The end of an era

Tony Verna received a call in the production bus. On the other line was Tex Schramm, the first general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.

“My boy, what you have done here will have such far-reaching implications we can’t begin to imagine them today,” Schramm said.

Verna did not know it then, but on that day — Dec. 7, 1963 — the landscape of collegiate football was changed forever with his use of instant replay technology in the rivalry game between Army and Navy.

And this Sunday, 51 years after Verna changed the way college football was viewed by the nation, a group of 12 individuals will announce their selection for the first-ever College Football playoff. The previous format for the college football post-season, the Bowl Championship Series began in 1902 — and nearly 112 years later, the controversial BCS system will finally come to an end.

The system was always under fire for its methodology in determining the top teams in the country. The BCS was never perfect, and often left fans across the country questioning if the national championship game truly featured the two best teams in the nation.

It seemed that year after year, teams from the smaller conferences were given the short end of the stick, unable play for the title of best team in the nation despite undefeated regular season records. Frustration about the system boiled over to the point that between 2008 and 2010, two United States senators threatened to call hearings to address the fairness of the BCS system under the Anti-Sherman Act, which established guidelines for defining monopolies.

For fans like myself, watching the selection committee announce the semi-finalists for this year’s college football playoff will be something of cathartic experience. The country will no longer be subject to the annual “National Championship Game,” which featured two SEC teams that may have already faced each other twice before in the same season.

Ideally, there will not be many questions remaining as to which team is really the best team in the nation. Teams such as TCU, which have earned the right to be considered one of the top teams in the country by defeating all of their opponents, will have the chance to make their case on the football field.

As thrilled I am for the series of games to crown the national champion, I am hesitant to say this new system is perfect. Even in its first year, questions are arising. Will the committee will take into account the injury of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett when it presents its final rankings to the nation? The question at hand is whether the selection committee is qualified to determine how the injury will affect the future performance of the OSU team or whether they are only qualified to judge based on the past performances of the team.

So, yes, many questions remain regarding the program’s thoroughness and whether the NCAA has flexibility and the wherewithal to address the issues in timely manner. However, an equitable landscape has finally been established for teams across the country to compete with one another. It is imperative the NCAA reevaluate the process to make sure they are able to institutionalize a system that can last for many decades without controversy.

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