- Published on 10 July 2012
- Written by Andy McCallister
- Hits: 732
Emphasis on the somewhat.
The new process agreed to last month, which will begin following the 2014 season and run through 2025, features a four-team playoff with semifinal games in the guise of current bowls and then a national title game.
We’ll have two more seasons of the status quo, namely the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system. In that process, various polls and a computer algorithm join forces to select the top two teams in the nation at the conclusion of the regular season and conference championship games. That’s followed by a championship game between those top two teams about a week after New Year’s Day and all of the other bowls.
In the new process, a selection committee will choose what they believe to be are the top four teams. Everyone involved with making the decision to go in this new direction (a panel of university presidents and BCS commissioners) got on board with this plan, we understand, but as yet we still don’t know how this selection committee will be composed or who will serve on it.
What we do know is that six of the traditional bowl games (Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, Rose and two others still to be named) will rotate year-by-year as hosts of the two semifinal games, and they will take place on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. (The Rose Bowl will continue its contract with the Big Ten and Pac-12 in the years that it doesn’t host a semifinal).
The winners of the two games will then meet for the championship game (which will probably have a snappier title than “the championship game” by the time it takes place on Jan. 12, 2015). Cities (and stadiums) will bid to host this game.
On the face of it, this sounds all well and good. We’ve expanded the process to account for four good teams instead of two and preserved, in essence, the traditional family of bowl games while getting the season wound up around the same time it is now.
But once we get to 2014, I can’t help but think that concerns may arise connected to what appears to be a subjective selection of the final four teams.
Think of basketball. There is a similar tournament selection committee involved in picking and assembling the 68-team Division I men’s bracket every March. There are always teams that believe they were excluded unjustly. (And are therefore relegated to the 32-team NIT or the, what is it, 16-team CBI).
I predict similar howls of righteous indignation and teeth-gnashing will ensue with our new football playoff model. Whatever team finishes in fifth or sixth place will steadfastly maintain that they could’ve beaten seeds one through four.
But I suppose that would happen no matter the process, wouldn’t it? Still and all, don’t ask me to be on that selection committee. How many seasons do you think there will be a group of four clear-cut teams that are head and shoulders above the rest?
Perhaps all of this concern is beside the point. Some observers estimate that the new formula figures to double the BCS television contract revenue to more than $300 million a year. Even that may be conservative. We’ll only now how lucrative it’ll all be when the networks start the bidding.