College football inspires passion. It is nearly impossible to follow it without becoming energized by the schools, the colors, the fan bases, the rivalries and the history. I have been passionately following college football for decades, and as dramatic as the games can be, and as thrilling as the conference races can play out, there are aspects of college football that clearly can be done better. So, I set out to create something new, something that would address, in a tangible way, the shortcomings that are evident to anyone willing to honestly look at today’s college football landscape. The game is fantastic; the state of the game leaves a lot to be desired. I wanted to do something about it. Welcome to Ideal College Football. What you will see here is a new landscape and, to translate thought into action, the playing of a full season and postseason within this new landscape. Setting this in motion has been a genuine labor of love, and I am eager to see how it resonates with other college football fans. It’s nice to have you along for what should be a memorable ride.
These are the primary issues that are addressed by Ideal College Football (ICFB).
Scheduling: The first issue that will be addressed is the nature of scheduling. Frankly, many FBS (I-A) teams do not challenge themselves in their nonconference schedule. Look, one tough game does not define a challenging nonconference slate. When it comes time to pick teams for bowls and have a discussion about rankings and national championships, the process of evaluating teams is subjective, even nebulous. How can we have a discussion about assessing the best teams at the end of the season when they do not even play everyone within their own conference, much less an inspiring nonconference schedule with serious challenges in true road games? I’m not saying that all schools do this, and applaud the programs who do challenge themselves. However, this creates even more imbalance, as teams arrive at the pinnacle of the regular season with wildly divergent criteria. Again, how do we assess teams under such lopsided conditions?
One result is that we regularly have weekends in November with a paucity of big games on the schedule. How can any major sport arrive at the apex of its regular season with a dearth of meaningful games on its schedule?! I can guarantee you that won’t be the case with Ideal College Football. There will be a wealth of big games and traditional rivalry games as we near the climax of the regular season. For more on scheduling, and ICFB’s answers to it, see here.
Postseason: The second issue that desperately needs an upgrade is the nature of the postseason, and by ‘upgrade’ I am directly and exclusively talking to you, FBS. The lack of a coherent postseason at the highest level of the sport is embarrassing. Bowl games are fun, but essentially meaningless. They are postseason exhibitions, nothing more. We can have fun and ensure that the postseason games actually mean something by instituting a single-elimination tournament in which the winners of the bowl games move on to the next round. Makes sense, right? Like many fans, I have long sought a true playoff in The Artist Formerly Known as Division I-A. The NCAA is moving in this direction with the current four-team format (CFP), while assuring us that four teams is sufficient. It is not. Four teams is not even a playoff, it is a ‘Plus1’. Ideal College Football will have a true playoff at every level, with full brackets and objective criteria for inclusion and seeding. More on this here.
Conference Alignments: The third issue is the nature of present-day conference alignments, which – frankly – is a mess. In the money grab for television revenue, the fans have been left holding the bag as conferences morph into barely-recognizable entities. Seriously, how can Oklahoma and Nebraska no longer be in the same conference? Kansas and Missouri? Texas and Arkansas, or Texas and Texas A&M? Utah and BYU? Louisville and Cincinnati? SMU and TCU? How can Maryland be in the Big 10 with traditional Midwestern schools rather than its rightful place in the ACC? How can Navy even be in a conference while Army is not? And can we talk about a system in which a conference calling itself the Big 10 has 14 schools, and another called the Big 12 has 10 schools? Can anyone tell me how CUSA, the AAC and the Sun Belt differentiate themselves from each other? How many fans are emotionally tied into conferences that have little geographic identity and even fewer natural rivalries? Take a tour of ICFB’s conference infrastructure here and actual conference membership here.
Furthermore, these mega-conferences only serve to dilute the product. How can Florida not play Alabama every year, or Alabama not play Georgia every year? How can Michigan not play Iowa every year, or Michigan State not play Indiana every year? You cannot determine a true conference champion unless every team plays every other team within conference. In Ideal College Football we return to that format. All of the traditional conference rivalries have returned, and they will play each other every season, and we will determine true conference pecking order on the field of play.
IDEAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Copyright © Steven Sugarman