If you’ve been following the BCS developments over the past few weeks, you probably, like the conference commissioners and Jack Swarbrick, have no idea what is going on (though you probably haven’t enjoyed a free vacation to Florida). While the details are still being ironed out, it has become apparent that the current BCS model is no longer in consideration (hooray!).
The leading option, as reported by Mark Schlabach of ESPN, is to hold a four team playoff using the sites of the current BCS bowls as the sites of the national semifinals while putting the National Championship game up for auction (maybe ND can use some of that endowment cash to bring it to South Bend). Rather than choosing between the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowl sites before the season, the location for the semifinal games would be attached to the current conference affiliation of the bowls for the top two teams. For example, if an SEC team enters the postseason ranked #1 and a Pac-12 team entered the postseason at #2, the SEC team would host the #4 seed in New Orleans while the Pac-12 team would host the #3 seed at the Rose Bowl.
Let us all take another moment to rejoice that we will finally have some sort of playoff to decide the National Champion, and that all the ridiculous arguments about “missing extra days of class” are no longer being feigned in order to protect the BCS treasure chest. However, there are some concerns about the proposal that is currently leading:
1) The #1 and #2 teams should host the semifinal games at their home stadiums. Could you imagine how electric the atmosphere would be? 1993 ND vs. FSU on steroids, anyone? Also, it is asking quite a lot of a fan base to travel across country twice in two weeks for the semifinals and championship, particularly without being able to plan the championship trip more than a week in advance. Non-title BCS game attendance has been declining as it is, and asking fans to travel even more could prove costly (and embarrassing) for the semifinals.
2) How do you pick the top 4 teams? There is no perfect way to rank teams at the end of the season, but there will still undoubtedly be complaints about why #4 was ranked ahead of #5.
3) Will the playoffs only be open to conference champs? If they are, how does this affect Notre Dame?
4) A playoff setup makes other bowl games like the Beef ‘O Brady’s Bowl, the Tums Extra Strength Bowl and R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl inconsequential!! (Just kidding…and only one of those games was made up)
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