The BCS presidents and commissioners are in the midst of making a sweeping round of changes that will take the post-season from four ancillary bowls and a two-team championship to four ancillary bowls, two semi-final games, and championship game. This is what everyone wanted, right? Not so much.
The four-team playoff concept that fans want has been deprecated and replaced with a four-team playoff in which the participants will not be determined by the final BCS poll, but by a selection committee.
The new system will maintain part of the current system’s ridiculousness by also having three host bowls. Those games will allow others in the top-12 along with one non-AQ school to play in a top tier bowl game and receive an expanded share of the overall BCS revenue.
The sites for the host bowls have not been determined, but bowls such as the Cotton, Fiesta, and Chick-Fil-A are expected to host those games.
In any normal scenario, the top-four teams in the final BCS poll would head to a four-team playoff (two semi-final games, and a championship game), but in this case the selection committee will determine which the four most qualified teams are. The system is similar to what happens on the basketball side in March.
How the committee will determine which teams make the playoff or who will be on the committee has not yet been determined, but I assure you that in general most fans will not be satisfied with its makeup.
Earlier this year, there was talk that the committee would be made up of former coaches and players and not current commissioners or athletic directors. If there has to be a committee I would prefer there to be an even mix of coaches and players, not only from Division I-A (FBS), but to include the same from Division I-AA (FCS).
Former coaches and players from FBS will have obvious biases towards school or conferences; to balance that out they need to include others whom have no direct ties to any of the participants, but have knowledge of the game. Who better to do that than former coaches and players from the FCS subdivision?
I think the best solution is to scrap the selection committee, coaches’ poll, and Harris poll. Replace all three with the AP Poll and use former coaches and players from FBS & FCS in another poll. Make those rankings available every week along with each voters’ ballot. Start the ballot for the former players and coaches poll at week 3. Former coaches and players are likely watching games, and if you gave them an incentive (full disclosure) they would likely be better pollsters than active coaches are.
While I prefer an eight-team playoff, the good news is that non-automatic qualifying conferences (Group of Five) now have a legitimate chance to play in the playoff. One team from this Group of Five is also guaranteed a spot in one of the host bowls.
This gives schools like Boise, Notre Dame, and Utah a clear path the playoff and possibly a National Championship game.
One change I would prefer to see is automatically disqualifying teams from the playoff if they play FCS schools. Yes, those games are money makers for the FCS schools, but in general those games are not good games for fans in the stands or those watching on television.
Most are not interested in seeing Penn State play Youngstown or Michigan play Appalachian State. Sure, both matchups worked well for the FCS schools, but in general, those games are lopsided and uninteresting.
If they are not willing to disqualify teams, then restore the strength-of-schedule component to the poll. Yes, I know games are scheduled years in advance, but contracts can and have been broken.
While we are restoring missing items back into the BCS, please add back in the “quality win” bonus for beating a top-15 team.
These and the other changes will be in effect for the 2014-2015 season. The new 12-year agreement begins in 2014.
What do you think of the new BCS format? Tell me about it in the comments.