Inside the College Football Playoff

Submitted by Mercury Hayes on January 7th, 2014 at 3:14 PM

The BCS is dead, as Brian detailed in his most recent post,  but here are some things you may not know, or may have forgotten about the playoff

  • The six bowls participating in the rotating semifinal and final were not randomly chosen. They are all historic bowl sites in warm weather cities with no state getting more than one game, excluding hte final. (sorry Citrus Bowl).
  • The six bowls are in Los Angeles, Tempe, Dallas/Arlington, New Orleans, Atlanta and Miami.
  • 2014 New Year's Day Bowl lineup will be drastically changed. It is shaping up to have the Cotton Bowl as the 1 p.m. game followed by the Rose Bowl semifinal in the late afternoon/evening and the Sugar Bowl as the primetime game. 
  • The Rose Bowl always hosts the evening game on New Year's Day and that doesn't appear to change unless NYD falls on a Sunday as it does in 2017. In that case, the Rose Bowl will move to Monday, Jan. 2.
  • New Year's Eve always has the Peach Bowl at night and that doesn't appear to be changing. Even when it hosts the National Semifinal, the Peach Bowl will be held on Dec. 31 and not Jan. 1. Also, it is the only game in the College Football Playoff that is referred to by it's corporately-sponsored name.
  • Because of the intracacies of keeping the Rose Bowl in it's Jan. 1 slot and the Peach Bowl in it's NYE slot, there are some scheduling quirks. For example, in 2015, the College Football Playoff semifinal games are on Jan. 1 and will be the last games played before the title game. However, in 2016, the semifinals are held on NYE, followed by the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. A little weird but not as much as having the games scattered about.
  • Semifinal contests on NYE means we could in the future have a Michigan game on NYE. That would be one heck of a party. I assume this would also mean Al Borges is coaching at Louisville or the Upstairs Hollywood Beauty College.
  • The College Football Playoff Championship game will rotate between host cities much like the Super Bowl and Final Four. Texas gets the 2015 game, Arizona will host in 2016 and Tampa Bay in 2017.
  • While the warm-weather locations are not a great set up for the B1G, it helps remove the New Year's Daybowl logjam out of Florida. (Outback, Citrus, Gator, Orange). I believe they also had Champ's Sports at one time too. Where the F did the Champ's Sports Bowl spawn from?
  • The layoff between the semifinal and final games will be determined by what day New Year's Day falls on and which game is hosting the semifinal For example, the 2015 semifinals are on New Year's Day, but the championship is 11 days later. In 2016, there is a 10-day layover. In 2017, there is an 8-day layover. Of course, in some years the semifinal is on NYD, such as the case in 2015. But in 2016, the semifinals are hosted on Dec. 31.
  • ESPN has a 12-year contract to televise and distribute the playoff games and had a previous contract to televise and distribute the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl games through 2026. They also currently air the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. (I would be surprised if things didn't move to an 8-team playoff before 2026).
  • The Cotton Bowl contract was held by Fox, but expired this year. I cannot find information on what network has the rights to this game if the game is not part of the official playoff. It may not be ESPN. If the Cotton Bowl is part of the playoff, the game will be on the ESPN family of networks. Live from hospice in 2025 is Brent Musburger.
  • There was also discussion of a "Champions Bowl" to feature top teams from the SEC/Big12, but I don't know if the College Playoff has changed that and cannot find information on that bowl game. It very well could include top teams from the SEC/Big12 that are left out of the top games. Hypothetically, this could be teams that are around 10-16th in the nation, giving us an 8th, top flight post-season game that won't involve crap-ass teams like Hawaii.
  • The hypothetical playoff teams will play as many as 15 games, one less than an NFL schedule. (So much for arguments about kids missing class).
  • The committee to select playoff teams have a strong Big Ten presence including Tom Osborne of Nebraska, Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin and Tyrone Willingham from MSU (before ND).
  • All other conferences are represented but not necessarily as well as the B1G or the Pac-10 (Condoleeza Rice, Pat Haden, etc.)
  • Lastly and most importantly, the College Football Playoff logo looks like a vagina.



January 7th, 2014 at 8:03 PM ^

to use the traditional bowl sites and dates to establish precedent for the establishment of the playoff format in college football. But as the system evolves I think schools from outside the Sunbelt and West Coast are going to complain about the bias of having their teams compete at sites outside their region simply to accommodate whatever corporate sponsor, network or bowl organizer wants to host a certain element of the playoff system. 

If the NCAA wants to assure great attendance and make games accessible for fans of programs over an extended playoff, then it will have to accept the idea of scheduling games in northern and Midwestern sites based on their record. Why should a Big Ten school have to travel to the Rose Bowl, or Glendale or Atlanta, Miami instead of Detroit, Minneapolis or Indianapolis to play a playoff game especially if they have the same or better record than some other Sunbelt team? 

The playoff has been adopted. It's now time to make scheduling the postseason an equitable arrangement instead of one based on bowl ties, because they are irrelevant to the process of determining a championship. 


January 7th, 2014 at 9:53 PM ^

"(So much for arguments about kids missing class)"

Even with the new system, student-athletes in the championship game will miss less class than those in FCS and lower levels, and those who play almost any other sport - basketball being the most notable example. I honestly don't think that missing another day or two was or should be a consideration in formatting the Playoff.

Mercury Hayes

January 7th, 2014 at 10:25 PM ^

The class idea was the argument against a larger playoff. IMO, why not just go to a 12 game regular season?

For example, play your tune up game against a MAC school, then a AQ school, then go to a 10-game conference set up or something similar.

We're in a situation where13-0 and 12-1 teams are playing but why don't we just have better competition all year and have two teams that are 10-3 or 9-4 like we see in the NFL?

If Florida still wants to beat on Citadel, maybe they can have a scrimmage.


January 8th, 2014 at 11:06 AM ^

But I firmly believe that if you don't win your conference then you should not be able to make the playoff. Now if there were more than four teams then yes you can get in without a conference championship. People keep saying that the playoff will take away from the importance of the regular season but if you have to win your conference to get in then the regular season is as important as ever.


January 8th, 2014 at 11:29 PM ^

Exactly.  Why don't we (B1G) see this coming? The reg season games will matter much more up here while they matter less down there. This is already happening, just not in the context of a playoff format. If there had been a playoff this year, there's no way MSU and OSU both get in, but you can bet your ass that a Bama and Auburn would have both made it, along with FSU and maybe the absolutely obligatory MSU.  I'm very glad we have a shell of a playoff, I just hope it doesn't take 20 years to iron out some of its many flaws.


January 9th, 2014 at 3:32 AM ^

Interesting that they're putting the semifinals on New Year's Eve in 2 out of every three years. The Sugar Bowl tried this from 1972-1975 (including the famous 1973 game where ND beat Bama 24-23 to win the national championship) but my understanding is that the game was moved back to New Year's Day because it was generally ignored on New Year's Eve.

I don't know that there was a better alternative if they were going to keep the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day every year, but I sense the semifinals' placement on NYE will be an issue (especially for those with significant others that won't be thrilled with their new NYE activity).  From what I've read the first semifinal will begin late afternoon and the second one will be at night, probably not ending until after midnight on the East Coast.

More likely to be ignored are the games played on New Year's Eve in the 1 year out of every 3 that the semifinals are on New Year's Day.  That is the case for 2014/2015.