And that's all folks. Moments ago, we finally got the word that everyone was waiting for: The BCS is officially dead and buried and will be replaced by a four-team playoff. The fun really begins in 2014, but you can go ahead and get started with the cacophony of celebration, kvetching and other forms of controversy.
In some way, it's not really a surprise. And the agreement seems to have a little bit of something for everyone. The SEC and the Big 12 get their insistence on the Top 4 teams. The B1G and the Pac-12 get it hosted within the current bowls. The Big East, ACC and other midmajors might sometimes be allowed to play there. As for the fans, there's even something for those of us worried about bracket creep.
4-team college football playoff has been approved. 12 year deal.— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) June 26, 2012
Not only was this inevitable after the build-up over the last few months, it was probably time. Even a playoff skeptic like myself had to concede after the disaster last year that the BCS was broken; the question was whether the college football intelligentsia could find a way to fix the system's problems without turning the regular season into a three-month series of exhibition matches. The 12-year contract term gives us at least another decade of meaningful regular seasons.
The pace of change that has swept college football over the last two years is breathtaking. Conference upheaval has reshaped literally every one of the power conferences. One midmajor conference has collapsed. If the NCAA has its way with a good proposal, players will soon get something closer to the full cost of their college paid for and could get guaranteed four-year scholarships as well. And now we have a four-team playoff that will things fairer, though we're almost certain to still have plenty of arguments about whether it's fair.
Some of these changes will be for the better, and some of them might prove to be for the worse. But college football will be fine after this. Part of the beauty of college football is that it has never been entirely about the postseason. Thanks to the proposal approved by the presidents today, that's going to remain true for a long time.