Four-Team Playoff Goes From Dream To Reality

After 14 years of dissatisfying fans, the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee approved a seeded four-team playoff on Tuesday to determine the national champion beginning in 2014. The deal is for a 12-year system that will take over for the current BCS regime.

In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, the BCS commissioners declared what was basically a formality at that point following last week’s statement that they were going to propose the playoff to the committee.

This being college football, don’t think the new system will be totally objective and removed from subjective human judgment, of course.

The biggest mystery still surrounding the playoff is who exactly will comprise the selection committee that will pick the four teams to be in the playoff. Right now it is rumored that there will be 15 members and that each conference will have at least one representative. Will current athletic directors, presidents, coaches or even former coaches, or media members be included? No one knows.

Reports are also speculating that the TV payout will be between $5-6 billion for the semis and national championship over the 12 years. If true, that would be nearly three times the current TV deal in place for the BCS bowls.

Speaking of the BCS bowls, that moniker is finished. It’s unclear what they will be called, but there will be six bowls that cycle the semi-finals yearly. It is expected that the four current BCS bowls (Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, and Rose) will have the first crack at bidding to be part of that group. Other bowls in the hunt could be the Cotton, Chik-Fil-A, and the new Big 12-SEC collaborative “Champions Bowl.”

It’s interesting to note that the Champions Bowl could end up becoming the Cotton Bowl or Sugar Bowl as a branding move, but that is secondary to what’s at play right now. The championship games will be bidded out, so expect Jerry World in Arlington to make a strong push for the first matchup in the 2014 season.

In their announcement, the commissioners emphasized that they felt a four-team playoff was the right way to preserve what many consider to be the best regular season in athletics while giving the fans a better postseason option than the BCS.

UT president Bill Powers stressed having the support of the strengthened Big 12 conference. He said the conference would very soon help work out the logistics still to be decided.

“The strong sense,” he said, “is that the committee will be broad enough to cover the country geographically and that they will be able to watch all the games but small enough that it can operate. I think we’re talking 9-15 members. The new plan takes place in two years—we’ll want to get the details resolved over the next several months.”

For his part, Longhorn head coach Mack Brown expressed distinct pleasure about the change, applauding Powers and Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds for championing it.

“We’ve all wanted to see improvements to the system we had, and in my opinion, we’re headed in the right direction,” Brown said in a statement. “We have some very smart people in place working out the details, and I’m really excited about the future.”

After a century of college football competition, just two more years to wait .

Mack Brown celebrates a 2011 win over A&M. Photo courtesy UT Athletics.


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