Like it or not, the selection committee for the new college football playoffs will select more than just the playoff games. In addition to the two bowls that will host the playoffs, the selection committee will also place schools in the remaining four top-tier bowls.
When the news first broke, it seemed like a good enough idea.
In theory, the top 12 would be spread out over the six bowls. This appeared like a major improvement for those who were asking for an eight-team playoff. However, there was one major flaw that was being missed.
Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel tweeted,
While there are no more official AQs, the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC basically are b/c of their individual contracts w/ bowls.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 28, 2012
That's why it won't necessarily be Top 12. If Big Ten champ is 18th, it still has a spot in the Rose (or another bowl if Rose hosting semi).— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 28, 2012
This could be really bad for a conference like the Big East. Without a tie to a bowl game, the odds of being included drop significantly.
In his column on June 22, Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples said,
While the idea of anchor bowls — attaching certain conferences to certain bowls even in the semifinals — fell flat during the commissioners’ negotiations because of logistical issues, conferences will remain attached to bowls in the years those bowls don’t host a semifinal.
The Rose, Champions and Orange bowls could all be determined, with or without a selection committee, depending on whether or not the bowl is in the playoffs. While the playoff bowls will rotate over 12 years, meaning each will host a playoff four times, there is still something flawed in the new process.
While a selection committee is good for conferences like the Big East from a big picture point of view, it is bad when the bowls already hold ties. Many deserving mid-majors will most likely continue to be left out. Elite teams from non-power conferences may have a better opportunity, but it still doesn't do much for the little guys.
Playoff discussion is far from over, but this is one area that seriously needs to be looked at again. A selection committee for the four playoff teams is one thing, but having them select all six top-tier bowls is another. While it should be the top 12, it most likely will not be.
Bowl ties will mess with that and mid-majors will be forgotten.
The playoffs and committee may be a step in the right direction, but it is clear that there is still a lot that still needs to be considered. Otherwise, the entire point of a playoff will be lost in frustration.