College playoffs won’t stop griping

Well it happened, and it will happen again.

All those Bowl Championship Series doom-and-gloomers who were worried that two undefeated teams were going to be left out of the college football championship game can relax a little bit.

With Alabama’s upset loss to Texas A&M last weekend there are only three undefeated teams — Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame — at the top of the latest BCS rankings. Undoubtedly one of the three will lose before the regular season is over and the two remaining unbeatens will play for the title.

Of course should two of the three lose then things will get complicated again and the BCS Chicken Littles can resume their “sky is falling” routine and calls for an immediate playoff, as if that will make everything right in college football.

When the four-team playoff — which was approved this summer by an NCAA presidential oversight committee this summer — begins in 2014 everything will be just fine. Right?

Consider how many words are written and spoken about the merits of the 68th and 69th best men’s basketball teams in the nation after the NCAA hoops brackets are announced. Don’t think for a moment that an NCAA football playoff won’t generate as many complaints about who is in and who is out as are currently lodged weekly about the BCS.

According to the new plan, the four teams will be chosen by a selection committee, the semifinals will be held at current bowl sites and the national championship game will be awarded to the highest bidder.

The group of presidents also endorsed a rotation of the semifinal games among six bowl sites and a rotation of the championship game among neutral sites. The semifinals either will be played on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and the national title game will be played on “Championship Monday,” the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the final semifinal game is played.

Now I am not necessarily a fan of the BCS but it sure beats the way things used to be. I am old enough to remember the days when the national championship was decided entirely by the vote of the media (AP poll) or the coaches (UPI poll) after the bowl games were concluded.

Rarely, if ever, did the top-ranked team at the end of the regular season face the second-ranked team. Bowl tie-ins with conferences — except for the Rose Bowl with the Big 10 and the Pac-8 — weren’t as strong as they are now. Thus there was plenty of politicking going on as the bowls tried to line up the best matchups and the top-ranked teams tried to ensure a bowl victory and national championship by avoiding the most difficult opponents.

The NCAA tried, unsuccessfully, to enforce a deadline for bowl invitations. Bowls weren’t supposed to be able to make official invitations to schools until the third Saturday of November, but deals were made under the table and speculation ran rampant in the press regarding who was going where come bowl season.

It was almost as irritating as the speculation nowadays over the BCS rankings each week.

Doug Chapin is a sports writer for The Vindicator. Email him at

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