Saturday, January 3, 2009

Time Machine: The 2007 Bowls under the ACCFR Plan

Following up on my bowl/playoff manifesto, I figured I should test it against the wackiest year we've ever seen in college football - 2007. For those who don't care to read over my plan, here's the gist:
1- We play five major bowls on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 (Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, Rose)
2- Each BCS conference has an auotbid for it's champ (Cotton- Big East, Fiesta- Big XII, Orange- ACC, Sugar- SEC, Rose- Pac 10 vs. Big 10)
3- That leaves 4 at large-spots, which are chosen based on the 4 highest ranked available teams in the final regular season BCS poll; the only rules are no rematches, no teams from the same conference in a bowl, and a champion of a non-BCS conference ranked #8 or higher must get selected.
4- The bowls (except Rose) rotate each year on the order of at-large placements
5- After the Five Bowls, run the BCS poll again; #1 and #2 then play the next Friday night (7 to 13 days after the bowls) in the BCS Championship Game.

No, my plan is not a playoff, but it still gives you a 1-vs-2 game and it makes the major bowls actually matter again.

As for 2007, these were the final regular season BCS rankings:

1- Ohio State (Big Ten champ)
2- LSU (SEC champ)
3- Virginia Tech (ACC champ)
4- Oklahoma (Big XII champ)
5- Georgia (at-large)
6- Missouri (at-large)
7- USC (Pac 10 champ)
8- Kansas (at-large)
9- West Virginia (Big East champ)
10- Hawaii (at-large)

This played out perfectly in terms of placing teams in the Five Bowls. We don't have a comparable order-of-selection to use since the BCS treated the title game like a bowl and they didn't have the Cotton included, so for the sake of this analysis, let's say the picking order in '07 would've been Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta. Given that, these would've been your 2007 BCS bowls:

COTTON- West Virginia (Big East champ) vs. Georgia (highest ranked at-large)
ORANGE- Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. Missouri (2nd-highest ranked at-large)
SUGAR- LSU (SEC champ) vs. Kansas (3rd-highest ranked at-large)
FIESTA- Oklahoma (Big XII champ) vs. Hawaii (4th-highest ranked at-large)
ROSE- Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. USC (Pac 10 champ)

That is a mighty fine collection o' bowl games, if I do say so myself. Based on how the actual bowls played out last year, two things are fairly certain: 1) We would not have seen Ohio State in my plus-one BCS title game, and 2) That West Virginia-Georgia game would have been a clinic. After these hypothetical bowls played out, the following week's BCS Championship Game likely would have pitted LSU-Oklahoma or LSU-Georgia...or maybe Georgia-USC...how about USC-Kansas? Any one of those would've been much better than the LSU-Ohio State clunker we actually had last year. And it's important to note that teams like Virginia Tech, Kansas, Mizzou, USC and Ohio State would have conceivably been playing for a spot in the following week's BCS title game as well; the hypothetical Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl each would've had a playoff atmosphere while still maintaining the bowl system and tradition.

In the actual BCS system last year, we got a Virginia Tech-Kansas Orange Bowl exhibition in which neither team had a shot at the title, we had a USC-Illinois Rose Bowl atrocity, Georgia drilled an overmatched Hawaii in the Sugar, and #6-in-the-BCS Missouri didn't even get into a BCS bowl.

My plan is better.

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