THE SUBJECT THAT REFUSES TO DIE….It seems to be nearly unanimous now: the BCS sucks. Even people with no particular love for USC and no axe to grind against the BCS agree that any system that produced this year’s result has to go.

The weird thing, of course, is that everyone ? and I mean everyone ? agrees that a playoff is the only sane method to determine a national champion, but at the same time everyone ? yeah, everyone ? also agrees that a playoff is impossible thanks to the unenlightened self-interest of the various big time football programs.

So what. Here’s my plan anyway:

  • Forget the 8-team playoff concept that everyone always seems to propose. Make it a 4-team playoff instead, with the current BCS formula determining the teams. Play the two semifinal games on New Year’s and the final a week later.

  • Why only four teams? The more teams you have the hairier the rankings and the pairings get, and I can’t remember a year in which anyone seriously thought that a team outside the top four was a serious title contender. So let’s walk before we run: four teams and one week of games.

  • Only three bowl games are needed for this, so either one of the current BCS bowls gets booted or else one of them sits out the playoffs each year and hosts an ordinary bowl game. As a consolation, maybe the bowl that sits out gets first pick of teams outside the top four.

  • As for splitting the money, I can’t believe there’s no way to make this work. There’s got to be some formula that more or less replicates the current system, isn’t there?

There you have it: simple, short, fair, and mercenary. And if the NCAA refuses to do it, maybe we can enlist Arnold to threaten a referendum unless they agree to the plan!