A four-team college football playoff is set to begin for the 2014 college football season, but while a lot of people will rejoice that a true champion will be crowned the current non-automatic qualifying leagues are giving up any hope of going to a big time bowl that is not part of the semifinals.
However, the Mountain West, MAC, Conference USA and the Sun Belt are exchanging access that was granted during the BCS -- at least from 2005 on -- for a larger paycheck. The early rumored amount for the 12-year deal is $6 billion which breaks down to $500 million a year.
Four spots is better than two but going through the history of the BCS and looking at what teams would have made it if a four-team playoff had been around since 1998 only the 2010 TCU Horned Frogs would have made the playoffs. While the other years when Utah, Boise State or Hawaii made a BCS game they would have been regulated to the Las Vegas, Idaho or Hawaii Bowl playing some also ran team with a record between 6-6 to 8-4.
So, unless a Hawaii or Nevada goes 12-0 and defeats at least one high quality BCS level opponent and the other three non-conference games are against bowl teams; then go on to crush their conference schedule. Then they might have a shot, but they will also need help from having only one or two other undefeated teams to get a shot at earning that No. 4 seed.
While four is better it does not really help these non-AQ leagues get into a playoff. So, those 12-0 teams from the Mountain West will likely still be traveling to Las Vegas to take on UCLA or Washington who finished with a 7-5 record.
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