What Will The New College Football Playoff Look Like?


From the moment Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney stepped out of the way of progress this past winter, a Division 1 college football playoff has become a fait accommpli. Only the most deeply-entrenched obstructionists (we’re all staring in disgust at your wrinkled mug, Harvey Perlman) are still holding out for a “plus-one” system. Make no mistake, the talk yesterday of discussing such a convoluted system was nothing more than placation of those obstructionists. There will be no plus-one; in fact, there will only be a token discussion of such a model. Perlman and his ilk have lost, rationality and fairness have won.

With all of that said, the new format is far from perfect. The basics are as follows:

  • There will be 4 teams, picked by a selection committee.
  • No hard and fast criteria for selection, though status as a conference champion will be a “consideration.”
  • The two semifinal games will be hosted within the current bowl system, most probably rotating between the current BCS bowls.
  • The championship game will be held outside the current bowl system, being bid out to individual cities, similar to how the NFL’s Super Bowl is awarded.
  • The Big Ten and Pac 12 presidents will agitate for the nonsensical plus-one model, when the presidents meet for final approval; trust me, it’s not going to happen.

In a perfect world, there would be a 8-team playoff, with several spots reserved for the best conference champions. However, this is not that world. Though I would still prefer something similar to the compromise I proposed, the 4-team model that came out of the commissioners’ meeting is better than the status quo alternative.

In coming days, we will outline how the current proposal would have effected history, as well as what the future might look like in the mid- and far-term, with regards to college football playoffs. For now, though, we simply celebrate that college football has exited the Paleolithic Era and entered the Neolithic, with regards to selecting a national champion. Here’s hoping they find their way to the proverbial Bronze Age sooner rather than later.