Small time college football fans have long been able to enjoy the fun of postseason playoffs, but that pleasure has been denied to big time college football fans who’ve had to settle for the ever-more-unsatisfying bowl bonanza. But that’s all about to change. On Wednesday BCS commissioners approved a plan to create a four-team playoff system to replace the current despised BCS system, and sent the plan along to a committee that will cast a final vote.
If approved, the seeded four-team playoff will kick in starting in 2014. The plan is to have a committee, not unlike the one that sets the field for March Madness, select the four participants, who will then square off in bowl games that are actually semifinals, with the Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls taking turns. And then comes the national championship game, to be held in whatever city wins a big-money bidding war for the privilege (get out your checkbook podunk towns, it’s your big chance!).
For fun, let’s imagine what might have happened last year under the proposed system. First let’s assume the committee would’ve gone with the teams that took the top four slots in the final BCS poll December 4th. Seeding those teams according to their BCS standing, the semifinal round would’ve pitted Stanford against LSU and Oklahoma State against Alabama. And the winners of those games would’ve played for the title. So there’s still a good chance we would’ve wound up with the boring LSU vs. Alabama match-up we indeed got. But, say Stanford had upset LSU. Then we would’ve had a much more fun match-up of Andrew Luck vs. the Crimson Tide and their fearsome defense.
Of course there would’ve been tremendous arguments about who actually deserved to be among the top four teams. Oregon fans would’ve whined their heads off about being left out. Ditto Arkansas and Boise State fans. And imagine the hue and cry from fans all over the country about two SEC teams making it in. Point being, no matter what kind of system you implement, there’s going to be argument and disagreement.
Bottom line is, when it comes to championships, the issue should be settled as much as possible on the field and as little as possible in the meeting rooms of rich dudes in suits. The new system adds two more teams to the mix which, compared to the old BCS, doubles the amount of “deciding it on the field” going on. And if we double that again and then once again to get to 16 teams…well, maybe some day we’ll get that too. For now we get a typical compromise plan, a half-measure plan meant to keep the bowls and all their money in the loop. Seems we’ll never get rid of those silly bowls, as long as we still have misty-eyed sentimentalists around who can’t get enough of Knute Rockne, All American.