Believe it or not, there are some things people are going to miss about the old way of doing things in college football. And there are things they aren't going to like about the new way of doing things.
Senior Editor Phillip Marshall
Few would argue that a four-team playoff is better than a two-team playoff. But it's not that simple. the question and the problem are how you go about deciding what teams are in that playoff.
People love to hate polls, but those polls have been of great service to the game. For most of college football's history, those polls decided who could claim a national championship. They gave fans a gauge to watch throughout the season. Starting in 2014, that will be over.
Do you pay much attention to baseball and basketball polls? Probably not, because they don't mean anything. Football polls will be banished to the same kind of obscurity in 2014.
And therein lies potential for trouble.
In the NCAA basketball and baseball tournaments, with 64 or 65 teams in the fields, there is little chance that the eventual national champion could be left out. A championship team or even a contender in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, etc., doesn't have to worry about being left out even if it doesn't secure an automatic bid.
A four-team football playoff will be a very different animal. The No. 5 team might well be good enough to win the championship. So might No. 6, No. 8, No. 10. And they won't get the chance to prove it.
On top of that, no one will know where things stand as the season unfolds.
As much as fans have raised hell about the BCS, they have been able to follow the polls throughout the season and the BCS standings for the second half of the season. In the new era, the polls won't matter. There'll be no standings. No one will know for sure where things are headed until the committee says so.
Once the BCS made the polls 2/3 of its ranking formula, the computer polls didn't much matter. Enough people vote on the polls to water down any bias. Had I been making the call, I would have kept the coaches poll, replaced the very flawed Harris poll with a better one and those polls would have determined who played.
As the plan is now, Auburn and Georgia might meet in a game they believe has national championship implications, only to find out it didn't. Maybe the USC-Notre Dame game is huge or maybe it turns out not to be so huge. No one will know until the members of the selection committee have their say.
And there is the very significant question of who will be on the committee.
Putting coaches, current or former, on it is an awful idea. Picking the teams for a four-team playoff should have nothing to do with film study, nothing to do with who is bigger or faster or stronger or plays the old-fashioned way or the modern way or some way in between or how many NFL prospects a team has or whether it wins 41-35 or 3-0. The deliberations need to be based on what was accomplished on the field and nothing else. Coaches have friends in the game. They have built-in dislikes for one kind of approach or another. They have loyalties to schools that made them rich.
There is much to be worked out between now and 2014, and it's going to be a lot trickier than a lot of people believe.
College football a historic step on Tuesday, but making it work will be a historic challenge.