Mark Edwards: College playoff won't solve all the arguing
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Apr 29, 2013 | 4069 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hurray, the evil, despicable BCS is dead!

Well, actually, it’s dead in name only. By 2014, we will have the “College Football Playoff,” run by same conference commissioners and not the NCAA. That makes it essentially the same as the evil BCS, but with a plus-one game. Instead of two teams playing off for a championship, we have four.

Going from two teams to four hardly will make all the issues go away. It’s kind of like divorce —we still will have problems to discuss and argue over, but they’re just new problems.

And there’s one major problem that will dominate conversation when college football has its first “playoff” in 2014 — the selection committee.

For all the problems of the BCS, the selection of the two teams to play in the final game was much more transparent than, say, the NCAA basketball tournament, which has a selection committee.

The final poll votes before the bowl season were public. The results of the six computer rankings were public. If you didn’t like that Auburn didn’t make the final game in 2004, you knew exactly who to blame.

Give credit to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. While speaking with reporters in Birmingham on Monday, he mentioned a desire for transparency in the new system.

But if the selection committee has 14 to 20 members, as Slive proposes, how many of them will agree to have their votes made public? The NCAA’s men’s basketball selection committee has 10 members, but their votes aren’t revealed.

It would help if we knew how everyone was voting. And it would help if teams could know week to week how they stood with the committee members. That’s something else the BCS gave us. In 2004, Auburn knew all along it stood outside the favored circle of two and didn’t have to wait until the end for that bit of bad news.

Ultimately, however, it probably won’t matter what the committee decides, how open the votes are or whether the committee members get it right. There’s one built-in disadvantage that college football hasn’t overcome, and the new “College Football Playoff” won’t solve it.

With the basketball tournament, we have only two days to dissect and complain about the selection committee’s picks before the action starts. And some of the seeding decisions in the past two years have been puzzling, to say the least.

But the “College Football Playoff” won’t start until about a month until after the regular season ends. That means ESPN, fans, ESPN, Internet bloggers, ESPN, newspaper columnists, ESPN, talk-radio hosts and ESPN will have more than enough time to tell us what a terrible job the selection committee has done, and how it’s such a shame a fifth team didn’t make the cut, and how it really should be an eight-team tournament.

Honestly, in the past, I couldn’t wait for the national championship game to arrive, just so folks finally would shut up about how terrible the BCS is — even if everyone basically agreed the two best teams made the final game. By then, they’ll have made the BCS seem like such a perfect example of evil, it should star as the villain in the next one of those Marvel superhero movies. (The Avengers 2: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and four guys I can’t name band together to take down the BCS as it rampages through Manhattan.)

And picking four teams really won’t be that much easier than picking two. Consider 2011: In the final BCS standings, Stanford was fourth and Oregon fifth. But Stanford lost to Oregon in the last month of the regular season. Under a four-team format, who should go?

Imagine discussing that for a month.

Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at 256-235-3570 or medwards@annistonstar.com. Follow on Twitter @MarkSportsStar.

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