Last week, CBS' Jerry Palm made an observation that the NCAA's new playoff system was nothing more than a glorified 2.0 version of the current BCS. Here's a summary of what he had to say:
So, the grand poobahs of the sport done away with the hated Bowl Championship Series and replaced it with a system that:
- Plays several big money bowl games
- Plays a championship game in a bowl
- Is going to release weekly rankings beginning in the middle of October.
- And just this week, has added a bowl so that the have-nots of college football can have automatic access to the big money. We knew that was coming.
Yep, those sure are big changes. The only difference is a couple more big money bowls and that the championship game participants will be two of the other bowl winners. This is more like a "Bowl Championship Series" than the actual Bowl Championship Series, and gets more like it every week. They should just call it BCS 2.0.
While Palm may be correct in his assessment about the changes, he greatly understates the value of a championship game. Not financially, but in terms of determining a legitimate champion. There are years when the BCS neatly works out and we're left with one undefeated champion that can be acknowledged by most as the best team in college football. But what about the seasons when things aren't so clear-cut?
What about 2003 when there were three one-loss teams and no undefeated teams? What about the following season when Auburn, Oklahoma, and USC were all undefeated? What about the years when Boise State wasn't able to compete for a national championship? What about 2007 when 13-9 happened and all hell broke loose?
A playoff should mean for more clear-cut champions than under the current system. And beyond even that, we know where this is headed. At some point, chances are that the playoff will expand to include even more teams.
A four-team playoff won't fix everything, but it will be better than the current system - and that's progress.