LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans conducts the band after the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 50-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
In what's been a long-debated issue amongst college football fans and analysts, college football appears to be headed in a completely different and progressive direction. According to the Associated Press, the commissioners of the BCS in NCAA Division I football, have reached a consensus agreement to begin implementing a playoff format. This change would take place in the 2014 season. Many players, coaches and fans have been waiting for this moment since the inception of the BCS system in 1998.
The proposed change would be akin to a "Final Four" type of playoff, pitting the top four ranked squads in two brackets and allowing them to fight until an ultimate victor is crowned. Since the BCS commissioners approved this notion, it will now be passed on to the various university presidents for their approval. Though it looks promising for approval amongst the university presidents, there are still a few things to discuss.
One of the biggest issues lies with how the various bowl games will share and rotate these "Final Four" games. There are so many prominent bowl sites and because of that, a fair rotation must be made with these games. After all, many of these cities rely on the bowl games they host as major money-makers because of the tourism that comes with hosting them.
There's also the "plus one" discussion amongst the various conference commissioners and they believe that this still needs to be ironed out. Big Ten commissioner, Jim Delany, spoke to the AP (via the Pittsburgh Tribune) about the subject:
The Big Ten and Pac-12 presidents have expressed support for the so-called plus-one model, which gives the BCS a new look by selecting the championship game participants after the bowls are played instead of creating a pair of national semifinals, which is what the commissioners came away from the latest meeting in Chicago backing.
"I’m comfortable both of those will still be discussed at the president’s meeting," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said.
He added: "I think we’re very unified. There are issues that have yet to be finalized."
Perhaps the biggest issue that remains though, is that of how teams will be selected as entrants of this "Final Four" system. There will be some bias towards teams that win their conference championships, as well as the obvious review of overall records and strength of schedule. Though this system is being implemented to quiet the "what about us?" crowd, there still will be a few teams out there that will wonder why they were left out of the playoff system--there always is.
Some worry that the regular season of the NCAA football season will be diminished because of the playoff system, much like it does with NCAA basketball. While that's a rational thought, it doesn't seem likely to occur for a couple of reasons. For one, American football, as a sport, is wildly popular. People will always watch it because each game has major implications to one's season, unlike other mainstream sports. For most people, this playoff system will enhance the regular season of college football because of the possibility of multiple teams being able to be eligible to fight for the BCS Championship.
While there are still steps to take and progress to be made with this endeavor, it's an exciting (and frankly much-needed) bit of news for football enthusiasts and for college football players and coaches across the country.