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WEEKLY WHINE

Collegiate American football: ARRRGH!

As you know, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is an unrealistically large organisation that attracts vast amounts of money in the marketing and broadcasting of men’s basketball and men’s American football and siphons it off to line the pockets of a select few and its corporate sponsors while ensuring that its “student athletes” never see a single penny of the money that is pouring in because of their own efforts, all in the guise of overseeing intercollegiate athletics in the United States.

The GoobNet Agency for Reintroducing Relegation to Recreational Game Hierarchies is similar organisation in that its apparently benevolent objectives [to establish promotion and relegation in American sports] shadow a darker purpose [to establish promotion and relegation in American sports]. The agency has already established plans for the major professional sporting leagues in the United States; we now turn our attention to collegiate athletics.

American football at full four year colleges is played at five distinct levels. The upper four are overseen by the NCAA and are currently called the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision [DI-A], Division I Football Championship Subdivision [DI-AA], Division II, and Division III. These divisions currently contain a total of 661 teams [120 in DI-A, 133 in DI-AA, 153 in DII, 255 in DIII]. Ranking below this, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics also has 86 members that field American football teams. Each of these five levels is further subdivided into a number of regional conferences.

Currently, championship playoffs exist in all of these levels except DI-A, because, as previously mentioned, the NCAA does not act correctly in its supposed role of overseeing intercollegiate athletics in the United States. DI-A instead has a collection of meaningless bowl games, the last of which is supposedly the national championship game, even though other organisations continue to award championship trophies, often to teams that were not even involved in the “championship” game.

The agency’s plan resolves a small portion of these problems, and it also causes the recently announced realignments to be overcome by events.

2010

Under the GoobNet Agency for Reintroducing Relegation to Recreational Game Hierarchies’ plan, this is a transitional year played under the current rules. At the end of the season, the 747 American football teams throughout the NCAA and NAIA are regrouped into five new divisions.

The First Division is formed by taking the current DI-A and adding the eight quarterfinalists in DI-AA. The remaining DI-AA teams, plus the two finalists and the higher ranked losing semifinalists in DII, form the Second Division. The highest ranked 128 of the DII teams that are left over become the charter members of the Third Division.

This leaves the 22 lowest ranked DII teams; they join the 106 highest ranked DIII teams to form the Fourth Division. The remaining 149 DIII teams, together with the 86 NAIA teams, are the original members of the Fifth Division.

2011

In 2011, therefore, we find ourselves with four divisions of 128 teams each plus a Fifth Division of 235 teams. Each of the first four divisions is then subdivided into sixteen conferences of eight teams each, taking geographic and sporting considerations into account. As it happens, the DI-A teams are already distributed amongst eleven conferences, of which five are further subdivided into two divisions. This makes a total of sixteen existing groupings. Therefore, all that needs to be done in DI-A is to rearrange the teams to make the groupings equal and to incorporate the rising DI-AA teams and independents. Sorry, University of Notre Dame.

Each conference will be linked to its best geographic fit in the division above and the division below. For example, the First Division Big East Conference could be linked to the Second Division Northeast Conference.

In the first four divisions, each team will play a season of ten games. The first three games are against other teams in the same division, but outside the conference. These games may be scheduled by mutual consent of the teams involved. This allows for non-regional rivalries such as the Commander in Chief’s Trophy, as well as any other games that a team may care to arrange. The remaining seven games are against each conference opponent; the total record in these games decides the champion of each conference.

At this point, the First Division conference champions advance to a four week playoff. The teams are seeded by their overall records, including nonconference games. The first seed plays the sixteenth seed, the second plays the fifteenth, and so on. Winning teams advance to the quarterfinals, the semifinals, and finally to the First Division championship game.

The Fifth Division is also subdivided into sixteen conferences, but each of these is further divided into two sections. With 235 teams, we will end up with sections of seven teams, except for eleven sections that will have eight teams.

Each Fifth Division team plays three nonsection opponents, and then one game against each section opponent. The records within each section decide the section champion. By mutual consent, during their bye week, teams that are in a section of seven teams may choose to play a fourth nonsection game against another team that has a bye.

At the end of the season, the top two teams in each conference in the Second through Fourth Divisions, and the champions of each Fifth Division section, advance to promotion playoff games against the last two teams in the linked conference in the division above. The conference champion plays a home game against the last placed team in the higher conference, and the conference runner up plays a home game against the second last placed team in the higher conference. Each game’s winner plays in the higher conference in the following season, the loser in the lower conference. In the Fifth Division, the section champion with the better overall record is the conference champion, and the other section champion is the conference runner up.

Teams that are not eligible for any of the playoff games may choose to accept invitations to other bowl games. For example, every year, two randomly selected teams are invited to a randomly selected US city to play in the GoobNet Silly Bowl, despite the fact that the phrase “silly bowl game” is redundant.

2012 AND BEYOND

As teams are promoted and relegated between the divisions, teams may be moved between conferences as necessary, taking geographic and sporting considerations into account. Each division may also decide to set conditions on entry relating to student performance, facility size and quality, and other off field factors. If a team does not meet the conditions of the division to which it is trying to earn promotion, that promotion playoff is cancelled.

As schools add or remove American football programmes, the divisions adjust accordingly. New programmes enter in the Fifth Division. If a programme ends, that conference fills the empty slot by promoting the best team in the linked conference in the next lower division that was not promoted. Thus, the first four divisions always contain 128 teams each, and the Fifth Division grows or shrinks as necessary.

Should the Fifth Division expand beyond 256 teams, it undergoes fission, so that the top four teams in each section form a single eight team conference in the following season. The remaining four teams in each section become part of a new Sixth Division.

Below is a summary of the five divisions in the GoobNet Agency for Reintroducing Relegation to Recreational Game Hierarchies’ plan for collegiate American football in the United States.

League Initial Teams Teams
Total Prom Playoff Rel Playoff
First Division 120 DI-A + 8 DI-AA 128 16* 32
Second Division 125 DI-AA + 3 DII 128 32 32
Third Division 128 DII 128 32 32
Fourth Division 22 DII + 106 DIII 128 32 32
Fifth Division 149 DIII + 86 NAIA 235 32 0
* First Division championship playoff teams

The divisions will not be permitted to attach sponsors’ names to their names, or to give them names that do not correspond to their position within the ladder.

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