College football braces itself for four-team playoff

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2014 - 7:14 AM

It’s a big step forward, but four-team format won’t silence annual bickering.

hide

Florida State and quarterback Jameis Winston were deserving of the BCS trophy after an unbeaten 2013 season. This season, the BCS gives way to a four-team playoff chosen by committee.

Photo: Associated Press file,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

College football has crowned national champions for more than a century, but the sport’s methodology in determining a champion always has lacked true authenticity.

Championships have been decided by mathematical formulas, by human polls, by computers, by confounding logic.

The history book lists multiple national champions for some years. Louisiana State and Southern California “split” the national title in 2003, even though USC didn’t play in the BCS Championship Game.

A year later, an undefeated Auburn team got left out of the title game because computer rankings determined that USC and Oklahoma were more worthy.

Public pleas for a playoff constantly met resistance from the sport’s old guard, encapsulated by an infamous quote from Ohio State President Gordon Gee in 2007.

“They’ll have to wrench a playoff system from my cold, dead hands,” Gee said.

Thankfully, change didn’t require such a drastic conclusion. Decision-makers finally budged and college football joined the ranks of other sports by adopting a playoff, starting this season.

So long, BCS. Hello, playoffs.

“This may be the most significant change in the history of college football,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the new College Football Playoff.

A 13-member selection committee will choose four teams to compete in the inaugural playoff. The semifinals will be at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. The national championship game takes place Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.

No break from bickering

The overdue arrival of a playoff likely will increase the excitement and popularity (and revenue) of college football’s postseason because fans can understand and embrace a tournament format.

The playoff, however, won’t eliminate the annual controversy surrounding which teams get to play for the national championship.

The BCS caused anger and confusion by relying on computer algorithms. The playoff will lead to resentment from the team that finishes No. 5 in the committee’s rankings.

Consider this hypothetical: Five teams from power conferences finish the regular season with one loss. Good luck appeasing the fan base of the team not included in the playoff.

“Any event that’s worth its salt brings contention with it,” Hancock said. “That’s because it’s an event that people want to participate in. And so those that just barely don’t make it are very disappointed.”

Former Wisconsin coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez weighed the “good and bad” before agreeing to be on the selection committee. He said committee members understand the pressure and magnitude of being asked to choose between teams with similar résumés.

“I’m sure people ranked 5, 6, 7, 8 are going to disagree,” he said. “But we’ll have reasons and criteria that we used to determine which teams were 1 through 4.”

  • GOPHERS opener

    6 p.m. Thursday vs. Eastern Illinois • TCF Bank Stadium • TV: BTN (107.9-FM)

    the new season

    A primer on the national action ahead — and how the new playoff will end. C10

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close