By: James Smith
It took a long time, and much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but on June 26th the powers that be in the universe of college sports finally agreed to dismantle the old Bowl system and introduce a new playoff system for determining the national champion of college football. The plan will take effect in the 2013-2014 season and is slated to run through 2025 – in other words, about as long as it will take for people to figure out what the next thing they should be complaining about is.
The new system will create a four-team playoff, with the country’s top programs playing each other in two semifinal games on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. The winners of those games will then square off on "the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the final semifinal game is played."
So, why should you care about this new BCS system?
First and foremost, it will eliminate the muddle that was caused by the use of the BCS rankings to determine which teams got to play in the title game. Last year, the Auburn-LSU title game caused controversy and consternation among fans of college football because the two had already played during the regular season. At least part of that final pairing came about because of the preference given to teams in certain conferences. Both Auburn and LSU played in the SEC, a conference which in recent years has dominated the college football conversation; when the polls brought them together in the championship game, it was to the exclusion of Oklahoma, which finished the season with an identical record to Auburn and hadn’t yet played LSU.
More importantly, though, it will protect the top teams from getting knocked out of contention on account of those fluky or unexpected losses that can occur on any given Sunday in football. It’s impossible to say whether or not Boise State would have contested the title game even if it hadn’t lost to TCU because of a missed field goal – but it was knocked out of the conversation altogether by the loss. The new playoff season will give teams outside the traditional powerhouses a chance to play in by merit.
Most important of all, of course, is that the playoff will create a more exciting conclusion to the college football season. And, really, what more do you need than that?
[pic via Flickr – KellBailey]