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This Changes Everything
MICHAEL ROSENBERG
July 09, 2012
The powers that be in college football finally agreed on a framework for a playoff, and—thankfully—the game may never be the same
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July 09, 2012

This Changes Everything

The powers that be in college football finally agreed on a framework for a playoff, and—thankfully—the game may never be the same

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Realignment has been a part of college sports for more than a century—in 1896, Michigan replaced Lake Forest College in the Western Conference, which would eventually become the Big Ten—so it would be naive to think everybody will stay put. Scott even says, "I think you possibly might see some other changes in the aftermath" of the playoff announcement. But hopefully the pace is normal, and the aims are logical. That is one reason the new postseason format will be locked in for 12 years. Scott says that conference commissioners want to "bring some stability. We have a format, and people know what it is." Playoff architects are not just creating an annual championship. They are reshaping their sport. That is a fundamental difference between the playoff and the BCS.

This is hard to believe now, but the BCS was actually designed to create order. Before the BCS, the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country did not always meet in the postseason—the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions were locked into the Rose Bowl, the Big Eight champ was locked into the Orange Bowl, and the SEC champ was locked into the Sugar Bowl.

By uniting college football's six power conferences, BCS organizers made a 1--2 title game more likely and hoped they would be able to leave the rest of the sport alone. But creating a 1--2 matchup that satisfied everybody was tougher than it seemed, and the landscape has changed drastically and surprisingly. Fifteen years ago even Boise State didn't see Boise State coming.

Now playoff architects are thinking big by reshaping the entire sport. All across the country, athletic directors hope they are thinking big enough.

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