Three words that many thought they would never hear outside a hypothetical – “college football playoff” – have now become reality. On Tuesday, I was part of a group of 12 university presidents in Washington, D.C., that voted to move to a four-team playoff – two semifinals and a final – starting in 2014 and continuing at least until 2025. This moves us into a new era of college football — one many have sought for a long time.
Whereas an extensive playoff system, such as we have in basketball, was never tenable for football, this two-game playoff will be not only practical but should eliminate most questions about who deserves the trophy. A committee will be formed to set the criteria for who is invited to the semifinals, criteria that will include a team’s win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and conference championships.
We endorsed a rotation of the semifinal games among six bowl sites and a rotation of the championship game among neutral sites. The semifinals will be played on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and the final will be played on “Championship Monday,” the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the last semifinal.
There will be three contract bowls — the Champions Bowl (a partnership between the Big 12 and SEC), the Rose Bowl (which traditionally is between the Big 10 and Pac 12), and a bowl to be determined for the ACC, which is likely to continue its partnership with the Orange Bowl. The three other bowls, called “access bowls,” have yet to be determined, but the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl will become bidders.
I took a keen interest in every detail of the playoff plan because I expect to be attending those games on a very regular basis.
Hook ’em Horns!