Here’s How To Fix College Football’s Broken Postseason System

Being a former resident of the Hoosier State, I should be excited about Notre Dame’s undefeated season — and I am.

But as far as the Irish’s national title hopes, I don’t see them ending well in Miami versus whichever SEC behemoth wins this silly conference title game Friday night in Atlanta.


Congrats on making the BCS National Championship Game Brian Kelly…but you’re likely to lose, and it won’t really mean much of anything anyway.

And that’s just another black eye for college football, coming off a 2011 season that most called awful on and off the field.

Another Meaningless BCS Title Game

Truth be told, could Notre Dame beat any of the top six SEC teams more than three times out of ten? Could they beat one-loss Kansas State or Oregon right now? Probably not, despite what the esteemed Jon Washburn pontificated earlier this month.

The Irish had nice wins over Oklahoma and a few others. But they got lucky against Stanford; they struggled mightily against overrated Michigan, bad BYU and Pittsburgh in South Bend; and they concluded last Saturday by hanging on against a terribly-coached USC team with a quarterback who had not taken a snap in two years.

And oh yeah, through no fault of Urban Meyer, nor most of the current Ohio State Buckeyes, the only other unscathed college football team in the land has already seen their season end — in November, not January.

Are we outraged, like the media often is at baseball, hoops or hockey? No, they mock the 12-0 squad and implore us to move on.

For the past two decades or more, schools move into national title games depending upon when (not necessarily to whom, where, or how) they suffered their lone defeat. Re-read that and digest. What other sport has such ridiculous storylines?

Collegiate Football is so messed up, yet we accept it, talk about it, and hype it up because…the media expects us to?


I live in lovely Lincoln, Nebraska. The capital city is rightly ecstatic about the Cornhuskers’ six-game win streak and a chance to win the Big 12…er…14…er…10 “title” against Wisconsin Saturday night in Circle City.

Why? What is the reward? Advancing deeper into the playoffs? Nope. A one-game Rose Bowl rematch — a full month later — at UCLA, or a game versus arguably the hottest team in America, Stanford, who will also see their season end no matter the outcome.


Rectifying this sport, and making it halfway as exciting as March is for hoops, is easy, however.

How To Fix The College Football Postseason

Beginning Saturday, 16 teams are seeded with home teams ranked one through eight. Therefore, excited fans will be attending from at least one side, unlike neutral bowls with half-empty stadia. (Please skip these meaningless conference title games, as they are beyond boring)

The eight winners go to the four major New Year’s Day bowls, so these overhyped, often-decent, but never-meaningful games actually mean something.

This is followed by two semifinal weeknight games eight or nine days later in places like Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis or St. Louis.

Finally, during the unnecessary in-between week of the Super Bowl, play the BCS championship game in Arlington, Texas.  (People will show up.  Sports recessions do not exist in post-World War II America.  College Basketball fans happily follow their teams to three cities in a three-week period during March Madness.)

In lieu of the current pell-mell system, this schedule would be enticing for someone like me, who’s lost all interest in college football the past 10-15 years.

NCAA greed notwithstanding, how hard can it be to make this happen?

Instead, Notre Dame  is currently “preparing” for a game in six weeks. That is lunacy, and in any sport other than media-loved football, it would not be accepted.

I refuse to acknowledge discussions of players attending class. Top football players at premiere schools are not on campus for academics. Period. Most are doing interviews — and probably other things much worse — the bulk of this week whilst “final exams” sit on the horizon.

As far as longer seasons potentially causing injury, so is the possibility of mishaps in September against Savannah State or during November mercenary wins by the SEC over FCS schools that couldn’t beat many community colleges.

Alas, there will always be opponents of morally sound decisions and progress:

Colonists opposed the American Revolution; peaceniks opposed dropping the atomic bomb (which saved millions of lives and brought true world peace); Luddites scoffed at the birth of television and the Internet.

When it comes to something simple like college football, today’s reactionaries ironically reside in so-called “progressive” places like the mainstream sports media, liberal academia and the NCAA offices. The zenith of hypocrisy? Indeed.

Face it: December is utterly boring for college football fans. A four-team playoff two years down the road is an insufficient appetizer of tofu or wheatgrass. Let’s eat steak for once.

About AJ Kaufman

A former schoolteacher and military historian, A.J. now works in public relations. As an MSF columnist since 2009, he supports anything baseball-related. Raised in San Diego, A.J. has since resided in numerous parts of America, including Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington State. After departing the coasts in 2005, he's traveled the back roads of all 50 states and prefers the Heartland. Married to Maria, A.J. is the author of three books and enjoys reading presidential biographies.


  1. Creating a sixteen game playoff has many benefits that Ari pointed out…but we can’t ignore the damages it would create as well.
    1) No matter what anyone says, this would take huge money away from the smaller bowls. If the playoff bowls were the only bowls that mattered, the smaller bowls would undoubtedly suffer.
    2) Of course, many fans would say, “That’s fine…we don’t care about the small bowls.” And that’s true. But colleges that make it to those bowls (both their players and fans) absolutely benefit from each and every bowl they go to.
    You can’t compare college football to college basketball. When Lehigh makes it to the NCAA Tournament and beats Duke, their season was extremely successful and they even put banners up that commemorate the fact that they made it into the 2012 NCAA Tournament. This is exactly what Northwestern does when they make it to a bowl game.
    Not every school is in it to win a championship. On the contrary, there are really only 4 or 5 schools in a given year that are out to win it all. Make fun of them all you want, but Nebraska and its fans will absolutely be ECSTATIC to go to a “meaningless” Rose Bowl game. And if they win it, they will get LOTS of money, LOTS of TV time, and LOTS of sway with recruits.
    Maybe a playoff system would be more exciting to fans with no specific ties, but it would be a financial and emotional disaster for the average university.

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      “Maybe a playoff system would be more exciting to fans with no specific ties…”

      And that’s my main point. I am someone who’s lost total interest in college football, yet loves college hoops. I’d like to enjoy both — but not with the current BCS system, nor the appetizer we’re getting in 2014.

      Also, I suppose we can keep all the meaningless bowls so schools can get their paydays; but overall, I am totally uninterested in “financial (and emotional?) disaster” to universities, which steal and waste more money than nearly any organization in America. (As you should know, Jon).

  2. We shall see when the Irish hold either team to less points than expected and win. If the SEC is so awesome then lets play and prove it. Jan. 7th is coming SEC are you ready. The Irish are!

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      I hope you’re right. I’m a former Hoosier and still a Midwest guy who’d love to see ESPN’s favorite football conference (the SEC) fall to the Irish. I was just citing a few games — I don’t follow the actual sport week-to-week — and the main thesis of my article was about the insane system. Go Irish, indeed (if that’s important to you).

  3. Ari- no mention of UND’s last second squeaker v. Purdue? The Irish have played with fire all year…they’re undefeated, but as you said, far from perfect. Oregon screwed themselves royally by losing; I hate the fricking SEC.

  4. What I find most humourus is the fact that pre-season many in the media said the ND schedule was one of the tougher in the nation. Now its not so much. Make up your mind! The fact is that ND played and beat more ranked teams than any other team. Bama plays in a top heavy league but beat up on inferior opponents for the most part. I don’t deny that we should have a playoff set up, but the powers that be leave us with this. We could go on and on about who could beat who even with a playoff in place.

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