Major college football no longer afraid of the p-word

Finally, the national championship trophy (whatever they end up calling it) will be the result of a playoff. (Associated Press)

Finally, the national championship trophy (whatever they end up calling it) will be the result of a playoff. (Associated Press)

So, what do you think of the news that the conference chiefs finally are proposing a four-team college football playoff — and after years of shying away from the p-word they’re coming right out and calling it that?

There’s a lot still to be decided, including how the four teams will be selected, where and when the two semifinals and a championship game will be played, and what role the current BCS bowl games (Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar) will play in the new system. But it seems almost certain that with the expiration of the current BCS arrangement after the 2013 season, college football fans will at last get what they’ve wanted for so long: a playoff.

Whether they continue with the BCS name or not, the most likely outcome will be two playoff games rotating among the current BCS bowls and then the national championship game staged by the high bidder (not necessarily one of the BCS bowls, meaning Atlanta might be able to land the game).

The commissioners will finalize the format first, probably by July, and then decide exactly how to pick the teams (whether by polls/computers or a selection committee).

I like the idea of the bowls still being involved. What can I say, I’m a traditionalist. With the rotation plan, the other BCS bowl games not involved in the semifinals would still host traditional New Year’s games, and presumably the lesser bowls would continue to operate pretty much the way they do now.

They’re also talking about college football “reclaiming” New Year’s Day and concentrating the games more in late December, with the national championship winding up by the first week of January, which I think is a good idea. Aside from the national title game, the major bowls should be played on Jan. 1. (Like I said, I’m a traditionalist.)

A playoff followed by a championship game somewhere else does have its complications, of course — particularly the travel demands on fan bases. But that’s going to be the case with any sort of playoff arrangement.

As for how they pick the teams for the playoff, I’m hoping that SEC chief Mike Slive prevails and they go with the four highest ranked teams instead of the Big 10’s preference for limiting the playoff to conference champs. I think this year, as frustrating as it was for everyone outside the SEC, proved that the best team doesn’t always win their conference. Bama was definitely the best team in 2011.

Of course, going with the top four teams in the polls wouldn’t necessarily always mean getting the four hottest or most competitive teams. UGA fans remember 2007, when Georgia finished the season as one of the two hottest teams but was ranked by the poll voters as No. 5 (because it didn’t win its division, much less its conference) and would have been left out of a four-team playoff.

Anyway, I like putting the playoffs in bowls as opposed to having the higher-ranked team host it at their home stadium, a PAC 10 proposal that appears to be pretty much dead now. A playoff game would be a logistical nightmare for some college towns and the weather might be a factor. While playing for home-field advantage might juice the regular season some, having playoff games at neutral sites in a domed stadium seems like the best and fairest approach.

Thankfully, that ridiculous idea that was floated about having the Rose Bowl pit the Big 10 and PAC 10 winners separately from the playoff and still have a shot at the national title game was shot down.

Also of interest is that the commissioners decided that under the new plan there’ll be no automatic qualifier conferences, which is likely to be the death knell for the Big East, a conference that has barely held itself together and has managed to attract new members like Boise State strictly because it previously had the AQ designation.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock called the playoff proposal “a seismic change,” and he’s right.

But in this case change is good. Assuming they don’t mess it up at the last minute — or the school presidents, who must approve the plan, don’t go off the deep end — this looks like a very positive step forward for college football (which many of us already think is the best sport around). The regular season will not be devalued (as it would with an eight-team or 16-team playoff) and will come to an end with four teams in contention for the national title instead of just two.

Plus getting rid of the increasingly unwieldy restrictions on the BCS bowls will put an end to nobody-cares bowl matchups like Virginia Tech-Cincinnati or Oklahoma-Connecticut.

All in all, I think there’s much to like about this move. How about you?

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

115 comments Add your comment

NC Dawg

April 27th, 2012
10:45 am

Goldenrod

April 27th, 2012
10:45 am

Coach Paul Johnson is going to bring a crystal trophy back to North Avenue this season!

We WILL Run This State!

SBC Pastor

April 27th, 2012
10:49 am

I like what I read, sounds like we are headed in the right direction. We do need to remember, though, that there is no such thing as a perfect system. No matter what method we use, there will always be room for disagreement.

Dean Tate

April 27th, 2012
10:52 am

As long as the playoff remains four teams, I don’t seen any negatives. Unfortunately, it will almost certainly grow to 8 and more when the talking heads and media start trashing it because somebody deserving got left out. Plus, expansion is just inevitable in any playoff system. There’s not a playoff in any sport that hasn’t grown beyond its original format. College football will be no different. Then we’ll be left with a college basketball-style regular season that doesn’t mean anything.

3720 to 1

April 27th, 2012
10:55 am

I want some of what Goldenrod is smoking…

The SEC has won the National Championship 6 years in a row, good luck to anyone from outside the SEC trying to take it away for the foreseeable future. Might as well name it the Bear Bryant Trophy. It’s gonna reside in the South for a long, long time.

Vance Duly

April 27th, 2012
10:57 am

As long as Georgia receives a standing “bye” into the final group of 4 each year, I’m totally OK with it…! The only disqualifier would be if we win 6 games or less……… or if we don’t have an official Uga patrolling the sidelines. …………..GO DAWGS!

Mad Mike

April 27th, 2012
10:59 am

my only point of contention with you is that a team should have to win its conference to compete in the playoff. i’m shocked that i agree with jim delany on something.

Cobb Dawg

April 27th, 2012
11:03 am

As long as human polls are involved, then nothing has been solved. The four teams selected will always be the ones with the strongest brand value.

SSIgator

April 27th, 2012
11:04 am

“nobody-cares bowl matchups like Virginia Tech-Cincinnati or Oklahoma-Connecticut”

or

UGA vs Hawaii

Cobb Dawg

April 27th, 2012
11:04 am

And you’re wrong, Bill. Conference championship should be a pre-requisite.

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
11:07 am

You pretty much have to have 4 conference champions in the playoffs if you want to make it even remotely fair. Picking them randomly isn’t much better then the garbage we have now. Not to mention it would help to keep TV ratings from completely tanking.

Dawg Haus

April 27th, 2012
11:07 am

Sounds like they’ve got things headed in the right direction.

beanster

April 27th, 2012
11:13 am

which conference(s) would get screwed if it were 4 champions? How would the 4 be decided?

beanster

April 27th, 2012
11:20 am

even if the Big East goes down, SEC, Big Ten (12), ACC, Big 12, Pac 12 = 5

lucky21

April 27th, 2012
11:20 am

I believe that there is no AQ conferences, but to be eligible for the playoffs you have to win your conference, so teams like Boise could have a chance.

Mad Mike

April 27th, 2012
11:22 am

the 4 highest rated (per bcs rankings) conference champs would compete in the playoff.

Jeff H.

April 27th, 2012
11:30 am

If they want my attention, it might be a little late. That joke called BCS barely interests me no matter how hard they try to hype it. I’ll watch college football if it is raining out, and nothing else is on the tube but bowling.

Forddawg

April 27th, 2012
11:30 am

Did you hear about the comments Gil Brandt said on Georgia players … they are “soft” and tend to perform better once they reach the pros. In other words – our players severaly underachieve … I was wondering if anyone else noticed that ….

Top Row Dawg

April 27th, 2012
11:34 am

Four best teams, not just conferance champs. Lot of years the SEC will have two of the four best teams. Don’t think a two or three loss conferance champ should get in over a one loss SEC team.

AltamahaDawg

April 27th, 2012
11:47 am

Very exciting for all football fans. yet to be seen what effect it has on the bowl systems. If they do puch the majors bowl back to Jan 1, then the others (Cap1, outback, gator, etc) will have to play a few days earlier. Fine with that.

Tough debate over 4 best teams, or conference champs. On one hand. the whole point was “prove it”. What I do think would be interesting is what effect this has on voting late in the season. Easier to just vote your belief IMO. And not have to “arrange” the last game with the votes as has been the case at times.
Sorry #5, thats the way it is. Sure its still subjective, but the mistakes are at the low end. The final word is played out on the field.
PLus if it’s limited to conference champions, then the “brackets” to get there will never be a fair route.

BUT I see the point about conference champs too. It does put more focus back on the traditions of college footbal, and I can’t see that blowing up in your face too often. Now, (as far as the best example against this) Was Bama the best team last year as it “turned out”? sure ok. But only within the confines of how it worked out in 2012, given the sytem we had at the time. Under this new system, would LSU going to this playoff, representing the SEC, haven beaten Bama in the regular season Really have been so unfair? No, and nobody would have thought so.

One standard is going to render the other standard pointless. (not that winning your confernce is ever pointless). And I guess the problem now, is that we unofficially keep flip flopping standards. The question is, where do we want to run the risk of erring. What do we want to de-emphasis. Voters/ polls, or conference traditions.

Never perfect. even the #17th team would have a beef.

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
11:48 am

Four best teams, not just conferance champs. Lot of years the SEC will have two of the four best teams.

And every one of those years, one of those two teams has already proven to be better then the other. There is no reason for both of them to go to the playoffs.

meat dawg

April 27th, 2012
11:50 am

@Forddawg..saw the quote by Brandt…we all know CMR and the Keystone Cops Coaching Staff in Athens waste more talent than any other program in the country. And the second place finisher isn’t even is sight.

Cdpridg

April 27th, 2012
11:50 am

GT bob…..sorry…the nation does not want to see the 5 loss…20th best team in the nation representing the acc in the playoff

a country boy can survive

April 27th, 2012
11:52 am

Why would this even be a topic in Athens…like uga is ever be considered for a playoff spot….hahahahahahahahahahahahaha…losers….

AltamahaDawg

April 27th, 2012
11:54 am

It’s pretty clear that the conference realignments have all been done in anticipation of being the “brackets” for a Final Four tounament anyway. I’d predict thier being a conference component involved with some caveat put in there to manage irregularities.

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
11:55 am

GT bob…..sorry…the nation does not want to see the 5 loss…20th best team in the nation representing the acc in the playoff

I think the nation showed you this year how much they want to see the SEC play them selves over and over again. The TV ratings were abysmal. You really thing the whole country wants to watch an Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, USC final four?

tbomachine

April 27th, 2012
11:57 am

i think goldenrod meant CPJ will bring a Kystals trophy back to the joke by coke

ARdawg

April 27th, 2012
12:00 pm

Long, long overdue. The BCS supposedly selected the two “best” teams, Why can’t it select the 4 best. Of course the Bowls have to be protected, then let it select the 8 best to meet in 4 major bowls. This isn’t re-inventing the wheel here.

Cdpridg

April 27th, 2012
12:02 pm

Yes..that is the point of a final four. Just as in basketball…the final 4 in a playoff is meant to be the best teams in the nation. Not the SEC problem that they are the dominant conference that plays the best brand of football. You think the country wants to see LSU the SEC champion and #1 team, in the nation play a 5 loss unranked acc champion in Wake Forest. No gimmes Bob. You have to earn it. The SEC proposed this years ago and the other conferences said no. NOW they want a gimme vb into a championship game without earning it. Not the way life and competitive sport works

Cdpridg

April 27th, 2012
12:06 pm

Lastly Bob…competitive sport and championships are not based on tv ratings…get your head out of the sand. If so..then there is no point in watching or for anyone to play.

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:07 pm

No gimmes Bob. You have to earn it.

That’s the problem. If you let ESPN decide who gets into the playoffs then nobody actually earned it. In basketball which you mentioned, you do have to earn your way to the final four, by actually beating other teams. If the SEC is truly dominant then let their best team prove it in the playoffs.

ARdawg

April 27th, 2012
12:09 pm

ESPN has never won any football games. They don’t pick

AltamahaDawg

April 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

So, the Georgia college football players tend to perform better when they are a professional football player? Hmm. Ok. As opposed to what? Alabama football player NOT performing better once they are employed to do that professionally?

What the heck kind of stupid comment is that?

They wouldn’t BE NFL drafted player if they didnt at least perform well at a college level under Georgia, or anywhere else.

Now if, Mr. Brandt wants to claim that Georgia players come in less prepared than others, or aren’t as ready as others, then great. Prove it. Says who? I’ve never read one credible report of the such or even speculated. AND I have read some commenst to the contrary.

Or was it his point that they tend to end up accomplishing more in the NFL, than what ever championships they were a part of at Georgia? Given the differences in the entire structure of the NFL and a short college career, thats a pretty pointless observation, isn’t it. I’m betting any fair analysis of (who did what, when) would not really draw much of any conclusion.

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

Lastly Bob…competitive sport and championships are not based on tv ratings…get your head out of the sand. If so..then there is no point in watching or for anyone to play.

I didn’t say they were. You made the point that no one wants to watch the ACC play. I gave actual proof that no one wants to watch the SEC play by themselves. Don’t make your own assumptions for what others want to see.

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:12 pm

ESPN has never won any football games. They don’t pick

ESPN pretty much single handedly shapes the polls how they see fit.

ARdawg

April 27th, 2012
12:14 pm

“ESPN pretty much single handedly shapes the polls how they see fit.”

Oh really GT Bob? You can prove this or is it just all conspiracy? Does ESPN pick GT to be at the ACC cellar or are they there because they lose too often?

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:20 pm

Oh really GT Bob? You can prove this or is it just all conspiracy?

How do you think preseason polls are made? Do you think all of the writers and coaches go to all of the spring practices of every team? How do you think the coaches even know how to vote during the season when there is no possible way they have time to watch all of the other games? The media pretty much decides it for them.

a country boy can survive

April 27th, 2012
12:22 pm

i forgot…altamaha dawg knows much more about football than Mr. Gil Brandt, NFL legend.

ARdawg

April 27th, 2012
12:30 pm

“The media pretty much decides it for them.”

Wow GT Bob, first it was ESPN picking who plays in the NC game and now it’s the “media” picking preseason polls. Thats a firm grasp of the obvious you have there GT Bob. I suppose you are referring to the AP, Coaches and the Harris polls? Is ESPN preseason picking those too?Are you wearing your tinfoil hat, packed and ready for the next Hale Bopp?

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:34 pm

Ok ARdawg, are you arguing that ESPN’s 24 hour coverage in which all of their reporters give their opinions on college football has absolutely no impact on the AP or Coaches polls? You think that Coaches and Writers watch every game themselves and make an informed opinion? Would you also argue that the media has no impact at all on politcal races?

bigdee

April 27th, 2012
12:38 pm

bk: excellent logic. let’s hope the powers think the same. a real playoff? gomer would say, “gollllleeee!”

a country boy can survive

April 27th, 2012
12:38 pm

georgia basketball…dead in the water…georgia football…dead in the water…georgia baseball…dead in the water…even the gymdawgs have slipped…what are yall paying your ad for?

ARdawg

April 27th, 2012
12:41 pm

Please GT Bob, point out exactly where I said ESPN coverage has no impact or that the coaches watch every game? I’ll wait.

You are arguing that ESPN picks who plays in the BCS and that the Coaches and writers are robots of ESPN. Of course the team play on the field has absolutely no bearing, does it GT Bob?

Cdpridg

April 27th, 2012
12:42 pm

It is not about what u want to see bob…or bob sitting at home watching tv in Montana. It is about crowning the true Natl Champion and if that means that 3 of the 4 teams are from the same conference as can happen in basketball..then so be it. The message to the rest of the country is that they need to step up. No assumptions being made Bob…it is a black and white scenario

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:45 pm

It is about crowning the true Natl Champion and if that means that 3 of the 4 teams are from the same conference as can happen in basketball..then so be it.

No one would watch it and eventually the entire sport would decline in popularity costing everyone millions. You think that is a good plan?

ARdawg

April 27th, 2012
12:46 pm

YEP, it’s all about who can draw the biggest audience for ESPN, isn’t it GT Bob? *jagg off motion*

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:49 pm

You are arguing that ESPN picks who plays in the BCS and that the Coaches and writers are robots of ESPN.

Where else are they getting their information from? How else does Nick Saban know if Nevada is better then Illinois?

danny

April 27th, 2012
12:50 pm

Well, as soon as they go to a playoff format, UGA’s chances of a Nat Championship are completely gone. I have no confidence whatsoever that Richt will be able to win the SEC, and then beat 2 of the 4 top ranked teams.

JDW

April 27th, 2012
12:51 pm

“UGA fans remember 2007, when Georgia finished the season as one of the two hottest teams but was ranked by the poll voters as No. 5 (because it didn’t win its division, much less its conference)”

Yep, I remember ESPN pounding that Bully Pulpit in the worst way. Good thing they stopped that from ever happening… roll: …oooops

I will have to say I prefer the 4 highest ranked conference champs. It makes the regular season count and in effect turns it into an 8-10 team playoff. This year you would have gotten LSU, Oregon, OK State and WI. Bama would have been left out as they should have been.

GTBob

April 27th, 2012
12:51 pm

YEP, it’s all about who can draw the biggest audience for ESPN, isn’t it GT Bob? *jagg off motion*

Why doesn’t the SEC just leave the FBS and crown their champion the national champion? If they are the best football conference then why even bother with the sideshow that is the rest of college football? Simple, because no one would watch it or care about it.