The Importance of the NCAA Playoff

-Brian Sanders, Contributing Writer

From the Super Bowl to an intramural flag football championship in college, spectators demand to know who is number one.

The only way to figure out who that number one team is, is by a classic playoff system, in which teams are eliminated once games are lost until there is only one team standing.

However, NCAA College Football has never participated in a college playoff to determine their champion. It’s the only NCAA sanctioned sport to do so. For almost one hundred years, NCAA Division 1 football has been plagued with controversy for having, some seasons, either two national champions or no definitive number one team in the nation. This confusion is accredited to the system that has been in place since prior to this 2014 season.

One of the first systems, the Bowl Alliance, wanted to do away with the monopolies that the bowl games had over the teams in their conferences. They were able to obtain powerhouse conferences such as the SEC and the ACC, but failed to include teams from the Big Ten and Pac Ten, due to ties with the Rose Bowl. This caused several discrepancies between who was number one.

Many dominant teams were ineligible to play against each other due to their involvement with other conferences not included in the Bowl Alliance system. The public was not happy by these split national championship teams, and demanded that a more efficient system be implemented. Thus the birth of the BCS system in 1998.

This system got rid of the previous problem of the top two teams not being able to play each other by expanding their inclusion of conferences.

No longer would the issue of number one and number two missing each other in the final game exist. However, it gave way to a more current problem. The BCS system operated by way of conducted polls from human and computer generated opinions. In its fifteen year life-span, the BCS worked better than any previous system, but was far from efficient in producing a definitive number one and two team to face off every year as promised. Many times, the AP poll and the coach’s poll would not share the same views regarding teams, and would place different teams in the number two in the nation spot.

Recently, in the 2013 season, the BCS showed its major flaw in a glaring light. Going into the final week of the 2013 college football season, the league had three undefeated teams in the top three spots: Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State.

Many experts and analysts were arguing with each other about who the number one and two team should be. Schedules were taken into account and teams were held under the microscope to find any apparent flaws.

Alabama had been the previous national champion, and it appeared as though the tide was still rolling. Ohio State went undefeated the 2012 season and remained undefeated, up to that point, in the 2013 season. Florida State was undefeated and had one of the most explosive teams the 2013 season had seen with Heisman trophy winner, Jameis Winston, leading them to victory week after week.

Although the three teams did not all stay undefeated into the bowl games, with both Alabama and Ohio State losing, it showed the glaring flaws of a BCS system unable to produce a legitimate top two team in the nation match up.

This year, the BCS is being done away with and the 2014 NCAA football season will have its first ever college football playoff series. This playoff series will be very elite, in that only the top four teams, at the end of the regular season, will be selected to compete. With this new system, the teams selected can now battle their way to a national championship, even if selected as a three or four seed.

The old way of complaining and arguing to the coach and computer polls about why you should be in the national championship are over. Now the ball is in those three and four seeded team’s court and it is their job to prove, with their play, if they have what it takes to be the next National Champion.

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