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Promotion and Relegation: 2019 College Football Edition

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Alabama vs Clemson

College football is just around the corner, but the British Premier League starts play this weekend.

Of course, three new faces are in the British Premier League this year after earning promotion. These three teams replace the worst three teams in the Premier League from last season, who were all relegated to the SkyBet League Championshp (also known as the second division). There are several divisions of English football, known more commonly in the USA as soccer. Of course, with 130 FBS football teams this season, I have been advocating for a promotion and relegation system for years.

Let’s start off by saying, the blue bloods would automatically be pitted against each other. I took the results of last year’s teams and placed them in divisions by time zone. These are 10-team divisions, so there is no excuse about “the poor student-athletes playing too many games”. Because there are so few schools in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones, I combined those together. This eliminates that 10 p.m. kickoff teams are complaining about when they travel west of the Rocky Mountains. So, alas, the top flight of the Central Time Zone.

Central Time Zone Top Flight

  1. Alabama (College Football Playoff finalist)
  2. Oklahoma (College Football Playoff participant)
  3. Texas (New Year’s Six Bowl Winner)
  4. LSU (New Year’s Six Bowl Winner)
  5. Northwestern (Big Ten Championship Game participant)
  6. Iowa (9 wins)
  7. Texas A&M (9 wins)
  8. Mississippi State (8 wins, victory over Auburn and a bowl victory)
  9. Wisconsin (8 wins, bowl victory)
  10. Auburn (8 wins, bowl victory)
 

With this system, the top three teams of each division would advance to a “Champions League”. This provides nine spots in the College Football Playoff. To make it an even number and provide the champions of each time zone a bye, the winners of the second division earn a berth into the playoff. In addition to time zone ranking, point differential would also come into factor. The second place team with the best point differential would secure the final bye. Meanwhile, the other two would play against the second flight champions with the worst point differentials. The second flight team with the best point differential would face a third place team. As for relegation, the two bottom feeders of each division spend 2020 in the second flight.

Now, I know what Iowa State fans are thinking: “Hey, we scored eight victories in 2018”. True, and despite a few rough calls in the Alamo Bowl (which was rough all-around, even for their media relations staff), Iowa State is still listed as the losing team. Therefore, the 2018 results relegated the Cyclones to the second division. Iowa State could’ve been a lot farther down, but I figured the NCAA would place all the Power Five teams, with the exception of UCF who appeared in a New Year’s Six Bowl, before they placed any Group of Five school. So, the Sun Belt Championship doesn’t take precedence over Iowa State’s eight victories. Of course, now that we know the Cyclones are in the second division, let’s release that flight.

Central Time Zone Second Division

  1. Iowa State (8 victories, bowl loss)
  2. Missouri (8 victories, bowl loss)
  3. TCU (7 victories, bowl victory)
  4. Baylor (7 victories, bowl victory)
  5. Minnesota (6 victories, bowl victory)
  6. Oklahoma State (6 victories, bowl victory)
  7. Vanderbilt (6 victories, bowl loss)
  8. Kansas State (5 victories, win over Texas Tech)
  9. Ole Miss (5 victories, win over Texas Tech)
  10. Tennessee (Texas Tech is 0-2 vs. other five-win teams)

Half of the second division are Big 12 teams. That would give Big 12 teams a 50 percent chance of scoring that final playoff berth, and an even better chance to add a third or even fourth team to the top flight. Of course, Texas Tech fans are bummed because they finished 0-2 against their competition to get into the second flight. So, without further ado, here is the third flight of Central Time Zone teams.

Central Time Zone Third Division

  1. Texas Tech (5 victories)
  2. Illinois (4 victories)
  3. Nebraska (4 victories)
  4. Kansas (3 victories)
  5. Arkansas (2 victories)
  6. UAB (CUSA Champions)
  7. Northern Illinois (MAC Champions)
  8. Memphis (AAC finalist)
  9. Middle Tennessee State (CUSA finalist)
  10. Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt finalist)

Let’s face it, some teams just can’t compete. For instance, New Mexico State waited 57 years to play in a bowl game from 1960-2017. Because that bowl drought ended thanks to the addition of several bowls over the years, Kansas now has the distinct honor of the nation’s longest bowl drought.

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 Of course, Kansas is not known for its football. It might be able to increase its attendance by scoring victories playing in a division against worse competition. Winning, of course, would help in recruiting. If a player sees a team winning, and the chance to build onto something, there’s hope they can help the cause. A recruit could see that Kansas just needs to finish second in the third flight and they will have a shot to play in the College Football Playoff by the time they are sophomores.

Of course, there is one team missing. I can hear the Mountaineer fans hooting and hollering while they read this. West Virginia is in the Eastern Time Zone. West Virginia wound up in the second flight of their time zone. Now, I realize this doesn’t seem fair because there are four Power Five conferences that feature Eastern Time Zone teams. That’s why even this system isn’t perfect. Additionally, because of its New Year’s Six Bowl appearance, UCF secured its spot in the top flight. The great news is, West Virginia likely would’ve won the second flight last season and that means they would’ve scored a berth in the College Football Playoff had they faced these nine opponents. So, I present to you, the top two flights of the Eastern Time Zone.

Eastern Time Zone Top Flight

  1. Clemson (National Champion)
  2. Notre Dame (College Football Playoff participant)
  3. Ohio State (New Year’s Six Bowl victory)
  4. Florida (New Year’s Six Bowl victory)
  5. Georgia (New Year’s Six Bowl appearance)
  6. UCF (New Year’s Six Bowl appearance)
  7. Michigan (New Year’s Six Bowl appearance)
  8. Pittsburgh (ACC finalist)
  9. Kentucky (9 victories, bowl victory)
  10. Syracuse (9 victories, bowl victory)

Eastern Time Zone Second Division

  1. North Carolina State (9 victories, bowl loss)
  2. Penn State (9 victories, bowl loss)
  3. Virginia (8 victories, bowl victory)
  4. Duke (8 victories, bowl victory)
  5. West Virginia (8 victories, bowl loss)
  6. Boston College (7 victories, 2-0 vs. 7-win teams, bowl victory)
  7. Georgia Tech (7 victories, win over Miami (FL), bowl victory)
  8. Wake Forest (7 victories, bowl victory)
  9. Michigan State (7 victories, bowl loss)
  10. South Carolina (7 victories, bowl loss)
 

West Virginia fans might feel shafted because of the cancellation of their game against North Carolina State due to Hurricane Florence. However, had they defeated Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl, West Virginia would have the following: nine victories, a bowl victory, and the head-to-head over Syracuse. A tenth victory would not have mattered as they did not play in the Big 12 Championship Game nor did they get into a New Year’s Six Bowl. Perhaps, they may have made a stronger case for a New Year’s Six Bowl had they defeated North Carolina State, but we can’t make that assumption due to losses against Iowa State and Oklahoma State.

Sadly, this is a pipe dream. Instead of watching Alabama go up against a murderer’s row of Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, we get to watch the Crimson Tide breeze their way to another College Football Playoff berth by pounding the feathers in a pillow-fight against Western Carolina, Southern Mississippi and yes, even New Mexico State. One can only dream that Alabama would actually try to entice their fans to show up to Bryant-Denny Stadium for a matchup featuring actual competition.

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