For years, I have been on record saying that the Bowl Championship Series was a necessary evil in college football. It was better at choosing a national champion than the dreaded poll-system that was place for several decades before the BCS.
Now that a playoff in college football is imminent, I guess I have to do a SLIGHT 180 and say that it may be such a bad thing after all – just as long as they get it right.
The talk is over a four-team playoff format that will go into effect in 2014. The only thing is how the four teams will be decided. Certain conferences (the SEC and Big 12) wants to have the top-four teams in the final regular season polls qualify. Others (the ACC, Big 10 and Pac-12) wants only conference champions – as long as they are in the top six (or eight). That would give flexibility for either a wild-card entry (a strong non-conference winner) or a champion from a lesser conference such as a Boise State.
I think too much money would be left on the table if they settled on just four teams. Hell, open it up to eight. That way there would be more conference champs, and more importantly, more strong wild-card entries. Better yet, the first round should be played at the home of the higher seeds. The subsequent rounds would be played at the bowls. The national championship would be played at the highest bidding city. Everyone would make money, making it a win-win all the way around.
While I think we will eventually see eight teams in the playoffs, four is not a bad start.
More importantly, the regular season has not been made any less relevant. If anything, it may make it that much more exciting. As long as it doesn’t over-expand its playoff field in the future, college football has stumbled upon a gold mine.
2014 could not get here quickly enough.