The Big Ten Conference, long an enemy of a college football playoff system, is reported to have a proposal on the table which would bring a Plus-1 format to the sport as early as 2014. Why is this a big deal? Why is this so surprising? Well, seeing the Big Ten go "pro-playoff" is akin to seeing Michele Bachmann voting for President Obama in the upcoming general election. If you told me this would transpire at the beginning of September, I would have had you fitted with a one-size fits all hat of the tinfoil variety. And this playoff plan, let me tell you, is great news for BYU and every other Non-AQ out there.
The hype and excitement that fills the air around the beginning of college football season is intoxicating. Each and every team in America feels that the path has been paved for their ascent to national prominence and the BCS National Title Game. That feeling, however, is marginalized in non-AQ land. Non-AQ's know that a perfect season won't net them a national title. At best, a BCS berth and victory will be the crowning achievement of said season. Sadly, the crown isn't fit for a King but a Prince. The college football aristocracy has made this much sure. Think about it, when you know your team's ceiling is #3 in final BCS poll, it becomes all that much easier to feel cynical about the whole process. Our friends in Boise know this feeling all too well over the last decade.
The Big Ten playoff proposal would take the Top 4 ranked teams in the final BCS poll and seed them, pitting #1 vs. #4 and #2 vs. #3 at the home field of the higher seeds. The winners would then meet at a neutral site, much like the Super Bowl, to be determined prior to every season. The other bowls, one would think, would continue to persist, keeping the bowl structure intact while making the regular season similarly all-important.
This proposal will open the door for the non-AQ's of the world, and that distinction may very well disappear in the future, to play for a national title. The cynic might say: "The ceiling will simply be moved from #3 to #5." While this could be the case, one would have to think that an undefeated BYU, playing a terrific independent schedule, would be able to ascend to the #4 spot and have a shot at the Crystal Ball. As of now, those of us in Non-AQ land wallow in disenfranchisement. Seeing the Big Ten, and its power brok'n commish Jim Delaney, are wiling to move the needle on this issue makes me optimistic that the future of college football is as bright as ever. Even in non-AQ land.