NCCA Football’s Slippery Final Four Slope

The previous BCS system was flawed.

It was a system most of us were not willing to live with. A playoff system was necessary to bring absolute fairness to the world of College Football.

College Football fans across the country have gotten their wish. It was announced yesterday that, starting in 2014, a 4-team, seeded playoff system will be implemented pending approval of the university presidents who serve on the BCS committee. Like Kim Kardashian’s divorce to Kris Humphries, this is an inevitable conclusion to a controversy that could only be resolved with one solution.

What next though?

By finally giving in and moving to a playoff format, the NCAA has created a slippery slope that will get steeper and steeper as the years go on.

The critics to the unfairness of the current BCS system have been silenced but for how long? As I’m sure people will realize, this newly proposed playoff system is far from perfect. With only 2 additional teams gaining the opportunity to play for a national championship, the controversy surrounding the top teams will not be eliminated.

The playoff format that is to be put in place in 2014 is supposed to bring “transparency” to the decision process. Something that is obviously missing with the BCS system. It appears that the 4 playoff teams will be chosen by a selection committee who intend to choose the best 4 teams, with a strong consideration given to conference champions.

At this point in time, it all sounds like sunshine and lollipops. However, it’s hard to believe that this supposed greater transparency will do away with a significant amount of controversy. Teams excluded from the playoffs will continue to feel jobbed, believing they deserved the chance to fight for a national championship.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in reference to the new playoff format that “it won’t satisfy everyone…until you have an 8-team or 16-team seeded playoff, there will be folks out there that aren’t completely satisfied.”

8 teams? 16 teams?
Thus begins, the irrelevancy of the regular season.

An increased playoff format has the potential to completely compromise the integrity of the regular season. An integrity that, for the better, has separated it from its brother NCAA cash cow, college basketball.

The BCS system may have been flawed but the system lent itself to generating an incredible amount of public interest. Unlike college basketball, the regular season means, or meant, so much more in college football. Interest equals ratings and the attention the college football regular season received was always immense.

Anything more than a 4-team postseason format could be detrimental to the unique dynamic of a college football regular season. The thing is, a 4-team system will satisfy the many, who have been clamouring to change the BCS system, for only so long. The eventual expansion of this proposed 4-team set-up to 8 or 16 teams is about as predictable as the sun setting in the west.

College football and basketball is big business. The business of college football will be affected very negatively if the NCAA decides to adopt a larger playoff format at some point in the future. Each week, the possibility of a Goliath being slayed by a David is magnified because of the fact that losing just 1 game in a season can abolish the hope of playing in the national championship game. That is not so much with the new system, especially so if college football continues to expand the number of playoff teams in the future. Division II Appalachian State defeating number 5 seed Michigan, so what? At least, with an expanded playoff system, so what.

Does college football want 2 or 3 weeks of its season be relevant or virtually every single week?

The die-hard fans will be there no matter what but it’s the casual fans that bring in the dough. Outside of March Madness, college football has a lot more casual fans than college basketball. The importance of every game in the regular season means that anyone can sit down on any given Saturday and perhaps watch a game with serious implications.

A March Madness style single-game elimination playoff undoubtedly takes away from the lure of college football’s week-to-week excitement to a certain extent. The more playoff teams, the less the excitement.

Moreover, the slippery slope BCS commissioners have put themselves on with this decision is not only bad for business but it also ignores the issue of player safety. NCAA players do not get paid and forcing players to play extra games before even reaching a level where they can be compensated fairly is borderline heartless.

Yes, a 4-team playoff system means extra games for only 2 teams but must I repeat myself again?

Where does the expansion of teams stop? 8? 16? 32? More teams and, obviously, more players, sooner or later, will be needlessly required to play additional games. Yeah, that has to be the ideal situation for player safety.

Potentially compromising the ability for these kids to either play professional football or simply live an active post-football life with unnecessary extra games is a scary thought. Career and life threatening injuries happen in football. Of course, a player can get hurt at anytime but why increase those odds with more games?

The Conference Commissioners decided on drastic change to the landscape of college football. The new 4-team playoff system resolves some of the issues plaguing the BCS but by no means does it solve everything.

This slope might soon get very slippery and if it does, the switch to a playoff system could hurt college football more than most could have ever anticipated.

 

Chris Ross

Chris is a writer on Comedic Prose, and he also is the editor of Painting the Black.

You can follow Chris on twitter @paintstheblack or e-mail him at cross_can15@hotmail.com

About the author: Chris Ross

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