Early in his first term, President Obama suggested that he might be able to throw his weight around to organize a standard playoff system for college football.
Look and low and behold, the first College Football Playoff (CFP) is to be played on Jan. 12, 2015 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. – also known as “Jerryworld”, after Dallas Cowboys and building owner Jerry Jones. The previous college football championship systems before this inaugural season of the playoff revolved around the lucrative, yet indecisive organization of several sponsored bowl games. Though questions about the CFP selection process are increasing as the season nears end, different from seasons before, we’re clear that there is going to be a tournament leading to a championship game like all other major sports. Nice job Mr. President.
The teams at the top of the CFP ranking have included schools not typical to recent championship history, which is also refreshing. At this time, an undefeated Mississippi State University team is ranked No. 1, while also undefeated Florida State University is ranked third. The competitive solution of having a four team tournament lessens the impact of this lack of sensible reasoning – I mean they’re both undefeated.
In previous years, a third ranked team was somewhat unlikely to end up as national champion, due to the fact that bowl agreements and politics seemed to keep that team from playing a fourth ranked team.
One loss teams Oregon and TCU (Texas Christian University) round out the current top four, at two and four respectively.
Prior to a serious, nationally attractive, match-up against one loss Ohio State, the Minnesota Golden Gophers has worked its way into the 2014 Top 25 rankings (25), and have looked like it seriously belong there. When TCU beat the Gophers in September, little did many know that TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was dominating the Gophers simply because he might be the best athlete in all of college football this year, and his team has good shot at a national championship.
The playoff presentation has included a highlight on the fifth and sixth ranked teams as the first teams out of tournament contention. This is brilliant strategy to tackle the controversial element, because not only are people talking about lower ranked teams to be excluded, but the many weeks of ranking observation gives ample time to hash out explanations of why the fourth ranked team was chosen over others. Certainly there will still be controversy come seasons end.
The season ending schedules in the power conferences – this year SEC, PAC 12, and BIG 12 – will help to weed out the current group of teams with undefeated or one loss records.
Though the previous Bowl Championship Series system produced a fairly clear champion in most of its 15 years of use, the high ranking teams still were forced to play a jumble of final bowl games against good teams that likely didn’t belong in the top five or so. The best year for the BCS was 2005, which was capped by one of the greatest college football games of all-time, when the Vince Young led Texas Longhorns defeated the USC Trojans in a tense and action packed thriller.
The new Playoff system provides a clear organization of competition for teams at the top. Many argue that the final tournament should include more than four teams, which somehow, ultimately, the economics of another weekend of games may win out. Yet more games equal more injuries, from more tired bodies, at which then it would be hard to argue against college football players getting a grocery and winter coat allowance (or something besides “illegal monies”) for putting their limbs on the line for dynamic, collegiate capital gain. I digress, but it sure is good to see college football have a tournament.
Perhaps like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, dark horses could rise up in the final weeks to play for the national championship. At the moment, that would mean the Gophers still have a lottery ticket type chance. Gotta sell hope where you can these days.