Improve the game!
Return to homepage***** Here are proposals I think would improve the sports of football and basketball. Most of these ideas have been around for awhile, but have not yet received much serious consideration. If you like what you read here, talk it up! 1. College Football Championship - Select teams after the bowls. I like the idea of a playoff between the best teams to determine a national champion. I also like traditional bowl matchups between conference champions. The solution for having both is to make the playoff selections after the bowl games. This has the advantage of being able to evaluate candidate teams on the basis of their recent performances against top teams from other conferences. 2. College Basketball Tournament - Improve first-round matchups. March Madness is great, except for first-round matchups of top seeds versus bottom seeds, which the favorites win over 90% of the time. I propose exapnding the 68-team field to 80, so that there are essentially 16 "play-in" games for the 13 through 20 seeds. It has three advantages: (1) more schools participate, (2) these games are more winnable for weak conference champs, and (3) round-of-64 games will be generally more competitive for 1 through 4 seeds. 3. Overtime Games - Play sudden death without a coin toss. The purpose of overtime should be to determine a game winner as quickly and fairly as possible. The simple solution is true sudden death. Just keep playing from the position at the end of regulation until one team scores. No coin flip awarding possession to the team who just scored. No taking turns to tie again. No starting in field goal range. No overtime expiration - count the clock up, not down. Sudden death works for basketball, too. Keep possession into the overtime. If there is no possession (missed shot or loose ball), go by the held-ball possession arrow. It might also be good to require a team to score two points (no victory on a single free throw). 4. Time Out Rules - Thirty seconds is long enough. It is tiresome to watch the end of a close game with multiple, lengthy timeouts. All team timeouts should be 30 seconds. They are not for drawing up plays - that is what practice sessions are for. They are not for rest - that is what substitutions are for. They are not for running TV ads - that is what media timeouts are for. 5. Free Throw Rules - If you foul, the other team keeps the ball. Fouling is the universal strategy of losing teams in the closing minutes. It serves mostly to drag out the inevitable defeat. It makes sense to foul only because the rules reward the fouling team with ball possession, or a rebound chance on a missed free throw. My proposal is that a team keeps the ball with the shot clock reset after a made or missed free throw, the same as a technical foul. Then, the incentive would be NOT to foul. This eliminates multiple free throws (one-plus and two-shot bonuses), as well as the time and trouble of lining up and policing the rebounds. Games will then end on time. Act-of-shooting foul rules need not change. 6. One and Done - Replace with Two and Through. Eighteen year olds have the right to play professional ball, and the NBA has the right to accept or reject any of them. Currently, they reject 18s and accept 19s. They should instead agree not to draft anyone for two years who chooses to enroll in college. Most agree that would work better for all interests at both levels. *****