Relegation in College Football?

Northeast, West, South, Midwest: which region plays (college foot-) ball the best?

That could become highly relevant if an outfit named Projection Sports, which doesn't seem to exist outside of the Social Media Platform Formerly Known As Twitter, gets its wish as to what should be done about college football in the wake of the earthquake of conference realignments that has plagued it.

And while there are a few drawbacks, their approach is pretty sound overall.

For the 2024 season only, the 68 teams from what had heretofore been the "Power 5" conferences, plus Notre Dame, are guaranteed spots in either the Premier League, Championship League, or League 1 (see below), with the remaining 13 such teams receiving spots in League 2 (how these teams do in the upcoming season being used to decide who goes where).

The Championship League, consisting of 20 teams, will have a 12-team playoff, the top four of which we will be promoted to the Premier League (meaning that all of the top four finishers in the Championship League, which will earn a first-round bye, would need to do is win one game — at home — in order to get promoted). Meanwhile, the bottom four finishers in the Championship League get relegated to League 1. (Variant: The eight teams that did not qualify for the 12-team playoff will play one game against one of the others, with the losers of these four games getting relegated).

There will be similar doings for League 1, 12 of whose 20 teams will advance to a playoff to send four of them to the Championship League, and the bottom four teams getting relegated to League 2.

League 2, as well, will have 20 teams, with its top 12 teams making a playoff in which four teams will be promoted to League 1, and its bottom four teams getting relegated to one of four "geographical districts," the number of teams in these varying from year to year because there are 57 of them.

(In both of the latter cases as well, a one-game relegation round among the eight non-playoff teams is highly recommended, though not included in Presentation's proposal.)

Perhaps the major virtue of this plan is that it will make essentially every game meaningful because nearly every team will be either playing for promotion or playing to avoid relegation.

Every year each of the leagues can be split into geographically based divisions for scheduling purposes — two eight-team divisions in the Premier League (with also two non-division games for each team) and two 10-team divisions in the other three leagues, producing nine-game regular-season schedules in all four. The existence of non-division games will allow for tie-breakers — division record, common opponents, etc. in the Premier League — in case teams are tied at the end of the regular season.

If divisions are used, in each league, the top six teams in each division of a region make the playoffs, with the top two getting first-round byes, and home field advantage determined by the regular-season standings in the first two rounds.

One of the negative aspects of this is with 12 out of 16 Premier League teams making the playoffs, and even 12 out of 20 teams qualifying in the other leagues, teams with pretty poor records might be playing for a promotion — or even a national title.

So it might be better off to simply play without leagues of this sort altogether, with the 133 FBS teams split up into four regions of 33 teams each, after one team agrees to join the FCS. In that case, each team plays eight games every year within their own region (thus playing each regional rival once every four years), plus four non-regional games. The winner of each region gets an automatic bid to the "Dirty Dozen," joined by eight at-large teams.

Greed has created a real mess in college football — a mess for which there will be no easy way out.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site