By Josh Kramer
Since 1998, the BCS has placed handcuffs over the world of college football. Death to the BCS has been a common outcry (and a top-selling book). Well the handcuffs have finally be loosened. Tuesday was truly a milestone day for collegiate football. College football will finally join the rest of the sporting world. A champion will be determined via a playoff. What a happy day. Or is it?
People have begged for a playoff in college football since before I can even remember. It has always been the one major flaw that has held the sport back. College football popularity is at an all-time high, but finding people fully satisfied with the current system would be mission impossible. The outcries have finally been heard though. As is the norm when it comes to American sports, many are still extremely dissatisfied. Go figure. People ask for a playoff. The general public is finally granted their wish, and the critics are out in full force.
I fully understand that this is not a perfect system by any means. Until there is an 8 or 16 team playoff, people will still not be fully satisfied. This is fine. But this by all means is a major step in the right direction. Four teams will have the opportunity to win the national championship now rather than two. Arguments will hinge over who gets the fourth spot in the playoffs rather than the usual tussle over who gets the second spot in the national championship game. Does this sound better? You better believe it. I mean I would love to see the argument be over who gets the eighth or sixteenth spot in a playoff. It just isn’t feasible at this time. Baby steps is the name of the game.
Now the rumor is that there will likely be a selection committee similar to that used in college basketball’s March Madness selections. This would be fine with me. But also be aware that all humans hold major bias. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Ever heard the expression, “He is only human.” Well we are all “only human.” Therefore, a major key will be centered on who gets selected to sit on the committee. Now I would also like to see a computer element still mixed in to this process (this is part of the plan according to most reports). A new algorithm used to develop a ranking scale that could be heavily utilized by the committee. Now if I had the perfect algorithm, I would lay it out for you. Unfortunately, I don’t. I just know there needs to be a way to incorporate factors such as where the games are being played, the time of year, and other factors that heavily influence the outcome of games every Saturday. The Total Quarterback Rating was a step in the right direction for the NFL over the previously used Quarterback Passing Rating. With current technology, information is at an all time high. This would be a way to put the excess of information to use. I am sure somebody is already working to develop the perfect algorithm for college football rankings as we speak.
Now 3.2% of the eligible college football teams will make the playoffs and have an opportunity to hoist the national championship trophy. Just to put this number into perspective, 37.5% of NFL teams make the playoffs which presents them the opportunity to take home the Lombardi Trophy. Professional sports and collegiate sports are far different though. 3.2% of teams having the opportunity to win via a playoff is better than what it has been (1.6% of teams have a chance to win).
I know there are a lot of kinks to work out. The major University Presidents and all affiliated parties are working extremely hard to make this system as good as it can be. Sure, the business aspect is of much higher priority than many of the fans would like. But money is what makes the world go round.
We are on the cusp of entering the “playoff” era of college football. An era we have all been anxiously waiting for. Sadly, the hopes of an 8 or 16 team playoff will have to remain on hold until at least 2025/2026. Despite all of the skepticism though, there is no denying that this new playoff system is a major step in the right direction.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.