More interesting scenarios are coming forth as more information comes out about the new 4-team playoff. The latest tidbit was reported today by Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated.com. He says the new playoff model will be inclusive of the top 12 teams. According to Mandel,
“The selection committee will be enlisted not only to pick the playoff teams, but to fill out the entire bowl pool for those top six games — not necessarily to dictate matchups, but to decide which teams qualify for selection — using the same criteria.”
So, the top 12 teams will be used to fill out the top six bowl games. According to Big 10 Commissioner, Jim Delaney, all 12 teams will be selected by looking at champions, strength of schedule and the use of head-to-head competition for tiebreakers.
Applying the same criteria to the number 11 and 12 teams that will be applied to the top four, would give the fans a truer picture at the end of the season as to which teams deserve to finish in the top 10 12 in the nation.
If that really is the case, it will be good for the sport. Yet, it’s difficult to picture the top bowls being dictated to in how they run their business. And the Bowls are just that – a business. No bowl committee wants to invite a team that can only fill about five to eight thousand seats verses say a Michigan, a Texas, or an Auburn that can fill up half of the stadium.
Of course if the six bowls want to be in the rotation for the playoff games, they will have to go along. The immediate result should make it easier for the so called “have nots” to make it to a major bowl, yet not necessarily easier to get in the final one.
More importantly, placing the top 12 teams in head to head competition at the end of the season sets the stage for expanding the playoff from four to eight or even 12 teams somewhere down the road.
Expansion might not be the reasoning behind having a selection committee pick the teams for the top bowls; but in time, it may prove to be the end result.