It was announced today officially that, after 14 years, the monster we know as the Bowl Championship Series will finally die come 2014. The Presidents’ Oversight Committee voted in favor of a four-team playoff beginning in the 2014 season.
For college football fans and sports fans in general this should be a joyous day. No longer will Division I-A football be the only NCAA sport to not determine their champion through a playoff. No longer will computers whose calculations and formulas are not made public decide the 2 best teams. No longer will coaches, who likely do not watch other games and have their own agendas when voting, be a factor in the rankings. Yes we finally have a playoff in major college football.
The details of the playoff announced today include: four teams will be selected by a committee much like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the semifinals will be held at 6 bowl sites that are to rotate year-to-year, and the final game destination will be awarded to the highest bidding city each year. More exact details, such as who will be on the selection committee will be determined sometime in the future. This playoff system will be in place for 14 years.
This is all great news, but before we all go jumping for joy and running through the streets, I have a few issues and possible ideas to make this system better and more interesting:
The Semifinals Day
It was announced that one semifinal game would be played on New Years Eve and the other on New Years Day. The question is why? Why can’t both games be on New Years Day? Throughout the history of college football, New Years Day has been the day that many of the major bowl games were played. But for the past couple years, fewer and fewer big time games have been played on New Years Day with the National Championship Game slipping all the way to Jan. 8. And who’s to say the New Years Eve game wouldn’t be overshadowed by Dick Clark’s Rockin Eve? So let’s take New Years Day back. Let’s play a day game and a night game. Let’s make New Years Day all about football again. Wouldn’t two playoff football games instead of one really kick the New Year off with a bang?
The Semifinals Sites
6 sites will rotate each year as host of the semifinals. 4 will be the sites of the current BCS bowls (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange), and 2 will be determined later. I am perfectly fine with the 4 BCS sites. The Cotton Bowl and Citrus Bowl are likely candidates to be considered for the other 2 sites. I am also fine with either of these sites for the 5th site. But how about for the 6th site we throw in a wild card. Let’s move one of the playoff games up north. And I don’t mean up north into a dome, I mean up north into the frozen tundra. Why should all these games be played in warm weather climates? Why not give teams that base their play on the cold weather a bit of an advantage? Why should a Big 10 team always have to play a team from the Big 12 or SEC in a warm weather climate? The Super Bowl is finally moving up north outdoors, and its bound to be entertaining, so what’s there to say this won’t as well?
The exact number of committee members and who will be on the committee has not been announced yet but there are some things that need to be considered. As far as who will be on the committee, I have trust in whoever selects the committee that they will select knowledgeable, unbiased (as unbiased as you can get) members who will sit down and actually watch most of the games throughout the season. I believe that 12-15 members would be a proper number of members. This range allows for any sort of regional or conference bias to be cancelled out by the other members.
Things likely to be considered for the selection of the playoff are record, strength of schedule, and whether or not they are conference champions or not. It is likely that strength of schedule, especially non-conference strength of schedule, will be highly considered. I am ecstatic that this will be important in the selection process. I am tired of these big name programs playing cupcakes in September because they are too scared of losing. No matter whether the team wins or loses, let’s reward the team for playing a tough non-conference game instead of the current system in which a loss drops you in the rankings, no matter who it was too. Let’s say a team from the Big 12 is 11-2 and a team from the SEC is 12-1. If the Big 12 team plays multiple teams from major conferences and the SEC team plays a couple teams from the Sun Belt, the Big 12 team should be put ahead of the SEC team despite the one more loss.
Another thing that needs to happen with the selection of teams is that the selections need to be transparent. We need to know what committee member voted what way and why. These committee members must be held accountable for their selections. For too long, we have had to guess as to why a certain computer made one team better than another. Lets let the public know why the committee is voting one way and not the other.
This new playoff system will be in place for 14 years. This means that for 14 years we will have to accept the system no matter what flaws may arise. Is it just me or does that seem a little long to anyone else? Just ask the BCS how much controversy can arise in 14 years after a new better system was put in place. Don’t get me wrong, the step up from the BCS to playoff is significantly greater than the old bowl system to BCS but I am just a little hesitant on the 14 years thing. Why can’t it be something like 6 or 7 years so we can tweak whatever might need to be fixed, such as expansion of the playoff, in a shorter time?
In conclusion there are definitely some things that need to be ironed out before 2014 but we are on our way to a playoff. Only 2 more years til the 2014 season and the first ever playoff in Division I-A football.
This is a glorious day. Let us go sing on top of mountains, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free of the BCS at last.”