College football playoff worse than BCS before

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What could be worse that the Bowl Championship Series?


Recently, the commissioners of the conferences that set up the elitist BCS system finally listened to the fans and the press. A playoff for college football’s national championship is coming in the 2013-14 season.
Hallelujah, right?
Not so fast.
The four-team playoff does a few things to actually crown a champion on the field — instead of in a computer or year-end poll — but it virtually eliminates any chance for any but a big-name school from winning the title.
Here is the set-up: A committee will rank the four playoff teams based on win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head record and if a team is a conference champion.
The semifinals will be held at existing bowls, but the dates of those bowls will be moved back to accommodate the semifinals before the new national championship game.
One of the semifinals will be held on New Years Eve, the other on New Years Day.
There will be no automatic qualifiers. All four spots will be decide on by the committee alone. Sounds fair, right?
Not so fast.
By using strength of schedule as a main ingredient in the championship farce, it will allow the committee to give advantages to conferences that are deep in traditional powers.
With the onset this past year of teams moving from one conference to another, the BCS conferences gained in volume and strength. The six conferences are the Big 10, the Pac 12, The Big 12, the Big East, the Atlantic Coast and the Southeastern.
The Big East is already in trouble with West Virginia moving to the Big 12 this year and Pitt and Syracuse moving to the ACC next year.
It was also looking pretty bad for the Big 12, losing Colorado and Nebraska last year and having Missouri and Texas A&M defect to the SEC this season.
But the Big 12 recovered by latching on to TCU of the Mountain West and West Virginia. Both schools have been mentioned in national title talk over the past five years or so and the Mountaineers are a candidate this year for a BCS-game appearance.
If the Mountain West talks Boise State into staying in the conference, it will spell the end for the Big East as a major player.
Right now, going into the 2012 season, there are only 61 teams that can contend for the spots. There’s the ACC (12 teams), Big “Not” 10 (12), The Big “Not” 12 (10), The Pac-12 (12), The SEC (14) and Notre Dame.
If your team is in the WAC (which may die completely), MAC, Conference USA, Sunbelt or is Army or Navy, there was no hope of getting to the BCS title game and certainly no hope of making a blip on the radar screen in the committee room.
That leaves BYU, the Mountain West (only if it is Boise St. we are talking about) and the Big (l)East that will be mentioned and then dismissed before the first cup of coffee is served in the committee room.
While the bowl game scenario has gotten out of control, we are now looking at 35 bowl games of some meaning, being reduced to three with all the meaning (two semifinals and national championship).
The committee could decide to take four teams from the SEC. Last year, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and South Carolina were all in the top seven of the BCS standings. Aside from the SEC teams, only Stanford, Oregon and Oklahoma State were considered as national tile participants.
Here is the real rub in the get-rich for the top four or five conferences four-team national playoff.
The revenue would not be shared by all of the conferences. All of the proposed revenue-sharing agreements, to this point, include components that reward the top five conferences and shut out the Mountain Wests of the world from seeing any money at all.
It really is a football final four. Not four teams, four conferences that will control all of the money, exposure and participation.
But wasn’t that the goal of the BCS all along? And they even gave us a playoff to accomplish it.


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.