The BCS has possibly finally figured it out. For years fans have been begging for a playoff system in the largest sport in collegiate athletics. But the NCAA has always given poor excuses as to why it can’t have such an event. Although the event is played perfectly on the 1-AA level. And outside of football, College Basketball and Baseball hold incredible end of the season tournaments, where the most casual of fans find time to tune in.
For years I believe the NCAA was afraid that it would take away focus from the smaller bowls and may even lose money for some of the bigger bowls. Considering that the entire bowl season has gotten absolutely ridiculous and is losing more credibility each and every year, something had to be done. After all, there is no reason that a 6-6 team should be eligible to play in a bowl game. Not to mention it seems like all you need is a couple hundred bucks of funding to get a bowl anymore. While we’re at it, not sure it would take much to introduce the “MORETHANAFAN.NET Powered by Omaha Gas and Electric with White Castle Bowl.” We could put two 6-6 teams from the Sunbelt and WAC against each other. Both schools would likely lose money to participate, but since that is the norm in modern college football, it’s worth a shot.
The move to a 4-team playoff is huge for college football. The next steps as to how it will play out are the most important. It sounds as though 4 teams will be chosen at-large, without conference tie-in’s. Although the title game site could be rotating on a yearly basis, or it could depend on that conference’s bowl game tie-in. Basically, if Ohio State is #1 and advances, the title game would be played in the Rose Bowl due to the B1G’s BCS bowl tie-in.
I think that the NCAA and BCS need to take a good hard look at the first round contests. For years one of the biggest downfalls of the bowl system is that teams from the North must always head South or out West to face their foe’s. Teams from the North play a different style of football. It’s built for the cold harsh winters, where a strong defense and consistent running attack are cornerstones of a championship team (you know, the way football SHOULD be played). While teams from the South are built more for the speed and high flying passing games that can be played it those bitter November days, where the high is just 73.
It’s possible that the higher seeded team could just host their respective first round games. I believe that this provides an incredible disadvantage to the opposing team. Home field advantage is likely impacted more in college football than any other sport. Instead, the NFL could get involved and have a designated neutral site for each conference. For example, the B1G’s could be Soldier Field. So if any team from the B1G was a 1 or 2 seed, the game would be played there. Big East could be Giant Stadium, ACC could be Bank of America Stadium (Panthers), so forth and so on.
I believe a team holding a higher seed should have home field advantage, because they earned it with that 1 or 2 seed. A neutral site in their region would provide a home field advantage, but not such an advantage to adversely affect the outcome of the game.
The NCAA basketball tournament does an excellent job at doing this. For the most part, the #1 seeds play out their regions close to home, but not so much so that an opposing fan feels like an outsider. As amazing as Happy Valley is, if I’m coming from Tuscaloosa, to see the Tide take on the Nittany Lions, I would rather fly in to a major city, with legitimate hotel accommodations and a thriving nightlife, than some small college town.
All in all, this is great news for college football, but we really need to shift our focus though on to how this process is going to be initiated and carried out. I’m glad that a 4-team playoff is on the table, but not executing it properly could have a damaging impact on the sport.