The College Football Improvement Manifesto

After a deceptively good 2007 season which was full of tears and upsets, 2008 was almost a mirror opposite in the fact that they completely lacked them.

Although the No.1 teams in the country still managed to occasionally lose (that’s you, USC), the No.1s and ranked teams pretty much kept their position without fail.

Why? Because of a number of factors, including stupid journalists from the AP and the bizarre computing system which will be forever known in Joe Paternospeak as B.S.C. (or BCS, if you ‘purists’ like to call it).

Right, so here’s how to call college football better – and giving the computer something to think about.

First things first:

Reward schools for tough out-of-conference schedules

It’s a massive joke that the likes of Florida will probably go to the National Title game despite playing only one major school (that’s unless the school’s given the death penalty before then) in Florida State outside of its own conference.

Penn State’s sucks too- although the Alabama games in 2010 and 2011 at least is a great step forward (we feel that 'Bama will be preseason-ranked in the Top 10 for both these years, thanks to Nick Saban's wonderful recruiting prowess).

 We’re not exactly crying our eyes out about USC and Ohio State, but heck, at least the two schools play each other in 2009 (although Buckeyes fans will be hoping it turns out better than 2008!).

Three-quarters of the rating should be on a team’s non-conference schedule. Essentially, if you beat strong schools outside of your conference and you don’t end up losing every game INSIDE your conference, you’ll either get a strong ranking or end up high in the BCS. That might put an end to Texas vs Mississippi School For The Blind or Penn State vs Wisconsin Tech. The fans need bigger games to go to. And although it might not be wonderful to lose the games for the college athletic directors, the school won’t be too upset with the revenues - particularly in these economic times.

Eliminate 'in-conference strength'

If I’m the rest of college football conferences, I’d be pretty annoyed about the fact that at the start of every season it’s presumed that any team that wins the SEC Championship should go to the National Title game. It shouldn’t be that way. Teams should be evaluated on a) their non-conference wins and b) who they lost to and c)who they’ve beaten. Otherwise, college football fans will be hearing “SEC! SEC! SEC!” for seasons on end come National Championship Game time….and is THAT really good for the game?

Make the Top 25 the Top 35

Being in the Top 25 is something to talk about for college football fans. But the 20s-25s has always been a controversial subject. The 26th-ranked team in the nation is often one that should be in the Top 25, if it wasn’t for some snidey writer in Michigan who had an unreasonable hatred for their team. Expanding it to the Top 35 would definitely help to measure out a school’s success- and may help the smaller ones to recruit bigger players, instead of the likes of Texas, Florida and USC constantly ruling the roost.

Notre Dame – Find a Conference!

We've been pretty vocal about a lot of things about 'The Pope's Football Team' - especially the fact that Notre Dame needs to find a conference. Yeah, we know about the NBC deal and how important it is. Unfortunately, Irish fans, you’re four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are stamping all over the progress of college football. Can I recommend the Big East or the Big Ten?
The NCAA should force Notre Dame’s hand. It’s pretty simple. They should simply say: “You’re welcome to go unbeaten, Notre Dame. Unless you do, though, there’s no big Bowl game for you!!” That might get the Irish’s establishment moving a bit.

Every Conference Needs a Title Game

This writer still thinks that it's incredibly bizarre that BCS Schools like the Big East, Big Ten and the Pac-10 do not have conference games when they quite easily could have. They need to. The whole 'joint Champion' crap is doing my head in. In the same way as Penn State fans are grouchy because Ohio State fans call themselves joint Big Ten Champs in 2008 despite PSU beating OSU in Columbus, I'm sure that USC fans must be feeling the same way after Arizona State fans claimed a joint title in 2007 - despite the same result. In these economic times, the conferences must be crazy NOT to do it - won't it add invaluable extra revenue, create tourism funds for hosting cities and help fans be more definitive about who the darned Champion is of their conference? And that goes the same for non-BCS schools too. We need some unity!

Stop the Over-Recruiting

The NCAA has been stomping on a lot of things lately, but how about the practise of teams’ exceeding their allotted 25 football scholarship athletes per calendar year? As the number of recruits for a school's football team gets higher as the thirst for success becomes more and more lucrative, the NCAA once again seems to be missing the point. Sure, kids are coming out of high school early to come to the schools. But what happens if they aren't ready for it. We're pretty sure that every kid coming to college a semester early shouldn't be there.
How about saying this to schools: “Sure, you can sign Johnny Majors’ grandson for the 2012 season, Mr Kiffin – but that puts you over the limit of 25 scholarship athletes. In 2011, you’ll only be allowed 24 athletes per calendar year.” Not only will that mean that schools like USC, Texas, Florida etc won’t ‘hog’ recruits, but we’ll see talent trickling down, making the non-BCS conferences even better because of the sheer amount of talent playing down there. Oh, and some kids might stay in high school for a bit longer and get better grades. After all, the NFL's teams don't have unlimited salary caps or rosters, do they?

Forget probation, hit schools with the Benjamins

When a school violates NCAA rules, it may lost scholarships, or even wins. And it gets probation, instead of the death penalty (as happened with SMU). But why aren't schools being heavily hit where it hurts - their wallets? 

In NASCAR, if you break the rules, it costs you thousands of dollars in fines, a suspended crew chief, and going to the back of the field for one race. Why not fine schools thousands of dollars for breaking the rules and ban the head coach from the sideline and communication with his team for one game? That should the offending school a lesson! And if it doesn't, then take more drastic measures, which includes suspending players etc etc. The NCAA has to be able to govern schools - each and every one of them.

Suddenly getting a free text book (that’s you Alabama!), and giving someone a dry-ice reception at your stadium (that’s you, Tennessee!) is an expensive mistake. Oh, and make all of your recruiting definitive. We don't need experts about skirting around the rules. If someone on a staff is stupid enough to make a mistake with a black-and-white rulebook, then he should be fined for his mistakes.  And that'll mean that staffs that play by the rules may actually be rewarded, while breaking the rules may cost the cheats wins and jobs.

A Play-Off, A Play-Off, My Kingdom For A Play-off

Like almost every other college football blog, the View From North America has been campaigning for a play-off. We happen to think that it should be eight teams. Others think four. Others think that the two biggest bowls should be the ‘play-in’ game for the National Title. Personally, I don’t care how they do it, but I’m fed up with not having a deserved National Champion win the National Championship Game (I'd argue that Florida's loss to Ole Miss at home- at home - was a worse one than USC's on the road to Oregon State or Texas' loss at Texas Tech (and let's not talk about 2007/8, shall we?).

Unbeaten should matter

If I’m a Utah, Auburn or Boise State fan, I’d be pretty pissed at the BCS. They’ve left me out of the National Title game on three separate occasions despite the fact my teams have gone unbeaten. In the future, if my team beats good sides off-the-conference and wipes the floor with the in-season schedule, then they should at least be given a shout. Or why not talk about a play-off?