The ECS Bowl System
by Jonathan Ellerbe

It is my pleasure to introduce the ECS, “Ellerbe Championship Series” for college football.  People love brackets!  About a month ago I wrote an article talking about a 16-team playoff system for college football (archived article dated 11.11.05).  My concept was to take the eleven conference champions in Division I-A and have a committee select the five highest-rated at-large teams or just use the current BCS formula and make a bracket.  Here’s how it would have worked this year using the conference champions and BCS ratings:

Bracket One:

1  USC (Pac 10 Champion)
16  Arkansas State  (Sun Belt Champion)

8  Miami (BCS at Large Berth)
9  Auburn (BCS at Large Berth)

4  Ohio State  (BCS at Large Berth)
13  Boise State  (WAC Champion)
5  Oregon  (BCS at Large Berth)
12  Florida State  (ACC Champion)

Bracket Two:

2  Texas  (Big 12 Champion)
15  Akron  (MAC Champion)

7  Georgia  (SEC Champion)
10  West Virginia  (Big East Champion)

3  Penn State  (Big Ten Champion)
14  Tulsa  (CUSA Champion)

6  Notre Dame  (BCS at Large Berth)
11  TCU  (Mountain West Champion)

16 teams, 15 games and a college football champion decided on the field!  I think the more important issue is that every Division I-A conference would be represented and have an equal share and shot at the postseason revenue and a national championship.  It’s unfair that Duke (1-10) will make more money than most bowl teams.

I can hear the arguments now; Arkansas State, Akron and Tulsa are not as good as Virginia Tech, LSU and Alabama (teams that were left out of the 16 team field above).  Well, too bad: ECU was not one of the best 64 teams in the country in 1993, but they won the CAA basketball tournament and got a shot at the National Championship.  Teams that compete at the Division I-A level should have a fair chance to win a National Championship and a fair slice of the revenue pie.  If not, Division I-A football needs reform.

The bracket above seems more exciting to me than the current bowl system.  It gives the end of college football season more excitement and more hype across the country and makes fifteen games important, not just one.  Instead of figuring out the UTEP/Toledo winner or waiting until January 4th for the USC/Texas game, college football fans could enjoy “bracket mania”.
Who’s your National Champion from the above brackets?  I’m still doing my research and will report back next week.

With all that in mind, here are your updated “Miller Lite Standings and Picks”:

Overall Standings:
Eddie King             28-13-1
Ellerbe                    21-20-1
AC Casey              11-11
Ian the Animal       20-22 

“Miller Lite Locks” for week 15:

Eddie King’s Locks:
Panthers -6 vs. Buccaneers
Broncos -15 vs. Ravens
Bengals -13 vs. Browns

AC Casey’s Locks:
Panthers -6 vs. Buccaneers
Colts -9 vs. Jaguars
Steelers -6 vs. Bears

Ian the Animal's Locks:
*Ian the Animal was a no-show and must pick 6 games next week.

Ellerbe’s Locks:
Jaguars +9 vs. Colts
Patriots -4.5 @ Bills
Broncos -15 vs. Ravens

Until we greet you next week from the Miller Lite Sports Bar, have a great sports weekend.

Jonathan Ellerbe