Blake Holder has wanted to see a playoff in college football since he began following the sport.
Holder, a senior receiver at Streamwood who committed to Northern Illinois in June, will be either a sophomore or redshirt freshman when the new postseason system finally is put in place for the 2014 season.
Although Holder isn’t completely satisfied with the new four-team model, he thinks the college football world is on the right track.
“I don’t think they have it 100 percent correct yet,” Holder said. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction as in a playoff instead of just a system of computers and coaches figuring out who’s 1, 2, 3, 4 and so forth. I think it looks better with the playoff.”
In the new system, a committee will select the four teams in college football’s playoff, not computers or polls. But, odds are, Holder never will be a member of a Huskies team that is in the top four at the end of the regular season. Under the dying Bowl Championship Series system, no Mid-American Conference team has finished the regular season higher than 11th in the BCS standings, when Miami (Ohio) did it in 2003.
Since the current BCS system began in 1998, seven teams from nonautomatic qualifying conferences made BCS bowl games – Utah in 2004 and 2008, Boise State in 2006 and 2009, TCU in 2009 and 2010 and Hawaii in 2007.
Out of the seven aforementioned teams, only TCU in 2009 and 2010 finished in the top four of the BCS standings after the regular season.
The last team from a nonmajor conference to win a national title was BYU in 1984.
History says a MAC school never will crack a playoff even under the four-team model. However, the postseason eventually could expand to eight teams or 16 where every conference champion gets a bid.
While teams from conferences such as the MAC, Mountain West and Conference USA might not see any playoff action, Kendall Short, another 2013 NIU recruit, said a playoff is what college football needs.
“I like it,” said Short, a running back out of Shawnee, Kan. “I’m sure there will be more arguments about few [non-BCS schools] playing against each other in the first round. But I like it; it’s what college football needed.”
Holder would like a system with more than four schools, and said he wouldn’t be surprised if he saw a playoff with eight teams.
“I don’t know if this is the best form they can get right now with four teams,” he said. “But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
Brandon Mayes, an Aurora Christian defensive back who will join Holder and Short in 2013, is just worried about what he can accomplish in DeKalb and not what’s going on at the top of college football.
Mayes is glad to be joining a team that is one of the more accomplished non-BCS teams in the country, even if the Huskies seem like a long shot to be a playoff team during his Huskie career.
“I definitely think right now Northern is definitely taking big steps to come to the top,” he said. “When you have [the longest winning streak] in Division I football, that’s definitely a big eye-opener. ... I just know that as of right now, there’s no better time to be a Huskie and I’m really proud to be part of the program.”
• Jessica Crawford contributed to this report.