Change We Can Believe In – The 2014 College Football Playoffs

After fourteen years of disgruntled college football fans complaining about the current Bowl Championship Series system, the BCS commissioners have reached a consensus endorsing a four game playoff series to decide the championship game in lieu of polls, computer rankings, and mathematical equations.  A committee will decide which four teams are to participate, based on performance and strength of schedule.  On Tuesday, the BCS Presidential Oversight committee will vote to approve this new system, and from 2014 on, we may possibly have a new system in place to determine our national college football champions. I could go on for the entirety of this post about how happy I am about this, but instead I will explain why this is good for fans, and college football alike.

For fans, this will increase the level of competition we will see in order to make it to the championship.  The championship will be more coveted and sought after by four teams, three of which could walk away empty handed. A heavy emphasis will be placed on conference champions, and fans will get to see the best of the best square off against each other, providing football purists with some of the best match ups they will get to see.  Alternatively, teams that may have lost out on a chance to make it to the play-off series may have another chance at vindication through the still important Bowl games.

A team that may have lost out on a conference championship, or teams in second-tier conferences will have a greater chance of appearing in bowl games, rather than bowl games being reserved for (primarily) big name teams only.  In the same way the NCAA Basketball tournament teams are selected, we will start to see the greater teams emerge.  Rather than almost always having the best teams play against one another, we will always have the best teams playing against each other in the championship, as they have fought to earn the right to be there.

For college football, as a business, this new system could give the NCAA a boost worth approximately 300 million dollars just in television rights. In 2007, 85% of percent of college football fans voted in favor of changing the system. In 2009, at the American Football Coaches’ Association convention, 71% of division IA coaches voted in favor of doing away with the current system.  Currently, not even 10% of teams have made appearances in the BCS championship game.  This is not to say this isn’t achieved through their own merit, but it would be great to see teams performing at a higher level of intensity for an even greater prize.  You won’t have fans saying, “They didn’t beat the best team out there,” anymore.

If you look at Division I basketball, March Madness began with only 8 teams.  It has now been expanded to 65 teams, not to mention the NIT tournament being more competitive every year, and people are still calling for the expansion of the NCAA basketball tournament.  With a four-team playoff, in addition to bowl games, we will be able to preserve the importance of the Rose Bowl and other elite bowl games while allowing every deserving school to get a shot at the championship.  It is hard for me to believe that every one of the four teams would not have a legitimate chance of winning the championship game – now they all have a chance. With teams being snubbed over the years, the current system has taken a great deal of criticism.

My main argument was always that a computer couldn’t objectively measure the level of talent that human beings are playing with.  A computer does not have eyes to watch these teams, judging their strengths and weaknesses.  The undefeated University of Utah was excluded in 2004 and 2008, while teams with one or more losses had progressed to the BCS championship. In 2003, USC was ranked number one by two human polls; however, a computer poll ranked them number three, and they were excluded from the national championship.  In 2004, the undefeated Auburn University team was excluded from the championship game, as two other undefeated teams (USC, and Oklahoma) had been selected.  With a new playoff system, all three teams would have had the chance to fight for their opportunity.

Under the current system, schools in five conferences are not guaranteed a spot in the bowl games, which may now be vacant due to the new playoff system.  In my opinion, it would also prove to be beneficial for recruitment outside of the six founding conferences, and would help for talent to be more evenly dispersed.  You will see lesser known, hungry teams fighting in bowl games.  Bowl games bring in tons of money for host cities.  It would be great to see this money being dispersed throughout the NCAA, and having a greater impact on programs that, without the playoff games, would be unlikely to play in any bowl games after the regular season.

The Fans have spoken, the Coaches have spoken, and even Barrack Obama has voiced his opinion.  While it may not be anything more than four teams, and two rounds for now, the future is looking up for college football fans.

Do you agree? What is your take? Comment below to voice your opinion!


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