Under the system adopted Tuesday, only two bowl games really will matter. As long as athletic departments are going to continue outsourcing their biggest revenue stream and letting bowl-game operators take a cut, why not make as many of them seem relevant as possible?
At least in a plus-one, you potentially could have a New Year's Day with several teams playing their way in or out of a championship game. That's gone now. The TCU team that beat Wisconsin in the 2011 Rose Bowl or the Utah team that stunned Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl may not have been picked for a four-team playoff those years. But after proving how good they were against elite power conference teams, those games would have mattered in a plus-one.
And that's ultimately going to be the downfall of this system, the idea that deserving teams will get left out almost every year while college football sells this as a way to identify a true champion. Prove it on the field? Only to a point.
There probably will be two teams every year on which it won't be hard to find a consensus. But the third and fourth usually won't be so obvious, and the difference between No. 4 and No. 5 most years may come down to personal preference. Or parsing the merits of a second-place team from the SEC against an undefeated team such as Boise State. How do you choose? Who is more, quote-unquote, deserving? More important, will you trust whoever is making those decisions?
And by whoever, they really mean whoever. The selection committee was one of many nitty-gritty details left unresolved, which is kind of a big deal because they're only going to be the most scrutinized and debated people in sports every December.
Now we all know there's only one truly impartial selection committee, and those are the men and women who run sports books in Las Vegas. Something tells me college presidents aren't going to let them pick the teams. So it's going to be up to a blue-ribbon panel, perhaps made up of some former coaches and other dignitaries, which automatically means much of the public will believe bias is in play.