News broke late Thursday night when the conference commissioners announced that they had approved a seeded-four team playoff format and selection of those four teams would be by a selection committee. The group of commissioners stood prouder than the Avengers after they defeated Loki, standing behind Jim Delany deliveing the news.
The idea for a playoff has been around for years. You can go all the way back to the 1966 season to find the first national grumblings for a playoff. It was the first year of the Super Bowl and Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan State finished the season undefeated (State and Notre Dame did tie one another earlier in the year). Discussions for a playoff was immediately shut down then and many times after because it would be to strenuous to the student-athlete.
It appears that finally the conference commissioners and hopefully the college president had a Lee Corso “Aw effe-it” moment about protecting the bowl structure and see the potential a playoff system can have.
As much as most of us hated the BCS, we have to admit that it served its purpose to the fans. In most years it got it right and the top-teams faced each other each year. Only the 2004 Auburn team has a legitimate beef about not getting into the title game.
Also helping the post-season change for college football is the overall success of the SEC, but also the demise of the Big Ten (the one with 12-teams). Lets face it, if Michigan and Ohio State were as dominate over the college football landscape as the usually are, would the Big Ten have expanded it 12 teams? The bigger question is if the Big Ten wasn’t struggling to compete for championships, would the conference support a playoff, or fight to the death to preserve the bowl system? The Big Ten realized like the rest of the “big” conferences that it needs something more than the Rose Bowl to compete with SEC football.
The question for this season is whether or not it is doomed. By the time the opening kick-offs to the new season arrives, the playoffs would have already been approved, and some of the logistics will start leaking out. Meanwhile, the 2013 champion will be crowned under the older and fatally flawed system. Will the media actually back who ever wins the championship, or will we read nothing but hypothetical’s as if it was already 2014?
The reason this is such a keen topic for this site is because LSU is a legitimate contender for the national championship. What happens if the season ends like last year with one team undefeated and two or more teams with one loss? Last year we assumed that Alabama was the best one loss team even though they did not play either Oklahoma State or Stanford. All Alabama proved was that it was better than LSU on that night.
If a scenario where two one-loss teams who had a chance of making it to the BCS play one another in a different bowl (like last year’s Fiesta), will that team earn a split title and tarnish to some degree the BCS champions?
That is what makes this upcoming season so difficult. If you win the championship, now the team will have to live with “well, they got off lightly because they didn’t play the extra game”. The season will only be a earmark for how silly the crowning of a champion system it was, the school’s fan base that wins could careless. Hopefully that includes me.