University presidents decided Tuesday to introduce a four-team college football playoff beginning in 2014. Now that the debate is out of the way, we can go back to talking about what will happen on the field.
For those who like talking about the politics of college football, everyday is your season, and this year especially has had no shortage of juicy bits. For those who love the football parts of football, we were stuck playing along with the ebbs and flows building up to an inevitability: We had a pretty good idea a four-team playoff was coming in back in April, and lo-and-behold we got it.
Is the new thing better than the old thing? Probably, but it's easy to see it's imperfect. The debate will shift two spots to the left, and won't stop until it shifts again.
The one thing a college football playoff won't do is ruin the sport, as Spencer Hall points out. How the apparatus moves has been evolving since ever. The Ken-Burns-of-football things you love are still intact, regardless of what anyone might tell you. The bowl system really isn't that great, but in case you were wondering it is still hanging on strong.
Starting now, those of us who dislike the politics can finally ignore the noise. There will still be noise--for the moment, selection committee selections and host site foo-fer-rah--but that's just dressing. The mechanism is in place, it benefits Wisconsin's big-money conference as much or more than any other, and so the Badgers will have as good a shot to take part in the fun as anybody. The Boise States of the world might not, but that's politics again and we said we're staying clear of that.
Wisconsin is tied to the burliest of money beasts responsible for a growing prosperity gap in college football. Big conference schools are the most likely to populate the system on a regular basis, and will earn hefty financial windfalls as a result. And that's fine. Maybe that's the way it should be. And if it isn't, ah well. "Just win" may not be a viable mantra for all, but it should be for the Badgers, which means we can start talking about things that matter.
Wisconsin picked up a commitment from Matt Miller out of Toledo, OH, yesterday. That matters. He's 6'5, 260 pounds. He had offers from from Michigan State, Georgia Tech and Miami (the good one). He's a mean SOB, and he could be great.
Links after the jump:
Going behind enemy lines: The Patriot-News previews the 2012 Badgers.
Pre Snap Read argues for using current university officials to make up the selection committee, a la the men's NCAA basketball tournament.
Reactions to the playoff from around the Twittering community.
Wrapping up: OTE's Wisconsin week has been temporarily postponed due to that whole "playoff" thing.