So I suppose Boise State's past success against Oklahoma in the Will You Marry Me? Bowl is as good a jumping off point for this discussion as any. Take it away, Andrea Adelson:
Is it any coincidence the College Football Playoff selection committee will put a premium on strength of schedule? All those knocks against Boise State in the BCS era will be magnified and scrutinized in a much bigger way now. That criterion makes it feel as though half the programs in college football are completely disqualified from playoff contention before the season even begins.
It is most certainly true that the BCS setup of the past was extremely limiting to teams in The American, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt, but the new setup is at least a little more forgiving than its predecessor. Right, Bill Hancock?
"I will say that my feeling is that those teams have a better opportunity through the playoff," said Bill Hancock, the College Football Playoff's executive director. "For one thing, there's two more slots available. For another, they'll be considered by a committee of human beings that will know every detail about all the teams."
Ah yes, but forgive me if I am not sold on the infallible judgement of someone like Mike Tranghese or Condoleeza Rice compared to a computer.
So where can an advantage be gained? Well, in the one area they have the most control over, which is strength of schedule. Or Is it?
"People are still waiting to see how they define strength of schedule," Boise State athletic director Mark Coyle said. "Does that vary year to year? You can have a schedule set for four, five years out and a team may look like they're going to be an asset to your schedule and then they may go through a difficult period where their strength of schedule is not so good. So it still has to be defined."
As Adelson points out, gone are the arbitrary benchmarks and loopholes that Group of Five teams need to meet and jump through, respectively, to get into a big time bowl game. The highest-ranked champion among all of them is guaranteed a spot in either the Cotton, Fiesta or Peach Bowl. She is also quick to point out that those bowl games are rather "been there, done that" for our squads, though those bowl games don't exactly have identical weights within the bowl food chain that they used to.
There is also that scheduling matter. I'm not sure exactly how much year-to-year fluctuation there is with program quality, such that you need to worry right now about exactly who you are scheduling in 2018. Simple solution: don't schedule Idaho or New Mexico State.
There are, no doubt, far more questions than there are answers right now about this College Football Playoff. However, I am sure that we will spend the entire season debating it (much like the BCS) which will clearly prove to the leadership that (much like the BCS) the system needs no changes.