Making College Football Better With The Help Of European Football

Yeah Duke, Go Away

(Editors note: the Van Gundy is happy to welcome Charles Barnard to our staff. If his first article is any indication of things to come, Bill Simmons may have competition for the position of Sports Czar.)

When it comes to sports, I have two real loves in my life, soccer and college football. With the college football season starting up, I was pondering how my team Utah would do playing in the PAC-12 this year against the “big boys.” It was kind of like a European soccer team being promoted to a higher league. Then the thought hit me how great the relegation/promotion system would work in college football. And I realized this really would be the best way to fix the BCS.

Now I am a realist. I know that what I am about to propose will never come to pass. There are too many people that have power and money that they don’t want to give up. But if everyone could put this aside, it would make the college football season even better than it is now.

Before I get into my idea, I need to explain what relegation and promotion is in soccer for those who don’t know. At the end of most European soccer seasons, the bottom three teams of the league are relegated and the top three teams from the lower division are promoted. It is like sending the worst three baseball teams to Triple A and bringing up the best three Triple A teams to the Big Leagues.

So how would I implement relegation/promotion to college football? Here is how I see my plan working. First, you form the four 16 team super conferences that everyone is talking about. These super conferences would be formed by region (West/Midwest/South/East). You would then form four more conferences based on the same geographic regions making up the rest of the teams in Division 1 football.

The end of the season would work out this way. Each super conference would have a conference championship game. The winner of that game would then proceed to a four team playoff against the winners of the other super conference’s to crown a true national champion.

Now here is where it gets fun. Based on conference records, the worst four teams of each super conference would then play one game against each other (1 vs.4 & 2 vs.3) with the loser of each game getting relegated to the lower league. To go along with this, you will also have playoffs in those lower leagues to see which teams would then be promoted to the super conferences of their region. In this scenario, you would have eight teams relegated each year with eight more taking their place.

These changes would correct a lot of the problems that people complain about in regards to the BCS. This eliminates any teams complaining about a lack to access to the BCS. If they are in the lower league, they have a route to get to the super conferences. This also deals with those football “powerhouses” like Duke, Baylor, and Indiana that, even though they have very poor football teams, still get to cash a BCS check every year. They will have to step it up or lose their spot to someone else.

This will create incredibly competitive games for those teams that are at the bottom of the standings fighting for their super conference lives. Can you imagine the pressure of last game of the year between two teams towards the bottom of the league? Especially if a win means that they avoid the relegation playoff game? The drama of that would almost be more intense than that of teams playing at the top of the league. Or how about watching a playoff game between teams with the winner being promoted? That would be much more interesting to me than a run of the mill bowl game with nothing on the line.

Like I said above, I know that my scenario will never come to pass. But how much more fun would college football be if it actually did happen?


Charles Barnard is an avid football fan. His favorite teams are the Utah Utes, Real Salt Lake, and Tottenham Hotspur.

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9 Responses to Making College Football Better With The Help Of European Football

  1. too good to be implemented, simple too good

  2. Lynn Pope says:

    If I remember right that is how high school football in hawaii works.

  3. John Moore says:

    Yeah, I’ve thought about relegation/promotion too, and think it is a good idea. Mixing it with the crackpot idea of super-conferences is your plan’s weakness. And yes, it is unrealistic. But here is a realistic relegation/promotion option:

    The MWC and the WAC should form a loose affiliation, sort of like a non-aggression pact. No more poaching teams. Instead, use promotion/relegation. (Conference USA and perhaps the Sun Belt could do the same.) The BCS evaluates conferences for automatic qualifying status every 4 years, I believe, and evaluates them based on the teams presently in the conference, regardless of how long the teams have been in the conference. So the last season before evaluation, promote and relegate either: (a) the bottom/top 2 teams; or, (b) as many teams as necessary to maximize the top conference’s chances at getting a BCS bid. For fairness sake, and as a way to compensate the lower conference, require each team to schedule a four game home and home with two assigned opponents, thus creating one home game and one away game per season with the affiliated conference. Also, guarantee to repeat the process every 4 years for a number of cycles, regardless of whether automatic qualifying status is gained. That way, status is more likely to be retained, and the teams on the outside looking in know that they have a performance-based path to AQ status.

    Something like that.

  4. ceejay says:

    I thought you were going to combine NCAAF and NFL Europe somehow. Nice trick. I’m relegate.

  5. Never happen. Scheduling would be a nightmare. Regions in the USA are too big. It works in EPL because you can drive from Wales to Sussex in 5 hours. All the teams are next to each other and its not hard to have rivalries because of close proximity.

    Keep thinking though. I like the idea, just not the implementation.

  6. I agree that scheduling would be hard. But I don’t think the distance thing is that big of deal. I mean starting next year TCU is going to be in the Big East. There are rumblings that Missouri might go to the SEC or PAC. The distance factor doesn’t seem to be an issue now and it would be less of an issue in my system since every team would stay in their region. You could also still have out of conference games to keep with rivalries, even if your rival gets relegated.

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