Sports Savvy: College Football: New Season, New Rules

If you are one of the 43 million college football fans in this country, you may be aware that the sport will be adopting a new post season format for the 2014-2015 campaign. Let’s break it down, since it takes a pretty involved fan to process the changes. Out with the old … Here’s what we’re leaving behind: 5 Bowl Games: Previously, outcomes of bowl games had no bearing on one another and did not decide the players in the national championship game. A free pass: In years past, bowl games had “automatic qualifiers.” For instance, because the Pac 12 and Big Ten Conferences were automatic qualifiers for the Rose Bowl, the top teams from those conferences got a free pass into the Rose Bowl, even if they weren’t as good as the top teams in less powerful conferences. Ranking: The order in which teams were ranked throughout the season and post season was calculated as a combination of coaches’ polls and several different computer rankings. In with the new … Here’s what we have to look forward to: Lucky Seven: Starting this year, the post season will consist of six bowl games and the national championship game. Four of the bowls will be their own “prize,” meaning the winner will not advance to any other game. The other two games will feature the nation’s top four teams and will act as qualifying games for the national championship. The six bowl games will be played in two triple headers, one on New Year’s Eve and one on New Year’s Day, with the national championship game being played the first Monday in January. Equal Playing Field: Although there are no true automatic qualifiers anymore, college football will try to retain the tradition of bowls like the Rose Bowl, when at all possible. So, for example, in years when it is a national championship qualifier, there will only be a Big 10 and Pac 12 team in the Rose Bowl if they are also in the top four. This will now give every school a chance to qualify for the national championship. Selection Show: A selection committee, much like the one used in March Madness, will determine the national semi-finalists (the top four teams). This committee will include two former NFL Quarterbacks, three former college coaches, some conference executives and my favorite member, the lone female and former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. As a well-known student of the game, she brings decision-making skills and the ability to analyze complicated statistical information to this male-dominated group. It is interesting to note; if this new format had been used this past season, Michigan State, the No. 4 team in the nation, would have been in a national semi-final game, with the potential of being National Champions … stew on that for a minute Spartans.

Tags: college football, rules, Sports Savvy

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