BCS Playoff here I come
Let me be the first to admit that I am totally excited about a plus-one college football championship model. Years ago I advocated to my fellow collegiate gridiron fans that a "final four" at the end of the regular season would not only be a more fair way to determine a champion, but also preserve the integrity of the regular season.
As the conference commissioners convene in Chicago this week preparing a variety of plus-one options, I could not be happier. The quote that really got me excited was made by BCS Executive Bill Hancock, "The status quo is not on the table."
Change is coming.
As with any change in life, fear is inevitable. Whether it be in politics, sports, or business, the ramifications are looked upon differently depending on who is doing the looking.
How can one extra game mean so much to so many? This is not just one extra game. A plus-one would represent a dramatic shift away from the bedrock of college football since Ulysses S. Grant was in the Oval Office.
The bowl system has been the bedrock of college football. Its as much a part of New Year's Day as a hangover. A team plays the regular season, wins X amount of games, and then gets invited to play one more. It's the one more than that, that is so intriguing.
Equally a part of college football as long as anyone can remember is controversy. Name a season without some form of debate at the end I'll sell you an ice rink in Jamaica. Voters, not results, often were the sole determiner of who was and wasn't the best at the end. The BCS was designed to change, if not assist, in quelling that flak.
Although the BCS has been great in providing 1 vs. 2 showdowns that would have not been possible before, it hasn't eliminated any anger in the format for finding a true champ.
The same allure of the college game is also its largest black eye. A regular season that works like a playoff is wonderful for creating urgency over the course of four months, but it must simultaneously live with a broken postseason.
Enter the plus-one or "final four" as I like to call it. Perfection it is not; a step in the right direction it is. Include too many teams and the regular season becomes watered down. A team that loses 40% of its games in the regular season and win the Super Bowl might work in the NFL but not in the shortened world of student athletics.
NCAA Presidents want to avoid the word "playoff" as if it brought a curse to their family. How can college football players play into January when they have to study for mid-terms? Silly I know but that's another conversation.
What is important here is that the powers that be are working on a happy medium.
Coming up with a solution is one thing (as all conference commissioners agree in the plus-one format), agreeing to that solution is another.
As with the BCS, the big power conferences want to ensure they have a seat at the table. The SEC wants the best four teams chosen because they know they'll have at least two invited.
The Big 12 favors a "committee" selection because out of four teams any reasonable person would include their champion.
The ACC and Big East favor conference champions being included because their best likely will not be among the top four.
The Pac-12 and Big 10 are happy to stick with the current system and the all important Rose Bowl tie-in. If a plus-one must happen then they can work with it so long as they get the evite in the inbox. Jim Delaney the Big 10 President would prefer the plus-one include teams that play an "additional championship team over one that doesn't." In other words, a school that had to win a conference championship game i.e. the Big 10 or Pac-12.
Notre Dame just wants to stay relevant in a world where almost every major program has the majority of their games nationally televised. Something the Golden Domers used to have the market on.
See the trend? The big conferences want to control who gets in by ensuring their teams get in. Good luck mid-major Cinderellas. You might be waiting by the phone all night for that invite to the ball. The small conference/independent ship is sinking fast and the smart rats are scurrying off.
When this change comes, and make no mistake it is coming, I fear even more division and bickering than there is now. The more people invited to a party, the more that think they should be invited.
Finally a real playoff system for college football! What could be controversial with that?
Follow James on Twitter: @JGoTheFan
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