4-Team Playoff Gets Approval

June 26, 2012 by CFP Staff and BCS

The presidential oversight committee of the BCS today approved a 4-team playoff that will begin with the 2014 season. The 12-year deal will seed 4 semi-finalists into a rotation of 6 bowl games. The championship game will be managed by the conferences and will not be branded as a bowl game.

Among additional matters to be decided later are the name of the new event; the composition of and procedures for the selection committee; the final funding formula; and which bowls will participate as rotating hosts of semi-final playoff games.

The decision is subject to passage of appropriate legislation by the NCAA Board of Directors to permit the two semifinal winners to play an additional post-season game.

It was agreed that a selection committee will be created and charged with the task of giving all the teams an equal opportunity to participate. Among the factors the committee will value are win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and whether a team is a conference champion.

CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove said, "The jury is out as to whether this is anything for playoff proponents to celebrate. "

Congrove voiced his concern that, whatever method is employed, the seeding has to be transparent. "The weekly BCS Standings was one significant way to know where every team stood in its chances at achieving a national title," Congrove said. "Strip those rankings away and you remove some accountability from the committee, as a well a major promotional component that elevated the national awareness of weekly games. Rankings do play a major role in helping to make college football's regular season unique."

The eleven Conference Commissioners and the Notre Dame Athletics Director voted to approve the 4-team scenario last Wednesday.

The BCS reported on April 26 that, "As part of our deliberations, we have carefully considered a number of concepts concerning the post-season structure for the BCS. From the start, we set out to protect college football's unique regular season which we see as the best regular season in sports. We are also mindful of the bowl tradition and seek to create a structure that continues to reward student-athletes with meaningful bowl appearances.

"Having carefully reviewed calendars and schedules, we believe that either an 8-team or a 16-team playoff would diminish the regular season and harm the bowls. College football's regular season is too important to diminish and we do not believe it's in the best interest of student-athletes, fans, or alumni to harm the regular season."

Accordingly, the April 26 release revealed that "we have taken off the table both an 8-team and a 16-team playoff."

The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee also decided on Tuesday to:

  • Enhance college football by playing the semifinals New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. The date of the first semifinal games will be either Wednesday, December 31, 2014, or Thursday, January 1, 2015.
  • Create "Championship Monday" by setting the date of the championship game on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the final semi-final game is played. As a result, in the first five years the championship game will be played on Monday, January 12, 2015; Monday, January 11, 2016; Monday, January 9, 2017; Monday, January 8, 2018; and Monday, January 7, 2019.
  • Plan the new format to cover a twelve-year term, from the 2014-2015 season through the 2025-2026 season.
  • Distribute revenue from games in a manner that remains under discussion. Generally speaking the concept would (1) reward conferences for success on the field (2) accommodate teams' expenses (3) acknowledge marketplace factors and (4) reward academic performance of student-athletes.
  • Eliminate the "automatic qualification" designation.

"We are very pleased with this new arrangement," the presidents said in a joint statement read by Virginia Tech President Charles Steger. "College football's championship game is America's second most watched sporting event and we're proud to build on our successes as we grow the sport and hear the voices of everyone who loves college football."

The Football Bowl Association was quick to issue a supportive press release which said, "Today is the beginning of an exciting time in the future of college football and we are committed to continuing the rich tradition of the bowls."

CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove said, "The bowls in the rotation will certainly be the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta. I would expect the Chick-fil-A and Cotton Bowls to become the other two."

Indeed, the AT&T Cotton Bowl was quick to put its foot in the championship and bowl rotation debate as President and CEO Rick Baker said, "We look forward to learning more about the opportunities that will be created by today's announcement. With partners like AT&T and Cowboys Stadium, we believe we have a great story to tell."

The Chick-fil-A Bowl also jumped onboard, expressing its interest to be a main player and pointing out that a new College Football Hall Of Fame opens in Atlanta in 2014.

In a separate matter taken up by the presidents on Tuesday, the BCS denied a request by the Mountain West Conference (MWC) for a special exemption in order to gain an automatic BCS berth for its champion in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.