Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BCS No More: Playoffs start in 2014 (kinda)

By Nicole
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There were plenty of holdouts (Nebraska being the most notable/vocal), but in the end they didn't stand in the way and the voice of the fans seems to have won.

The 2014 college football season will feature a four-team playoff to decide the National Champion.

No. 1 will play No. 4, and No. 2 will play No. 3 on Dec. 31 and/or Jan. 1. The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS bowls - Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar - and two more to be determined. One of the new sites will likely be wherever the newly formed bowl created by the SEC and Big 12 is played, Slive said.

The Cotton Bowl, played at the $1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has long wanted to be part of the BCS and is expected to make a strong push to be in the semifinal rotation.

The winners of the semis will advance to the championship on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the last semifinal. The first "Championship Monday," as it was called in the BCS release, is set for Jan. 12, 2015.

A committee, similar to the one that selects the 68-team basketball field, will decide who those final four teams will be. Things like strength of schedule, win-loss record and conference championships will be taken into account. The actual process in basketball is a secret, though people like Ken Pomeroy have created statistical analysis that can closely approximate it.

Of course, no one actually knows who will be on that committee.

The BCS is still relatively new, though for folks my age, it's pretty much all we've known during our formative fan years. It's hard to imagine that the Coach's and AP polls won't play a part and that something like the BCS computer won't come into play. This new system is fragile and will be under a lot of scrutiny, meaning human error is something they aren't going to want to let be an issue.

The Bowl sites that don't host a semi-final that year will host other games amongst top teams and those matchups will also be decided by this committee, taking the tradition of inviting teams to bowls out of the picture.

There will no longer be any automatic qualifying, meaning conferences like the ACC and Mountain West will have as much of an opportunity as SEC and Big-12 teams.

The 2014 start date isn't arbitrary - it's determined by money, as most of this is. ESPN has a contract with the BCS through 2013, meaning they'd be violating the contract if they disbanded the BCS before then.

The hope is to lock in this format for 12 years. After that, the whole thing will be re-evaluated again.

Of course, this new layout should mean twice as much money and bigger TV deals.

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