Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The culmination of the Bowl
Championship Series' National Championship game between Florida State and
Auburn marked the end of an era for college football.
Beginning this upcoming season, a four-team playoff format will be used to
determine college football's national championship. The finality of the BCS
system is something that was widely debated on for years, and now that it's
finally over a much more concrete champion can be crowned.
The regular season will sift through the multiple conferences and teams, and
when it's all over, four programs will be left to play a tournament-style
postseason for a chance at the title.
It's an upgrade in the sense that outside factors will play little to no role
in crowning a national champion, which is something the BCS system couldn't
Previously generated by polls and computers, the BCS and its championship game
were products of the NCAA. This new playoff format is free from any outside
forces; the four playoff teams will be selected by a committee of 13 members
who will base their selections on the regular season. No ties to the NCAA or
And there's no limitation in terms of conferences that can make the four-team
bracket. If, for example, the playoff system were used this January, Auburn
and Alabama - both from the Southeastern Conference - would have been
It's a much more clearly defined system than that of the former BCS. Other
sections of college football, like the Division-I Football Championship
Subdivision, have been utilizing a playoff system for decades to determine a
title winner. At the FCS level, 24 teams compete in a tournament-style playoff
system. Four teams is a start for the Football Bowl Subdivision, but the best
part is there's room for growth in the future.
The playoff system also restores some glorification to the more historic and
heralded bowl games that have lost their luster over the years with the
addition of countless others. Six bowl games will be used on a rotation basis
to host the two semifinal matchups in the system's three-year rotation cycle.
The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, for example, will be used as the semifinal
matchups in January of 2015 - the first run at the playoff system. The winners
of those two bowl games will move on to face each other in the national
championship game. In future years, the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl
and Chik-Fil-A Bowl will be used as semifinals hosts.
The knock on the BCS in year's past was that it wasn't as inclusive as
defining a national champion should have been. Not only does this playoff
system seek to amend that, but it also returns some of the glamour to New
Year's Day, as once again there is incentive to being in a sought-after bowl
Like college basketball's Final Four, cities and locations can submit claims
to host a national championship game, which will be determined by the playoff
group's leaders based on those bids. The title game venue following this
upcoming college season will be AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In 2016, the
site is University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and Raymond James
Stadium in Florida in 2017.
To completely sever its ties with the BCS, college football will present a new
national title trophy for the winner. The American Football Coaches
Association (AFCA) crystal football won't be awarded anymore, which was a
tradition since its inception in 1986. Officials reportedly wanted to be
completely disconnected with the former system altogether. To their credit, a
fresh start really means as much.
It was evident the interest in the BCS system was starting to decline, and
year after year the NCAA fielded more and more questions and complaints
regarding the title game system.
A playoff is exactly what was needed, because any small-scale slip up in the
regular season for a major power could have had drastic implications on the
outcome of its season. There's always room for expansion in the future if need
be. Whether the NCAA decides to make it an eight-team or 16-team playoff is
yet to be seen. We know for at least the next few years the tournament-style
playoff can develop in test stages.
Florida State's last-minute touchdown to lift the Seminoles over Auburn in the
BCS title game provided a perfect send-off as we move into a more fundamental
era of college football and its postseason.
The Sports Network