Today’s Championship football game between Florida State and Auburn University marks the end of the 2013 postseason bowl period that started mid-December. It also symbolizes the end of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), an institution that some football enthusiasts can’t wait to see go away.
Interestingly enough, the first bowl game took place in Pasadena, California in 1902. The Pasadena Valley Hunt Club created the Tournament of Roses to showcase the beautiful winter weather. There were lots of events including ostrich races. The Hunt Club was looking for other events to include in the festivities and decided to add a football game.
The game between Stanford University and the University of Michigan was very lopsided and the fans were so rowdy that the Tournament committee gave up football for chariot races. However, in 1916 the football game was reinstated and the Rose Bowl “The Granddaddy of them all” was born. Other bowls have come and gone; this year alone there were 70 teams playing in 35 bowls.
Figuring out the byzantine history of college football’s search to determine a true #1 takes a great deal of concentration, lots of patience and perhaps a degree in mathematics.
Before the 1998 season football’s national champion was determined by polls at the end of the football season. There were lots of post season bowls, many of which locked in the top school of a certain conference, which prohibited the #1 and #2 schools from playing each other. Naturally, there was a call for some sort of system that would create a way to resolve the problem while still preserving the bowl system which is so precious to many football traditionalists.
Thus, the Bowl College Series was created; however, there was still a problem of including mid-level football programs like Boise State and University of Central Florida who were becoming more successful. Four bowls would be designated as BCS bowls; Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta, with a second and final championship game that would rotate among those cities. That is why Pasadena was host to two bowls in this final year of the BCS. But those who still wished for a definitive way to have a national champion were not pleased and the NCAA went back to the drawing board.
The 2014-15 football season will be the debut of the newest endeavor to find a national champion. There will still be bowls, but instead of determining who will play in one year-ending championship game there will be a playoff between the top four teams. Instead of a grouping of human and computer polls making the choice of the “final four” there will be a committee of 13 members, including Condoleeza Rice, who will meet several times during the football season to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of teams who are in contention. They will even create a Top 25, but are not bound by any list. On Decision Sunday this committee will announce the four semi-finalists, as well as who will play in the other four College Football Playoff (CPF) bowls; which are the Rose, Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Chick-Fil-A, and Fiesta.
It remains to be seen if football fanatics will be satisfied with the decisions made by the committee and the four team playoff.
By Jacki Williams-Jones
Limo Buses Football Bowl Association BCS Football