Playoffs are real! What does it mean for BC?
The college presidents finally approved a four-team football playoff. It has been a long time coming and some details are still to be determined, but this will change the college postseason for the better. I also think that this system benefits a school like BC. First the good news.
1. We don't have to be perfect. Under the old system BC needed to go undefeated and hope that only one other BCS team also went undefeated. The polling system always favored the traditional powers. There will still be plenty of bias in the selection committee, but supposedly there will be a formula that incorporates win-loss, strength of schedule, and conference championships. In this world a 11-2 ACC Champion BC team might earn a playoff spot. This also means that any great BC team (13-0, 12-1) will surely be in.
2. We still have a seat at the table. The ACC has been damaged in this process. It's the Big Four and us. That will hurt in recruiting and in rankings. But at least we are still at the big table. The ACC will have its turn on the selection committee and we can still pitch access to the playoffs to recruits and fans.
3. An expanded playoff is coming. Everyone is quick to point out that the Presidents don't want playoff creep and that it will be a four-team format for 12 years. I think it will stay at four teams for five years at the most. There will be too much public pressure to expand and too much money to ignore. An eight-team playoff is even better for BC financially and access wise.
4. The ACC will be rewarded for playing nine conference games. Strength of schedule is a factor in the selection. With the ACC playing nine games, we will get a SOS benefit that other conferences don't when they play patsies. This also might have BC rethink its annual FCS game.
This is the bad news.
1. The ACC is still poachable. Florida State or Clemson might have an easier path to the playoff from the ACC, but there is no built in advantage like there might have been under a strict conference champion provision. As long as other conferences offer more money, schools might leave.
2. There will be a human element to the selection committee. There will be bias and subjectivity. BC will always face an uphill battle against the power brokers. I know that we will be the "5th" team at least once in my lifetime.
3. The bowl system lives on (sort of). The old boys running the playoff protected their cronies at the bowls. They're less important and will face new financial pressure, but the bowls still live on. And their distaste for BC and our travel reputation will not go away. So this means that is will always be playoff or bust for BC.