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Clarity in process
The selection committee at least provides an element of transparency that was absent in the BCS model. Even diehard fans had trouble deciphering the computer rankings. The human component of a committee — much like the NCAA basketball tournament — should peel away some of the ambiguity over how teams were selected.
The committee won’t rely on one singular metric in evaluating teams. Instead, the set of criteria includes conference championships, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, results against common opponents, even key injuries.
“In the past with the BCS, you had computers [and] there was no one to answer why,” Alvarez said. “The criteria of the computer were never explained. I think this is a fair way. The one thing that we’re charged to do is pick the right four. Our [committee] chair will come out of the final meeting and explain why those four were selected.”
Added Hancock: “The committee will analyze and reanalyze and triple-analyze those teams against each other.”
A playoff represents a seismic change, but many argue that it doesn’t go far enough. LSU coach Les Miles called the four-team playoff a “quality attempt,” before noting that he believes it will expand.
Talk of an expansion to eight teams (or more) began as soon as the playoff became reality. However, Hancock insists the playoff will remain at four teams for the life of its 12-year contract. But given the remarkable transformation of college athletics in recent years, playoff expansion seems inevitable.
“I think it’s the tip of the iceberg,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “I think you’ll see it expand.”
Hancock said decision-makers purposely capped the playoff at four teams because they wanted to protect the importance and excitement of the regular season. They were concerned that a larger postseason field would diminish the significance of a 12-game regular season.
Power conference bias
Teams outside the power conferences worry that they will largely be excluded from playoff discussion because of the strength-of-schedule criteria. Realistically, would the selection committee pick an undefeated team from the Mountain West over a one-loss team from the SEC?
One consolation: The highest-ranked champion from the so-called “Group of Five” conferences earns an automatic bid to one of the top-tier bowl games in the playoff rotation each season. That means the Group of Five representative will earn an invitation to the Fiesta, Cotton or Peach Bowl this season.
For all its flaws, the BCS didn’t hurt the sport’s popularity. If anything, college football has never been more popular. Now imagine the drama of playoff race the final weeks of the regular season followed by a postseason that will determine a true champion.
“After years of debate and frustration,” Pacific-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “we have been able to find a way to firmly establish a real playoff in college football and settle matters on the field.”
|Team Irvin||19||3rd Qtr|
|Boston||68||3rd Qtr 3:33|
|Washington||74||3rd Qtr 3:09|
|Northwestern||67||2nd Half 0:01|
|Washington||32||2nd Half 16:50|
|Coll of Charleston||53|
|William & Mary||57|
|(17) Florida State||110|
|(9) Oregon State||68||FINAL|
|(13) Arizona State||57|
|(12) North Carolina||67|
|(11) Stanford||59||2nd Half 7:54|
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