Alabama and Clemson will square off January 9th for the National Championship, a rematch from last year's title game. This is also the third year of the BCS....*oops* I mean College Football Playoffs. When the NCAA announced that the BCS system would be abolished in 2013 and a new more "efficient" system would determine the National Champion, the world got excited.
Except for me.
When the details of the College Football Playoffs were released, the first thing that came to mind was "BCS with two extra teams and no computers."
This new playoff system has just as many flaws as the Bowl Championship Series. For those of you that don't remember the BCS, it was the NCAA way of determining who deserved the right to play for the Division I-A Football National Championship. A computer program would break down each team wins, losses, and strength of schedule and used a point scale to rank the teams from 1-25. The two teams with the highest point total after the week of the conference championships were picked to play in the National Championship.
In theory, it sounded like the perfect system, especially when it was introduced in 1998. Prior to the BCS, the National Champion was determined by whoever finished #1 in the AP Rankings. Sometimes you would have a #1 v. #2 matchup in a bowl game but there were years without a definitive national championship game. The Bowl Championship Series brought that aspect to college football, rotating the four big bowls - Rose, Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar - as the National Championship game, while the other teams in the BCS top ten rankings settled for the remaining spots in the BCS.
The problem with the BCS is it left too much of a gray area. The BCS rankings would often differ from the AP Polls, which were conducted by humans. A team could be ranked #4 in the AP Polls and #2 in the BCS polls, but because the BCS was the final rankings, the AP Polls were thrown out.
Some seasons it was hard to determine who was the real national champ because two teams would perform very well - one that played in the national championship game and one that played in another BCS bowl - leaving the fans and media with questions about who would win if the two teams squared off.
The College Football Playoffs was a PR move by the NCAA. By 2010, the BCS had ran its course with fans, players, coaches, and the media. In 2008 non-qualifying conferences filed an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS that was led by Utah due to smaller schools like Utah and Boise State not being able to play for a National Championship. Also, BCS officials were accused of corruption because of their large salaries and report of them accepting gifts and bribes. At that point, no one trusted the Bowl Championship or seen it as a credible system.
So what makes the College Football Playoffs different? Two more teams. Even the way the NCAA is marketing reminds us of the BCS. It went from the "BCS National Championship" to the "College Football National Championship". When will it be considered Divison I-A Football National Championship? There isn't another sport in college athletics that uses these systems where two or four teams are selected to play for a national title. Men's Basketball has a field of 68 teams and Division I-AA football has a field of 24 teams, why does the NCAA think that only four teams have a legitimate chance to win the National title.
The CFP left a gray area this year like the BCS did time after time, that has everyone asking for an expanded field. The Rose Bowl battle between USC and Penn State is what had people beckoning for change only three years after the new system was introduced. The Rose Bowl battle between the two proved that other team still have some good football to play. Sure you can argue that neither team defense showed that they were deserving of playing for a national title but both teams made big plays to win the game. Once the committee determined that a conference champion, Penn State (who also beat a team that was selected for the CFP), was not qualified for the playoffs, it was reassurance that the CFP was the BCS reincarnated.
The CFP and BCS are about money, not determining the nation's best team. The CFP was created to pick up where the BCS left off and restore some "ethics" into the NCAA corrupted systems. Systems, where conference champions are left without an opportunity to prove their worth on the field - instead shot down because of an "inadequate resume"- are not systems to help or better the game. These are systems created to generate money for guys in suits and big name corporations, leaving the players, who are living out their football dreams, caught in a paradigm that uses them as a product and not a student-athlete.