College Football Takes First Step

One thing hasn't changed since the beginning of serious discussion of a college football playoff. The big concern continues to be how the teams in the playoff are to be selected.

Every time college presidents get involved in athletics one should think back to former University of Alabama President Dr. Joab Thomas, a brilliant man other than the smear on his resume where he hired Bill Curry rather than Bobby Bowden (or just about anyone else) as Crimson Tide head football coach.

The most frightening words in the playoff discussion have been uttered by the presidents: Selection Committee.

Although there may be bumps in the playoff road, it is certainly the step that almost all college football fans have wanted.

Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore said, "The system they came up with is how the SEC ADs voted – two games within the current bowl system, and then bid out the championship game. We asked for the top four teams, not just conference champions.

"So we are pleased. I appreciated Commissioner (Mike Slive) and all the hard work the Southeastern Conference office did on it.

"Hopefully, this will add to the enjoyment of the football season for a lot of people and be a good way to identify the national champion."

Moore notes there are important details to be completed.

"What needs to be settled now is the committee – how it's picked and how it will make its decisions.

"We have a couple of years to finish it off, get the details done, and be ready to go in 2014."

All manner of scenarios have been put forth for the determination of the selection committee and how it does its work. Presumably, it will involve at least a majority of people who know something about college football. It is interesting (and not in a comforting way) that the presidents (and others) want to have a competent selection committee, but want to put parameters on their work, including such obvious points as considering conference champions and strengths of schedule.

Most college football fans will not have teams involved in the playoff. For those who do, the sticker shock may be considerable.

As a for instance, suppose that Alabama wins the SEC Western Division championship. Crimson Tide fans, who have been to Atlanta, know the expense of that trip and tickets.

Win the SEC Championship in Atlanta, and it's almost a certainty that the next stop will be the national championship semifinals. Maybe that would be played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Bama fans who went to last year's BCS National Championship Game know that New Orleans hotels, restaurants, parking garages, bars, etc. will greet you with open cash registers. Caaaa-Ching!

(Nevertheless, many fans will clamor for at least an eight-team playoff. Although the current plan, which begins in 2014, is for 12 years, that could be changed by the same people who made the plan.)

Win in New Orleans and you are ecstatic as you make last minute arrangements for airfare (pray for a Southwest Airlines destination), hotels, and tickets (which are probably going to be priced sky-high).

You'll soon understand why the Super Bowl has approximately the same crowd attending every year, people who pay either a fortune for the experience or who could pay it, but get it free as guest of a sponsor or corporation. Only a few thousand fans of the participating teams are likely to make it.

But those problems are miniscule compared to this one. Suppose Bama doesn't make it to the national championship game?

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