Greeson: Four-team BCS playoff would be a mess this year

Greeson: Four-team BCS playoff would be a mess this year

December 10th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Bowl Championship Series tile

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

So did anyone expect anything other than the BCS nailing its final title game with the matchup of the season's most dominant team and the nation's hottest team, and the BCS did it with its typical flair for the dramatic and inalienable sense of timing.

Hey, did Tre Mason just score another TD?

The SEC title game was a shootout, and that was not that much of a surprise. That Auburn ran for a country mile and that Mason powered his way toward a potential Heisman invitation with 304 rushing yards on a hot-tub-worthy 46 carries, had to catch everyone's attention in Auburn's 59-42 win over Missouri.

This wild and crazy Auburn ride could only have ended this way, right? Swimming in the confetti on the turf of the Georgia Dome, waiting to learn if Ohio State could finish its drill. Destiny has smooched a lot of teams and athletes over time, but it's hard to remember a group that has the power of belief and the appearance of a predetermined plan more than this Auburn bunch. From the miracle tipped pass to beat Georgia to the greatest ending in college football history to beat Alabama to an overpowering ground game that left Missouri's Tigers shaking their heads and wondering if anyone got the tag number of the truck that rolled over them. (It was No. 21, and, hey, Tre Mason just scored again.)

Of course Ohio State was going to gag. It was how this had to end.

And with it, the BCS exits on arguably the perfect stage. Especially considering how a four-team playoff would have opened the door for more controversy and heartache.

There are no arguments that Florida State is the No. 1 team of this season. The Seminoles were dominant from start to finish and have not trailed in a game since September. There also is little argument that Auburn is the best one-loss team, considering the Tigers beat the nation's best team by topping Alabama and won the nation's best conference by topping Missouri last Saturday.

Now consider that a four-team playoff, with Nos. 1 and 4 and 2 and 3 meeting in semifinals, would have created havoc.

FSU would be the No. 1 seed, and Auburn likely would have been the No. 2.

If Alabama is the No. 3 seed, and considering that Vegas has said all year that the Tide would be favored by at least a field goal against every team in college football, including FSU, that would be right. But, by making Alabama-Auburn one of the semifinals, that would mean the Tigers' miracle to end the regular season would have the shelf life of a gas station hot dog. And if the four-team playoff is going to damage the best regular season in all of sports, it's flawed from the core.

Beyond the Iron Bowl Redo, the real controversy and campaigning would be for the fourth and final spot. Would Michigan State get it after winning the Big Ten, which was viewed as only the fifth-best conference? What about Baylor and its high-flying offense that won the Big 12 and lost only to Oklahoma State? Or Stanford, which has the best wins among those that would be mentioned for this spot considering it beat Oregon soundly when the Ducks were healthy and rolling and just won the Pac-12 title game at Arizona State to secure the crown of easily the nation's second-best conference.

That hodgepodge of heartache can wait 12 months, and we all know how much difference a year can make in college football -- well, other than Georgia and Nebraska, who are going to reunite and run it back in the Gator Bowl for the second time in a year.

So the difference in this process a year from now could be as different as the Auburn Tigers this time last year, when they were preparing for a bowlless holiday and looking to spring practice and wondering if Gus Malzahn could succeed as a head coach in the SEC.

Yeah, that worked out pretty good. Did Tre Mason just score again?

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.