Culbreath: Bye-bye, BCSWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re almost there.
After the BCS Championship game between Florida State and Auburn on Jan. 6, we can finally put it all to bed. The polls, the computers, the strength of schedule comparisons, all of it. The BCS is dead; long live the College Football Playoff.
No more computers, no more polls, no more leaving great teams out in the cold because their conference is a little weaker. Four teams, two games. It just feels better, doesn’t it?
Granted, the new College Football Playoff system isn’t perfect. Not even close. For those of you who don’t know, the system that starts next season does away with all the polls, instead leaving the selection of the four teams to compete for the title to a 13-person committee. Some people represent the different conferences, while others are wholly independent. At the end of the year, they’ll conference to pick out the four best teams, pair them up in two bowls (rotating between the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Don’t-Call-It-The-Peach-It’s-The-Chick-fil-A bowls). The winner of those two games will play each other in the College Football Playoff final (played in such college football hallowed halls as the Jerry Dome in Arlington, Texas).
It’s far and away a better system than the BCS. Despite its switch from computer polls to human ones midway through, every week just felt like the spin of a slot machine — or even worse, the judging round of an awful reality show. “Will Simon Cowell put Auburn into the title game over Ohio State? We’ll find out, right after this.”
The new system will provide some level of accountability to who goes through to the playoffs. All of the members are public from living legends Tom Osborne and Archie Manning to Condoleeza Rice for some weird reason. The picks will still have some controversy (pity each year’s No. 5 team), but at least you can’t place the blame on an Excel spreadsheet.
Of course, what’s imperfect about it is the same major issue with the old system: access for mid-majors. Northern Illinois had a 12-0 record last season when they played in the Orange Bowl, but they were only ranked 15th in the BCS. Do they get a nod as one of the four? Nope. Let’s stop pretending: if the system is going to be rigged for one half of what we used to call Division IA, then why don’t we just make them their own division? Even better: set up a promotion/relegation system like English soccer, so that a small team can work its way in. Until that point, however, I just want the selection committee to keep it in mind. If we’re all in the same division, then we all have equal claim to that hardware.
But perhaps this College Football Playoff is a foot in the door, with the hope to expand it later. My friends and I have long talked about an eight- or even 16-team playoff, much like they do in Divisions II and III. Get every conference champ in there and let them have their go. Instead of trying to push the GoDaddy.com Bowl in the middle of nowhere with horrible attendance, why not create games that have actual meaning?
I say goodbye to the BCS, not with malice because of the Big Ten’s poor showing, but because the flaws in the system were just too great. Yeah, we can go through every year and say that it “got it right” more often than not, but providing a way to play-in means we don’t have to worry about getting it right. They players will decide that on the field.
Matt “Shaggy” Culbreath is sports director for 1370 WSPD.