Just when you thought you had entered the dead zone of sports — college baseball is over, the NBA is done, football hasn't started yet and pro baseball crawls toward the mid-season — leave it to the lords of college football to bring us something new to argue about.
And if you really want to get those crazy Tea Party conservatives all riled up, let's give credit for this awesomeness to President Obama who endorsed a presidential oversight committee that came up with the proposal.
Yes, the college football playoff is here, and the BCS system will die. But don't go thinking all the bitching and complaining you did about the BCS made any difference (or Obama's obvious desire for that matter); no one cares about complaints — this is about money and there's billions to be made. When there's huge money involved, college presidents listen.
''By making this change we felt we could enhance the regular season but at the same time provide the fans with the kind of postseason that will contribute to the regular season,'' Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said during the formal announcement this afternoon in Washington, D.C.
"The access for conferences throughout the FBS [Football Bowl Subdivision] is going to be better in this system than the current system."
Contractual agreements will keep the current BCS in place for two more seasons. But the first college football final four (we don't know what it'll be called yet, but it won't be BCS) semi-finals will be played on New Year's Eve of 2014 and New Year's Day of 2015 with the national championship game played about a week later. Until then we have two years to argue the merits of the new system.
Before you start arguing, here are the details you need to know.
A committee will choose the final four teams and seed them. This is already being done for the College World Series and the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Who will be on the committee? No one knows yet (which provides something else to argue about) — but whoever it is will use four criteria to choose the final four:
- The team's won-loss record
- Strength of schedule
- Head-to-head match-ups with other top teams
- Conference championships
The top four teams chosen will then be seeded and play two semi-final games — No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops thinks it's great. During his interview on ESPN he talked about that mess of a 2008 season when Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech all finished the season with one loss. Oklahoma headed to the championship despite having their one loss handed to them by the Longhorns. "There was a lot of controversy about that, and we (Oklahoma) ended up going, but this way we're both in and we see how it plays out." (It still hurts Longhorn fans to remember that one loss to Texas Tech.)
"One of the great things about college football is the bowl system," said Stoops, "it needs to stay intact."
This way it does. The bowl system will remain pretty much as is. The final four semi-finals will be rotated among as many as six bowls — you can be sure the current four BCS bowls and the Cotton Bowl, played in Cowboys Stadium, will be among them.
The National Championship game will be bid out much like the Olympics or the Super Bowl. The highest bidding city gets the game. Cha-ching.
This is great for college football, it's just a shame we have to wait two years for this to happen. Playoffs are fair and a fan favorite, every other college sport has them and after over 100 years without them, it's time for the highest level of college football to join in.
"The access for conferences throughout the FBS [Football Bowl Subdivision] is going to be better in this system than the current system," said ACC commissioner John Swofford. "That's an important part of this. But you have to play your way in. That's a plus."
The NCAA Board of Governors still has to approve the change in order to allow the final two teams to play one extra game. Yeah, like that won't happen. This is a big corporate decision made by big corporate executives (aka major college presidents). As evidence of that, the playoffs will be overseen not by the NCAA but by the big conferences, and the championship game will not be called a bowl game.
In the meantime, we have two more years to complain about how badly the BCS sucks and how unfair it is. But no worries, there will be plenty to complain about when the play-offs come along (stupid committee members, small schools being left out, etc.) Awesome.