Progress in college football can be a slow developing thing and so that process continues as today the BCS Presidential Advisory Committee announced their support of a 4 team playoff to begin in the 2014 season. It's a giant first step in giving college football fans everywhere what they want: A National Champion determined by the play on the field and less by polls and computers.
"A four team playoff doesn't go too far; it goes just the right amount," said Virginia Tech president Charles Sterger.
According to SEC Comissioner Mike Slive, "We preserved the regular season and we enhanced it by adding the four team playoff."
With those proclamations it was laid out quite clear to everyone what the biggest issue was in making this playoff a reality - making sure the regular season made money along with the playoffs and bowls for those teams not in the top four.
What was announced today was that the 4 teams would be seeded and the two semi-final games would rotate amongst six games under the current bowl structure with a stand alone national championship game to be bid out to the highest-bidding city nationally (I'm sure Jerry Jones already has his hands all over this one). There will be a selection committee that determines the four seeded teams and this system will last at least 12 years long thanks to contractual obligations.
However, there are plenty of things that need to be worked out and those details will be coming as we await the start of the new system in 2014. What's left to work out are the biggest details to making this system work - the six bowls (we can assume the Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta will be four of them) that will make up the rotation, who makes up the selection committee, and what criteria does that committee use in selecting the participants.
In an interview on ESPN's College Football Live tonight, Gene Wojciechowski reported that the selection committee could be made up of as many as 15 people which would allow for some members with a conflict of interest to remove themselves and still have enough voices in the room.
Today could very well be seen by many of the BCS' detractors as a day of rejoicing and I happen to agree, it's the realistic best case scenario for both sides of the issue. In the world of college football today where money is king there simply was no way the bowl system was going to die and we've opened up the system to allow the games on the field to do the talking, not a bunch of unknown computer rankings.
The next few years will be more of what we've seen, but just knowing that college football is finally reaching a true playoff format is something most of us have waited a lifetime to see and it's cause for bottles to be poped and celebration. Let's rejoice in the small step forward taken today and leave the debate about the details for another day.