Sweeping changes to the college football postseason landscape were met with positive comments Wednesday by both Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz and his boss, UI Athletics Director Gary Barta.
UI Athletics Director Gary Barta said he believes a playoff is a "positive step for all associated with college football."
In a joint statement issued by the school's sports information department, Barta called the move to a four-team playoff system in 2014 a positive development for college football.
The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee on Tuesday approved a four-team postseason equipped with seeded semifinals within the existing bowl structure, and a championship game to follow, beginning with the 2014 season. A selection committee will rank the four teams using selected criteria that is not finalized.
“With the popularity of college football, through record attendance and TV ratings, we all knew and agreed, that whatever changes are made, let’s not take away from that,” Barta said. “A committee is a good solution. Giving the committee as much direction as possible, in advance, is a key. The more criteria determined going in, the better. I think there is a place for a poll to factor in the process.”
The semifinal games will rotate among six bowl sites, with the inaugural semifinals set for Dec. 31, 2014 and Jan. 1, 2015. The first championship game will be held Jan. 12, 2015, at a yet to be determined neutral site.
“I believe this is a positive step for all associated with college football,” said Ferentz. “While it appears that details still need to be worked out, I would imagine this development will be well received and will continue to enhance the growth and popularity of college football.
“The format protects what is good in college football. The elements that have made college football so popular, the regular season and the bowl system, are maintained, while enhancing the overall picture.”
“No matter where we draw the line, there will be controversy remaining,” concluded Barta. “The next team is always going to feel left out. The goal is to preserve the regular season and the bowl system, and I think this does a nice job of both. At the end of the day, if anyone thinks this will solve all controversy, that is not going to go away. We will just have a clearer picture of who will be the national champion.”
In recent history, Iowa football would have been part of the discussion in both 2002 and 2009. The 2002 Hawkeyes won their final nine games of the regular season, and tied Ohio State for the Big Ten title with a perfect 8-0 record. Iowa was ranked third at the end of the regular season, met USC in the 2003 Orange Bowl, and ended the year ranked eighth in both major polls.
In 2009, the Hawkeyes won their first nine games and were ranked sixth nationally. An overtime loss at Ohio State in the second-to-last game of the year kept Iowa from at least a share of the Big Ten title. Iowa was selected to compete in the 2010 Orange Bowl, scoring a 24-14 win over Georgia Tech, to rank seventh in the final national rankings.