Sideline Report: Is the new college football playoff system a good idea?

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A change in the landscape of college football took place recently when the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) implemented the new college football playoff system. A four-team playoff will end the season for the near future, with the sites of games rotating between the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Peach Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl. All are waiting for these new changes to take place later this year and wondering which four teams the 13-man committee will choose. But is this the right answer for college football?

The old system, which was in place from 1998-2013, was the Bowl Championship Series. This was a disaster and failed in its decision making. The Associated Press poll, USA Today coaches poll and computer rankings made up the BCS and always seemed to screw up who the true top two teams in the nation were. The BCS had many flaws and made me cringe every time final rankings came out before bowl season. The NCAA finally realized how flawed this continuous mishap was and have changed to a sleek new playoff system. They still has made many mistakes, but that is a story for another day.

One of the many problems about the BCS was that too much of the decision-making was done off the field, especially with computers. This new playoff system allows more of the teams’ records deciding who plays for the national title instead of a bunch of machines. Also, the aforementioned selection committee will hopefully bring an objective and reasonable decision as to who the true top four teams in college football really are. Controversy is sure to arise, but this is the best that they can do for the time being.

Anyway, the new playoff is a fix, but a temporary one at that. Only having four teams in a playoff is not the answer for the landscape of this sport. More teams are getting better and better. The NFL has a 12-team playoff implemented at the next level that works out fine. More teams get in, and the best will truly be out there on the field. As there is no perfect system, a future expansion to allow eight or even 12 teams to participate would increase interest, revenue, and amazing spectacles.

College football has dealt with trouble on and off the field. In no way, shape or form will it be perfect. The true national champion will probably never be widely agreed upon under this new system. But as the times changed, so did the sport. College football needed new life and a new way to determine a national champion. Debate, controversy and finger-pointing will take place over the next three seasons as this playoff system takes shape. For now, though, it’s the right move.


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