By Keith Antigiovanni
A few weeks ago the University Presidents finally agreed on a new playoff system in college football, well actually the first playoff system in college football that begins in 2014.
For the first time in its long history amateur football's highest level football teams will have to win postseason games in order to qualify for the National Championship game. You can make the argument that the conference title games were the first playoffs which they are but only at the conference level.
The new system includes two semifinals and a title game which will be football's "Final Four". This is where the similarities to college basketball end however because there will be no football tournament with the continuation of the bowl system.
The championship game and semifinals will rotate with the current BCS locations (New Orleans, Tempe, Miami and Los Angeles). There will also be two additional top tier bowls most likely Arlington (Jerry's World) and another city that has not been named yet.
The history of college football championship has been confusing at best. Until the bowl games there was no system (1869-1935). In 1936 the Associated Press (AP) began voting for the best team but many times regional bias and the lack of out of area coverage caused the voters to go with the programs they had actually seen. In 1950 the United Press International (UPI) became the second major poll to vote for a national champion.
Many other polls were added over the years but no significant changes were made until 1998 when the creation of the Bowl Championship System (BCS). The BCS pitted conference champions and at-large teams in the major bowls with the top two teams in a national title game which was one of the current BCS bowls. In 2006 another BCS bowl was added but it had the feel of cheating an actual playoff.
In 2011 two teams from the same conference (SEC) ended up in the title game even though neither was forced to win a playoff game in order to qualify. The new system changes that but rather than arguing over whether the #3 team was left out it will be now the # 5 team.
No system is perfect but this a good first step towards a true national champion in college football.