The most-anticipated playoff system in sports history will be called “College Football Playoff”. This name, although simple and fitting, should be referred to as “SEC’s Automatic Title”.
College football fans around the country get heated each December when yet another SEC team gets the nod to play for a BCS Championship. Much to the dismay of these same fans, this new playoff system only makes the SEC teams’ championship dreams that much easier to reach.
A selection committee of between 14-20 members will be in charge of ranking and seeding the playoff at the end of each season. Rumors have been flying regarding the possibility of conference championships deciding the playoff participants. However, no criterion has yet been announced regarding automatic berths. With only having four teams in the playoff, it is highly unlikely that there will be such bids. Instead, a panel will sit down, discuss the top teams and then announce the contestants. This format makes it impossible for the SEC to not get at least one team in the playoff.
The committee, in deciding which top teams to consider, will refer to the season’s final polls. These rankings have consistently shown the SEC to have the nation’s best teams. This past season, for instance, the SEC had six teams in top 11 slots of the regular season’s final AP poll. In fact, from 2006 (the start of the SEC’s dominance) to 2011, the SEC has had at least two teams in the top eight of the AP poll to end a season. This also includes having at least two teams ranked in the top five on four occasions during those six years. While the BCS had a system for computing which teams are the best, a committee that is not bound by such a ranking system will be free to choose who it deems are the most deserving four. There is no way, given the amount of teams from the SEC who are constantly in the top of the rankings, that no team from that conference gets in; and getting in is all it will take.
During this historic run, the average margin of victory for SEC teams in the National Championship game is 17 points. Whichever teams compete against the SEC representative in the playoff will be nothing more than a stepping-stone on the way to another title, as the SEC representative, on average, wins the championship game by three possessions. With on-the-field dominance like this, whatever SEC team gets into the playoff will easily march to a championship victory. Unless of course two SEC teams play each other, which so far has shown to be the only way an SEC team loses in a title game.
The push for the playoff system has grown exponentially over the last seven seasons, no doubt due in large part to the SEC’s historic run. However, college football fans will be longing for the BCS to make a comeback when the SEC’s national title streak climbs into the double-digits.