This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
You’d often hear gripes during the NCAA Division I college football season about the hated BCS system, a ranking-based scheme that perversely and persistently kept the gripers’ alma maters from competing for the crowning glory.
“What this country needs is a playoff system,” was the inevitable closing refrain, with which everyone would heartily concur.
Starting in 2014, thanks to a deal agreed to by a committee of university presidents last week, the new topic of feverish debate likely will be the deficiencies of the four-team contest to decide the national champion.
“What this country needs is an eight-team (or 16-team) playoff!”
Do not be deluded. Whatever system is instituted, your team will still be cheated out of a fair shot at the crystal trophy.
OK, maybe that won’t happen under the new playoff system. It supposedly will be a more rational way of determining the national champion than the 14-year-old Bowl Championship Series system, which fans never warmed to. Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the side of dumping the BCS for playoffs.
Now it will happen. Come 2014, instead of matching the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in a single title game, the playoffs will match No. 1 against No. 4 and No. 2 against No. 3 over the New Year’s holiday. Those games will rotate among six different bowl venues, including the Rose Bowl.
The winner of each game will go on to the championship game; the first is set for Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. Cities will bid for the right to host the game, like they do now for the Super Bowl.
Staunch fans of a playoff system are disappointed that only four teams will be going to the dance. They’d prefer more bracket slots, something closer to the NCAA’s basketball tourney.
But the four-team playoff is a good start. If that works out, expansion to eight or 16 likely will happen. The more teams, the less excuse for your team getting shafted again.