I know what you must be thinking: Holy crap two articles in a row from Dan.
So recently, (about when the final four was determined) I heard somebody on CBS make the assertion that the tournament was not the best forum for determining a national champion. This struck me as absurd, however I then thought about every league and their playoff systems to see where improvements could possibly be made. Here is what I came up with. In advance I look forward to the feedback that this will receive.
With the tournament just recently expanded, and VCU taking full advantage of this new system, the current format doesn't seem to need any adjustments. However, lets for the sake of argument lets assume there is a holy grail playoff to be attained. What would it be. To me there is only one playoff system better than the current format: World Cup format. In my new scenario the underdogs all have a chance to advance in a round robin first round. This gives even more chances for upsets to occur, and would eliminate fluke losses due to cold shooting as quality teams would still win 2/3 assuming they had a bad night. After these round robin games the stage would be set for the sweet 16 to advance from the round robin rounds. From there the tournament would play out as usual, just like the world cup.
I am a huge hater of the current BCS system. I think that a simple 8 team playoff would be the best solution. Throught last season on my radio show we routinely compared what an 8 team tournament versus a 16 team tournament would look like and a majority of the time the first round was a waste of time in the 16 team format. However, the 8 game format posed some exciting firts round match-ups. This system would also add a few games to the BCS games which would result in better games for veiwers to watch and more profits for the bowls. Win-Win.
I have always been a tad uncomfortable sending only 4 teams to the playoffs from each league. That being said My new system only adds two teams per side in an NFL format. In the new format, the three division winners get a spot and then the next three best records also get a spot. The top two records overall get first round byes. At first this seemed unfair as it sets up the first round bye teams rotations very well. However to combat this the opening rounds will be shortened. The first round will be best of 3, the second round best of 5, the championship series will be best of 7 and the world series will be best of 9. This seems excessive, however I think its time the game adapts to its players again. In the past in order to give batters a chance the lowered the mound. I feel that in recent world series it has been a race to see if you can get your ace and your #2 to pitch games 4 and 5 and wrap it up as fast as you can. In a 9 game series this would allow your whole rotation to compete and also take your bullpen into account. I think that with actual managerial decisions to make the world series would be way more interesting.
Unlike baseball I feel there are too many teams in each of these playoff scenarios. Realistically an 8 will hardly ever beat a one but on occasion it happens. Therefore I am willing to leave these playoff systems alone but put them on notice that they are subject to change.
As I stated earlier I think all of the proposed changes would make the games more interesting to watch while further testing the teams to determine a "truer" champion.