Finally, we have a blueprint for a more equitable way to determine college football's national championship.
It isn't perfect, but it's a start.
The proposal comes from Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson. Wielding statistics and data comparing successful conferences who've competed respectfully against automatic qualifying conferences, the proposal is a bold marker placed before institutions of higher learning and their presidents who govern the NCAA.
Coming from Thompson, aimed at tweaking the BCS, it is a little like a squire entering the court of the king and telling him how to tax the kingdom.
But if anything is going to fix the controversial BCS system, it's gotta involve some toppling of kingdoms and realms.
Thompson presented the proposal at Notre Dame on Wednesday. Labeled the "MWC Proposal" to reform the BCS, it was pitched before its fellow Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) universities.
The proposal is an interesting gauntlet thrown down to college football's royalty. It asks a very novel idea: Let a championship be determined by competition and players actually on the field — not computer geeks, sports writers, polls and twisted bias formulae.
Once placed before the moguls that run the BCS cartel (major bowls, six automatic qualifying conferences and TV network executives), the hope is it will begin a much-needed debate: Is there an effort by the elite of college football to work on a fair solution? Or is it business as usual, a selfish money grab by protectionists and obstructionists who are greedily unwilling to budge?
Thompson's proposal states that a FBS conference will be an automatic qualifying conference (AQ) to BCS bowls and place its champion in a BCS bowl if, after a two-season period, the conference has (a) played a minimum of 20 inter-conference regular-season games against the six current AQ conferences, and (b) has a minimum winning percentage of .400 in those games.
Going by that formula, the Mountain West would easily be an AQ conference next season.
Under that criteria, AQ conferences would be the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, MWC, Pac-10 and SEC for the 2010 through 2013 seasons.
Even if the criteria were applied to the past four seasons of competition instead of the previous two, and you inserted postseason bowl competition the same seven conferences would achieve AQ status.
"Over the past five postseasons, only the Pac-10 (.750), MWC (.700), SEC (.636) and Big 12 (.545) have winning records against AQ conference teams," claims Thompson.
The Thompson proposal calls for creation of a new committee that will replace the BCS standings, computer programs and pollsters.
Instead, a 12-member selection committee "comprised of one representative from each of the 11 FBS conferences and one representative from Notre Dame, will determine these standings."
Wow. This would spread authority for BCS rankings around the entire block over a broad spectum, hopefully representative of the entire FBS. It would pry open a tight-fisted cartel created by the six conference administrators.
"This committee will carefully study and evaluate the teams over the course of the season before determining the rankings. The committee will rank the Top 25 teams at the end of each regular season, and these rankings will constitute the final BCS standings."
The proposal tries to build in some protection for traditional bowl alliances with flexibility in extending invitations to keep the guys in the colored sport coats happy and satisfied.
The MWC proposal also calls for a fifth BCS bowl, and all would be played the first week of January. The committee would rank bowl teams from 1 to 10 to fill those bowls. The two lowest-ranked BCS bowl teams would play in the fifth BCS bowl (currently one of the non-BCS bowls), which could be the Holiday Bowl.
The top eight BCS bowl teams would play in the Rose, Fiesta, Orange or Sugar bowls. The winners of those four bowls would advance to play semifinal games one week after their bowl games conclude. The semifinal winners would then play in a national championship game approximately one week later at a site to be rotated among the five BCS bowls. The chosen bowl site would be in addition to the bowl game they just staged one week prior.
Thompson says the Presidential Oversight Committee (from the NCAA) would be changed — if you can imagine the moxie of trying to actually make it fair — to include one voting member from each FBS conference and Notre Dame.
There. A simple and direct appeal for fairness over greed, competition and entitlement. A school like New Mexico would have as good a chance at a BCS game as Duke.
It sounds right. It strikes a cord of reason.
But so did the pleadings of Sir Thomas More, who fell out of favor with King Henry VIII. More, a knight, bucked the king's fancy idea of marriage and ideas about the holy church.
He was beheaded.
Let's hope Thompson's bold challenge to the kingdom builders and usurpers of college football receives a more favorable review and treatment from the elite.
If the elite (Big 12, Pac-10, Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big East) don't want to listen, don't want to reason with a simple proposal like this, they are indeed cowards and are completely exposed for perpetrating a fraud on all collegedom as many have alleged since its inception.