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Why the College Football Playoff Should Begin to Mirror European Soccer?

There are too many teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision for a four-team playoff.

Yes, the playoff is a much improved postseason event over the Bowl Championship Series. The college football world can do better though.

Some have called for expansion since before the first playoff season. Washington State head coach Mike Leach has been calling for a 64-team field for nearly a decade now. The majority seem to want an eight-team field. This is all wrong.

College football needs to look outside of the United States for the correct answer to its imperfect system. It needs to look to Europe. College football needs to look to the sport of soccer and how European soccer leagues use promotion and relegation with an ultimate playoff system called “Champions League”.

For years, the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA have been laughed at. Mount Union and North Dakota State receive more respect for their football programs than Central Florida, who has won a BCS game against Baylor. Some fans are so elitist they hold their noses high to the fact Boise State has been able to defeat the likes of Oregon, Oklahoma and Georgia. These same fans do not believe that a non-AQ team who has consistently proven they can compete deserves to be in a major conference. This type of thinking is destroying the Big 12 Conference.

The Big 12 is refusing to invite the likes of BYU, Colorado State and Houston. This is the same conference which allowed Louisville to slip into the Atlantic Coast Conference because it wanted to pillage the ACC for Florida State, Clemson and also Notre Dame.

It’s time to get rid of the conferences. The answer is to divide the college football nation up into time zones. The teams would fight for promotion and relegation with the chance to play in a 12-team playoff system. Imagine a 10-team division featuring: Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Kansas State, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, TCU and Wisconsin. That would be the premier division of the central region taken from the final 2014 College Football Playoff rankings.

Those 10 teams would battle for the top three positions. The winner would receive a bye and home field advantage into the second round of the champions league. Second place teams would host third place teams from different regions. Meanwhile, the worst two teams would be relegated. Of course, the lower division winner is promoted to the top division. The second and third place teams would face each other for the second promotion. If the third place team traveled to the second place team during the regular nine-game season and lost, the game would be moved to the field of the third place team. If the second place team won on the road against the third place team, there would be no need to play the game again as the second place team is clearly better.

As you may have noticed, there are some elite programs missing from the premier division of the central region. Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma would have to battle in the second division. Perhaps they should face four-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State. We’d truly see how competitive the FCS program who has won five consecutive games over Big 12 opponents could last during a schedule where they’d have to face an FBS team every week.

This also eliminates the west coast kickoff times for Central Time zone teams. In 2014, Texas Tech kicked off at 10 p.m. against UTEP, a Mountain Time zone team. Both teams are in the same state. The majority of fans interested in this matchup are located in the Central Time zone. Of course, there will be exceptions made. The state of Tennessee and Kentucky would be considered Eastern Time zone states for rivalry purposes. Florida State would be considered an Eastern Time zone team too. The minimization of time zone travel would also help the student-athletes with academics. It helps eliminate jet lag in case they have a major test the following Monday.

There are 128 FBS teams after the addition of Charlotte this upcoming season. With the resurgence of UAB in 2016, there will be 129. More programs continue to make the move to Division 1 athletics. Recently, teams like Abilene Christian, Northern Kentucky and Grand Canyon have made the transition. It seems like every school wants to be a Division 1 school. It’s time to eliminate the classifications. Let’s find out who truly belongs at the top.

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