In 1992, the Bowl Coalition was founded in a vain attempt to try and match the top two teams in the country in some kind of national championship. The agreement was between college bowl games and conferences: the Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Gator and Sun bowls with the SEC, Big 8, SWC, ACC, Big East and independent Notre Dame. This system was replaced by the Bowl Alliance starting in the 1995 season. The Bowl Alliance involved the champions of the SEC, Big 12, Big East, ACC and two at-large teams. It included the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls. It didn’t do much better than the Bowl Coalition.
And then, in 1998, a day of infamy in the eyes of college football fans, the Bowl Championship Series was born. In the wake of the Bowl Alliance and Bowl Coalition’s efforts, the BCS took elements from both and made it more comprehensive to include all of D-IA football. Division-IA was replaced with the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with six major conferences and five minor conferences, with all of that constantly in flux with expansion and realignment.
The premise of the BCS was the same as the Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance. Until 1992, all bowl games were run completely independent of each other. Each bowl had their certain tie-ins. The Rose Bowl, for example, always hosted the Pac 10 champion and the Big Ten champion. Because of this system, the best teams in college football didn’t necessarily always play each other in bowl games. Since college football’s champion was decided by who won the AP/UPI polls after the bowl games, it was difficult to agree on who the best team was because the bowl games never consistently matched the top teams in the nation.
The BCS came in as the solution. Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer is believed to have put it all together. Lo and behold, after several seasons, the BCS failed miserably and proved to be just as inadequate as its predecessors. Not only is it impossible to determine the two best teams in the country consistently each year, it is downright unfair. The BCS essentially created two leagues in Division-IA: those with automatic bids for their champions are the top-tier league, with the rest as the lower-tier league. For example, in 2008, 9 of the 10 BCS bowl game participants came from the top-tier conferences, while two teams from lower-tier conferences were ranked in the top ten.
The problem with the BCS is that there was no ranking, poll, committee or anything else that can pick the two best teams in the nation after a 12 game regular season every single year. In a year when there are only two undefeated teams then sure, easy to pick the two best. But in years when there aren’t two clear-cut favorites, the BCS is inadequate. Was the BCS a step up from the Bowl Alliance and the Bowl Coalition? Yes, of course. But as a means of determining a national champion, the BCS was an absurdity. It gives us some great bowl game match-ups, but before the season starts, it has already determined that only about half of the FBS teams can play for the national championship. It does not provide for a true national champion or equal access to all.
Fortunately the BCS saw its demise. Starting in the 2014-2015 season, college football will have a true playoff. It will feature just four teams selected by committee. It’s a playoff, which is great, but it can be better.
And that is why the College Football Cafeteria presents our official college football playoff proposal. This was formerly a sixteen team playoff proposal, but realistically this just is not going to happen. It simply extends the season for too long. The only real playoff that has a chance is an 8 team playoff at best. After the 2011 season lots of people were calling for a plus-one, which is a 4 team playoff, and is similar to what we have now. I believe the best proposal that has the best chance at being implemented is an 8 team playoff. I also believe I have formulated a fair way to do this.
Continue through the links below to see the details of our college football playoff proposal.
- Why was a playoff necessary?
- How it works
- Bowl games and timeline
- Share your thoughts on a college football playoff