After years of public disenchantment with the BCS system, university executives have approved a plan to institute a four-team playoff system to determine the national champion, starting in the year 2014.
Here’s the scoop from ESPN:
The group of presidents also endorsed a rotation of the semifinal games among six bowl sites and a rotation of the championship game among neutral sites. The semifinals either will be played on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and the national title game will be played on “Championship Monday,” the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the final semifinal game is played.
“A four-team playoff doesn’t go too far; it goes just the right amount,” said Virginia Tech president Charles Sterger, chair of the presidential oversight committee. “We are very pleased with this arrangement even though some issues & remain to be finalized.”
There will be three contract bowls — the Champions Bowl, which is a partnership between the Big 12 and SEC, the Rose Bowl, which has a longstanding tradition between the Big Ten and Pac 12, and a bowl to be determined for the ACC, which is likely to continue its partnership with the Orange Bowl.
“In terms of our contract bowl, and our New Year’s Day tie-in, we expect to have an announcement on that jointly in the very near future,” Swofford said.
The three other bowls, called “access bowls,” have yet to be determined, but the decision will force the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl to become bidders…
I have mixed feelings about this. For one thing, there are always going to be people who are disappointed with the way college football championships are decided. This new system won’t change that. There will still be deserving teams who don’t qualify to be in the top four–just because they come from a tough conference. There will still be debate about whether the best teams got a fair shot at the title. TRUST ME–the controversy is not going away. But what will happen is that colleges and sports networks will rake in millions more in revenues.
This is just one more step toward the professionalization of televised college sports, which long ago embraced big money and adhered to the ideals of “amateur athletics” only as a facade. Why not pay the athletes if others are going to make millions off of them? Yes, they get full scholarships, but if we are going to have them playing in big time televised playoff games-thereby extending the playing season even further into the winter–maybe it’s time for universities to compensate their players, as Steve Spurrier has suggested.