Earlier this afternoon it was reported by ESPN's Mark Schlabach that tomorrow's FBS commisioners meeting could produce a four team playoff that would be presented to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee at it's meeting next week. It also should be our first clue at how this thing could look. However, what comes next is a total unknown at this point, well all except the BCS moniker which will die along with the current BCS system.
That last part has to be music to the ears of about 99.9% of college football fans the nation over. The BCS envokes the passions of fans everywhere unlike any other organization that I've ever seen and none of it is good. No matter what happens renaming and re-branding is a smart move for the powers that be in college football. It's a shame, I know I enjoyed a good BCS joke as the next person and those are about the only good things that came out of the BCS.
Some may say it made the game more relevant because of the controversy it created, but I point out the NCAA basketball tournament as a bright shinning example of just the opposite happening. You don't need fictional drama when you can produce real drama on the field and that's where we seem to be heading as the most likely model to be forwarded on is a four team playoff.
Forgive me for this, but as for the actual proposal moving forward to something concrete, I'll believe it when I see it. Why? Well, buried in the article are a few things Schlabach calls "small details" - things like oh, I don't know... say like when and where the semi-finals are to be played, how the four teams would be selected, what happens to the BCS bowls, oh and how the money (reported to be $400-$500 million) would be split up from TV revenue.
Call me crazy, but those aren't exactly minor details and the last time I checked because of a similar inability to work out just about all of the above details we were left with this thing called the BCS. Maybe it's the cynic in me, but getting 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick to agree on the big details just seems like a stretch out of one meeting.
It boggles this writers mind how things like that are considered minor details. I mean seriously, unless they decided to present a ton of options for the advisory committee to consider instead of one it's a bit unrealistic for a three hour meeting on a Wednesday afternoon in June to be enough to iron out all the IMPORTANT details like who, when, and how this hopeful playoff will happen.
What exactly has changed since the last meeting? The Pac-12 and Big Ten seem stuck in preservation of the Rose Bowl mode, the SEC wants nothing to do with playing games on campus sites (because god forbid they would have to play a cold weather game or outside of their territory), and that's just the matter of where the games would be played and how they'd be structured.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me and because of that I just don't trust that we'll get anything that's good for the game. What we may get is what's good for the conference commissioners and their pocketbooks, but that's what brought us the BCS in the first place.
Expecting those same people to actually come up with a plan that truly works is a bit like giving the key to the house to the same person that's broken in and stolen all your things before - it's just not a smart idea. For the sake of college football fans everywhere I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not holding my breath that we'll get anything resembling what we as fans deserve - a true playoff devoid of the bowl system all together.
I agree that those are some pretty big "minor" details left to discuss, making a 4-team playoff a pretty slim chance of happening. I think they should maybe switch gears and work on implementing one or two of those aspects now, and worry about a 4-team playoff later. For example: work on how the top 4 teams will be chosen by forcing the BCS computers to reveal their ranking formulas, therefore giving some transparency and credibility to the computer rankings. In return, the computer formulas should be allowed to include mathematically relevant data such as margin of victory and even include strength of schedule in their formulas. Once we have a more acceptable method of ranking teams, it will be much easier to pick which 4 teams make it to a playoff.