For Unto Us a Playoff Is Born: So What?

David PersonsContributor IJuly 6, 2012

Schools Have Been Chasing a Playoff For Years
Schools Have Been Chasing a Playoff For YearsSarah Glenn/Getty Images

Dutch Meyer would have been proud. The legendary TCU coach challenged his players to "fight 'em until hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice!"

Every opponent of that doomed monolith called the BCS did Meyer proud when the old men around the great table acquiesced and announced that the miracle had occurred.

The playoff was here! Justice has been done! Ding Dong, the wicked BCS is dead!


Ummm, wait a second.

A college playoff is finally here, and just like the camera I sent off for with my cereal box tops as a kid, it wasn't what they advertised when it came in the mail. It was smaller and had problems as soon as I took it out of the box.

So will this playoff. Don't get me wrong, nothing could have been worse than the BCS, but if I were a fan of one of the "little guys", I would truly be in mourning. And I would want my money back—and my box tops.

The mid-majors have been effectively locked out, perhaps permanently this time, from realistic postseason consideration. The announced criteria that the proposed selection committee will be working with does not bode well for the next TCU or Boise State that arises, if there ever is another one.

According to the interviews at the announcement press conference the dreaded and oft-misused "strength of schedule" will be one primary selection criteria used. Also, several of the commissioners interviewed mentioned an "ability to draw" as an "important" selection element.


I am pretty sure that means an ability to earn the powers that be truckloads of money rather than having some budding artists on the roster. They are also finally going to acknowledge the importance of actually winning your conference—but only as a last resort tiebreaker.

In the new playoff selection is seems that those pesky, mysterious computers won't be there. Just a lot of humans, with all their human biases. Who is placed on the selection committee and how they are placed there will be fundamental to the new playoff system succeeding in correcting, rather than exacerbating, the countless problems of the BCS.

Bill Hancock hinted on television that the composition of the selection committee will be similar to the NCAA basketball selection committee— administrators and others at that level. Oh great, aren't those largely the same guys who run the BCS? Did I mention that my camera broke after two days?

I am afraid that we have traded one beauty pageant for another, perhaps even more subjective, beauty pageant and popularity contest that has to make no apologies for its inane logic as they award the top four positions to the same four conferences every year. Perhaps we could have the potential top four head coaches at least participate in the swimsuit competition and the "My Dream Is" personality portion. Then we would have some unique entertainment as college football is slowly dismantled.

I truly hope I am wrong and this is the beginning of fair access for every FBS team based on what they do on the field rather than on what conference they are in and what bowl they won in 1922 or who their big rival is.


I will wait and see however, because I remember that camera that I saved and worked for all summer, only to be disappointed and disillusioned. If this is the beginning of a new day in college football, the powers that are need to remember that there are 11 conferences and some independents and every one of them work hard and have the potential for excellence (granted, some more than others).

If the odyssey of TCU over the last 12 years has shown the college football world anything, it is that anything is possible. The monsters that TCU are now didn't happen by accident—it happened through hard work and learning how to win, and how to play with class.

As we move into the FBS playoff era, I sincerely hope that the days of the "big" boys and, as Dr. Gee so famously opined "The Little Sisters Of The Poor" are over, and that the selection committee will realize that any team that has gone undefeated, or only lost one game, deserves a serious look where ever they come from. As I am not an advocate of turning strange shades of blue I am not going to hold my breath on that one, but I will hope.

This less than auspicious start to something college football fans have dreamed of for years can work. The question is "do they want it to?" TCU, Boise State and Utah blazed the trails for the "Little Sisters of the Poor" and achieved their own liberation by becoming big boys.

They might have had a very, very narrow escape. I always thought that one primary goal of a playoff was to assure open and equal access to the title game to every team from every conference by winning on the field. Oops. Fairness? What was I thinking? Seems the new boss is the same as the old boss— money, power and ego.

The fight is a long, long way from won. Speak to us Dutch! If you can stop crying.