A College Football NIT…..Yes!
by Jonathan Ellerbe

If the Non-BCS teams wanted to drive the big boys crazy they should start their own playoff for NON-BCS MEMBERS ONLY!  Sorry BCS teams, you can argue about one loss teams and Orange, Sugar and Rose bowl match ups all month of December, but with the help of a television network (attention ABC/ESPN, CBS/CSTV, Fox/Fox Sports, NBC) the Non-BCS teams can take their game to the next level in December by having a PLAYOFF! 

This playoff formula is simple!  16 teams, 4 rounds and a CHAMPION decided on the field!  No more pizza and helicopter bowls to embarrass the Non-BCS teams.  The facts are black and white that the BCS teams do not want the Non-BCS teams around (except only on home Saturdays in September, October and November and that’s to lay down for an easy win).  The bowls available for Non-BCS teams are a joke, during the worst travel times and located in not so wonderful destinations and vacation spots.  A playoff would increase interest in the Non-BCS December schedule of games.

So why not have a College Football NIT?  Here’s how to do it and what it would look like this year.  You would take the Sagarin Ratings for the top 16 Non-BCS teams and fill out a bracket.

What are Sagarin Ratings?  By definition Sagarin Ratings are:

“The Schedule ratings represent the average schedule difficulty faced by each team in the games that it's played so far.  The schedule difficulty of a given game takes into account the rating of the opponent and the location of the game.”

Basically, Sagarin's Ratings are particularly relevant to help distinguish between teams that have compiled impressive win-loss records against strong competition and teams that have defeated weaker opponents.

With Sagarin Ratings in mind, this year’s bracket would look like this:

1. Boise State 12-0 (9)
16. Wyoming  6-6 (78)

8. Utah  7-5 (58)
9. Southern Miss  8-5 (61)

4. TCU  10-2 (33)
13. Ohio  9-4 (66)

5. Houston  10-3 (51)
12. Rice  7-5 (64)

2. BYU  10-2  (21)
15. Western Michigan  8-4 (73)

7. Tulsa  8-4 (55)
10. Central Michigan  9-4 (62)

3. Hawaii  10-3 (28)
14. San Jose State  8-4 (69)

6. Nevada  8-4 (52)
11. ECU  7-5 (63)

*The number beside the teams overall record in parenthesis is the Sagarin Rating at the end of the 2006 regular season.

Round 1, 2 and 3 would be played at the team with the higher seed home’s field.  Round 4 would be played in a Championship Site.  These cities would more than likely be cities with a NFL stadium like Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami or Houston (A Super Bowl City).  You could play all the games on Saturdays and have both Final 4 games and the NIT Championship Game shown nationally.

Would it be a National Championship?  No!  But would you rather your favorite college team be in the next “Dot Com Bowl”, in middle of Nowhere, USA the day before Christmas and the game mean nothing more than extra practice time?  Or would you rather win the NIT College Football Championship and be the best of a 16 team field?  I think the answer is easy………what about you? 

Jonathan Ellerbe