What A New College Football Playoff Really Means


Not everything is perfect.

The BCS in it’s current format is far from perfect.  Teams like Oklahoma State last year and TCU the year before last have had very legitimate cases for playing in the BCS Championship game.  However, in the way that the BCS is currently constructed, only two teams get the chance to play for the National Championship.  These two teams are selected not through a playoff, but through the regular season, which some pro-BCS proponents claim is similar to a playoff in it’s own right.

All of this is going to change starting in 2014, though.  The general consensus is that we are on a direct course for attaining a real Division I-A playoff model for the postseason.  While we know this is almost certain to happen, we still don’t know how exactly the teams playing in this new playoff model will be selected.  We’ve heard about selection committees, computers, and conference champions, but we still don’t have a definitive answer to all of the questions quite yet.

What we do know is this – college football is moving in the right direction.  There is no reason that the second most popular sport in America is also the only collegiate sport without a postseason playoff model.  The notion for the longest time that a playoff would reduce revenue overall has been just about as foolish as the politicians who claim that marijuana is still more harmful than meth or cocaine.

In some ways, the pro-BCS proponents have been just like politicians.  They have been looking out solely for their monetary interests and have let these interests blind their better judgment.  While this may be a Virginia Tech blog, I think most of us can agree that Michigan vs. Virginia Tech shouldn’t have been a BCS bowl game last season while Arkansas and Kansas State got relegated to the Cotton Bowl.

For the longest time, the BCS model has not been about getting the best match-ups, but about which two teams could draw the most money.  Outside of the BCS Championship game, the teams that played in the other BCS bowls were largely irrelevant from a competition standpoint.  This is not to say that BCS bowls willingly selected bad teams for their bowls, but certainly some of the at-large selections over the years have been questionable.

A college football playoff won’t fix all of these problems, but it’s a start.  While many people (myself included) want to see an eight-team model, we’ll all settle for now with four.  The fourth team that gets selected almost every year will surely be hotly debated, but we’d rather give more deserving teams a chance to play their way to a title than to have computers and polls dictate the only two teams worthy of that opportunity.

Not everything is perfect, but things are looking up.

Over time I think we’ll see college football expand and grow at a much quicker rate than we have before.  I would suspect that we’ll see an eight-team playoff model in much less time than it took us to reach a four-team model.  This is the beginning of change, but I highly doubt it’s the end.

And there are those out there that don’t like change, sometimes for good reason.  However, this is a change that has been a long time coming.

This new playoff model won’t be able to make amends for the snubbings of some of the elite at-large teams over the years like Boise State and TCU, but it will give these teams a chance in the future.  The new playoff model won’t make up for the undefeated teams of years past getting left out of the conversation for the BCS National Championship game, but it will give these teams a chance moving forward.

The current BCS format has wronged a lot of wrongs over the years, but finally we will see some relief.  For the first time we’ll be able to anticipate the true national champions who will have earned their merit not only through the regular season, but now a postseason as well.

Not everything is perfect, but this is a start.