Make the FBS Playoff a “Dirty Dozen”

For the second year in a row, about the only thing left to be decided at this point in the season for the Knights of Central Florida is the size and color of the bus that they will be thrown under when the four-team field for the FBS (formerly Division I-A) playoff is formally announced.

One of four remaining unbeaten teams, Central Florida is ranked No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the coaches poll, so what possible chance do the Knights have of making it to the final four? ("Final Four" with capital Fs is a registered trademark of the NCAA basketball tournament. Seriously). But if the number of qualifiers was tripled, then what? And how would it all work?

With both seeding — and re-seeding — used to appropriately reward the best teams, who would also be rewarded with home field advantage in the first two rounds, after which both the semifinals and the championship game are held at pre-determined sites, as they are now.

In the first round, the top four seeds get first-round byes, and the 5-seed hosts the 12-seed, the 6-seed hosts the 11-seed, the 7-seed hosts the 10-seed, and the 8-seed hosts the 9-seed.

Once the results of the first round are in, the quarterfinals consist of the 1-seed hosting the lowest-seeded first-round winner, the 2-seed hosting the second-lowest-seeded first-round winner, the 3-seed hosting the second-highest-seeded first-round winner, and the 4-seed hosting the highest-seeded first-round winner.

Then it's the highest-seeded quarterfinal winner playing the lowest-seeded quarterfinal winner, and the second-highest-seeded quarterfinal winner playing the third-highest-seeded quarterfinal winner, in the semifinals, with the winners meeting for the no-longer-mythical national championship.

And please, don't hand me this politically-correct nonsense about these kids being kept out of class too long: assuming that the first-round games get played on a Saturday and the championship game on a Monday night, the entire tournament under this format takes 24 days to play, about half of it always falling during the Christmas recess (I won't say "holiday recess" due to my feelings about political correctness, which in my view is the best emetic available without a prescription) — three days longer than the 2019 NCAA Division I-A men's basketball tournament, aka "March Madness" even though the Final Four always gets played in April, will take to play, but without any recess because Easter in 2019 falls on April 21.

No longer will membership in a so-called "non-AQ" conference be an impenetrable barrier to playing for a national championship, and if expansion of the FBS playoff leads to a reduction in the number of these totally superfluous "Mediocrity Bowls" involving two teams with 6-6 records, so much the better. Furthermore, if one or even two early losses does not take a team out of contention for making the playoff, there will be more marquee non-conference matchups early in the season, instead of the top teams scheduling "cupcake" games before beginning their conference schedules, putting the "sport" back in the game (after all, once again at the risk of sounding politically correct, these are "student athletes" we're talking about).

And the final argument against making it more likely for a Central Florida to make the field — "strength of schedule" — can be elegantly debunked by pointing out that this is a game played by teams consisting of two dozen men (if the placekicker and punter are included) — not two dozen computers.

If the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) can have a 24-team playoff, Division II a 28-team playoff, and Division III a 32-team playoff, a 12-team playoff in major college football is hardly too much to ask.

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