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It’s official: presidents approve four-team playoff

Jumping for joy AP

Finally, common sense has prevailed in major college football.

While it’s far from what most fans and even some connected to the sport ultimately want, the BcS Presidential Oversight Committee has given its official stamp of approval for a four-team playoff.  The seeded event will begin following the 2014 regular season, with the current system being utilized this year and next to crown a champion.

The 12-year agreement signed off on by the presidents will consist of six bowl games rotating as hosts of the semifinals.  The championship game will be bid out separate from those two games.

In a joint statement, the committee acknowledged the “controversial” nature of the soon-to-be previous system while seeking to “build an even better college football season” — and possibly pulling a muscle or two congratulating themselves for taking the sensible path for once.

“We recognize that the BCS has been controversial in some years, but we also believe it has turned college football from a regional sport into a wonderfully popular national sport, much to the benefit of our alumni, student-athletes and fans,” the twelve members of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee said in a joint statement.  “We now seek to build an even better college football season by creating a four-team playoff to crown the national champion, while protecting the regular season and the bowl experience.

“We’re delighted to support this format and congratulate the group of conference commissioners who have done so much for college football and who worked so hard to make this happen.”

In its release on the playoff development, the presidents addressed several issues that have been resolved, although at least a couple remain open for discussion.

  • The championship game will be managed by the conferences and will not be branded as a bowl game.
  • Enhance college football by playing the semifinals New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.  The date of the first semifinal games will be either Wednesday, December 31, 2014, or Thursday, January 1, 2015.
  • Create “Championship Monday” by setting the date of the championship game on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the final semi-final game is played.  As a result, in the first five years the championship game will be played on Monday, January 12, 2015; Monday, January 11, 2016; Monday, January 9, 2017; Monday, January 8, 2018; and Monday, January 7, 2019.
  • Eliminate the “automatic qualification” designation.

Still to be decided?  Access and revenue distribution, the latter of which will likely be a rather significant tussle if rumors of $500 million per season to be divvied out were to come to fruition.

Also to be decided is the makeup and size of a selection committee.  An “agreement in principle” has been reached on a committee, although, as is ofttimes the case in a situation such as this, the devil will be in the details when it comes to signing off on the committee approach.

As it relates to the committee, the release notes that “[a]mong the factors the committee will value are win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and whether a team is a conference champion.”

Despite some questions that still linger, particularly as it relates to the size of the field, the sport feels like it’s gotten things just right on its first attempt.

“A four-team playoff doesn’t go too far; it goes just the right amount,” Virginia Tech president and committee member Charles Sterger said. “We are very pleased with this arrangement, even though some issues … remain to be finalized.”

While a name for the new playoff is one of those that has yet to be decided on, the group as a whole fall right in line with Sterger — this is a red-letter day for the game and a significant step forward for the sport.

“We are very pleased with this new arrangement,” the presidents said in the release.  “College football’s championship game is America’s second most watched sporting event and we’re proud to build on our successes as we grow the sport and hear the voices of everyone who loves college football.”

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33 Responses to “It’s official: presidents approve four-team playoff”
  1. southernpatriots says: Jun 26, 2012 6:33 PM

    Though this is very good news to my family and I who have worked for many decades now to gain a playoff for major college football as it is for all other team sports, we do wish for a larger team playoff (8 teams?) but maybe that will be fine tuning of this plan eventually.

    My hope is that the selection committee may at least be composed in part of renowned football minds and respected football people. A good choice may be Bobby Bowden, and of course, there are many other very good choices. The more good football people on the committee the better.

    A good step in the right direction! It appears we will see a playoff for the FBS schools in my lifetime, which is something I was becoming doubtful concerning.

  2. hojo20 says: Jun 26, 2012 6:44 PM

    I only care that the Big Ten plays the Pac 12 in the Rose Bowl, 5pm on 1/1. I could care less about a title game. People like me on the East Coast can’t stay up til 12:30am on a work night.

  3. orthomarine says: Jun 26, 2012 6:51 PM

    Meh… It’s a start

  4. canetic says: Jun 26, 2012 7:05 PM

    Congratulations on coming up with an idea that occurred to the rest of humanity about 25 years ago.

    Bobby Bowden would be a terrible choice. He knows a lot about football, but his 50 years with FSU creates a clear bias toward one team.

    Also, I hope they work in a rule that prevents teams that didn’t win their conference from playing in the four-team playoff.

  5. deadeye says: Jun 26, 2012 7:17 PM

    “Also, I hope they work in a rule that prevents teams that didn’t win their conference from playing in the four-team playoff.”


    There will be no such rule with only 4 teams. Automatic qualifying for conference champs can happen if the process expands to 6 or 8 teams however.

  6. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 7:21 PM

    As orthomarine said, it’s a start … one we’re going to be stuck with for 12 years apparently. Had hoped we’d shift to an 8- or 12-team field much sooner, but this is more than most of us would have expected even two years ago.

    Now let’s just hope they can devise a system by which the best, most competitive teams make the playoffs, regardless of conference.

    It is a good day to be a college football fan.

  7. bertenheim says: Jun 26, 2012 7:25 PM

    Stop at four. The idea is to determine the best team since September, not the hot team in January.

  8. gtizzo says: Jun 26, 2012 7:48 PM

    “common sense has prevailed” that is the funniest thing ever written. This is how the playoff happened:

    This guy Charles Sterger is a replacement for Graham Spanier. Who was President of Penn State until the sex scandal rocked the University. Spanier was dead set against a playoff. He is gone, and hence we have playoff. Common sense had nothing to do with it.

  9. anythingbutyanks says: Jun 26, 2012 9:08 PM

    The committee should ideally consist of respected members of the college football community who do not have apparent ties to a specific school or conference. That or have a committee large enough that those with such connections can recuse themselves from decisions involving such connections.

  10. thekatman says: Jun 26, 2012 9:42 PM

    Strength of schedule must be factored in heavily, so as to avoid teams beefing up their win/loss ratio and playing sissy teams for the OOC schedule.

    Plus, no 8 game conference schedule. It must be 9 in conference games, and consistent across the board.

    Southern Patriot, I do agree with much of what you post in and around the college football world, but not sure about the alegiance factor with college coaches. I don’t know who can be on any selection board that doesn’t have a bias towards their alma mater or school where their coaching dynasty was in place. Though practically speaking, the committee will most likely be made up of the same folks that vote in the UP Poll, USA Poll, Heisman Trophy, etc…. but not the Coaches Poll or active coaches. Not sure if retired coaches would work, but tjhey have to be considered. It’ll be interesting how this turns out.

    And yes, it’s a lovely 73 degrees outside in Signal Hill, overlooking Long Beach Airport. The driving range was good to me this afternoon. Care to play sometime, SouthernPatriot?

    btw: where y’all from? I moved to LA from South Carolina in 1978. Attended USCe before coming to LA and attending USC. Fight On.

  11. southernpatriots says: Jun 26, 2012 9:59 PM

    the katman:

    Thank you for your kindness. I am not sure I agree with most of what I post…ha. My wife tells me that I am my own worst enemy….ha.

    Would love to play you sometime a round or so. Have to wait some, still recovering from a shoulder operation, no driving (golf or auto) for a while yet. The older I get the longer the recuperation time.

    Most of our family are Cajuns from South Louisiana with a Georgian mixed in (former UGA player and brother in law). Most of the fly. are LSU alums but we do have some which did their graduate work at Tulane, etc.

    I left good weather back in Cleveland but it was over 100 F with 85 % humidity back in South Louisiana… I definitely do not miss it! ha.

    There need to be some really good college football minds on the committee. Most of the good football minds I know are coaches. Former/retired coaches may be good choices. Maybe there can be a rule that they cannot vote for a school they coached? Sort of like recusing themselves as judges do.

    I have a good friend who is a South Carolina Gamecock Football Hall of Famer and another one who is a renowned running back there, now practicing near the Central Savannah River Area. After he retires he is supposed to join me full time with these trips we take to help children, both domestically and internationally. I get to go to Cuba this winter and then have a week in Jamaica. My wife planned that well! ha.

  12. secucks says: Jun 26, 2012 10:48 PM

    In other news the SEC has convened a competition committee to achieve the following objectives:
    1. Determine how it can fill over half of the seats on the selection committee
    2. Create the impression that playing four OOC FCS teams (including a late season game) is a truly challenging schedule
    3. Continue to proprogate the myth that the SEC is football’s best conference (despite statistical evidence to the contrary)
    4. That the BCS system that resulted in six consecutive SEC champions was fair and unbiased… Oh yeah, a special challenge being the BCS system was just replaced.

  13. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 10:49 PM

    anythingbutyanks says:

    The committee should ideally consist of respected members of the college football community who do not have apparent ties to a specific school or conference. That or have a committee large enough that those with such connections can recuse themselves from decisions involving such connections.
    None exist. All respected members of the college football community have ties to a specific school or conference. And no matter how large the committee is, due to the incestuous nature of the sport, all members will have ties–no matter how tenuous–to at least one of the programs involved.

  14. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 10:51 PM

    @secucks …

    Still crying a river, I see. Please don’t come to Florida … we’re getting enough rain right now. :)

  15. secucks says: Jun 26, 2012 11:00 PM


    Not crying. Just repeating the same message but I wouldn’t expect any SEC fan to be perceptive enough to realize how flawed the previous system was which is the point of my posted response.

  16. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 11:15 PM

    @secucks …

    Oh, I understand the point of your posted, posted, posted response. (I’ve only looked at three threads–have you posted it more than three times?) The SEC has won six consecutive championships, therefore, the system is flawed. In the late 1980s through most of the 1990s, the NFC won 13 consecutive Super Bowls. Being a fan of an AFC team, I could argue that system was flawed, too.

    But I’m not a whiner.

  17. Tim Donaghy Institute of Refereeing says: Jun 26, 2012 11:26 PM

    A perfect analogy, Deb, since the NFC got an automatic berth every year, just like the SEC.

  18. 49erminer4life says: Jun 26, 2012 11:32 PM

    Can somebody please tell me why notre dame gets a chair at the table?

  19. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 11:47 PM

    @Tim blah blah …

    Hello, Stillwater. You’ve got to beat the unranked team, dear. You’ve got to beat the unranked team.

  20. secucks says: Jun 27, 2012 12:08 AM

    Deb – There’s a big difference between the NFL system which is entirely based on conference W-L records and a system built on polls and computer rankings to be replaced by selection committees. In addition NFL teams don’t have an option to pick 4 semi-pro teams of their choice to play to pad their records.

    And your remark to Stillwater is exactly the reason why I won’t and don’t mention which team I support. It isn’t relevant to the post.

  21. Deb says: Jun 27, 2012 12:28 AM

    @secucks …

    I said that to Tim blah, blah, blah because he’s posted on three threads now “Send our trophy to Stillwater!” Not only does he have an ax to grind, but he’s got some screws loose. His team blew their own title shot by losing to an unranked team. And if they’d gotten a title shot, they still would have had to defeat LSU–no small feat. So his illusions that someone owes him a trophy are … bizarre, to say the least.

    Yes, when you persistently slam a conference and accuse that conference of cheating, your biases are relevant to the discussion. I’m a Steelers diehard. If I routinely attacked Joe Flacco’s every move, my Steeler allegiance would be a valid point. But I don’t do that and have a pretty good reputation with Ravens fans.

    You don’t see me on here attacking other conferences and teams (although I’m a little tough on Boise because I don’t believe they play an FBS-caliber schedule). I spent much of last season defending LSU when their players were in trouble and always post positive comments about their program even though some of their fans routinely blast me because I’m a Bama fan. I won’t go after other people’s teams and conferences–but yes, you’d better believe, I’ll pull out the stops defending mine. I don’t see how anyone could find fault with that. But a lot of people aren’t able to take what they dish.

  22. Deb says: Jun 27, 2012 12:33 AM

    @secucks …

    The SEC doesn’t pad its OOC schedule any more than the other major conferences do. But you’re right about the NFL–and that’s one reason pro ball will always rank first with me. That’s unusual for a Southerner; college football generally rules here. But I love the NFL. I love knowing where my team stands at every moment and knowing there’s no ambiguity to it. Everything is decided on the field–it’s all in my team’s hands. No polls, no committees. Schedules are determined by formula.

    We could do that in college ball if there weren’t so darn many teams in the FBS. My first step would be to eliminate all the rinky-dink teams. But that’s not going to happen.

  23. secucks says: Jun 27, 2012 12:44 AM


    There’s a place for FCS teams but that place isn’t on a FBS schedule. Your comment that “SEC doesn’t pad it’s OOC schedule any more than the other major conferences do” doesn’t reconcile with seeing that the SEC is unique in putting OOC FCS games on their schedule in late November.

  24. jonanthans says: Jun 27, 2012 1:33 AM


    I would love to see a comparison between schedules from last year of whomever your team is and LSU and Alabamas schedule last year, especially LSUs. I assure you, yours wont even come close. Which is likely the reason you refuse to disclose who your team is.

    Typical butthurt…

  25. waynefontes says: Jun 27, 2012 7:35 AM

    secucks says:
    Jun 27, 2012 12:08 AM
    Deb –
    And your remark to Stillwater is exactly the reason why I won’t and don’t mention which team I support. It isn’t relevant to the post.

    Are you that ashamed of your team?

  26. florida727 says: Jun 27, 2012 8:29 AM

    One of the things I’m not at all worried about is the perceived “bias” that someone like a former coach (Bobby Bowden was mentioned specifically) would bring to the selection committee. My reasoning is that, foremost, it’s not like they’d receive consideration if they had 2 losses, or their one loss was a “bad loss”, like to an unranked team late in the season. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t see bias on the committee as an issue, especially considering someone like Bowden would only be ONE of 14-16 people on such a committee. Bias becomes a non-issue, IMO. It would get shot down by the other committee members… as long as the makeup of the committee is spread across the college landscape, which I’m sure it will be.

  27. florida727 says: Jun 27, 2012 9:19 AM

    waynefontes says:
    Jun 27, 2012 7:35 AM
    Deb –
    Are you that ashamed of your team?


    Are you learning impaired, or just new to CFT? Her team won the national championship last season, genius. She has bragging rights until January 2013, should she select to utilize such rights.

  28. tigersgeaux says: Jun 27, 2012 9:48 AM


    I am not sure the comment was meant to the poster you think, but if it was, not only does she have bragging rights in football, but also women’s basketball (until next May), and a huge domination (with Georgia) for women’s gymnastics and other sports for the past year(s).

  29. secucks says: Jun 27, 2012 12:00 PM

    @jonanthans – I know that pointing out the many ways the BCS system has been rigged to favor SEC teams is not pleasing to SEC fans (trolls). My statements and positions are accurate. I don’t want (or need) to expend my time defending the team or conference I favor.

    SEC fans generally are delusional and have baught into the myth that their conference is superior to all others. However they have been fortunate to have one or possibly two conference teams in the top five of which only Florida, LSU and Alabama have competed in more than 3 games. Alabama is 2 and 2 in BCS games. Florida has the best record at 5-1 followed by LSU at 4-1. In fact, in the last 6 seasons of there have been more undefeated non-BCS champions than undefeated BCS champions.

    While there seems to be a great celebration that the current BCS system has been replaced by a committee selection it is only a matter of time before human subjectivity becomes an issue with the replacement system.

  30. Deb says: Jun 27, 2012 12:47 PM

    @florida727 …

    tigersgeaux is right–waynefontes wasn’t talking to me. He meant that for secucks, who won’t reveal his team or his conference while continually attacking the SEC.

    @tigersgeaux …

    Thank you. I follow only football and had no idea Alabama was doing so well in other sports. My family are in Tuscaloosa and regularly attend as many sporting events as they can. They’ve mentioned the success of the women’s gymnastics team. And I saw your post the other day on LSU’s success in other sports. Because of the SEC’s domination in football, people may overlook how well-rounded the conference has become.

  31. Deb says: Jun 27, 2012 1:01 PM

    @secucks …

    Stop being so condescending. The SEC had tremendous football success long before the BCS and continues to be successful because of our revenue-sharing model, our recruiting models, the love for college football in our region and the depth of talent in our region, etc.

    It’s a cyclical sport. The Big 10 dominated this sport for years. I wonder if some whiny little twits were constantly pointing out that the polls were biased toward Northern teams. The Pac 12 has been a dominating conference, the Big 12 has been a dominating conference. So has the ACC. As JT pointed out in another article, the rich–the major conferences–will only get richer from this turn of events.

    We know the SEC’s streak of championships will end because all streaks end. That’s the way of the world. So stop whining, try being a good sport for a change, and wait your turn.

  32. secucks says: Jun 27, 2012 3:27 PM

    As to the SEC championship streaks ending that remains to be seen. Replacing a god-awful, flawed and biased selection system based on computer formulas and polls by a system that is now 100% subjective to the perspective of some number (yet to be established) committee members is not an improvement. What’s going to be the established criteria for selection?

    Just like the coaches poll, (which in an earlier post someone referred to as the fairest), there is a demonstrated bias towards teams in one’s own conference. If it were me on the selection committee (and thankfully it isn’t which I know that every SEC fan agrees), a team that has already lost to another one of teams in the top four would not be seeded.

  33. Deb says: Jun 27, 2012 10:43 PM

    @secucks …

    The coaches poll is the fairest? Someone actually posted that? Good grief.

    I would hope selection will be heavily weighted on strength of schedule, game stats, and other objective criteria.

    Don’t know if you’re just yanking my chain on the rematch issue or if you’re one of those people obsessed with that topic. I can’t relate to that obsession. It’s like asking me to understand people who are driven to eat dirt. I just don’t get it and never will. To me, rematches are the greatest show on earth. Better than Ringling.

    You want the best teams in the playoff. Based on their regular-season record, Bama and LSU were the best teams. Who cares if they’d met before? Look at the game stats from that meeting. They were a virtual dead heat. Why would you put up an Oklahoma State team that flat-out choked against an unranked opponent just because they’d never played LSU? That’s just dumb. LSU would have eaten them alive. Alabama proved themselves in the game. Enough said. You guys can jerk my chain if you want … but the trophy still sits in Tuscaloosa 😀

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