Bowl games to implement system with qualified candidiates

With the final rankings now set in stone, come New Year’s Day, the College Football Playoff system will have its inaugural run, officially making the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) a thing of the past.

The top four ranked teams to make the playoffs were announced Sunday afternoon.

In order from first to fourth, the four teams selected were Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State. Alabama will play Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Oregon and FSU will play in the Rose Bowl. Both games are on New Year’s Day.

Six bowls – the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and the Peach Bowl – will rotate as hosts for the semifinal games.

Three bowls will be played on New Years and three will be played the day before, with the championship game to be played the next Monday. That is six or more days after the semifinals. This year, the Rose and Sugar Bowls will be the semifinals. The other pairs are Orange/Cotton and Fiesta/Peach.

The old BCS was mired in controversy throughout its 16 years. It seemed like each year, certain high-profile teams made better postseason bowl games than teams with better records or a tougher schedule.

The selection committee this year is comprised of 12 highly qualified candidates in occupations that range from former head coaches and athletic directors to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The original group would have included 13 committee members but Archie Manning went on a health-related leave of absence for the 2014 season.

Just as the BCS had its many problems, there will be plenty of issues that arise from this year’s initial playoffs.

Texas Christian University (TCU) was third going into the final week and annihilated Iowa State 55-3, but fell to sixth in Sunday’s final rankings, dropping below Ohio State and Baylor. Baylor beat TCU earlier in the season, and had perhaps the most quality wins of any of the three teams (Baylor, TCU, Ohio State).

Despite a strong victory against ninth-ranked Kansas State, 38-27, on Saturday, Baylor was left out of the top four. Ohio State jumped into the fourth spot likely on its strength of victory in the Big Ten Championship Game with a 59-0 victory against Wisconsin, despite being on its third-string quarterback.

It’s too early to tell at this point whether the new playoff system will be a success or not, but with a highly qualified group ranking the teams rather than private, complicated computer algorithms like with the BCS, the playoff system is already more accountable and accessible than the previous system.

Unfortunately, there were six qualified teams this year for four spots, and two had to be left out.

The Big 12 got the short end of the stick with both of its teams on the outside looking in, though the conference didn’t help itself by declaring TCU co-champions despite its head-to-head loss to Baylor. The conference said it will evaluate if any changes are necessary for the future to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

The semifinal matchups will be great games between four high-profile teams. It will be interesting to see how Ohio State’s third-string QB, Cardale Jones, plays against Alabama’s vaunted defense. Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston will go up against current Heisman frontrunner Marcus Mariota in the other matchup in a battle of two QBs who may go first in the 2015 NFL Draft.

As for Miami’s own Hurricanes (6-6), the ACC announced the team will square off with the University of South Carolina Gamecocks (6-6) in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl on Dec. 27 in Shreveport, Louisiana. The game will start at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC. The Hurricanes are looking for their first bowl victory since 2006.

Miami and South Carolina have played 15 times since 1936, with UM holding an 8-5-2 advantage. The last matchup was in 1987, when the Hurricanes beat the Gamecocks 20-16 on their way to their second national championship.

Miami is on a three game losing streak, while South Carolina lost its last game against Clemson but won the previous two.