SBD/August 30, 2013/Colleges

16-Year-Old BCS System Begins Final Season, While Questions Remain About New CFP

The BCS Coaches Trophy will be awarded for a 16th and final time this season
As the 16th and final season of the BCS system "kicked off Thursday night, the sound you heard was applause" for the "return of college football, certainly -- but also for the imminent demise of a controversial postseason structure," according to George Schroeder of USA TODAY. Despite the "bland name" of the new College Football Playoff, there is "plenty of anticipation for the long-awaited change." Still, given what "ailed the BCS, it's hard to know if the playoff will in the long run be seen as a cure." BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock said, "I think history will see that it contributed to the regular season in a way that nobody ever imagined, and it brought order to the postseason." Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said, "I thought the BCS added more than people could ever put a value on because of this: It turned the entire season into a playoff. It created that much energy that people were glued to those TVs from Week 1 to Week 13, and everywhere in between." Schroeder notes despite "assurances from conference commissioners that the playoff will not expand for at least the life of the TV contract, the financial potential is one reason calls to expand the bracket to eight teams, which are already being made, shouldn't be dismissed." Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops: "It won't be enough. That's the nature of it" (USA TODAY, 8/30).

NOT BAD AFTER ALL? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman writes in order to "understand what the BCS represents, it helps to imagine that the comparatively well-oiled machine of the NFL playoffs never existed." For all the "heartache it has caused the fans of various unlucky teams, the BCS has accompanied, if not helped to create, some broad and likely permanent changes in the sport." College football fans, who "were once regional tribes, became national consumers under this system." Former SEC Commissioner and BCS Coordinator Roy Kramer said, "It's bigger than we ever dreamed of at the time. It created a name brand and almost a structure of membership: BCS schools and non-BCS schools." For all the "controversy and complexity of the BCS, it doesn't seem to have hurt the sport," as a Harris Poll from last year showed that college football "has become the nation's third-most popular sport behind the NFL and baseball, and is closing the gap." The new CFP "may not be quite as populist" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/30).

FOR ALL THE TOSTITOS: Fiesta Bowl Exec Dir Robert Shelton on Thursday said that the game is "spearheading an effort to secure" the '16 CFP championship game for Univ. of Phoenix Stadium. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby: “The competition is going to be robust. I think Phoenix has as good a chance of landing it as anyone.” In Phoenix, Paola Boivin notes if accepted, the game "sets up a potentially busy two-and-half-year run on the Valley’s sports scene." The Fiesta Bowl will "host a game between ranked at-large teams -- selected by a committee as part of the new college playoff format -- on Dec. 31, 2014." Super Bowl XLVIIII will be played there Feb. 1, 2015. On Jan. 1, 2016, the Fiesta Bowl "would host another meeting between at-large teams and then the national title game 10 days later if the bid is awarded." Additionally, the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority is "working on a bid to host a men’s Final Four" for April '17 (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/30).
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