Inching toward a college football playoff – and less controversy

February 12, 2012

This year's all-SEC national championship game may finally lead to a college football playoff.

For those of us who’d like to see a college football playoff in our lifetimes, some welcome news came out of the 12-team Big Ten last week.

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that the league’s athletic directors are considering the idea of a four-team playoff to decide the national champion. While there is still a long way to go, that’s significant news because the Big Ten led the charge to kill a Plus One system proposed four years ago by the SEC. Maybe watching two SEC teams play for the BCS championship finally persuaded the Big Ten’s ADs that getting a shot at the national title for one of their schools was more important than blind devotion to the Rose Bowl.

Of course, the whole point of a playoff would be to reduce some of the unsatisfying scenarios that have popped up ever since the BCS’s creation, such as:

  • 2001: A team getting blown out 62-36 in its last game, missing its conference championship game and still playing for the national title.
  • 2003: A team finishing No. 1 in the AP and Coaches’ polls but finishing third in the BCS standings.
  • 2004: An SEC team going 12-0 and not making the national title game.
  • 2007: Eight two-loss teams fighting for No. 2 in the BCS standings.
  • 2011: Two teams from the same SEC division playing for the national title.

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