The day we all hoped would come but never thought would arrive has actually become a reality. College football’s champion will now be decided by a playoff, albeit a four team playoff. I would have like to see 8, but take what you can get. ESPN reported that yesterday the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director reached a consensus and starting in 2014, the BCS bowls will be no more.
I for one am very relieved. They seem to have come to a good compromise on how things work. Here’s the process.
1. At the start of the season, the semifinal locations will be selected. They will be chosen from the existing four BCS bowls and will rotate each year. That means each year the two semifinal playoff games will be played at the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta or Orange Bowls. The two bowls not hosting playoff games will be normal bowls, featuring teams from their normal conference tie-ins most likely.
2. The four teams selected to play in the playoff will be chosen and seeded by a committee. This is how they do it in the NCAA basketball tournament, so it makes sense.
3. The national championship game will continue to be played the same day it is now. The location will be bid out to the highest bidder in any city, just like the Super Bowl is. The participants will be the two winners of the semi-final games.
That’s it. This is basically the Plus One Model folks have been talking about for a while. You see, the regular season remains exactly the same and the bowl season remains exactly the same. The only thing that has changed is who plays in which bowls and after all the bowls are played who competes in the national championship. Instead of reranking all the teams after the bowls, they just use the winners of two particular bowls. So you’re really similar to a Plus One here.
This will begin in the 2014 season though. So we have this year and next year to deal with the BCS yet again. Oh and no one is going to recognize any of the conferences in that time as they will all be continually changing each season. But that’s ok, with a playoff in sight, no one is going to pay much attention to college football for two years. We’re all too excited and looking forward to the 2014 season to pay much attention to anything else.
I believe over time the playoff will expand to 8 teams and that’s where it needs to stay. Top 6 conference champions plus two at large bids chosen by committee. That would be ideal. Obviously we’re going to get there in steps, but I do hope we get there. If nothing else, at least we have taken the biggest step in actually getting a playoff. Here’s to 2014!