The College Football Playoff changed everything
After three years and 12 participants, the impact of the College Football Playoff is being felt. For the first time in seven years, the Big 12 will have a conference championship game, a decision made “100 percent on our ability to optimize the likelihood of getting a team into the CFP,” said commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
It’s one example of the changes that conferences, athletic directors and coaches are making to adapt to the CFP era. But will it improve the Big 12’s chances? The value of a conference championship came into question last season after Penn State, the Big Ten champion, was snubbed in favor of Ohio State, a team the Nittany Lions beat during the regular season. It’s part of the challenge for teams entering the fourth year of the playoff, where there remains more questions than answers.
“It’s gotten so obsessive to a point,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “It’s the game. That’s the passion people have, and the playoff has made it that much greater. It’s made you aware of scheduling that much more, and all of the things that go into it, a different framework of how you have to do things, and putting your team in situations and scenarios and environments that you can handle it when you get there.”
According to coaches, the selection committee’s criteria can feel like a moving target, though most, including Fisher, support the current system and trust the selection committee members. But they are becoming more vocal with their proposals and ideas as to how college football should change in the CFP era, touching on topics including conference championships, selection criteria, scheduling and expansion.
Alabama coach Nick Saban is clear about what he thinks should be most important
“It has to be on the body of work,” Saban said, “the total body of work. When I played, we won the Mid-American Conference championship and we were 6-5. We surely didn’t deserve to go someplace just because we won the championship.”