College football’s shift to a four-team playoff is coming into sharper focus following an announcement Wednesday by BCS commissioners that they have agreed on a basic structure on which to build.
Though this news seems a repeat of the playoff news announced in early May, it is important because the commissioners of the major BCS conferences have figured out some of the smaller details, including location, seeding, and selection.
Here’s what is known so far:
1) The semifinal games will be played at pre-existing bowls. This was up for debate, as the Big Ten was in favor of playing the games at the home team’s stadium, but Commissioner Mike Slive and the SEC (with some Big 12 support) got their way. The pre-existing bowls that will cycle the games will probably be the big four (Rose, Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar) and maybe a few more. This part is still undecided.
2) Another point of contention between the conferences was how the teams would be seeded and which would be available for selection. The SEC and Big 12 were strongly in favor of having the “top” four teams selected, regardless of whether they were conference champions or not. Such a system would reward the two conferences, as they can often boast of multiple teams capable of beating the Pac-12, Big Ten, or ACC champs outright. These other conferences favored a conference championship requirement, however they have come around on this point because of how the selection itself will be done. Which brings us to…
3) There will be a selection committee. Though the details are hazy, a selection committee will allow for the human element to overtake the computers in deciding how it plays out. Certain things will be able to be weighed and discussed, such as strength of schedule, conference championships, and whether teams pass the “eyeball test.” It will also ensure that the most ideal teams make the tournament. The committee will make sure that all parties’ interests are considered as part of the process. Of course, who will comprise the committee is yet to be decided.
The commissioners have more meetings to discuss the finer details of it all, and they will present their model June 26 to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee in Washington, D.C., for final approval.
This can only benefit Texas. It won’t impact any Texas team in the future that would go undefeated, since those types of teams would make the championship in any system, but it would’ve allowed Texas into the picture in 2008 when it saw Oklahoma go to the national championship game against Florida thanks to a convoluted Big 12 tiebreaker.
Texas was ranked third going into the bowls and would’ve likely been given another shot at Oklahoma in the semifinals. Those two teams squaring off for a right to play in the national championship game usually takes place in October, but the intensity of a rematch in December is almost impossible to comprehend.
In all, college football is moving in the right direction with this one, and the light at the end of the tunnel is brightening by the day.
Meanwhile in college athletics, Notre Dame is considering leaving the Big East for the once again inviting confines of the Big 12, according to Orangebloods.com. Granted, this would be limited to Notre Dame’s Olympic sports (i.e., no football) but it would be a great boost for the conference in both competition and brand recognition. Notre Dame carries strong basketball and women’s soccer squads, and the Fighting Irish are among the top 12 in athletic revenue.
Football would still stay independent, though they would likely begin to play at least three Big 12 teams, with a plan to move to as many as six conference opponents in the coming years.
Unfortunately, Notre Dame’s most competitive squad, men’s lacrosse, would probably stay in the Big East since Big 12’s club lacrosse squads are a bit below their skill level.