While some have failed to make resolutions for the new year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), certainly has not. For the first time in college football history, a new four-team playoff structure was used to crown the national champion of the NCAA Division One Football Subdivision (FBS) for the 2014-2015 season. College football did not waste any time shedding its previous Bowl Championship Series (BCS) format in favor of the new College Football Playoff (CFP). The Rose Bowl tournament between Oregon and Florida State on Jan. 1 marked not only the first game of 2015 but also the first semi-final match of the recently implemented system.
As always, there are both positives and negatives for the CFP. One of the major changes this season is the new selection committee. Unlike the previous BCS system consisting of computer rankings and polls, the Division I participants are now selected by a thirteen-member committee. But no matter how geographically balanced the members may be, some sort of bias will always play a role in their choice and while this bias may be a negative, positives do stem from this. Long gone are polls consisting of votes from current coaches and computer-generated selections picking the superior team. Furthermore, the committee is made up of a proportionate number of athletic directors, former coaches and reporters and most importantly, football experts. Instead of a formula for the perfect team deciding who gets a shot to earn the title of FBS champions, people who have dedicated their lives to the game will be able to choose the top four teams, who will be able to battle on the field to determine who deserves the title more, regardless of their rank.
Even though there might be less emphasis on regular season games, postseason football will always be a smash hit. In fact, ESPN reported that the playoff system’s semifinal games – Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl – already received record-breaking viewer turnout this year The hype surrounding the matches indicate that the playoffs have been a huge success. With the six bowl games now rotating as hosts for semifinals, big bowl games will have even more significance. The addition of the Cotton Bowl and the Peach Bowl also ensures that more teams will have the chance to become champions. Instead of limitations, such as the attachments of certain conferences to these championship games, the most superior teams have a chance at competing for a bowl title.
The CFP also adapted the new Plus-One system, where one extra game is added to the postseason. With the extra game, it is now easier to determine which team is the indisputable champion as well as avoid cases such as the controversial 2003 season, when Louisiana State University edged the University of Southern California by a sixteenth of a percent for a spot in the championship game. The additional game will allow there to be fair placement.
The CFP system is a definite improvement. Off-the-chart television ratings, overflowing stadiums and fairer selections of potential champions are more than enough to indicate that the new College Football Playoff system is already a success.