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The New and Improved Division I College Football

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The outcasts formally known as the Group of 5 are now College Football’s Most Exciting & Most Profitable Brand

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Day Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

When the Big East folded football operations in 2013, it sent a seismic shift across the landscape of college football and in its wake the majority of Division I College Football Schools were rendered meaningless. Today, over sixty schools begin the season each and every year with absolutely NO Chance of winning a National Championship. They have been told they will not be considered for the four team FBS playoff. Western Michigan’s undefeated 13-0 record during the 2016 season was only good enough to rank them #15. The Group of 5 Schools will not even be considered for the Heisman Trophy these days, just go ask San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey. All he did was rush for 2133 yards and set a new NCAA career rushing record.

NCAA Football: San Diego State at Fresno State
Donnel Pumphrey...the Division I Most Outstanding Player
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

These sixty-seven football programs are the only teams that involuntarily are not allowed to compete for their sport’s ultimate prize. Keep in mind that the Ivy League, MEAC and SWAC choose not to send their champion to the FCS Playoffs. Yes, the Division IAA Football Playoff is an exciting concept but it is not profitable. The FBS is forty meaningless Bowl Games that many schools actually have to pay to play in. The Bowl Games are profitable to the organizers of the game, the NCAA and the conferences. If schools can not resell all of the tickets that they are required to buy they loss money on these bowl games. Our own Jim Hoffman proposed this FBS playoff idea last month to help make college football more interesting.

Wisconsin v Purdue
This is the scene at many bowl games
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The ugly step child infamously known as the Group of 5 will no longer be irrelevant after my plan to make them the third most desirable sports commodity in the NCAA and ahead of many professional sports leagues. The FBS, Football Bowl Subdivision (what a horrible name) Regular Season and The NCAA Division I National Basketball Tournament (affectionately known as March Madness) are and will be the most attractive commodities. My new and improved plan for Division I football is fan friendly and is highlighted by meaningful, profitable playoff games. This common sense plan will attract many current 1AA schools to move into this new division of play. Would you rather see the Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl between two 6-6 teams or would you rather fill out your office bracket pool and track meaningful playoff games played in sold out stadiums on campuses across the country?

My plan would create a regular season full of exciting and competitive gridiron match ups on Saturday’s in the fall all across the entire country. The new format will create 8 new conferences under one umbrella from sea to shining sea. It would finally create a Division I National Playoff Tournament featuring teams from coast to coast who have played their way in. Every school that chooses this exciting brand of football will know that they are competing for a highly desirable championship ring. The conference alignments are transferable to other sports or can stand alone for a highly profitable, football only brand. It is fan friendly in that most fans can get in their car and drive from their campus to other campuses within their conference to support their schools.

The New and Improved Division I College Football Conferences

The Northern Half of the New Division 1

The Southern Half of the New Alignment

NCAA Division I College Football (let the power 5 be called FBS) realignment sets up perfectly for a National Tournament. Eight conferences of 8 - 10 schools that are geographically logical as to cut down on travel expenses for athletic budgets and allow visiting fans to travel to support their school playing an away game. The Conference Alignment also pays respect to current conferences and keeps long established rivalries in place. The National Tournament would have 32 teams making the championship bracket. Each of Eight Regions would have the #1 team in that conference playing the #4 in an adjacent conference and the #2 playing a #3.

The current system of all ten Division I conferences having to play by the same rules but only the “Upper Half” get a chance to win the National Championship is as Un-American as it is silly and stupid. Until now no viable solution for competitive football has been proposed. The “Mid Major” or “Group of 5” schools play in and around the major TV markets but with the Millennials and Generation X cutting the cord, traditional TV markets are becoming irrelevant. Take a look at some of the Group of 5 conference alignments, they don’t make any sense. Do these conference match ups look like natural rivals? SMU - UConn, Memphis - Temple, New Mexico - Appalachian State, Idaho - Georgia St, UTEP - Old Dominion. Are these are natural rivalries? Do you see any back yard brawls? I think not. Do you see what I see?

The commissioners of these conferences that were thrown together without any rhyme or reason need to get together, blow up the existing model and start over. The MAC, Mid-American Conference, is the only logical alignment and should be preserved and should be the model going forward. The ego’s of the current conference commissioners is the only thing standing in the way of progress. The Head Coaches, Athletic Directors and College Presidents need to have their voice heard and put pressure on the powers that be to force realignment in to a new Division I Football structure in College Football. There is no better time than now for the VOZA PLAN to be put into action.