Four-team college football playoff the best news to come out of a big sports Thursday

An expanded college football playoff is coming. A four-team bracket is assured. Not exactly a Final Four or a First Four, since it's the only four. Call it the Fab Four.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 26, 2012

Wow, what a Thursday.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys said hello to their new quarterback (congratulations, Weston Lunt) and good-bye to their best quarterback (you da man, Browndon Weeden).

Kobe Bryant paid a sort of penance for the misdeeds of teammate Metta World Chaos, handing the NBA scoring title to Kevin Durant. Thanks, Kobe. The Lakers owed the Thunder a good turn or two dozen.

But when the history of sport is written, the biggest news from April 26, 2012, in Oklahoma or out, will lie elsewhere.

An expanded college football playoff is coming. A four-team bracket is assured. Not exactly a Final Four or a First Four, since it's the only four. Call it the Fab Four.

Oh, the conference commissioners who adjourned Thursday after two days of discussion about the BCS – that's right, BCS – didn't declare a new format. Didn't actually even commit to a new format.

But the commissioners did discard any eight- or 16-team playoff, and there's no going back now. No way could college football powerbrokers retain the status quo. The public outrage would be too great. Gallows would be built.

A four-teamer it is, and all that's left are details. When and where to play; how to select the teams.

Any new system would not go in effect until the 2014 season. That comes too late to help Weeden, the Ancient of Plays who led OSU to the Big 12 title.

Weeden's Cowboys came out on the wrong end of the latest BCS logjam; Alabama was chosen to join LSU in the two-team playoff. Weeden instead shined in the consolation prize, outdueling Stanford's Andrew Luck – who also made news Thursday – in a memorable Fiesta Bowl.

But maybe an expanded playoff won't be too late for Lunt, 10 years to the month Weeden's junior but the man selected Thursday to replace Weeden as OSU's quarterback. Lunt's high school graduation still is a month away, but after three months on campus, he now he holds the OSU football reins.

Nothing says the Cowboys will ever be back in the lofty status they enjoyed in 2011. Nothing also prevents the Cowboys from returning. Mike Gundy's announcement is a startling endorsement of an 181/2-year-old, but if Lunt is what State coaches obviously think he is, OSU football will ride high again and soon.

Look at it this way. The expanded playoff doubles the opportunity in this caste-system sport. This is like when college basketball went from a 32-team bracket to a 64-team bracket over the course of seven years.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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