The Bowl Championship Series may not have been tyrannical, but many are hearing the bells of liberty pealing upon the demise of this 14-year college football bureaucracy.
Several weeks ago, a committee formed of NCAA football conference commissioners and university presidents approved a new four-team playoff, replacing the oft-criticized BCS system. This playoff is set to be implemented at the end of the 2014 season.
This new playoff system will consist of four teams who will be selected by a committee. The national championship will rotate annually among the six current bowl sponsors. Cities will bid to host the national championship game, just as they do for the Super bowl.
Some aspects of the new playoff system are still clouded with question marks. It is unknown as to where the sites will be for the semi-final games. It is also uncertain as to the makeup of the selection committee and the criteria for making the playoffs, though it is likely that the criteria will be similar to those used in the former BCS ratings such as strength of schedule, margin of victory, etc.
What does this new college playoff system mean for the Independently affiliated Cougars?
While the upcoming playoffs certainly increases the amount of teams able to compete for a national championship, it does little to improve the odds for mid-major teams like the Cougars.
Despite its winning tradition, the Cougars simply do not have the prestige of other top-tier universities. Without this prestige, the Cougars are unable to schedule enough quality opponents to distinguish themselves nationally.
Just one loss would surely disqualify the Cougars from participating in the playoffs. In some cases, even a perfect season would not guarantee the Cougars a spot in the playoffs, especially if other high-profile teams had perfect or near-perfect seasons.
Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall expressed his excitement for the upcoming changes in the playoff system. However, he doesn’t feel that the product is finished.
“I think [the playoffs] are better. I think college football fans across the country are excited that their voices have been heard,” Mendenhall said. “I think its better, I don’t think its complete. I think in the years to come we will just come closer and closer to a more fair system.”
The new playoff system has a 12 year contract, however, conference officials and university presidents are likely to review the playoffs popularity and success after its inaugural season.