Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops OK with college playoffs
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Thursday, June 28, 2012
6/28/12 at 6:01 AM
NORMAN - Just last spring Bob Stoops came out against a full-on college football playoff.
"Because it would ruin the bowl system," he said at the time. "I don't think that would be good for college athletes. The bowl experience, overall, is too positive for them."
The Oklahoma coach preferred a plus-one model, or at the very least limiting the playoff to four teams so that BCS bowls could remain involved.
"And then rotate it every two years," Stoops said, "which bowls are hosting the playoff teams."
Two months later, a four-team playoff has come to college football, or will in 2014, and the bowls are as strong as ever. In fact, six of them will serve as semifinal hosts. It's not official, but you can bet four of them will be BCS bowls. The bowls will rotate as semifinal sites, with the national championship awarded to a bidding city.
And so when it came time for OU to issue a Stoops statement Wednesday on the playoff's arrival, the coach sounded quite happy.
He pretty much got what he wanted.
"I'm very pleased that student athletes competing for a national championship will still get to enjoy the rich part of college football's tradition that is that week-long bowl experience," Stoops said.
The overwhelming majority of fans seemed to get what they wanted as well - the end of an era whereby football's champion was determined via BCS computer data.
"We are allowing the best teams in the country to determine a national champion on the football field," Stoops said in his statement. "As a coach, that's what you want. Our student athletes, our universities, college football and the fans are all winners in this new playoff format."
Still to be determined is the structure and membership of the selection committee that will be charged with choosing football's version of a Final Four. Earlier this month at the Sooner Caravan stop in Tulsa, Stoops hinted at the trouble with such a committee.
"That needs to be worked through," he said at the time. "That's pretty touchy, how many of them are truly invested and truly watching.
"Everybody has an agenda. There's no getting around that. That's a tough one. How they work that out is gonna need a lot of work. And I don't claim to know the answer."
More concrete is the number of playoff teams. Conference commissioners and school higher-ups capped it at four, and heralded a 12-year contract that could lock up the format for the foreseeable future.
Provided the number doesn't change, the importance of football's regular season should be preserved. And that was another of Stoops' concerns.
"To me, this decision further enhances the importance of our regular season games," Stoops said, "and is good for college football and our student athletes all the way around."
Original Print Headline: Stoops OK for playoffs
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
OU head coach Bob Stoops approves of college football's new playoff. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World file