Welcome back to Madison — hope you enjoyed your break! My break was fine — I did a little skiing, a little more drinking, and a lot of sitting around. Of course, drinking and sitting around just leads to sports watching, which is really one of my favorite things. But I had a little problem with my vacation. The problem was that all of the bowl games were absolutely horrible.

The average point differential of the top five bowl games was nearly 24 points. Worse yet was that those games weren’t even as close as the scores indicated because Miami, Oregon, and LSU all gave up scores with their victories safely out of reach during the second half of each of those games.

After I watched about the first half of each of these games, it was more apparent than ever that some major alterations were, in fact, necessary in order to make postseason college football something worth watching. Two things could make this happen: the BCS could be tweaked and changed in hopes that it will magically get better, or college football could catch up with every other sport in America (if not the world, but I don’t know about some sports) and hold a playoff.

Even though the playoff system will not be instituted for a variety of reasons, it is tempting to think back to the holiday season and ponder what could have been. I propose that college football should have an eight-team playoff. The tournament could start around the time the first bowls usually start and would be finished around the time the last bowls usually finish.

That’s easy enough, but how should the teams be selected? Well, here’s where the new system would admittedly get hung up. The first-place teams from the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-10, Big 12, ACC, and Big East should receive automatic bids. So what happens to teams that aren’t in these conferences?

Well, for starters, Notre Dame would have to get its act together and get in the Big Ten, just as BYU should join the Pac-10. If these teams joined major conferences, all the storied programs would be accounted for and no one would be left out.

The final two spots in the playoffs would remain up to current BCS ranking system. Whichever teams had the highest computer-generated standings besides those already winning the conference championships would grab the remaining positions.

So what would this system have done for our horribly lopsided games earlier this month? The Big Ten and Pac-10 champions could still have faced off in the Rose Bowl, like old times, with Illinois vs. Oregon. This game couldn’t have been worse than the whipping Oregon gave to Colorado.

Beyond the traditional Rose Bowl matchup, the teams could be seeded according to the BCS standings. Miami would take the No. 1 seed, obviously, and at some point would end up playing an opponent that is worthy of the championship.

There is no question the Miami team that won the championship was a great team, but players and journalists are talking about them being the best team ever. I don’t really understand how anyone can justify a claim like that about this Miami team.

Who did this team play this season? It’s true they played some good teams, like Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and finally Nebraska. But come on, what did that Nebraska game prove? All that victory proved was that Miami was just as capable of whipping Nebraska just as bad as Colorado beat them. Colorado coincidentally took just as bad a beating at the hands of an impressive Oregon team.

Someone could make a case that Miami and Colorado were about even and that Oregon was better than both of them. I’m not going to do that. Miami probably would have beaten Oregon, but I would have loved to watch that game, and so would have every college football enthusiast.
For those that don’t want to see college football’s traditional bowl system disbanded, I sympathize, but traditions like the Rose Bowl have already begun to be altered by the BCS system. It is too late for preservation, and it’s time for alterations.
If a Big East team is going to throw the ball up and down the field for a Rose Bowl victory and a national championship and then tell me that they are the best team in the history of the game, it would sure be nice to have them at least play the second-best team in the country once before they crown themselves the best ever.