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.”