The news that college football fans have been waiting for arrived late Wednesday afternoon: The sport we love so dearly is getting a playoff. With approval from the BCS presidential oversight committee (which will meet June 26 in Washington D.C.), the four best teams in the sport will meet on the field to determine a title starting in the 2014.
Most of the key details have already been essentially finalized, although, like everything else, little things will be tweaked along the way. The particulars (per reports) are as follows:
– The playoff will feature college football’s “best” four best teams, as determined by a committee.
– Per ESPN, the four teams will be seeded, with the committee selecting teams after considering “certain criteria such as conference championships and strength of schedule.”
– The four team playoff will be played within the current bowl structure, and per CBS, will feature semifinals around January 1 at existing bowl sites, with the championship game “bid” out in the same manner the Super Bowl is.
Of course there are still some details that need to be ironed out. We still aren’t sure who exactly will be on the selection committee, and we certainly aren’t sure exactly what their criteria will be in selecting teams. However despite that, the fact remains clear: The four best teams in college football will determine the sport’s National Championship on the field.
And the best part is that by all accounts the group of commissioners (plus Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick) seems to have gotten it right.
If you’ve followed this story throughout the entire process, then you probably know that it hasn’t been easy to get to this point. It has included both public and private bickering, between commissioners, coaches and everyone in between. It has included arguments over whether or not to include non-conference champions in the playoff (like Alabama would’ve been last season) of making the playoff into a “plus-one” (ie: One game after the bowls are already played). There were a million other issues that were discussed as well, many of which made us wonder if we’d ever get to this point.
But when it was go time, give the commissioners credit for doing what was best for the sport. By all accounts fans preferred the four-team playoff model to that of a “plus-one” or anything beyond four (like eight or 16 teams) and in time I suspect fans will also grow to embrace the idea of a committee selecting the participants as well. It will certainly be better than the abstract and impossible-to-figure-out computers that have been used by the BCS since 1998, and at the very least provide clarity to the process. After all, who among us wouldn’t like to know why Alabama was selected over Oklahoma State to play for the title last year?
And the simple fact that the bowl structure will seemingly go unaffected (except at the top) is good for the sport too. The truth is, outside a few select teams every season most of college football won’t have a chance to compete in this playoff, and in a lot of cases there will be quality eight, nine and 10 win teams who will be left out. Thankfully, under the system which will be in place, they’ll still have a chance to play in the postseason, and be rewarded for a quality season.
Again, there is still be plenty to be worked out, and there will undoubtedly be speed bumps along the way.
But today, June 20, 2012, is a great day to be a college football fan.
For all his articles, opinions and insights into college football, please follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.