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The time has come for BCS to go in favor of a playoff

Believe it or not, I actually used to defend college football's Bowl Championship Series.

Yeah, it's true.

I bought into the argument that it made the regular season great, which is correct. And, as someone who's probably never going to have a horse in the national championship race, I loved the controversy it caused.

I enjoyed all the debates, no matter whether teams got screwed over. There was 2000, when one-loss Florida State played in the national title game ahead of one-loss Miami, despite the fact that the Hurricanes beat the Seminoles in the regular season.

The year 2003 was one of the most controversial in the BCS era. Oklahoma, USC and LSU both ended the year with one loss. People complained about USC getting left out of the title game — something I disagree with due to the fact that the Trojans competed in a very weak Pac-10 that season.

LSU and USC split the national championship. I still think it should have been the Tigers' crown.

The college football regular season is great. Its postseason? Not so great.

I guess I've gotten smarter. Now, I don't see any reason why there shouldn't be a playoff, or at the very least, a "plus one."

It would determine a true champion —, no more debates. From the NCAA's standpoint, it would be huge for TV ratings. It would bring in a ton of money.

Imagine the NCAA Basketball Tournament, except bigger. Hold a 16-team tournament. Invite all 16 conference champions, as well as five at-large teams.

Yes, maybe not everyone wants to watch a Louisiana Tech (WAC champ) or Arkansas State (Sun Belt winner). However, every conference deserves a bid. That also brings the underdog factor, and the possibility of huge upsets.

Choose the five at-large bids by whoever is highest in the BCS standings, and seed the 16 teams based on their BCS mark.

If the NCAA were to hold a tournament this year, the 11 conference champs in the field would be — LSU (SEC), Wisconsin (Big Ten), Oklahoma State (Big 12), Oregon (Pac-12), West Virginia (Big East), Virginia Tech (ACC), Southern Miss (Conference USA), Northern Illinois (MAC), Arkansas State (Sun Belt), Louisiana Tech (WAC and TCU (Mountain West).

The five at-large bids, from highest seed to lowest, would be Alabama, Stanford, Arkansas, Boise State and Kansas State.

Under this format, top-seeded LSU would play No. 16 Louisiana Tech. Alabama, the second seed, would play Arkansas State. And so on.

Play the first round at campus sites. Have current bowl games host the final three rounds, with the title game rotating between New Orleans; Glendale, Ariz.; Pasadena, Calif.; and Miami.

Have two semifinal games on New Year's Day and play the final sometime in January. Could be good the next weekend, or you could have it the week before the Super Bowl.

No more instances of a team like Boise State, TCU or Auburn in 2004 going unbeaten and not getting a shot at the championship.

The smaller bowls can still exist for teams that don't get into this tournament. They'll mean the same as they do now — important to fans of the teams and gamblers.

Unfortunately, this system isn't happening anytime soon. Hopefully, we'll get a "plus one" system, which is basically a four-team playoff.

It's not what needs to happen, but it's a step in the right direction.

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