Death to the BCS: College Football Has a Playoff!
By Patrick Maks
Major college football will have its first playoff, starting in 2014.
University presidents approved a plan, Tuesday, to adopt a four-team playoff proposed last Wednesday by commissioners of college football’s major conferences.
According to a report from The Associated Press, the move, which marks the end of the Bowl Championship Series that began in 1998, will create two national semifinals opposed to the BCS’s format that pitted No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country against each other.
Virginia Tech president and chair of the presidential oversight committee said a four-team format was the right move for the sport, according to the AP’s report.
“A four-team playoff doesn't go too far; it goes just the right amount,” Sterger said.
“We are very pleased with this arrangement even though some issues remain to be finalized.”
Under the new format, logically, the No. 1 team will play No. 4 and No. 2 will play No. 3 on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, respectively, according to the report.
The winners of those two games will play each other on the first Monday in January. College football’s first championship determined by a playoff is set for Jan. 12, 2015.
The semifinal sites will rotate among the four current BCS bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange) in addition to two more former bowl sites.
According to the AP, “The teams will be selected by a committee, similar to the way the NCAA basketball tournament field is set.”
Noticeably, the difference this committee will face is trying to narrow the field down to just four teams. Exactly how the committee will select the four teams is still being discussed, according to the report.
Commissioners hope to strike a deal with a television partner through 2025, or 12 years after the playoff system’s implementation.
Though Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has been quiet on the issue of a playoff in college football as of late, he has made it clear in the past that he opposes the notion of such a format.
Meyer, who won two national championships at Florida before coming to OSU, said at a press conference in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on May 16, that the past decade’s setup has been “ideal” for college football.
“I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this—I think the ideal setup is what’s happened in the last decade of football,” Meyer said. “I think we’ve had a true national champion.”
While Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason in 2012-13, the Buckeyes will be able to play in college football’s first playoff—assuming they are one of the four teams chosen by the committee.
Opponents of a playoff in college football have argued it would take away from the importance of the regular season, where just a single loss can end a team’s dreams at a national championship.
According to the report, though, Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive said he thinks the new four-team format both enhances the sport’s postseason while protecting the regular season.
“By making this change we felt we could enhance the regular season but at the same time provide the fans with the kind of postseason that will contribute to the regular season,” Slive said.
According to a report by ESPN, ACC commissioner John Swofford called the move “a milestone” for college football.
“The access for conferences throughout the FBS is going to be better in this system than the current system,” he said.
“That's an important part of this. But you have to play your way in. That's a plus.”