One of the most overused cliches in our societal lexicon will be brought up in the next line, and certainly, for fans of college football, it applies to a tee.
Better late than never.
In what would be without question a watershed moment for college football, BCS commissioners have finally come to an agreement to revise the postseason structure of the sport, reaching a consensus to back a four-team, play-off format that will begin in 2014. In doing so, they set in motion a movement that culminated with a committee of university presidents approving the plan last week.
”It’s a great day for college football,” BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said, as quoted by the Associated Press. ”As soon as the commissioners realized they could do this and protect the regular season, the light went on for everybody.”
Consider the implications this new set-up will have. No longer will there be calls for reform on a flawed computer system that didn’t properly reward the right teams with championship opportunities they should have deserved. Amidst the clamor for change, the BCS commissioners finally listened. It should’ve happened sooner, but like we said, better late than never.
More than just the ramifications it will have on the sport itself, this new plan will have ripple effects on the sports betting front. We talked to a professional oddsmaker who requested to remain anonymous and asked him about the implications the new play-off system will have in the popularity of college football.
“You can be sure though that the media hype these games will get for the first few years is going to drive awareness and popularity with the casual audience, and I’d be amazed if TV ratings for these games weren’t among the highest ever for college football,” he said.
Under the new set-up, the national semifinals will be feature the No. 1 team going up against No.4 on December 31, with No. 2 and No. 3 playing on January 1. The winners of the two semis matches will then square off on the Jan.12, 2015 in what is already being billed as “Championship Monday”.
Of the current BCS bowl games, only the Rose Bowl has been guaranteed a spot to host a semi-finals game while a new bowl that will be born from the SEC and Big 12 will most likely get the other slot. The other three BCS bowl games – the Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange – will get first dibs at bidding for the games in the future
As for the site of the succeeding Championship Mondays, cities will be given the opportunity to make bids to host the game, similar to how the NFL does it with the Super Bowl.
And if there’s one thing we can take from the NFL model, it’s that you can expect a ton of gambling action on these three games, particularly with the buzz and hype surrounding the new format.”More hype means more viewers, which in turn pretty much guarantees these games will be heavily bet on,” said the oddsmaker.
Even Bowl games that will not be hosting a semi-finals could potentially see strong action. Even if they stand to lose a bit of luster in the eyes of the casual fans, at the end of the day it will still depend on TV coverage and the teams in those games.
“With the potential for more fans overall, I believe we’ll still see strong betting on those games, too.”
Call us paramours for change, but the new play-off format certainly sounds a whole lot better than letting computers run whatever formula it is they run to decide which teams will be part of bowl games. Days of transparency in the selection process are finally upon us.
You take progress anyway you can get it, however incremental it may be. This new plan is a step in the right direction for everyone who has grown tired of letting something arbitrary be the ultimate decision-maker.