Boise and the BCS
Boise State's thrilling 43-42 Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma last night was both the best and worst thing proponents of an NCAA playoff could ask for.
On the immediate level, I think it hurts our chances of getting a true national championship game by, say, next year. The next logical step was to transform the title game into a plus-one format, meaning the top four teams in the BCS (this year OSU, Florida, Michigan and LSU) play, in effect, two semifinal games (disguised as the Rose and Orange bowls for instance) with the winners squaring off for the title the following week. But after watching Boise State beat the Big 12 champ and Michigan struggled against USC, it's clear a four-team playoff just won't work. Too many contenders are left out of the mix.
What Boise's win Monday did, however, was open the door for an eight-team playoff, something that probably will have to wait until the next BCS contract. For years, non-BCS schools have subscribed to the theory that a playoff is not in their best interests because they'd be left out of the mix. Now that Boise State and Utah (against Pitt three years ago) have won BCS games, mid-major conference commissioners can rightfully argue they deserve a spot in a tournament format, too.
I still believe a 16-team playoff is the way to go - my foolproof plan is detailed here: http://davebirkett.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_davebirkett_archive.html - and hopefully we'll get there someday. But for now, the powers that be should hop on the Bronco bus and ride it all the way to the playoffs.