For decades, college football writers and voters crossed their fingers, hoping one team would run the table and go undefeated through the year, leaving no doubt which was the best in the country. When the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) came to be in 1998, the same group now asked the Football Gods that two undefeated teams survive the gauntlet unscathed, making for a controversy-free selection of the teams who would play for the coveted National Championship.
With the advent of the College Football Playoff, the thirteen-member Selection Committee must be silently praying that each season presents them with exactly four teams ending their campaign with no losses or one loss each. More than years previous, those responsible for voting will feel public scrutiny and criticism of their choices; voting is no longer spread among faceless sports journalists across the country.
Here’s the problem, though. The five most successful and influential conferences in the country – colloquially known as the Power Five – cannot all place their conference champion in the newly created four-team playoff to determine the National Champion.
In a season where four conference champs have one loss each, and the winner of the other Power Five conference has, say, three losses; the issue will solve itself. In the significantly more likely scenario where the line of demarcation is not so obvious, there will certainly be a conference – with all its money and NCAA political clout – pretty damn pissed off their team was left out. Worse yet, in a year where a team from outside the Power Five goes undefeated and cannot be denied a seat at the table, two conference champions of the Five will be on the outside stewing.
This ain’t gonna work.