College Football Playoff

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no doubt college football will be making waves across the sports world for the next few months. From insane blowouts to game winning kick returns, ESPN highlights will certainly be reputable.

This year, a new aspect of college football will be making the news. Normally, the top teams are ranked by various polls from one to 25, with all the others being unranked. At the end of the season, the one and two rankings battle it out for the greatest unpaid sports title imaginable: the National Championship.

This year, however, will be the first year since 1970 that the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is gone. Normally, the BCS committee would select the top two teams to play for the title. However, in it’s place will be a four team playoff, the first time in the entire existence of college football that an event like this will be held.

But the chaos doesn’t end there. The most prestigious of College Football’s bowl games (Peach, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, Rose, and Sugar) will be played on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with the final two games being elimination games that will send each winner to the National Championship. Three games will be held on each day, back to back to back, all on ESPN.

This change from the BCS selecting the top two teams to a playoff format is definitely a push in the right direction. If you’ve ever watched college football, you know that one mistake, one loss, can ruin your entire season. Take Alabama last year: the number one team in the nation, with everyone expecting them to play for all the glory. With one second left in the game, they tried a field goal to win, missed, and arch rival Auburn returned it for a touchdown and a trip to the National Championship. Alabama was left dazed and confused, and with nothing to show for their year long hard work. One second determined their entire season. You can’t even call that skill; that’s luck, pure and simple.

Don’t get me wrong, Auburn had every right to play for the championship. But so did Alabama, and in the previous system of college football it wouldn’t have been possible for them both to compete. The national championship game didn’t come down to the two best teams; it came down to who got lucky, who lost the earliest in the season and had a chance to climb back up the rankings. If they lost near the end of the season, their chance at a championship was pretty much shot.

Now, there’s hope for the all the Alabamas of the league. Losing late doesn’t hurt their chance at a title as much since they can still make a semifinal game. In a system where error used to be fatal, it is now just severely damaging. It doesn’t kill them.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day just got a heck of a lot better. It’s about time college football had a playoff format, albeit if it’s just four teams. Being an avid March Madness fan, I love the chaos and uncertainty that looms over teams battling to the death for a chance at eternal greatness. In the future I’d like to see eight teams though, so those fatal mistakes might end up not so fatal after all. But this is a start.