The BCS is finally dead

The NCAA presidents representing Division 1-A football have done what they have said for the longest time was impossible, finally creating a playoff system for the highest level of college football.

At long last fan outcry (and big dollar signs) has pushed college football to accept the way to crown its champion the same way that every other college sport already has, a playoff.

The new system will be a four team seeded tournament adding two more teams to those with a shot at claiming the National Championship. Here are the full details from the AP:

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.

The site of the title game will move around the way the Super Bowl does, with cities bidding for the right to host.

The new playoff system is still two years away and that it has taken this long is still a bit ridiculous in my opinion, but at least there are the first baby steps of progress. The commissioners from the BCS conferences have been working on this since January going through all the different iterations that could have made up a new postseason or even kept the status quo.

After 16 years, we’ll finally be rid of the BCS. Now comes the hard part of picking the four teams that will make up the playoffs. The details are a work in progress, but here are some of the bullet points that came out of the announcement on how they will select the four teams.

  • Win-loss record
  • Strength of schedule
  • Head-to-head results
  • Conference champion
  • No more automatic bids or limits on number of teams from a conference

The selection committee will have their hands full narrowing down the teams to a top four, but at worst the argument will move from who is second best to who is fourth, which most years is at quite a different level talent-wise from the top couple teams. The other promising news from what I have read is that the committee is going to be as transparent as possible with committee members explaining their choices. I sure hope that is the case.

Overall, this is a big step in the right direction for college football. Is it perfect? No. I would have preferred an eight or even 12 team tournament. I also would have preferred semifinal games to be held on campuses to give a bit of a home field advantage to higher seeded teams. While I’m a bit nervous that this is being locked into for 12 years, given the choice I will gladly take this improvement over more BCS nonsense.

This may also help out teams in the Pac-12. They’ve often been among the top few teams that fell just short of qualifying as the No. 1 or 2 teams. Looking back over the BCS era there are as many as 10 Pac-12 schools that were in the conversation for best team in college football that were left on the outside looking in under the old system. This will give them a chance to prove that they belong on the field, which is the best way to do it.

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