New playoff system better for college football

Evan Berkowitz

Most Longhorn fans still remember the score to the infamous 2008 Red River Rivalry game that fell in former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy’s favor: 45-35.

That was the score that Texas fans say should have put their team into the title game.

As the one-loss Sooner team went on to face Florida in the BCS National Championship, Texas, also with one loss, had to settle for the Fiesta Bowl.

Texas fans argue, and with good reason, if it weren’t for a Blake Gideon dropped “easy” interception and a last-second touchdown by Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree, it would have been an undefeated Texas team playing for the national championship. Instead, it was the BCS rankings that gave Oklahoma the nod.

However, now, that problem should be solved.

For the first time in FBS history, there will be a four-team playoff this season.

No longer will a computer decide who the best two teams are. Instead, a 13-member selection committee will decide, basing their decision on strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and championships won, among other factors.

It won’t avoid all controversy, but it solves the main issue: that one team, controversially, was left out of the title picture.

Now, if a repeat of 2008 happened in 2014, Texas would be in the playoff — and have a deserving shot at the title.

But, unfortunately for Texas fans, the times of McCoy’s stardom have passed, and Texas won’t likely be a part of this year’s playoff system. However, this new college football will be a good change in the system, providing a new aspect to the entertainment of the sport.

The 13-member committee will be chaired by Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and will consist of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, former Ole Miss QB Archie Manning, former Nebraska athletic director and coach Tom Osborne and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. 

The committee will meet weekly, starting Oct. 28, with the rankings released Tuesdays. Each committee member will rank the top-25 teams in the country and assign teams to the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach Bowl when they aren’t hosting semifinal games. Committee members will be recused from certain teams because of possible conflicts of interest, such as Long from Arkansas.

The new system likely won’t do away with all controversy, though, as the No. 5 team will likely claim to be “robbed” of a chance. But that’s theoretically better than having the No. 3 team be “robbed.” In addition, some teams will have the chance to boost their resumes at the end of the season with a conference championship game — an advantage the Big 12 and Texas won’t have.

Although Texas isn’t expected to be a part of the new excitement, it should be fun to witness college football history as the new playoff system unfolds.