaint is that some teams never get the respect they need to have a chance to be the national champions. The most glaring in my mind was 2006 Boise State. They were 13-0 and beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, but were only ranked No. 5 in the AP poll. What more could they have done?
What is my solution? In European soccer, they have a tiered league system. England, for example, has a top league called the Premier League, then in descending order, a Championship League, League 1, League 2, and others. At the end of the season, the lowest teams in the standings in each league are relegated to the next league down. In the next league down, the highest teams are promoted to the higher league.
What I suggest that the NCAA adopt a tiered league system similar to European soccer. Reform football into 12 team leagues, promote the winners and relegate the losers. The Premier League first place wins the championship.
How will this address the complaints?
- Football fans will get the equivalent of six bowl games a week.
- The Boise States and the TCUs of the football world will be able to work their way to the top league.
When I have discussed my theory with other people they usually have three arguments. The first is the distance teams must travel to play other teams. I don’t see this as a problem. As I look at schedules, I see that teams already travel great distances to play their games, Notre Dame and Hawaii especially.
The next argument is the destruction of the conferences. That will be necessary if a tiered system is to be implemented. Conferences were established in the era before airline travel was possible. It was much easier for Michigan to play Hawaii in 2016 that it would have been for Michigan to play Hawaii in 1916. Michigan plays Indiana because they are a 1904 train ride away, not because they are a worthy opponent.
The final argument against a tiered league system is that teams from upper leagues would have an advantage in recruiting. My counter argument is that in reality, they already do. Parity in college football does not exist, and will be impossible unless the NCAA enforces a draft system like the NFL.
In conclusion, The English Premier League is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world, with teams battling for a title or to avoid relegation. I can see nothing but positive results if the NCAA adopts a tiered League system. I believe it will make College football even better that the NFL or MLB as the most popular sport in the country.
By Shawn Reynolds
Reach Shawn Reynolds at DulcimerShawn@mail.com