Over the years there has been continuous chatter about the pros and cons of the BCS and what possible changes could be made to improve the college football product.
Finally, a change has been made. Out goes one BCS title game and in its place comes a pair of semi-final games, with the winners moving on to the Playoff Championship Game 11 days later. The two semis will be held at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl in Pasadena and New Orleans respectively.
Though still not a perfect model by any means, a four-team playoff should be a much more enjoyable option for the typical college football fan. More games can only be a good thing, especially with so much on the line.
An Alabama Three-Peat?
This upcoming season's BCS National Championship Game will take place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, which should be a nice sendoff to the old format.
If recent history is anything to go by, we'll likely be seeing the Crimson Tide take part in the festivities. They're the top overall favorites in the college football odds at +325.
Nick Saban's team has now won the title game in two straight years and in three of the past four seasons. In the 2009 season, Alabama topped Texas 37-21, in 2011 they shut out LSU 21-20, and last season they thumped Notre Dame 42-14.
Don't expect any kind of dropoff this season. Starting QB AJ McCarron is back, as is running back T.J. Yeldown and wideouts like Amari Cooper and Christion Jones. Plus, you always know the Crimson Tide are going to be one of the most athletic and effective defenses in the country year in and year out under Saban's watch.
We have seen an SEC team in the BCS National Championship game for seven straight years now. Other than Alabama's three appearances, Florida (twice), Auburn, and LSU have made it to the title game.
There's little reason to expect anything to change going forward. Top high school recruits from around the country are enamored with the SEC and are going to make those schools their top priorities. Given how competitive the conference is, NFL teams continue to select SEC players at an alarming rate in each and every draft.
With the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M (+700), LSU (+1650), Georgia (+2000), Florida (+2700), and South Carolina (+3400) all expected to be powerhouses again in 2013, there's an excellent chance we'll be seeing another SEC representative come January, and bettors would be smart to look at this conference when making their college football picks.
One team on everybody's list is Ohio State (+650), who went undefeated in their first season under Urban Meyer. With more time to get comfortable with his system, expect only bigger and better things from the Buckeyes, who are also eligible to once again compete in a bowl. Will it be the BCS National Championship?
Some other schools to keep a close eye out for include Oregon, Louisville, and Stanford.
The Oregon Ducks (+775) lost Chip Kelly to the NFL, but Marcus Mariota is a special quarterback and their offense shouldn't skip a beat with former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich taking over the head coaching reigns.
Louisville (+2300) has a Heisman Trophy candidate in Teddy Bridgewater, who torched the Big East last season. The schedule seems pretty easy, so the Cardinals have an excellent shot at making noise in the BCS.
Finally there's Stanford (+1600), which should compete with the best because of their highly regarded offensive line. Immensely talented QB Kevin Hogan should only get better and better with more experience as well.