Claremore Daily Progress

June 26, 2012

COLUMN: Meet the new plan, same as the old plan

CLAY HORNING
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — I can see it now. One-loss Oklahoma, one-loss Texas, one-loss West Virginia, one-loss LSU and unbeaten Alabama will find themselves staring at four BCS playoff positions.



The Tide need not worry.



LSU, probably, need not worry, for the Tigers only loss will have been to Alabama, leaving the Sooners, Longhorns and Mountaineers all believing in their case not to be the one-loss Big 12 team left out of the national championship picture.



Never mind that the Big 10, Pac-10 and the ACC will not understand why their two-loss conference champion is on the outside looking in. Never mind that so many who seemed just fine with the idea that a conference title need not be required to be one of college football’s final four will now be spitting mad at just such a prospect.



Because that’s what’s going to happen, or something like it, if the BCS’ presidential oversight committee signs off on the playoff plan the BCS commissioners are expected to formally present in Washington today.



The believed plan is a four-team seeded playoff that will incorporate two bowl games each season as national semifinals.



In the working example, pretend Texas topped OU and West Virginia topped Texas and OU topped West Virginia.



Pretend the Sooners, by accident of fate, because one never knows how good non-conference opponents will turn out to be the day such foes are placed on the schedule, simply don’t measure up in the strength-of-schedule equation, are thus penalized for it and are left to play in that SEC-Big 12 game the conferences announced a few weeks ago.



Bob Stoops will say he’s excited to play Georgia in just such a game (or, egads, Missouri or Texas A&M) but the Sooner Nation doesn’t give a hoot about the Bulldogs and will miss the one thing that might make it worth while, a bowl experience at a popular destination — like San Diego or San Antonio — but are left instead to play at Jerry’s World (because Jerry Jones outbid everybody else for the game), in Dallas, where they’ve all been before, where the world’s biggest video screen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be the second or third time around (or worse, in Atlanta, which is so far away and nobody cares to visit).



But hey, at least there will be a playoff. They won’t have the old BCS to kick around anymore.



It’s a little bit shocking.



Everybody who said we’re never going to see a college football playoff in our lifetime may be wrong as soon as today, when the plan might be immediately approved, all set to culminate in the 2014 season. Meanwhile, everybody who acted like a college football playoff, whatever the form — be it a four, eight, or 16-team bracket — would finally make sense of a season that heretofore had only crowned a somewhat mythical champion, will also be wrong.



Maybe, eventually, even those who understand the system isn’t perfect and could be improved upon, if only you could get everybody to shed their personal biases and grudges, will stand up and say, “You know, it’s not perfect, but that’s the beauty of it, it’s what everybody’s talking about, from the end of November until a champion is crowned.”



And those who don’t think that’s good enough will have myriad proposals to make the system right; will rail on the radio, in print and on message boards how to implement the right proposal; will scream it’s all a farce until the BCS, or somebody, makes it right.



But there will be a playoff.



People will talk all season long about who’s angling for the four spots. There will be uncountable scenarios volleyed around by which any number of teams might get in or be left out.



The shouting won’t stop.



So many will lobby for their plan. Others will chuckle knowingly and say that cliché that’s never right nor wrong.



It is what it is.



Everything will change.



And remain the same.