This week a committee made up of university presidents voted in favor of a system that will decide college football’s national championship using a four-team playoff. Many fans and observers were thrilled to learn that the BCS era will be ending.
The BCS has been widely criticized for years by college football insiders and outsiders. What prompted the conference commissioners to promote a playoff plan now? Money, according to Hayes.
“The funny thing is [the BCS] has been widely criticized, but it’s also been wildly popular,” Hayes said. “It took college football from a regional sport to a national sport to a money-making machine. I’ve always been a bowl guy…I don’t want college football to become the NFL.”
Wetzel’s position on the current championship formula is no secret. He’s the co-author of Death to the BCS.
“It is morning in America,” Wetzel said. “It’s time to move on. There’s nothing America wants more than playoff football. It is the single biggest entertainment juggernaut in the country.”Hayes said the main problem with the BCS was the third- and fourth-place teams thinking they should have a shot at the title, but with a four-team playoff coming, that complaint would move down to the fifth- and sixth-place teams. “The reality is this thing isn’t going to stop at four teams,” he said. “It’s going to get much bigger because there’s more money out there.”
The four playoff teams will be chosen by a committee, much like the NCAA basketball tournament berths are now. Isn’t there a good chance the committee will make choices that leave fans just as unhappy as some BCS choices did?
“Absolutely,” Wetzel said. “I’m not opposed to controversy. There’s no good way to choose four out of 125 teams…We want the conclusion of the season, like every other sport, to surge to the end. I’m willing to give up a little of the excitement and integrity of the great [Famous] Idaho Potato Bowl in exchange for that.”