College football does have a playoff
Since it’s the season for wishing, here is my list.
1) Santa Claus will bring a Toyota Tacoma down my chimney on Christmas.
2) My New Year’s resolutions will all come true, especially the one about buying a second home in Costa Rica.
3) College football decides its national champion with, imagine this, a playoff system.
Let’s explore my third wish more deeply.
It’s an eight-team tournament, large enough to decide a true national champion but small enough that a healthy amount of controversy will surround the selections. The six major conference champions and two at-large teams qualify, but the top four seeds must be conference champions.
Similar to the basketball tournament, a selection committee will pick the two at-large teams and seed teams accordingly. Best of all, the school and conference presidents get what they want because the bowl system remains intact, meaning all the fans who wouldn’t watch the 30 other meaningless bowls will continue not to watch them.
The six bowls for the quarterfinal and semifinals rounds will be the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. Like the current system, the national championship will be played in a warm location, but the difference is the championship won’t be mythical but real.
The six bowls will rotate each year so every bowl has a chance to host quarterfinal and semifinal games. So without further delay, here are the matchups for the 2007 NCAA Football Tournament. It has a nice ring to it, huh?
Fiesta Bowl, Friday, Dec. 14 – No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Missouri: The Buckeyes backed their way into the top seed by watching other teams lose, but they won’t back their way into the semifinals as Tigers’ quarterback Chase Daniel keeps Ohio State winless against ranked teams. Missouri 27, Ohio State 17
Holiday Bowl, Friday, Dec. 14 – No. 4. Southern Cal vs. No. 5 Georgia: No two teams are hotter than these two, but the Trojans get the slight edge because, for the first time since September, they are healthy and thus more talented than just about every other team. USC 31, Georgia 28
Orange Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 15 – No. 3 Louisiana State vs. No. 6 Virginia Tech: The Tigers are the nation’s most puzzling team, all that talent and all those close games. But they won’t lose to a team they beat 44-3 earlier this season. LSU 34, Virginia Tech 14.
Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 15 – No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 West Virginia: The Sooners are the most balanced team in the tournament, which proves to be too much for a team that lost at home to Pittsburgh in its last game of the season.
Rose Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 22 – No. 4 Southern Cal vs. No. 8 Missouri: Chase Daniel is good, but a healthy John David Booty is just as good. USC 24, Missouri 14.
Sugar Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 22 – No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Louisiana State: Like all cats, the Tigers have nine lives, and they will need almost all of them to get past the Sooners. LSU 41, Oklahoma 38, OT.
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., Saturday, Jan. 4 – No. 3 Louisiana State vs. No. 4 Southern Cal: The matchup everybody wanted to see before the season started. LSU is the only team that can match USC talent-wise, and the Tigers win the battle between the nation’s two best conferences. LSU 35, USC 31.
– Jeremy Evans is a sportswriter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He can be reached at (530) 542-8008.