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Here’s what you could be watching in lieu of bowls

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This is the final horrible season of no playoffs in college football’s top (FBS) division.

Yes, and would you be interested in buying a mountaintop chalet in Columbus?

Next season, we go to a four-team “playoff” format, which anyone with a brain knows is not a playoff. Once again, we will be subject to countless arguments about how the No. 5-ranked team would win the national title. We are scheduled to watch such a ludicrous system through 2025 per ESPN contract.

It all boils down to the fact that every team that plays FBS football is not even. Teams such as Northern Illinois will have no chance at one of the four slots, whether or not it is undefeated. It’s a cheat.

Let’s take this season for example, using next season’s format. Auburn, Alabama, Michigan State and Florida State would make the field, for the sake of the argument. Would Ohio State, Baylor, Oregon or Stanford have a legitimate argument for getting a berth? Sure they would.

It’s obvious that no matter how many teams are added to a playoff format, someone always is going to be left out. Just look at the NCAA basketball tournament field.

But we don’t want to hear it. If you didn’t make the NCAA basketball tournament field, you should have played better.

How easy would it be to put together a 32-team playoff field for football? Simple.

Each NCAA football conference gets two automatic berths. That’s 22 teams. Ten other teams, chosen by committee, get the at-large berths.

So here is the Jay Heater tournament field for 2013-14, and what you could be watching instead of the ludicrous current bowl system that leaves most college football fans (and players and coaches) totally frustrated.

Please note that in an age when .500 teams get to play in bowl games, none of the at-large selections had less than nine victories. Also, seven of the current bowls survive and are worked into the JH system with four quarterfinals, two semifinals and the national title game. The bowls rotate through the system each year.

First-round games are hosted by the 11 conference champions, while the other five games are hosted by teams drawn at random. Second-round hosts are drawn at random. Third round is worked into the old bowl game schedule.

Tell me you wouldn’t rather watch any of these first-round games than the lion’s share of bowl games. ESPN, are you listening?


Central Florida (11-1, the American Athletic Conference champ) hosts LSU (SEC wild card at 9-3)

Florida State (13-0, the ACC champ) hosts Cincinnati (American Athletic Conference wild card at 9-3)

Baylor (11-1, Big 12 champ) hosts Clemson (ACC wild card at 10-2)

Michigan State (12-1, Big Ten champ) hosts Ball State (Mid-American wild card at 10-2)

Rice (10-3, Conference USA champ) hosts Wisconsin (Big Ten wild card at 9-3)

Notre Dame (8-4, pick from Independents) hosts UCLA (Pac-12 wild card at 9-3)

Bowling Green (10-3, Mid-American champ) hosts South Carolina (SEC wild card at 10-2)

Stanford (11-2, Pac-12 champ) hosts Oklahoma State (Big 12 wild card at 10-2)

Auburn (12-1, SEC champ) hosts Oregon (Pac-12 wild card at 10-2)

Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4, Sun Belt champ) hosts Alabama (SEC wild card at 11-1)

Louisville (11-1, American Athletic Conference runner-up) hosts Duke (ACC runner-up at 10-3)

Oklahoma (10-2, Big 12 runner-up) hosts Ohio State (Big Ten runner-up at 12-1)

Marshall (9-4, Conference USA runner-up) hosts Brigham Young (Independent runner-up at 8-4)

Northern Illinois (12-1, Mid-American runner-up) hosts Fresno State (Mountain West runner-up at 11-1)

Utah State (8-5, Mountain West runner-up) hosts Arizona State (Pac-12 runner-up at 10-3)

Missouri (11-2, SEC runner-up) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt runner-up at 7-5)


Host teams drawn by random (projections)

LSU at Florida State; Baylor at Michigan State; Wisconsin at Notre Dame; South Carolina at Stanford; Alabama at Oregon; Duke at Ohio State; BYU at Northern Illinois; Arizona State at Missouri

THIRD ROUND (projections)

Orange Bowl — Florida State vs. Baylor; Sugar Bowl — Wisconsin vs. Stanford; Cotton Bowl — Oregon vs. Ohio State; Gator Bowl — Northern Illinois vs. Missouri

FOURTH ROUND (projections)

Chick-fil-A-Bowl — Florida State vs. Stanford; Fiesta Bowl — Ohio State vs. Missouri

TITLE GAME (projections)

Rose Bowl — Stanford vs. Missouri (Stanford wins to prove things change in a tournament format)

Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at or 379-5632.

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