What If … The College Football System Was Set Up Like the English Soccer Leagues?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. 

The College Football System is messed up. It is not working. And college football fans are going to go insane unless changes are made soon. 

This past season, we seen over 1,400 division 1 football players enter the transfer portal. Whether you believe the transfer portal is okay for college football or not, that is an insanely high number for a year stretch. That is more than the number of scholarship players that play on SEC teams. 

Tommy DeVito was the opening game starting QB for the Syracuse Orange football team. On October 17, midway through the season, DeVito announced he was entering the transfer portal because he was no longer the starting QB. Regardless if you believe in the transfer portal or not, the issue here is that we are giving these athletes a way to quit mid-season. Something has to change.

There was over 30 athletes who chose to forgo their bowl game with their respected team to help protect themselves for the upcoming draft. While this is not a brand new thing going on, it is still something that hinders college football. And with Matt Corrall getting hurt in the Ole Miss/Baylor game, this number will only rise in the coming years. 

There has been 28 total coaching changes in the Division 1 conferences. While some of these changes were handled the correct way, some of them were not. There will always be issues arise that needs to be handled immediately, but most of the times, coaching firings should not take place in the middle of the season. Gary Patterson was forced to resign in late October. Instability and drastic changes during the season without major cause would create influx in your recruiting process as well as your fan base. Is it really going to do any good firing your coach with 2-3 games left in your season? The answer to that is no because you are going to be forcing interim coaches and changes multiple times in a single year. 

So what is a solution? Let the money do the justification. According to the recent reports from the reported revenue, the English Premier League (EPL) is higher grossing than the Power 5 conferences of the NCAAF. According to the reported revenue, the EPL had more than 1 million more. The EPL has 20 teams and the Power 5 has 65 teams. So how is this even possible? 

The EPL (and English Soccer League’s in general) have more at risk every single game and every single season. Every game matters in the standings and you want to make sure you don’t fall in the bottom tier and are forced to relegate to the lower league. You don’t see coaching firings mid-season. You also don’t see players opting out even if a championship isn’t in your future. 

The English Soccer League’s have 11 divisions. You can be relegated and promoted depending on how you do the previous year. While that is bit too many to install in the College Football layout, we can still use their formula. Because obviously it has been proven to work. 

As of publication of this article, there are 130 teams in the division. Our plan is to divide these teams into 3 leagues (or conferences): Power Conference, Inner Conference, and Base Conference. These names are for simplicity purposes and not intended to sound intimidating. 

The main issue I have with the College Football Playoff System is the human element side. The NFL is my favorite football for many reasons, but one of my favorite things about it is that each NFL team knows exactly what they have to do to get into the playoffs. There isn’t any scenario where they may be sitting there at the end of the season not knowing if they are getting in. You are either in or you are out. No grey areas. But in College Football, you can go undefeated and still not get in. Shout out to Central Florida. You can also win your conference championship and still not get in. Shout out to Penn State. You can even go without playing in your conference championship game and still get in. Shout out to Ohio State and Alabama. 

But with this format, the rules are set in place, easy to understand, and you know exactly what has to happen for you to get in. All three leagues are ranked (or seeded) the exact same way. You are ranked based on overall record. If you have the same record as someone else, the tiebreaker is point differential. Before you stop reading or give the excuse of “Well that isn’t fair. Alabama plays New Mexico State and the Citadel. That boost their PD”, remember that you only are going to play teams in your conference. Power teams only play power teams. Inner teams only play inner teams. And Base teams only play base teams. Gone are the days of cupcake games for senior day or opening games. 

“Using Point Differential will cause teams to run the score up.” … If you are rated one of the best 44 teams in College Football and get the honor to play in the highest level of play, then isn’t that a fair way to settle tiebreakers? Can you think of a genuine way to settle them any other way without having a human element? If a team is getting blown out constantly, then that team is most likely going to get relegated. And if you are an AD or coach that thinks their team is likely going to be in that bottom tier, would that make you want to think twice before firing a coach mid-season? Are you going to place more emphasis on competing every single week? How much more intense will every game be during the year? 

People are always saying that if we can expand the playoffs that the regular season games won’t matter. While that may be true for a few teams who are at the top, won’t the return of that be that you are getting much more games in return that mean more? 

So what would the Power Conference looked like last year?

These seedings are ranked based upon the 2021-2022 completed season. Yes, these include the cupcake games, but we have the data and we are rolling with it. 

I want to point out a few things that stick out. Based on our model, the bottom four teams are relegated to the Inner Conference. Peace out USC, TCU, Florida State, and Texas. USC and TCU both fired their coach mid-season. Florida State has turned into an absolute dumpster fire lately. Do these teams maybe coach and manage differently if they know they are going to be in this position? Possibly. We can’t answer that for sure. But I do know that these teams would have been playing like their life depended on it rather than USC rolling over to California and UCLA at the end of the year. Does Florida State’s loss to FCS opponent Jacksonville State look even worse? What about Texas’ loss to Kansas, a team we have in the Base Conference? 

Now let’s flip it to the other end. Look who would be playing for a National Championship. In the Power Conference, the CFP is a 6-Team Playoff. Once again, it is hard to say if Cincy would be that high if they had a schedule like this. But we could say the same thing about Georgia. 

We did the honor of creating a schedule for next year if these 44 teams remained in this conference. 

As a pure fan of college football, how great would this be? I know conferences are great and all, but…… The SEC is the mecca of them all. The Big 10 has shown that they are worthy to be in the conversation. The Pac 12 still sucks but Lincoln Riley may be able to turn USC around. but….. wouldn’t it be fun and exciting if these teams were able to get a more variety of schedule every year? This would be great football. Every game. Every week. 

Moving to the Inner Conference, this is what teams made the cut there. The rankings and tiebreakers are based on last year’s records as well. 

We didn’t do the honor of creating schedules for these teams, but how good would Vanderbilt be if they played a non-SEC schedule? Would they be elite in this conference? On the contrary, would teams such as UTSA, Louisiana, Coastal Carolina, and UCF be able to be consistently at the top if they played in a more elite conference?

The playoffs in the Inner Conference looks a bit different. Instead of a 12-game regular season schedule, they will only play in 10 games. But that is because the playoffs are expanded to 12-teams here. The top 4 teams are promoted to the Power Conference. So if you make it to the semi-finals, you are in. The bottom four teams here are relegated. Let’s see how those would look like. 

And for the final conference… the Base Conference. 

Just like the Inner Conference Playoffs, the Base Conference will have a 12-Team Playoff. The top 4 teams are promoted to the Inner  Conference. So if you make it to the semi-finals, you are in.

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  • Zac Barringer

    With 12 years of coaching experience and 8 years of teaching experience, I feel I have gained enough knowledge to change the world. Sarcasm is a defense mechanism. Laughter is 75% forced. I have coached basketball for 12 years, tennis and cross country for 2 years. I have learned a lot about what NOT to do. I can make small talk if I have to, but I had prefer to stick with the casual head nod. I have a lot of opinions, and they are all very good. Just ask. My goal is to convince you to believe my thoughts, as crazy as some may be. If I can succeed in doing that, I believe I have accomplished something.

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