|BCS director Bill Hancock.|
• A four-team seeded playoff model will be formally submitted to the BCS presidential oversight committee (university presidents) for approval on June 26th. That model was agreed to upon by BCS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
• The new playoff model will begin with the 2014 season, replacing the current model which has been in place since 1998.
• While the two semifinal games will rotate via the current "major bowl" sites, the national championship game will be opened up to any city that wants to throw their name into the hat – same way the NFL does it for the Super Bowl. However, semifinal bowl sites will not be tied to current conference bowl relationships (ie: the B1G vs Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl).
• The final 4 teams to make the playoff will be chosen by a special yet to be determined "committee", and will feature an emphasis on conference champions and strength of schedule.
• The BCS commissioners, including B1G commissioner Jim Delany, stood unified in this new plan.
As Kevin Bacon would say, "These are the facts of the case. And they are undisputed."
Let's break this down piece by piece.
The selection committee
I don't know about you, but when I look at the proposed system and the one it is replacing, I don't see that much of a difference. It's a "plus-1" system, and that's great and all, but as is the frustration with the current BCS formula, the same frustration will remain with the new one – maybe even more so. And the frustration is that the process of deciding who should play who is a convoluted and disturbing mess.
The current system uses a combination of human (polls) and computer elements. I would imagine that it's altogether likely that the new system would use an even more confusing combination of university presidents, athletic directors, coaches and computers.
Maybe the third iteration of the BCS formula will include bloggers and housewives?
I understand that a similar system is used for the selection process for the NCAA Tournament. But when you have a field of 65 and each team plays upwards of 30-35 games, you can get away with a sloppy selection process because you're pretty confident the best team in the country is probably in that field of 65. And history is shown that to be true. The lowest seed to win the NCAA tourney was 8th seeded Villanova in '85.
Location of games
About a month ago, MSU AD Mark Hollis said this to reporters when questioned about the B1G's decision to not pursue home sites for semifinal games:
"For us it's critical to keep the Rose Bowl in the equation."Well good job.
So when the Rose Bowl isn't being whored out for the BCS playoff, the lowly B1G and Pac-12 rejects will have to duke it out in
You know, the more the landscape of college football changes, the more ridiculous that nickname sounds. #justsayin
Is it better?
Well, that's really the $64,000 question, isn't it?
A lot of details have yet to emerge. And I am fully aware that I've already begun to connect a lot of the dots without many of said details. But you really don't need a lot of explanation to understand that, fundamentally, a playoff for college football is never really going to work.
Dave Brandon said it well back on January 16th (before changing his mind on May 3rd).
"This whole notion of a playoff is ridiculous because I don't care what you come up with, it's not going to be a fair playoff. You've got a bunch of teams that don't play one another and play different competition and in different time zones in different conferences in different stadiums in front of different crowds and different weather and suddenly at some point in the year you are trying to arbitrarily decide which one is better and which one deserves to be in a four-team playoff or a six-team playoff."He shoulda stuck with that.
So to answer the question of "Is it better?", in my view, no. There's still too many areas of conflict. If you're going to "fix" the BCS, then fix the areas that don't work. Don't just change it for the sake of change.
I'm just going to leave this right here.
The college football season is not set up to maximize a playoff format. Teams don't play enough games. Think about it. In the NFL, teams play 16 games, and there are only 32 teams – 12 of which make the playoffs...4 division winners and 2 wildcard teams in each conference.
In college football, a purposed 4-team playoff which will choose it's teams from 6 conferences (B1G, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big East and ACC) spanning 66 teams (currently). There is no way, in the current 12-game season format with the ranking system we have, that a field of 4 teams can accurately be chosen.
Insert argument about how strength of schedule should be weighed heavier in the BCS formula here.
To do it the right way, a drastic revamp of college football from head to toe would be needed. This would include elimination of computer polls and the "human element", realignment of conferences and divisions (which would kill off the bowls), drastic lengthening of seasons, and all-likely the elimination of some teams from "automatic qualifier" status.
Surely an NFL-like playoff system would emerge from the wreckage – which would be more-fairer, but would never happen because of things like school administrators, academic obligations of players, conference television and current bowl contracts and the like. Basically, there's too much red tape involved for any real post-season system that would be considered "fair". So what we end up with is a the product of the equation where an ideal playoff system is divided by the current BCS system in order to keep the money train rolling without compromising the integrity of conferences and tradition (i.e. bowls).
To put it simply – not a real playoff.