Bowl trips have been a reward and a celebration for the players, coaches and fans. Having fun is a big part of the experience. Of course, by the time game day arrives at the bowls in most cases the players and coaches are focused on winning, but rarely does a bowl game have the same implications or the type of serious approach that we would see from the teams involved in a playoff to win the national title.
I know that nothing has been finalized about the playoff format or if there will definitely be one, but I sure hope that is going to be the case. I am a big supporter of the four-team playoff idea.
Going forward I believe that change will have the biggest impact on college football of anything that has been done for many years. I believe it will attract a huge amount of attention from sports fans and become a tremendous source of revenue for the colleges. It is going to be interesting to see if NCAA officials are running the playoffs or if the college presidents will be in charge. If the NCAA runs it, those officials are going to dictate where the money goes, and lots of it could be going to that big headquarters building up in Indianapolis.
While I think the four-team playoff will be a separate event from the bowls, I do think we will continue to see the traditional bowl games played for teams that are not in the playoff, and I see that as a good thing, too. Those contests support a lot of charities and reward teams that do a good job in the regular season. Often they provide memorable trips for the players and coaches plus their families along with the fans.
While there has been plenty of discussion about whether or not to have a playoff, the SEC and the Big 12 recently agreed to play their own postseason contest that will match the league champions, or the highest ranked team that is not in a national championship playoff. In most years you would expect the SEC champion to be in the playoff.
It will be interesting to see if that game is played in the same place every year or rotated, and it will also be interesting to see where those games will be located if they are moved around. I could see them being played in New Orleans, Dallas or Atlanta and other cities are possibilities, too. Not many details of the contest have been announced other than the conferences have agreed to a deal, but I like the concept.
One thing I am sure about regarding that game is that the SEC vs. Big 12 showdown will be popular with fans and will provide another excellent revenue stream for the Southeastern Conference.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.