- There are currently 124 (or so) teams in I-A. Add a few worthy programs from I-AA (Appalachian State, for example) to round it out to a nice even 128.
- No more conferences – they’ve become a mockery anyway. Instead, to borrow from Ohio high school football, align schools into eight geographical regions and assign 16 teams to each region. Then break each region into two eight team divisions (or “districts”).
- Follow the Minor League Baseball model and further break everything into a top-level and secondary level (like AAA and AA in MILB), so you have 64 schools in 1-A-1 and 64 in I-A-2. In Season 1, schools would have to be assigned at the discretion of some sort of ranking committee.
- In an 11 game regular season, schools play everybody in their region, as well as a few outside of it. 1-A-1 and 1-A-2 schools would never play each other (no more cupcake games!).
- The top teams from each district play for the regional championship, with these winners advancing to an eight team playoff to determine the National Champion. In other words, there would be TWO postseasons, one for 1-A-1 and another for 1-A-2.
- More borrowing – this time from European soccer: At the end of the season, the last place team from each 1-A-1 district is relegated to 1-A-2 the following season and the first place team from each 1-A-2 district is promoted. The geographic alignments at both levels would mirror each other making it a seamless swap each year.
Think about it, by getting rid of conferences and the BCS, you eliminate the “no respect” complaints of programs like Boise State and TCU. Schools would earn or lose respect and championship opportunities based entirely on their on-field performance and never because of conference affiliation or biased polls.
Plus, with this setup, you’d still have 32 1-A schools playing at least one postseason game, meaning you could theoretically maintain some sort of Bowl system, albeit with the elimination of many second-tier games (Who cares about the New Mexico Bowl anyway – besides gamblers?).
I’m sure someone with more smarts than me could easily start poking holes in my idea, considering I came up with it in about 15 minutes. Nevertheless, with the system’s current mess, I haven’t seen anybody else bring anything to the table (aside from some terrible ideas over at ESPN.com).
Until I do, I’ll be busy doodling nice proportional squares and circles in my notebook.