OUR VIEW: College bowl season better than ever
The college football bowl season is about to get underway. Saturday marks the first day of several end-of-the-year bowl games that stretch through Jan. 12, the night of the national championship. What's exciting this year, though, is that there's...
The college football bowl season is about to get underway.
Saturday marks the first day of several end-of-the-year bowl games that stretch through Jan. 12, the night of the national championship.
What's exciting this year, though, is that there's a two-game, four-team playoff to qualify for the national championship. The playoff - which this year includes Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State and Florida State - is the first of its kind.
Prior to the playoff, the teams to play for a national championship were determined automatically by computer polls and coaches rankings, based on their record and strength of schedule.
This year, a committee determined the top four teams to play in two semifinal matchups, to be played on New Year's Day, and the winners of those games will advance to the national championship. The committee looked at several of the same considerations as the computer rankings, but allowed four teams to play in two semifinal games, rather than just sending two teams directly to the national championship.
The two semifinal games are Oregon vs. Florida State in the Rose Bowl at 4 p.m. and Alabama against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl at 7:30 p.m.
We know there was some controversy this year with which teams should be included in the top four. Aside from Florida State, which finished its regular season undefeated, the other three teams in the playoff had one loss apiece. Two other teams, Baylor and Texas Christian University, also had one loss and were highly considered to be playoff-worthy, but were both held out of the playoff.
As college football fans, we would rather see the fifth- and sixth-best teams upset about not getting a shot at the national championship, rather than the third- and fourth-best teams.
We know the new system for determining a national college football champion isn't perfect, but we sure like it better than the old system that used computer rankings to determine who would play in the national championship.
College football this year was much more intriguing to watch late into the season, simply because four teams now have a chance to play for a national title. We found ourselves more interested in the weekly rankings than in the past, and we believe a true national champion will be more clear than before.
In past years, there were instances in which three highly ranked teams could have played in the national championship, but one team was left out because of the rankings and did not get a chance at the title. The new playoff system fixes that.
Some have suggested that the playoff should be widened, and allow eight teams or more. But we're happy with four teams playing two semifinals. There's always going to be controversy with teams that are left out of whatever playoff system there is, but we think there's value to playing a strong schedule and shooting to be a top-four team in the nation.
So enjoy the bowl season this year. It's better than ever.