Changes abound as NCAA switches from BCS to playoff system
By DAVID ROBERTS
College Contributor Network
Goodbye, BCS. Hello, College Football Playoff.
That was the best name the think tank was able to generate? Regardless of the uninspiring title, for the next -- at least -- 12 years, 13 individuals who make up the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will determine who plays for a chance at a national championship instead of a medley of computers.
This means that BCS snubs who are continually left out of the big picture -- think Boise State in the late 2000s -- will get the opportunity to create a compelling argument as to why they should be included in the playoff picture. Before, all matchups went through rankings generated by computers, which, let's face it, have no emotions and no knowledge of the movie Cinderella, nor how they pertain to the sports world.
Idealistically, that creates a world where maybe, just maybe, a smaller school could get a shot at a national championship. But, more realistically, it makes it harder, and here's why:
There are already five big conferences that make up FBS football in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12. So, automatically, one conference champion will be left out of the four-team playoff.
Whether the committee can be persuaded by a miraculous season by a team outside of the major five conferences remains to be seen.
Does an undefeated Mountain West team earn a bid over a conference champion that wins, say, nine or 10 games?
Does a conference that owns a pair of 12-win teams-like the SEC had in Auburn and Missouri in 2011-send both teams to the playoff? If that's the case, does the ACC champion get snubbed?
In case you don't already know, the postseason format will favor college basketball's March Madness more than past BCS bowl seasons, with the final four teams competing in two semifinal competitions and eventually a national championship game.
Depending on the year, New Year's Eve or New Year's Day will play host to each semifinal game with two semifinal games being played back-to-back on one of the two years. The championship game will be played in a different location every year, and will be hosted by Dallas this year. Arizona will get the game in 2016 and Tampa Bay will host 2017's final. In order to get to the championship game, the four teams will be selected by a committee that will focus on factors like strength of schedule and head-to-head results.
Current University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long will serve as the committee's first chairman and will work with 12 other members to determine which teams deserve a spot in the playoffs. Other members of the committee include Archie Manning (who had a successful playing career in the SEC and the NFL before fathering two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks), Clemson University athletics director Dan Radakovich and former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Power Five conferences will see a significant financial increase throughout the 12-year agreement with the College Football Playoff. In the first year, the five conferences will receive a $50 million payday, compared to the $27.897 million payday that the conferences saw in the final year of the BCS.
The Power Five aren't the only beneficiaries of the new system, as the other five FBS conferences will split $75 million. Those conferences split $13.168 million last season. Notre Dame alone is slated to receive $2.3 million in 2014, and could see $6 million more if they are selected to a playoff game. The $6 million mark will apply to any school that reaches the playoff, as conferences will receive $4 million if a team makes it to a non-playoff bowl.
There are plenty of questions that have yet to be answered by the College Football Playoff, but will ultimately come to fruition. Most in the college football landscape recognize this move to be a step in the right direction, but it is likely that we will need more than four spots to determine a true national champion.
As it is, let us sit back and watch the 2014 season unfold, as it never has before. This year, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will be played back-to-back on New Year's Day, determining which teams play for a national title.
So, if you haven't already, you might want to tell your boss you're not coming into work Jan. 1, 2015.
David Roberts is a fourth-year English major at the University of South Carolina. He was born in the San Francisco Bay Area, but relocated to the land below the Mason-Dixon line in grade school, citing earthquakes and Raiders fans as minor nuisances. David is a die-hard Cubs fan and still breaks down when thinking about the 2003 NLCS. Follow him on Twitter: @davidjayroberts