SPORTS WATCH
So Long B.C.S., Hello College Football Playoff System
by Gus Jarvis
Jul 04, 2012 | 1397 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The time has come where we, as college football fans, have nothing to bitch and moan about any more. Yes, the Bowl Championship Series Commissioners have come to a consensus and a four-team playoff system will be implemented in college football in 2014.

No more complaining that an undefeated Boise State is being left out of a championship game. No more whining when the National Championship game pits two Southeastern Conference Teams who have already played each other in the regular season. There will be no more complaining about college football. Period.

After being backed into a corner for way too long, the commissioners finally decided to go with a playoff system. Four semifinalists will be selected by a yet-to-be-determined committee – similar to what occurs when March Madness rolls around each year for the N.C.A.A. basketball Tournament. There are no automatic qualifying conferences that will simply take one of these four semifinalist spots ahead of time. (Although you should probably just set aside two of those spots for SEC teams anyway. Lets be honest here.)

According to a New York Times report the two semifinal games will be rotated among six bowl sites over a 12-year period and they will be played either Dec. 31 or Jan.1. So far, those bowls have not yet been selected but if the Chick-fil-A Bowl isn’t one of them, I am going to be so, so disappointed. The championship game will be held at a neutral site with cities bidding ahead of time to be the host city. That game will be played on the first Monday in January that is at least six days after the semifinals.

When the commissioners made their announcement last week that they finally were able to come to consensus on the playoff system, the first thing that was noted is that with a new city hosting the National Championship game each year, it will feel much like the Super Bowl.

“It will be much like the Super Bowl,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told The New York Times. “You’ll be dealing with civic communities, and I think it’ll be a national process, and people have to be very energetic about it. I think it’s going to be great for the sport.”

So there you have it, I guess. A season of college football will lead to something that feels like the Super Bowl. After thinking about this sentiment for a while, I think I like it. I do like the build-up to the Super Bowl and I do love watching the Super Bowl, so why wouldn’t I like college football’s version of the playoffs and then the Super Bowl? What is there not to like in all of this?

Apparently there’s a lot. When the news broke that college football will have a four-team playoff system starting in 2014, there seemed to be an overwhelming wave of negativity that took over sports writers and reporters. There seemed to be a sentiment, initially, that this new system isn’t what everyone was calling for all these year, that with this new playoff system in place, boy were we going to miss the B.C. S. I’m not sure where all of that was coming from but I am not going to miss the B.C.S. for one minute.

I’m not sure a four-team playoff is going to put an end to all of college football’s imperfections. In fact, I know the playoff system is going to create controversy and yes, feelings will be hurt over and over again. At least we have something in place that will build excitement to a National Championship and yes, it will be worth it in the end.

Yes, I do believe that this yet-to-be-organized selection committee will have a tough job in selecting the four playoff teams and yes, I am sure I will be bitching and moaning about it at some point. (You know there will be some poor undefeated team from some small conference who doesn’t make the four-team cut. It’s going to happen.) At least, though, if they get it wrong, they get it wrong at the semifinals rather than the National Championship game in the current system. Once the four-team playoff is set, it’s a road that leads to the national championship and that build-up will be sweet. I know it will be worth it.

I’ve had two people ask me if I’m going to miss all those pointless college bowls that seem to last half the year. Of course I am. That was the one thing about the B.C.S. I liked. I enjoyed catching one or two games a night during the holiday season. It was mindless football and I loved it. I think I am willing to give all that up for a playoff system that highlights three very big games. And I’m not sure anyone said there won’t be pointless bowl games for two weeks. Am I wrong? I bet college football finds a way to put on a sideshow of all sorts of pointless games for the sake of having games. We’ll see.

What about the tradition of some of those classic bowls like the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl? They will still be alive in four-team playoff rotation and it will be all good. For me, the tradition for those bowls has been kind of lost anyway. Remember the good ol’ days of setting up five TV’s in the living room on New Year’s Day so you could watch all the bowls simultaneously? That was classic bowl season and it hasn’t been that way for years. That tradition has already been lost. I’m ready for a playoff system.

Of course, the last few details that have yet to be worked out is where ESPN and game sponsors are going to make their money. This should not be an issue for us, the common fan. Who cares how they make their money on the new system? You know and I know they will find away. I don’t care about ESPN and I don’t care how ESPN feels about the new system. They make too much money anyway and they have had their hand in the college football cookie jar for way too long. And by the way, somebody please fire Lou Holtz already. Do we have to put up with him for another season? You worried about making money ESPN? Well, start with firing Lou Holtz and go from there.

We should all be thankful that the commissioners were finally backed into a corner and had to go with a playoff system. Don’t think of the B.C.S. as the good ol’ days. They sucked and the system wasn’t good for college football. The four-team playoff isn’t going to be perfect but it moves the sport in the right direction.

Which direction is that? Well, for me it would be an eight-team playoff system.

gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com or @gusgusj

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