A College Football Playoff? Hallelujah
The powers that be gathered together in Florida last week to discuss the overly logical topic of a Division I college football playoff. College football fans can only be thinking one thing: Finally.
As it stands today, Division I football is the only collegiate sport that does not have a playoff. It sounds crazy. Football has become America’s sport (sorry baseball, it’s true). The NFL is a juggernaut financially and in the TV ratings. College football is full of pageantry, tradition, and passion. The NFL playoffs are nothing short of a monumental event every January. You would have to think that college football would generate something similar with that sort of excitement. Fans and players love the win-or-go-home mentality. A true playoff is the only way to garner that high-energy enthusiasm.
I think it would be a lot to ask for the BCS big-wigs to formulate a traditional playoff system. There can be no 12-team, NFL-style playoff when there are 120 programs vying for a bid. Plus, the conference commissioners want to honor the bowl traditions and bowl bid tie-ins. According to preliminary discussions, the BCS bowls (Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, and Rose) would rotate hosting the semifinal games and the national championship would go to the highest bidder (in the end, it is all about money, isn’t it?) Little else has been fleshed out in regards to the format, but at least the talking heads talked. That is a huge step. It appears that a playoff system is imminent.
This should have been done a long time ago. The current BCS system is an idiotic way to decide who the best team is. Sure, this past year we knew that LSU and Alabama were the two best teams in the country. But when it’s not so clear who the best team is – the 2004 undefeated Auburn Tigers had to settle for a Sugar Bowl bid – the BCS becomes a platform for debate. Then the championship game becomes secondary to the distraction of should they be there or shouldn’t they? With this new proposal, even with only four teams, at least you can say the national champion was truly determined on the field.
Look, we still have a few years left of the current BCS system as it is. As frustrating as it is to have computers determine a football team’s fate, at least we know the future is brighter ahead. In order to have some real credibility, Division I football needs to have a playoff. The bowl traditions are wonderful, but about half of all Division I teams get to play in the postseason. The luster is starting to wear off on bowl bids. At least in 2014, the big boys will get to go toe-to-toe and battle for true supremacy. Isn’t that what sports are about in the first place? There will be issues to work through. Perhaps the system that the commissioners come up with may seem a little whacky. But at least it will exist. The crowning of the national champion will make sense – they will be undisputed. That’s all we fans have been asking for.