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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

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A new era for IU football

You’ve got to like IU’s chances this year.

I mean, if you think about it, the Hoosiers really have a shot at a bowl game.

Yes, despite making a brief cameo in ESPN’s college football playoff commercial, the narrative for IU football remains bowl game or bust.

But for college football as a whole, a new chapter began last Thursday as the sport entered into the College Football Playoff era.

The playoff system has been touted for years, but the implications of this new — and very real — beginning aren’t lost on this college football fan.

For the first time, the NCAA has made an effort to even the playing field between the Bowl Championship Series and non-BCS conferences.

It has been a point of consternation since the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl when undefeated Boise State stunned Big 12 champion Oklahoma by going for two in overtime.

The game capped off with a storybook proposal by Boise running back Ian Johnson to Bronco head cheerleader Chrissy Popadics and created a compelling argument for the underdog.

It sparked a national conversation on whether or not mid-majors were “justified” to play for a national title, an ongoing debate from then on.

A debate so heated, in fact, that it went all the way to the Senate in 2011 after Texas Christian University failed to make the national title game following two consecutive undefeated ?seasons.

An undefeated run, of course, that ended in a 21-19 Rose Bowl win against Big Ten co-champion ?Wisconsin.

In 2009 and 2010, the Horned Frogs finished No. 4 and No. 3, respectively, entering the Bowl Championship Series.

Now, thanks to the CFB Playoff system, the country will finally have a chance to see the TCUs of college football compete for the ?ultimate prize.

It’s the same feeling the NCAA Tournament gives fans and teams alike during March Madness.

The feeling that anything can happen.

Cinderella can go to the ball, and that’s precisely why nothing else causes pandemonium quite like college basketball.

Now, college football — a dramatic sport already, mind you — has been elevated, giving December and January an even greater allure.

The kickoff to the 2014 season may have seemed like any other opening weekend to a college football fan.

Texas A&M had a quarterback break more records, USC had another scandal on its hands and Georgia had talented running backs to spare.

But now, when the college football faithful envisions how the end of the season will look for their teams, they need not curb their ?expectations.

A top-four ranking will secure a team — yes, any team — a shot at a national ?championship.

According to ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, the playoff bids currently belong to Georgia, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

But you can bet, as Herbstreit does, that the weekly rankings will be “very fluid.”

And what about the Hoosiers, you might ask ?Herbstreit?

Well, an IU fan did ask Monday night on Twitter.

“Bowl bound,” Herbstreit replied.

But then again ....

IU has a new defensive coordinator. IU has a running back that ranks second nationally in rushing yards.

And — as the ESPN commercial so rightfully states — “nobody goes harder than us.”

Yes, the new CFB Playoff system has given every fan, even Hoosiers, the right to ask, “seriously, why not us?”

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