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The NFL routinely rewards undeserving champions and gives playoff spots to inferior teams. College football's Playoff structure has a number of flaws, but the use of human judgment as opposed to impersonal rules isn't one of them.
I'M JUST A BACHELOORRRRRR LOOKING FOR A PLAYOFF
Glendale will have a semifinal and final in back-to-back years.
The College Football Playoff is a year away from announcing its first field of four teams, but speculation about future speculation is already beginning. After a week in New York City, we are slightly more informed about how to speculate.
Each member of the committee will get at least a couple of seasons on the job.
We know it's not perfect, but here's what those behind the new College Football Playoff system got right and wrong.
The College Football Playoff has officially announced its selection committee members, though the names have been widely known for more than a week now.
And does it even matter who's on it, if nobody's representing math or mid-majors anyway? Much of the time, the committee will end up arguing about one Playoff team, not four.
HELLO? YES, THIS IS DOG.
Running down the criticisms of the proposed playoff committee selection.
Pat Dye follows David Pollack in criticizing the selection of the former Secretary of State.
As you might have guessed, fellow GameDayer Sam Ponder was not pleased.
The College Football Playoff's selection committee isn't going to select itself. We'll update this page over time, as more details emerge about the committee's requirements.
The selection committee for the playoff begins to take shape.
Eight cities are looking to host the title game in 2016 and 2017.
Bill Hancock is fixing problems.
A number of important people have already gone on record saying they want the College Football Playoff to expand. We'll keep track of the march toward expansion over time right here.
The college football commentariat produces better and more interesting analysis than its NFL counterpart. Tony Barnhart's criteria for a playoff selection committee is an exception to that rule.
Bill Hancock outlined some details of the upcoming College Football Playoff and its selection committee Wednesday, saying that commissioners won't be allowed on the committee while leaving the door open to athletic directors.
Bob Stoops called out the BCS for unfairly keeping his team from playing last season, an argument that defied logic, facts, and a beautiful history of his Oklahoma teams shafting others thanks to a dying system.
The Oklahoma head coach would like reporters to stand on the sidelines of determining a national champion in his sport.
Since four is pretty much the smallest number of teams that can be in a playoff system, we're beginning to hear calls for expanding the new College Football Playoff to eight or even 16 teams, although Bill Hancock says it won't happen before 2026.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, to be exact. Yummm, quadruple-fried chicken and mystery soup!
DO NOT REST. THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF'S LOGO EYE OF SAURON IS WATCHING. IT IS ALWAYS WATCHING.
College football's powers that be have made headway on aspects of the new playoff -- except for how to pick the participants.
The College Football Playoff is staying at four teams for the length of the ESPN contract, according to quotes from the executive director.
There is no more delicious string of words than "Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl."
The college football championship game is to be titled the College Football Championship Game.
Somebody tried to rig the College Football Playoff logo poll, continuing a banner week for college football-related hacking.
Bill Hancock, widely regarded by all as a very nice man, spent years spreading the word that a college football playoff would wreck the sport. Now, he's singing its praises.
The three sites join the Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls in the playoff semifinal rotation.
More information on the upcoming college football playoff was revealed at a press conference Monday night.
Cowboys Stadium will be the first site of a college football title game decided in a four-team playoff system.
Rankings aren't going away anytime soon. Who's ready for more arguments about Boise State?
Wednesday, we'll know where playoff games will be played, and Thursday we'll learn more about the selection committee.
San Diego submitted a bid to host a playoff semifinal along with some traditional college football bowl sites. The city is surely an underdog to get a game, but maybe it shouldn't be?
Dallas and Tampa are the finalists to host the first college football playoff title game, with Dallas heavy favorites to kick things off in 2015.
Let's say all Division I college football teams, FBS and FCS alike, got to compete for a single national championship. Here's what that could look like.
College football is a hold-out in the statistical revolution and for some legitimate reasons, but there is one major area for improvement: the rankings. MORE: Sports Illustrated college football playoff roundtable features SB Nation.
Your local bowl game has a shot, technically!
The college football selection committee is going to be under a lot of pressure to get the correct teams. A group of experts got together to discuss the right way to do it.
The new four-team playoff will have a name that will be bereft of a corporate sponsor.
College football's smaller conferences won't be shut out from the money generated by the college football playoffs, but they will be battling for the biggest shares.
With an unprecedented opportunity to rewrite some of bowl season's worst rules, we offer a few suggestions.
The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will host the first two national semifinal games in 2015, with four other bowls joining the rotation schedule that extends through 2026.
The media giant paid a pretty penny to have exclusive broadcast rights to all six "contract bowls."
Regardless of how the new post-season format shakes out, ESPN has now locked in agreements with the Sugar and Rose Bowls until 2026.
College football's initial playoff plan is juuuuuuuuust about finalized. With Monday's new details now set, let's try once again to see what the field would've looked like throughout the history of the BCS. Follow @JasonKirkSBN Follow @SBNationCFB
... at varying levels. If college football's new playoff ends up functioning how the BCS power conferences want it to, it'll still be unfair and top-heavy. However, the little guys will at least have an official, guaranteed shot. Also however, MONEY!
Less powerful conferences want the coming college football playoff system's top level to include more bowls, but there's a reason they're less powerful conferences. Also, money money money money money money money money.
Negotiations are ongoing, but ESPN has reportedly offered nearly $500 million a year for the broadcast rights to the college football playoff.
New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be the site of the new Champions Bowl, between the SEC and Big 12, beginning in 2014.
Once college football's powers-that-be agreed to implement a four-team playoff, they should have immediately set about putting one into place for the 2012 season. Instead, we're staring a nightmare scenario in the face.
Dallas and New Orleans are currently deadlocked in a race for the rights to host the Champions Bowl, according to Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com.
The Champions Bowl, set for Jan. 1, 2015, would feature the winner of the SEC versus the winner of the Big 12 as part of the new playoff format for the end of the 2014 college football season.
Previously, it was reported that Houston had submitted the highest bid for the bowl, with Atlanta and San Francisco also under consideration. It appears that a month later, Dallas and New Orleans have separated from the pack during this week's meetings between the two conferences.
The Champions Bowl will also be featured in the semi-final rotation four times during the 12-year arrangement of the FBS playoff format, with alternate teams being selected should either of the conference champions proceed to the national semi-finals.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive has said that a decision likely won't come until the end of the month.
* Or the strength-of-schedule repercussions of playing America's favorite underdog conference, at least.
The Associated Press reports that the Pac-12 and Big 12 are involved in planning a new postseason game that would pit a top team from either conference against the best out of a smaller conference.
The BCS has reportedly narrowed down its list of cities to host the 2015 Division I football title game to six finalists. That will be the first title decided using a playoff format.
The proposed rotation of six bowls that would be used in a four-team college football playoff starting in 2014 could expand to seven, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday, according to a report from the Associated Press published on SI.com.
The original four-team playoff proposal, which was passed in June, called for six bowls to rotate among the two semifinal games played prior to the national championship game. The four bowls not hosting one of the semifinal games would host other marquee bowl games pitting highly ranked teams against one another.
After meeting in Rosemont, Ill., over the past few days, conference commissioners are now considering adding another bowl site to the rotation:
"They created a playoff and they had a working concept for access, but they knew that more conversations were needed,'' Hancock said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. "There was discussion about access and whether another game might be necessary. There was ... but how it comes out, we don't know.''
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said earlier in the week the rotation could expand to eight bowls.
The Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl and the Champions Bowl, a newly created contest which pits the Big 12 and SEC champions against each other, have already been accepted into the rotation. The other bowls that will be a part of hosting the four-team playoff have yet to be determined.
With a new playoff system set to be implemented for the end of the 2014 NCAA football season, there have been questions about how many bowl games the new system will feature. According to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, it's possible the new system could feature eight bowl games as well as the national championship game.
Delany told the Wall Street Journal about the possible revision to the six bowl proposal that was originally approved in June meetings. In the original proposal there was to be six bowls, not including a national title game, with the two semifinals games rotating between the six bowl locations.
Per the Wall Street Journal, concerns about the access of smaller conferences to the system prompted the BCS leaders to reconsider their proposal. They will reportedly meet this week to discuss the new possible bowl additions as well as revenue sharing.
The Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and Champions Bowl have all been voted to be included while the remaining bowls in the new postseason system have yet to be determined.
Houston has submitted the highest bid for the rights to host the Champions Bowl, according to a report by Mark Blaudschun via Twitter on Wednesday.
The Champions Bowl, set for Jan. 1, 2015, was thought to be down to New Orleans and Arlington, Texas. Atlanta and San Antonio are other potential candidates. Cities that were extended the invitation to bid for the chance to host the inaugural game that either decided not to or have not, as of yet, include Orlando, Jacksonville, Nashville, Tampa and Phoenix.
Created by the SEC and Big 12 as a postseason haven for their respective conference champions, the Champions Bowl will also be part of the national semifinal rotation four times during the system's 12-year arrangement. If either or both conference champions make it to the national semifinals, alternate teams would be selected to the Champions Bowl in their places.
The final decision on the site will not be made until later this month.
The Champions Bowl is getting a couple more bidders, with Houston and San Antonio deciding to join the fray in hopes of hosting the inaugural game.
Both Texas cities jumped into the mix two days before the deadline to do so, upping the total number of contenders to five, according to ESPN.com.
Arlington, New Orleans and Atlanta are the other three cities involved. Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Jacksonville and Orlando were invited to bid but either declined or are undecided.
It's being reported that the two front-runners for the game are New Orleans and Arlington.
For those unfamiliar, the Champions Bowl is going to pit the winner of the SEC and Big 12 against each other. If the winner of either or both conferences gets into the four-team playoff, another team will be sent on behalf of said conference.
The Champions Bowl will debut in primetime on January 1, 2015 and be part of the semifinal playoff rotation four times in the initial 12-year term beginning after the 2014 campaign.
When last we looked at the list of 10 cities that had reportedly received requests to send in Champions Bowl hosting proposals, here's how we ranked the likelihood of each locale landing the game: Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, and that's it. And would you look at how it's shakin' out:
Arlington, New Orleans & Atlanta only cities that definitely will bid for Champions Bowl, sources tell— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 14, 2012
@espn. 2 won't bid; 5 undecided
That would mean Phoenix, Houston, Orlando, Nashville, San Antonio, Tampa and Jacksonville are lumped in one way or another in the latter groups, based on McMurphy's previous report.
The SEC and Big 12's Champions Bowl has emerged as a sudden rival to the Rose Bowl, with the new guys informing the world that their bowl will likewise be played on New Year's Day. Despite never fielding a single matchup or even picking a host city, it's already locked in as one of the six playoff bowls under the 2014 system. Swag.
The new SEC and Big 12 partnership bowl, still tentatively titled the Champions Bowl (yep, still calling it that), needs a host city. A couple weeks ago, the conferences sent out requests for proposals from a list of cities, and now we have that list:
Champions Bowl RFP's sent to Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Phoenix, Houston, Orlando, Nashville, San Antonio, Tampa & Jax— Brett McMurphy (@BrettMcMurphy) August 6, 2012
Let's go ahead and POWER RANK these.
Your turn: please concoct a scenario in which Phoenix, a city in Arizona, gets a bowl game automatically including the SEC champion. Do your worst!
What's the "Champions Bowl?" We're soon to find out more, including where it will be played and possibly some conference realignment ramifications.
Somebody's about to pay a whole lot of money to air college football's new playoff, and it might just be exactly who you'd expect to go and do such a thing. The Sporting News' Matt Hayes reports ESPN is the clear frontrunner:
The total payout for the new playoff, beginning with the 2014 season, could be as much as $600 million a year-or $7.2 billion over the 12-year contract. Another BCS source told SN that ESPN, which has dominated the television landscape in the sport, is "closing in" on landing the entire television package.
That might be for the best. The last thing we need is Fox getting ahold of it and creating CGI marching bands of potato chip bags to air during kickoffs, and ESPN has the most experience with this sort of thing, and it also would probably just mean ABC, and I love Brent Musburger.
How could the ACC and Notre Dame make this Orange Bowl thing work? They might need to involve another conference as well, and even then it still might not make for great games.
Follow @SBNationCFB Follow @JasonKirkSBN
For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
Notre Dame still enjoys what amounts to favored-nation status in the American game of realpolitik that is the never-ending storm of conference expansion and ever-shifting bowl partnerships. The Irish are trying to retain that status in part by partnering with the ACC and staying in the mix of teams eligible for the Orange Bowl, the school confirmed Monday.
Notre Dame has long been happy with the status quo of the Bowl Championship Series, with any finish in the top eight of the final BCS standings guaranteeing the Irish a berth in a BCS bowl game. But with the BCS melting into the four-team playoff that will begin in 2014, the Irish may need new dance partners, and the ACC — seen as the distant fifth of the elite quintet of athletic conferences that also includes the SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten — would seem to be the league most likely to get on the floor with them, given the other four conferences' deals to secure spots for teams in major bowls.
Talks remain in the preliminary stage between the school and conference, but Rivals' Clemson site, Tiger Illustrated, reported that a group of ACC presidents met with Notre Dame on Sunday.
For more on Notre Dame, head to One Foot Down.
The debate has been underway for decades now: When will Notre Dame join a conference, and which one? The Big Ten was the favorite for decades (literally), but now the argument centers on the Big 12 and the ACC. The former could offer an independent-friendly spirit, considering Texas' largesse, while the latter offers similar universities and a couple former rivals.
Clemson site Tiger Illustrated reported Sunday that the Irish and the ACC have met, but not necessarily that conference realignment is the entire agenda.
Remember the ACC's new Orange Bowl deal, which gives the league half-ownership of a bowl that's included in the new playoff plan's big six bowls? A Notre Dame-ACC bowl would be a valuable property, and a win for both sides. The Irish could be guaranteed a spot at the table -- provided they win, say, nine games or achieve a certain ranking -- and the ACC could have a bowl that would do numbers, whether we like it or not. And often better numbers than it could get if it paired with the Big East's champ, an at-large, or the SEC's runner-up. If people watched the Champs Sports Bowl pairing of FSU and Notre Dame last year (and they did), they'd certainly watch the same game featuring the ACC's champ.
But that's all speculation for now.
For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
College football has finally come around and decided on a college football playoff system, something many fans have been craving for ages. Many believed the move to a playoff system would lead to the death of the BCS, which is exactly what it has done.
In name, at least.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby recently spoke with the San Antonio Express-News, referring to what the new playoff system will be called.
The league is very stable. We have signed our (television) grant of rights for 13 years, and we'll be putting together a new game with the SEC (the Champions Bowl) that will be terrific. And the BCS package and the national championship series is really coming together. We've made a lot of progress recently.
The playoffs will now be called the "National Championship Series," and the newly agreed upon bowl between teams in the SEC and Big 12 will be called the "Champions Bowl."
The Rose Bowl and the Champions Bowl have not committed to join the playoff rotation for semifinal sites for the newly-formed college football playoffs beginning in 2014, according to reports.
If six bowls are used in rotation as sites for the semifinals over the course of the 12-year contract of the playoffs, each bowl should expect to host four times total. The language in Tuesday's ACC/Orange Bowl release suggested that the number of semifinals played at each site may not be distributed evenly, however saying that "it's anticipated that the Orange Bowl will host at least four semifinal games."
The Rose Bowl, pitting the Big Ten and Pac 12 conference champions, and the Champions Bowl, pitting the winners of the Big 12 and SEC, have incentive to keep their games separate. The two bowls may be able to draw more attention and money by maintaining their conference tie-ins. The Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Chick-fil-A (or whoever) bowls would stand to gain as well, with more opportunities to take center stage.
The BCS may be dead, but the power conferences didn't give up any of their guaranteed seats at the table. And no team has a better chance to take advantage of the new arrangement than FSU. Is that worth making less money?
The playoff selection committee is also taking charge of four other marquee bowl matchups, making for a six-game New Year's blowout. Which means we're just a flip of a switch away from a 12-team playoff, instead of a four-team playoff.
Fans rejoiced with the announcement that college football will decide its national champion with a four-team playoff. But with all the new money potentially flowing from the decision, will the presidents and commissioners think about the players?
We don't yet know all six bowls that will be included in the eventual six-bowl event that'll give us the college football semifinal round, but we know the Rose, Orange, and some sort of SEC/Big 12 pairing will be included. The Chick-fil-A, Capital One, Fiesta, Sugar, and Cotton will certainly all be considered for those last three spots.
Now here's a potentially cool new detail: the selection committee that's picking the four playoff teams will also line up teams for those four bowls that don't get semifinals.
According to Bill Hancock, the "Big Six" bowls will be played three each on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, around 1 pm/4:30 pm/8.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 28, 2012
The selection committee will pick the teams for all six bowls. Theoretically, it could be the Top 12 spread over 6 games. Huge improvement.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 28, 2012
The Rose and the Champions will take the top teams from their associated conferences, and the Orange will take the ACC champ. Other than that, it could be wide open, since bowls are going to have to do whatever the new regime wants in order to be included in the six-bowl thing -- and every bowl really, really wants to be included in the six-bowl thing.
Don't expect this to throw the doors open for deserving mid-majors, but it could go a small way to making sure elite teams from non-power conferences at least get top bowl bids.
Update: Yep, a power conference majority.
Six-man subcommittee to study playoff revenue distribution: Swofford, Slive, Delany, Bowlsby, Mountain West's Thompson, MAC's Steinbrecher.— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) June 28, 2012
The biggest remaining obstacle in the way of college football holding playoffs at the highest-level for the first time: how to split up all this money. A whole lot of it, too, something like half a billion every year. The SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 will all have arguments to make in their own favor, while the little conferences are pretty much going to have to be satisfied with whatever they can get.
That's how we knew it was going to work even before the plan was announced, but this makes it clearer than ever:
Neinas says subcommittee of 6 including B12's Bob Bowlsby, Big Ten's Jim Delany, SEC's Mike Slive to work on revenue split in new playoff.— kbohls (@kbohls) June 28, 2012
Even if the other three members did happen to all be mid-major commissioners, that's a lot of muscle to overcome. Hopefully, it's all based around results and merit, rather than specific conferences automatically getting pre-established cuts, which would make the whole thing infuriatingly close to the BCS.
The new college football playoff system means that college football will have a more reasonable method of figuring out a national champion, which is good for people who enjoy reasonable things. It also means there's a lot of money up for grabs. Hundreds of millions of dollars in TV rights and the like will be rushing into the sport, and for now, nobody is sure what entities will be paying out and what entities will be cashing in. But college football's eternal question remains: will the players get any of it? The AP's Tim Dahlberg wonders:
Let's assume that the new TV contracts come in at $400 million, a relatively conservative estimate. That's $245 million more a year than schools are getting under the current BCS system, which pays its members based on what bowls they play in and what conferences they belong to.
Take half of that money and increase payouts to schools, which will still nearly double what they take in. The rest is still basically free money anyway, so why not give it to the players?
Somebody's going to be getting a lot of money, and Dahlberg argues that the people who do the most to ensure the playoffs happen might be the ones who deserve -- and need -- the money most. Texas coach Mack Brown had his say on Twitter shortly after the playoff system was announced:
In my opinion, with the amount of money the playoff will generate, I hope we can revisit the student-athlete stipend.
— Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) June 27, 2012
Will anything change? Probably not. Fans of reason can hope student-athletes will get better stipends, but anything more than that is likely a long way away. On the plus side, participants in the playoff games might end up getting not one, but two bowl gift packages! Enjoy the Fossil watches and Best Buy gift cards, guys!
For more on college football's new playoff, continue to check this Storystream.
With the adoption of a college football playoff system, the weekly BCS rankings will be a thing of the past beginning in 2014, but that doesn't mean there won't be weekly rankings.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the selection committee in charge of picking the four teams to compete in the playoff will also compile a weekly ranking of the top 20 teams beginning at the midway point of each season.
"We didn't want the top four teams to just come out of the blue at the end of the season," Swarbrick said, according to the South Bend Tribune.
On the surface, the rankings appear to be very similar to the current BCS model. Currently, the BCS standings are released beginning in week eight of the college football system. The selection committee rankings would remove the computer aspect of the BCS, but still serve the same purpose of ordering the teams heading into postseason play.
How the rankings will be released each week is still unknown, but would it surprise anyone if ESPN or one of the other networks aired an hour-long special each week to maximize exposure and revenue?
If the Atlanta Sports Council has their way, college football teams won't just be playing for a national title in 2014, but for all of the chicken sandwiches. They're joining forces with the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Georgia Dome and the Atlanta Falcons to lure college football semifinals and finals to the city once the new playoff system kicks in.
The semifinals of the new playoffs are going to rotate through six bowls, and everyone has a chance to join the fun. The bowls that rotate as semifinal sites aren't necessarily going to be the current established BCS bowls, so currently smaller bowls that are played in big cities or top-notch facilities will have a chance to become big-time events.
Much like the Super Bowl, the final will move around based on what city and facility offers up the best package from year to year. The Falcons are currently working on plans for a state-of-the-art stadium with a retractable roof that they would like to complete by 2017, and that stadium would obviously be part of a championship game bid if it was completed. Atlanta Sports Council executive director Dan Corso thinks the Georgia Dome is attractive as a championship game site, however, and won't be discouraged from bidding for the game before the new stadium is completed.
"We have the Georgia Dome currently standing, which is a premiere facility," Corso said. "... As we work later in the rotation, I think a new stadium would fit into that."
Stokan said a new state-of-the-art stadium "would further differentiate" an Atlanta bid from competitors. But he said the Georgia Dome would be an attractive site as well, noting that it will host college basketball's Final Four next year and has a stellar record of hosting marquee college-football events such as the SEC Championship game.
Atlanta will almost certainly be joined in the bidding for a permanent rotating semifinal slot by the four established BCS Bowls, as well as the Cotton Bowl and the Capital One Bowl.
The BCS, in its current form, is dead, though there will be a two-year mourning period before the college football playoffs begin. In the meantime, though, the Mountain West Conference will remain on the outside looking in, thanks to some news that came on the heels of Tuesday's big announcement.
The MWC has been trying to claw its way into the current, and soon-to-be former, BCS system, but was hit with a stiffarm again on Tuesday.
BCS denies Mountain West request for automatic berth— Bronco Beat (@IDS_BroncoBeat) June 26, 2012
Good job, good effort!
In all seriousness, it was always unlikely the Mountain West would be granted an automatic berth. The shift in the college football landscape, thanks to what feels like continuous realignment, has left the MWC weakened, squashing any hopes of earning the status it's so coveted.
On the plus side, this likely won't matter in two years!
For more on this development, visit Mountain West Connection.
There's a new system, but college football will have pretty much the same old schedule.
The bowl season should look familiar when the four-team playoff begins in 2014, with semifinals taking place on or around New Year's Day. The final will also be right around the time the BCS Championship has been played, coming just a little over a week after the two teams are set.
From Stewart Mandel:
The date of the first semifinal games will be either Wednesday, December 31, 2014, or Thursday, January 1, 2015.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 26, 2012
The first 5 championship games will be played (all on Mondays): Jan. 12, 2015; Jan. 11, 2016; Jan. 9, 2017; Jan. 8, 2018; and Jan. 7, 2019.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 26, 2012
The problem, of course, lies in the quick turnaround from the semifinal to the final. Fans will have to be quick on the draw -- or assume their favorite team is championship-bound -- when figuring out travel arrangements. It's another step, but one that many fans will likely find worth it in the grand scheme of things.
For schools, there will be a bit of travel involved. The semifinals will take place at a rotating cast of bowls, chosen from six sites. Those bowls are not set, though we do know two of them at the moment:
Source confirms that the Rose Bowl and new Champions Bowl (SEC/Big 12) will be part of six-bowl semifinal rotation. Four TBA.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) June 26, 2012
If you're worried about the new system's impact on academics, most schools should be toward the end of winter break during the playoff period.
On Tuesday, BCS commissioners and school presidents made the announcement that NCAA Division I-A/FBS football would be moving to a four-team playoff system beginning in the 2014-15 season.
The deal, as expected for some time now, is a 12-year agreement for a four-team seeded playoff. The national semifinals will be held at existing bowl sites, with six bowls sharing hosting duties over the course of those 12 years.
This deal is expected to be extremely lucrative for all parties -- excluding the players, of course -- especially considering that there are expected to be bids put out in order for sites to hold the national championship game each year.
Matt Hayes of the Sporting News reports that the TV rights for the semifinals and championship game each year would likely be worth $500 million, meaning that the 12-year deal could result in a $6 billion television contract for the NCAA and the BCS.
The long, slow climb toward the inevitable college football four-team playoff system has finally reached its summit. On Tuesday, BCS commissioners presented their playoff recommendations to college presidents. The proposals have been voted on, and the final word is now official.
At 6 p.m ET on Tuesday, the presidents and commissioners stood together at a press conference to officially announce the creation of a new system featuring a four-team seeded playoff, which will go into effect beginning in the 2014-15 season. The new playoff contract is set to last 12 years.
The new playoff system will involve two semifinal games played at existing bowl sites, followed by a national championship game. The semifinal sites will rotate between six bowl games, though the rotation has not yet been set.
Virginia Tech Hokies President Charles W. Steger called the new system a "best of both worlds" scenario at the press conference, claiming that the system introduces a playoff while preserving the integrity of the traditional bowl system.
There are still certain details that need to be finalized, but the most important bit of news was Tuesday's announcement. For the first time in the 100-plus-year history of the Division I/FBS system, college football will have a four-team playoff.
The Florida Citrus Bowl will undergo a $175 million renovation that Orlando officials hope will make the stadium more attractive as a potential host site for the newly proposed four-team college football playoffs. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs announced the plan Monday.
"I think our community, if we have the right facilities, can host anything that the world has to offer,'' Dyer said. "We have the best arena in the entire world. I'm not promising the best stadium, but we will have a B-plus, A-minus stadium that we can host just about anything that can be hosted in a stadium.
"So between those two facilities and the convention center, there isn't anything that we can't compete for.''
The 76-year-old facility currently plays host to the Capital One Bowl and the Russell Athletic Bowl each season. The Citrus Bowl was not mentioned as one of the six potential host sites expected to be recommended by conference commissioners to college presidents Tuesday.
Bonds for the current renovation plan are expected to be issued in 2014, with construction beginning in January or February of that year. A plan to fund renovations began in 2007, but money quickly dried up in the ensuing national economic downturn.
The plus-one game isn't going to be the playoff answer, much to the college football fan's delight. But what did we hate about the plus-one so much, anyway?
Next week could see the all-but-final adoption of a college football playoff plan, with BCS commissioners presenting to college presidents their four-team playoff recommendation on June 26. SI.com's Andy Staples reports on what that plan will look like, with six bowls splitting up hosting rights.
The Rose and Champions are obvious, with the Orange's ACC tie also included. As for the others, Staples has the Chick-fil-A , Cotton, Fiesta and Sugar as in the running. Though the Sugar could end up also being the Champions, depending on how the SEC and Big 12 figure they can make the most money.
Also from Staples, more details on how the bracket works in general:
- A 12-year agreement for a four-team, seeded tournament beginning in the 2014 season. No. 1 will play No. 4, No. 2 will play No. 3, and the winners of those games will meet for the title.
- The tournament will include the top four teams regardless of conference champion status.
- The seminfinals will be played in bowls, and six bowls will share hosting duties during a 12-year period.
- The championship game will be put out for bids.
Once Nebraska's Harvey Perlman and a couple others perhaps from the Big Ten grandstand for a little while about how quickly we're hurtling into the future, the whole thing should be approved, and then it'll be off to figure out TV rights and how to split up the money. Sounds easy.
The mission to achieve a college football playoff has been accomplished. This debrief provides the bare minimum of what you need to know.
So college football is getting itself a shiny new playoff. We don't know who will be on a playoff selection committee, but we can begin to look at the questions the committee will face from year to year.
Now that the BCS commissioners have agreed on a four-team playoff model for college football, the attention shifts to the details of the plan, including where games would be played. Two existing bowls wasted little time and are already preparing to bid for the right to host national title games.
Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett told the Florida Times Union the city of Jacksonville is ready to place its bid:
"Mayor [Alvin] Brown and [Jacksonville director of sports and entertainment] Alan Verlander are committed to bringing events like this to the city of Jacksonville and I think we're going to be able to put together a great bid," Catlett said.
They aren't the only ones preparing a bid. The Cotton Bowl along with the Dallas Cowboys and Cowboys Stadium have paired up to prepare a bid of their own.
BCS nugget via a source: the Cotton Bowl, Dallas Cowboys and Cowboys Stadium have formed non-profit entity to bid on national title games.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) June 21, 2012
Earlier in June, Roger Penske told the Detroit News he would be interested in helping Detroit and Ford Field secure the right to host a championship game.
Because it's excitement paired with uncertainty, a number of questions are being raised by the news of a four-team college football playoff.
We know that it will be four teams. We don't know exactly how those teams will be selected, and we don't know if any existing BCS bowl names will continue to be used as part of the playoff.
There are many other questions too, and Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples does his best to provide as clear answers he can based on what he's learned from the ongoing meetings between BCS commissioners.
Here are some abbreviated answers from Staples' piece, which you should read for a further education on where the playoff proposal stands:
Clearly, there's plenty of elements to the college football playoff that need to be buttoned up.
We got great news this evening: college football is almost definitely going to start crowing their national champion by using a four-team playoff!
The details are being fleshed out, and we are still far from what the consenus playoff system will look like, but an interesting wrinkle being reported tonight would mimic how college basketball goes about selecting the field for their playoff.
Per Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, BCS Commissioners "prefer a selection committee that picks [the] 'best four'" teams to participate in the single elimination post season.
This selection process would put a lot of weight on schools who win their conference, but that would not be a requirement to inclusion.
Basically, and this is something said fairly tongue in cheek, this means the SEC could still be allowed to have two teams as part of a college football final four.
Additionally, CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy has tweeted out that existing BCS bowl games could serve as semifinal match-ups, meaning that (for example) winners of the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl could then face off for the definitive National Championship.
Clearly, this is a story unfolding quickly, with many moving parts that still need to be settled before we truly understand what a college football playoff would look like.
Regardless, it's all very exciting stuff.
The BCS conference commissioners have agreed to a consensus on a four-team playoff. They're not releasing specifics yet, and university presidents still have to agree to the playoff system.
College football is shifting away from the current bowl system and is expected to implement a playoff system in the coming years in order to determine a national champion. The exact nature of how these playoffs would be determined or formatted is still very much up for debate.
Two formats involve a four-team playoff with the four best teams, one with the semifinals in bowls and one with them at neutral sites that aren't bowls. Two formats involve a four-team playoff with reserved spots for conference champions if they finish in the top six or eight spots, one with the semifinals in bowls and one with them at neutral sites that aren't bowls. The final format is a plus one.
These five formats will be officially presented to the school presidents on June 26.
When, oh, when will college football's playoff debate finally yield a four-team format? The most optimistic observers have cast June 26 as the earliest possible date, as that's when league commissioners will present their proposal to school presidents, who have the final say here. Now there's talk of the thing dragging out through September as the Big Ten and Pac-12 engage in a little brake-pumping.
But check out who's looking on the bright side here. The ACC:
Swofford said he hopes the commissioners will be able to present a four-team playoff to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee in Washington, D.C., next week. The presidents' committee, which is chaired by Virginia Tech's Charles W. Steger and includes 12 university presidents, will ultimately decide where college football's postseason is headed.
The ACC seems to side near the middle on most of the remaining issues, so from John Swofford's perspective, the big remaining hangups might not appear all that big.
The original target date for a taste of college football playoff debate payoff was June 20, followed by June 26. Now, according to the Austin American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls, it might be more like September, as conferences will only have a few hours on June 26 to present their plans to school presidents, some of whom are anti-playoff to begin with.
This means it's time for some plus-one talk again, though I'd love to see which presidents will be brave enough to join Nebraska's Harvey Perlman in calling for anything less than a four-team format.
I'm told by an industry source that the Pac-12 and Big Ten feel that the SEC and Big 12 may be trying to "railroad through" a four-team tournament, when the former two conferences are advocating a plus-one idea after the existing bowl games. "This thing is very fluid," he said. "These men are looking at this as their legacy."
I've been accused of being a SEC homer for saying this, but it's really more of a playoff homer thing: any conferences clinging to a plus-one proposal appear to be attempting some rhetorical flanking and political posturing, rather than arguing for the best postseason plan.
College football will have some sort of playoff system in place by 2014. But will it be a success? That depends on what exactly you're looking for from college football.
We've all been saying for weeks now (literally) that the college football playoff debate battle lines are clearly drawn: The SEC and Big 12 want "the best four teams" in, while the Pac-12 and Big Ten want favor given to conference champions. So when commissioners say they've only whittled the list of playoff scenarios down to "multiple options," it's not hard to guess exactly what's going on.
According to a source, "a bit of an impasse" has developed between the power axis of the Pac-12/Big Ten and Big 12/SEC.
"If the Big Ten and Pac-12 presidents had embraced the four-team playoff, then I think there would have been a place where everyone was on the same page, and then ready to fill in all the gaps," the source said.
The plus-one format appears to be one of those options, but I don't think many reasonable observers expect it to get a serious push by anybody other than a flailing Jim Delany or sometimes absent-minded Larry Scott.
In two weeks, commissioners will present proposals to college presidents, who'll essentially make the final call on how to play the games. That's only the first step, as the real fight begins after that: how to carve up all the free playoff money being generated by young men. But rest assured a playoff is coming, as SI.com's Andy Staples reminds you. The BCS types have painted themselves into a corner and have made it so they'll absolutely have to figure their own way to finish the task. Or risk being, like, drawn and quartered.
We might still be on track for June 26 being an important date in the great college football debate (internal rhyme), but it doesn't appear that'll be the day the whole format of games gets worked out. Based on remarks made by Pac-12 commissionerduring Wednesday's BCS meetings, that'll just be the next step along the way:
Larry Scott just left the meeting to catch a flight, said commishes hope to present multiple options to presidents in DC in 2 weeks.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) June 13, 2012
Options could mean anything from who's on the selection committee to whatever plan Jim Delany is proposing right this very second (the top three teams from each major pro sports league, plus a slice of Little Caesars pizza). As for the horrifying plus-one spectre that Scott's advanced in the past:
I asked Scott if plus-one was still on the table, but he said he wouldn't speak specifically about any one model.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) June 13, 2012
The world's only college football show is now also the world's only game show, with the college football playoffs upper hand being awarded to this week's lucky winner. (There is no lucky winner.)
College football looks like it's going to need a playoff selection committee. Lots of retired coaches want in, but what other options do we have?
The SEC and Big 12 are in favor of college football's playoff allowing entry to the top four teams in the country, regardless of whether those teams have won their conferences or not. The other major conferences, plus the Big East, want league champs only. The SEC's saying it "won't compromise" on the matter, with Mike Slive listing his backup plan as "1-2-3-4."
But could there be space for compromise if the system uses a selection committee instead of a computer rankings system? The Big Ten now officially wants to go the committee route:
The league wants the committee to enter its deliberations with some instructions, much like a jury has during a trial. The Big Ten wants the committee to value league championships, head-to-head results and strength of schedule, much like the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee does. The committee wouldn't write off non-champions or non-division winners, but those shortcomings would impact a team's résumé or potential tiebreakers between two teams.
As far as I know, only the Big East has come out in favor of sticking with rankings instead of a committee. As far as the Big 12 and SEC go, Texas' DeLoss Dodds favors a committee, which goes a long way to determining how half of that bloc will argue.
Either we end up with a "three-and-one" plan, as SI.com's Stewart Mandel advocates, or we get a committee that's specifically told it should admit deserving non-champs, but favor champs. Right?
(Or Bo Pelini can huff and puff until the whole thing crumbles.)
Larry Scott turned some heads earlier for the seemingly silly assertion that teams would need to be division-winners to qualify for the proposed college football playoffs. Well, that isn't quite what he meant, but close: he still wants winning your conference as a requirement -- and being a division-winner is implied. Bryan D. Fischer of CBS Sports tweeted Scott's about-face
Larry Scott wanted to clarify his remarks, he's not budging off requiring conference champions in the playoff.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) June 1, 2012
Obviously if you win your conference, you've won the division. Error on me not making that clear, he's firmly for conference champs.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) June 1, 2012
Well, that makes more sense. Not tons of sense, but more than the division-winners thing. It should still be noted that under this system, Alabama - who, you know, won and stuff last year would not have been allowed in the playoff.
For more on the college football playoff proposals, stick to this Storystream.
The Pac-12 seems to be a little bit out there in terms of what it wants out of a college football playoff: first, Larry Scott insisting a plus-one was still on the table when nobody agreed with him; now, he wants a division-winner requirement for teams involved in a potential four-team playoffs.
"That's been as important as the format. It's my own view, having evaluated all of the options, that I'm for earning it on the field by winning something," Scott said. "I think what the fans want, in the call for a playoff in the first place, is to see it earned on the field. As I've studied it and talked to various people, if you look at the pro sports playoffs you have to win the division. You win the division, you know you're in. Aside from that, you're in a wildcard situation.
Scott's intention - that you should have to win something to be the champion - is good, but the execution is a bit off. Pretty easy to demonstrate why: Alabama won the national championship but lost the SEC West to LSU, while in Scott's PAC-12, UCLA won the division at 6-6 and went on to lose both the PAC-12 Championship game and a bowl game to finish at 6-8. But in Scott's theory, the Bruins would be more deserving of a bid to a playoff than the Crimson Tide. If a conference-winner requirement seems unlikely to stick, this seems even more arbitrary and less likely.
For more on the college football playoff proposals, stick to this Storystream.
At Big 12 meetings on Friday, outgoing boss Chuck Neinas said he hopes conferences can "come to a conclusion" about college football's four-team playoff plan by June 26, just a few days later than the mark we'd heard earlier in the process.
Either way, the day of reckoning is nigh and battle lines are clear. The SEC and Big 12 want the top four teams in the playoff. The Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and Big East want conference champs only. The former says it "won't compromise" on the issue.
There are relatively minor contentions as well, all of which will still be important. Some Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC entities have called for a selection committee, while the Big East wants strictly rankings-based entry. The Big Ten has given up on its proposal for games to be played at campus sites, meaning bowls for semifinals and bid-out title games is the likely move.
And, yes, it will be a four-team deal. Larry Scott's plus-one remark essentially amounted to a slip brought on by Rose Bowl East excitement.
There will be many shake-ups in college football over the next several years, not least of which will center around the changes to the postseason as the current bowl system is phased out and replaced by a new era of playoffs to determine a national champion every year.
Matt Hayes at the Sporting News reports that there will be yet another wrinkle to the incoming playoff system. Under the new BCS television contract, the bid for the host location for the national championship game will be separate from the outcomes of the semifinal games. That means there will be no guarantee that any of the four semifinalists will host the national championship game at the end of the year.
Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports confirms this and specifies that host cities, not the bowls themselves, will bid for the rights to the national championship game each year. This should please college football fans who prefer that their sport's title game more closely resemble the selection process for WrestleMania.
It's time for SEC meetings, which means lots of college football coaches saying things on the issues of the day.
Now that the Big Ten has abandoned its call for college football playoff semifinalists to get to host games, we're back to the plan by which each conference would be tied to a playoff bowl, with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds getting to host semifinal games at those bowl sites, Dennis Dodd reports. For example, last year LSU would've hosted Stanford or Oregon at the Sugar Bowl, instead of some predetermined bowl that could've been in Florida, California or Arizona.
Anything involving floats would give the Sugar Bowl an advantage anyway, via Mardi Gras, right?
Kind of funny to think the Big Ten would rather send teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan all the way to Los Angeles for home field advantage, rather than letting them stay at home, but tradition's like that. Dodd reports the SEC's tie with the Sugar Bowl is actually the most prominent component here.
The Rose would surely host either the Pac-12 or Big Ten's highest representative, while the SEC and Big 12 have paired to create a new bowl that could replace either the Sugar or Fiesta under the new arrangement. No other bowl has a definite playoff tie-in already established for 2014 and beyond.
The Big Ten has already given up on its call for top playoff semifinalists to host games at their home stadiums, instead preferring to outsource the whole deal to the Rose Bowl. But at least, for Midwesterners, the title game could end up in Chicago or Indianapolis or Detroit or ...
"The one thing that kind of gets left out of this discussion that maybe ought to get some weight are the kids," he said Friday during WTKA's Mott Takeover. "Now, I know a lot of people don't really care about that part, but I do, and if you polled our players and said, 'If you played a really tough, successful, long regular season, the award you're going to get is to travel to Ford Field or Lucas Oil Stadium,' they would look at you and say, 'Huh?'
"They love going to warm weather. They love going to some of these locations they, in some cases, have never visited."
That's Michigan Wolverines AD Dave Brandon, commenting on how much better it is down South. He's talking about semifinal locations, of course, but it's hard to think how the same criticism wouldn't apply to the neutral-site championship game as well. It's believed the title game's location will be bid out every year.
I'd kind of think the award for playing a really tough, successful, long regular season that ends with a playoff bid is playing in the playoffs, but I'm not infatuated with the Rose Bowl, so what do I know.
Next up on the list of conferences weighing in on the key issues still surrounding college football's coming playoff system: the Big East. While they're definitively no longer a power conference, they do retain BCS status for two more years and include a few schools (Boise State, Louisville, South Florida) that have had their shots at the top over the past decade.
Big East football coaches want preference for conference champs in playoff, want standings-based selection (not committee).— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) May 21, 2012
By wanting to go with standings instead of a committee, the Big East is at odds with certain major Big Ten and Big 12 representatives. However, preferring conference champions puts the Big East in league with the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC and at odds with the SEC.
If a champs-only playoff had been in place for the entire BCS era, No. 6 Louisville would've made it in in 2006.
The new bowl game partnership between the Big 12 and SEC is neat and all, but we could be just a couple moves away from something huge.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 aren't the only major football conferences with official buddies now. The SEC and Big 12 have linked arms -- setting up a "new January bowl tradition," as Mike Slive calls it -- pairing their conference champions or runners-up beginning in 2014.
While SEC and Big 12 champs missing the playoffs would be a very, very rare event, the importance here is that the two have effectively created another Rose Bowl, and one that would quite often trump the Granddaddy, at least in terms of highly-ranked football teams. It also creates a very clearly defined upper tier in college football, with everyone from the ACC on down all but walled off from the highest level.
The joint release from the new best buds (how awkward will group dates be with Mizzou and Texas A&M in the SEC?):
The Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences have announced a five-year agreement for their football champions to meet in a postseason bowl game following the 2014 season.
The champions of the two conferences will be in the matchup unless one or both are selected to play in the new four-team model to determine the national championship. Should that occur, another deserving team from the conference(s) would be selected for the game.
"A new January bowl tradition is born," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "This new game will provide a great matchup between the two most successful conferences in the BCS era and will complement the exciting postseason atmosphere created by the new four-team model. Most importantly, it will provide our student-athletes, coaches and fans with an outstanding bowl experience."
"Our goal is to provide the fans across the country with a New Year's Day prime-time tradition," commented acting Big 12 Conference Commissioner Chuck Neinas. "This is a landmark agreement between two of the most successful football conferences during the BCS era to stage a postseason event. The creation of this game featuring the champions of the Big 12 and SEC will have tremendous resonance in college football."
"I am very excited by the prospects for a game between our champion and the champion of the Southeastern Conference," added incoming Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
During the 14-year history of the Bowl Championship Series, the Big 12 and SEC lead the nation with 11 seasons in which each conference has had at least one team ranked in the top four of the final BCS standings. Both conferences share the top spot all-time with 14 teams each that have finished in the top four of the final BCS standings. The two conferences have combined for 16 appearances in the BCS National Championship Game, with the Big 12 ranking second behind the SEC's nine appearances with seven trips to the National Championship Game.
The two league champions have met twice in BCS bowl games since 1998, both in BCS National Championship Games. In 2010, Alabama defeated Texas, 37-21, in Pasadena, Calif., and in 2009, Florida defeated Oklahoma, 24-14, in Miami, Fla.
Specific details, including host site(s), will be announced at a later date.
The Rose Bowl is the most important thing in the world, apparently. The Big Ten has sacrificed its own potential playoff advantage just to make the Rose Bowl remain as important as possible, with the Pac-12 going along. Now the SEC and the Big 12 are cooking up something that would be just as big as the Rose, if not blessed with quite the history:
I'm told the meeting between the SEC and Big 12 champions would probably take place at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 18, 2012
That could be a deal that would add the Big 12 champ into what could amount to a version of a travelin' Sugar Bowl, though the Sugar itself is expected to be part of the playoff format. Or just a Cotton Bowl with a little more on the line. This could be a move to get the Cotton into the "six-bowl event" Stewart Mandel reported.
(Of course, the important thing to note is that both the SEC and Big 12 champs missing the playoffs would almost never happen. The Big Ten is having a hard enough time keeping the SEC runner-up out of the tournament.)
Tony Barnhart reports the SEC will make the announcement in about an hour.
Now that we all but know college football's playoff games will be played at existing bowl sites, to much rejoicing by ... people who work at bowl games, the two major issues remaining are how to choose which teams get in and who does the choosing. With the ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten in support of conference champs only, we could call that plan the favorite there, while whether to use a rankings system or a selection committee may be the most unsettled.
The Big Ten ADs are talking it over, finding as much to fret about as reasons for or against anything, while Texas' DeLoss Dodds is pro-committee, as is Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez. Commenters, however, might not be the biggest fans.
SI.com's Andy Staples makes the case for a committee:
The committee would eliminate several of the major problems posed by the polls and computer rankings. First, the committee wouldn't begin deliberation until the entire body of work was submitted. This would keep preseason poll bias from creeping into the selection process. It doesn't matter what I or anyone else thought Alabama would do in August. All that matters is what the Crimson Tide did from September through the first weekend in December. Second, committee members would be intelligent enough to avoid the trap of, as Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott calls it, tracking one loss.
College football's playoff system will not involve games played on home sites, Michigan St. Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis says. Letting teams have home-field advantage doesn't square with the Big Ten's mission to ensure the Rose Bowl remains as big a part of the postseason as possible, though decision-makers also previously cited concerns about whether college stadiums could handle college football games.
Hollis says the hope for home sites in the playoff has been eliminated. Preserving value of Rose Bowl, he said, "is critical."— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) May 15, 2012
Ironically, this also surely pleases the SEC, which now no longer has to worry about playing tournament games up north. Though that wouldn't happen all that often based on previous years, plenty of Big Ten fans have wanted to see whether Southern teams can handle the road trip for a change. If semifinals games are going to end up tying into current BCS bowls, Southern teams will continue to enjoy the relative home edge.
The playoffs get lamer and lamer by the day, don't they?
So far, the Big Ten and Pac-12 are united in favoring conference champions only in college football's eventual playoff system. The SEC opposes, as it should, while others have yet to publicly state their cases. And here we might have the first instance of the SEC and ACC disagreeing on a playoff issue:
Second interesting thing from Fisher: ACC coaches want conference champs in the playoff.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) May 14, 2012
The SEC and ACC were the first two conferences to propose a playoff in the first place.
This stance would obviously make sense for the ACC, as anything that would make it possible for teams ranked lower than the top four to make the playoffs would benefit the league. A champs-only format would've benefitted the ACC in 2003, when No. 7 Florida State would've made the cut at the expense of No. 1 Oklahoma (how smart is that?).
As far as I can tell, that's the only change that would happen in the ACC's favor. If Jim Delany's top-six plan were instituted, there would be no change over the last decade.
College football's getting a playoff, and conference commissioners are currently hearing from their member schools on what sort of playoff each league would prefer. BCS executive director Bill Hancock, having stepped down from his role as the sport's Wizard of Oz, now seems free to talk about actual discussions had by actual people, rather than hammering home an unpopular party line.
While on with WFNZ in Charlotte, Hancock talked about a couple of the biggest issues, listing the conference champions thing as perhaps the most disputed so far. He also downplayed the chances of an eventual eight-team playoff, but that sort of already feels hard to avoid. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
On the time frame for finalizing a playoff format:
"Well it's always good and helpful to talk about the time frame, and first of all there's still two more years to go on the current agreement. But the rest of the time frame is: during the next couple of months the conferences will be talking about the future and I hope by early summer we will be able to announce a change in the BCS."
On what the format might look like:
"It's a very interesting question. And when the commissioners elected to present this four-team playoff concept to the conferences, they intentionally didn't resolve that as well as where to play the games and how the teams are selected. And I'll be curious at the end of this to see what your listeners are thinking about it. But generally, there's up sides and down sides to everything. Obviously if you have 1, 2, 3 and 4, you've got a pure bracket: 1 versus 4 and 2 versus 3. But if you take the conference champions - the top four ranked conference champions - then the regular season, which is the best in sports anyway, may mean even more. But then you would have a question about, ‘Well, what about No. 2 Alabama?' This year, if it had been the conference champions, it would've been teams ranked 1, 3, 5 and 10. And is that what the public wants to see? I really don't know. From what I've heard, folks are about divided 50/50 on it."
On schools potentially having the ability to play home games in the playoff:
"There's still a long way to go in our conversations, so we're not to the end of the game yet and that certainly is one of the things that is still on the table. I was director of the Final Four before I went to work in football and we experienced it in basketball back in the eighties. Which was too much of a home-court advantage in basketball, and so we went away from it in basketball. And I don't know what the response will be in football after awhile. Will people decide that the 1 and 2 teams have earned too much of an advantage? I dunno. And another thing is the infrastructure on campuses may leave something to be desired. And would you have the celebratory pageantry of a postseason event on campus? That's an unknown. But of course one of the advantages to campus play is you're assured of a huge crowd of enthusiastic fans. And another one is, if you're dealing with semifinals and a championship, then if the home team wins of course then their fans have not had to travel across the country two different weeks, a week apart, to go to these games."
On who is involved in this decision and where they're leaning:
"There's 11 conference commissioners and the Notre Dame AD. That's basically the board that runs the BCS. And I wouldn't hazard a guess as to where they are on this. They haven't come to a final conclusion. But they're split. It's safe to say that - they're split. ... The commissioners will collaboratively come to some agreement about what the format should be. There won't be a vote - they will just sit and talk it through until they come up with something that everybody can live with."
On the likelihood that this is a stepping stone to an eight-team postseason:
"I don't think it's likely. I don't wanna speak for the next 30 years, but I don't think it's likely."
After 14 years of the BCS, most college football types have had about enough of computers. They weren't used properly from the start, so they had to be outweighed by humans at some point along the way to keep fans from destroying their waffle makers in a fit of anti-technological rage.
Should college football's playoff thus use a selection committee to pick its four (for now) entrants, which would seem to render moot concerns over whether conference champs or top-four teams make it in? Wisconsin Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez has come out in support of a committee:
"I like a committee and I like a committee that might be diverse enough that maybe you have some national sportswriters in it," he said recently.
"(Herbstreit) is neutral, is on top of it, talks to coaches around the country," Alvarez said. "And every week you come out with your rankings and possibly explain the process."
However, Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley reports "a bowl official" says the selection committee "won't happen."
Committees work in basketball, but the biggest controversy there is whether to choose the, like, 30th or 31st best team in the country. It might be harder to sell a committee tasked with telling, say, either a Big Ten or SEC fan base that its conference champion isn't good enough. Easier to let some machines do it.
What do you think?
Resentment over 2011's all-SEC title game helped ease college football's shift to a playoff. But is a conference champs-only playoff really going to be the thing that stops the SEC's reign?
BCS frontman (I mean that in the rock band sense) Bill Hancock was on the Dan Patrick Show early Friday, dispensing a few morsels on the state of college football's looming playoff system. He went over the timeline and clarified when the new tournament's games could happen.
"It's down to a four-team playoff with some options," Hancock told the show. "They are working on where to play, how to qualify and the dates. For example, will the games be at neutral sites or a team's stadium? How much time will teams have between semifinals and finals? They're looking at between Christmas and early January to have this happen."
College football people want to get back to making New Year's a college football day. Its title game has gotten lost as it has drifted further and further into NFL-land. Starting up playoff action around Christmas could be amazing, as that's when we're usually just watching the Hawai'i Bowl and what have you. I don't know how that would square with the "six-bowl event" plan, which would tie four BCS bowls in with the two playoff games, since the Rose and others are going to insist on still being played in their usual dates.
Hooray, college football playoffs! College football's getting a playoff! The commissioners said they're gonna figure out which four-team deal we're getting, and all that's left to do is bang out some details, and the biggest controversies for now will be whether to play the things on campus sites and whether to let only conference champs play, and WAIT WHAT:
"It is clear the presidents will still make the final decision," Nebraska president Harvey Perlman told ESPN.com "We've had some informal meetings, the Big Ten presidents and the Pac-12 presidents, and I think we're largely aligned in thinking a plus-one with a different ranking after the bowl games to select No. 1 and 2 would be acceptable. Our second choice would probably be a four-team playoff inside the bowls. Our highest priority is to preserve the status of the Rose Bowl and our connection to it."
That's odd, because Pac-12 presidents are publicly pro-playoff:
Leaders of the Pac-12 Conference agreed in principle Saturday to try to end college football's Bowl Championship Series, proposing its replacement with a playoff system that would allow only conference winners to play for college football's national title.
[Arizona State president Michael] Crow had gone into the meeting pushing for an eight-team playoff that would leave the best teams out of the Fiesta Bowl and other BCS games. But [Oregon State president Edward] Ray said it would be easier to have a four-team playoff in the near future, though the Oregon State president didn't rule out a larger playoff pool down the line.
Guys, I really like the Rose Bowl. But I'm really, really starting to kind of hate it a little bit. It's a great game. The greatest game. But if we have to hear one more time about it unsettling our chances of getting a playoff, my head is going to fall off.
Nebraska blog Corn Nation seems to think this is no big deal, with the anti-playoff Perlman having a record of similar statements. However, let's try to come to an accord here.
There are three issues to figure out regarding a college football playoff: where to play games, how to decide who plays in games, and whether to limit entry to conference champions or not. There's reportedly a favored response to the first concern, while either a reconstructed BCS system or selection committee will choose the four teams.
But what about the conference champions issue? One idea, which many fans have proposed already:
Per Jim Delany: 1 potential way to get 4 teams in playoff: conference champs must finish in top 6. If not, highest-ranked at-large fills in— Matt Hayes (@Matt_HayesSN) May 2, 2012
That would solve the problem we would've run into in a year like 2011, when the four-team playoff would've had to reach all the way down to No. 10 to find a fourth conference champion. Passing over six teams is inexcusable for obvious reasons.
It still seems kind of silly for a team ranked No. 2 to have to root for team No. 6 to lose, since what does team No. 6 have to do with team No. 2 anyway? But it's a better idea than going by the top four conference champs with no stipulations.
If the BCS becomes a four-team playoff supplemented by four other mega bowls, which two games should be added to the BCS rotation?
First on the agenda for the BCS as conference commissioners decide what to do about this four-team playoff they're now stuck with delivering: figuring out where to play the games. SI.com's Stewart Mandel reports that while the model that would tie each current BCS bowl to a certain conference (a "six-bowl event" featuring two upgraded bowls, likely including the Cotton) is the favorite, campus games shouldn't be ruled out just yet.
The bowl plan would associate each BCS conference with a bowl, which would provide some really vague semblance of home field advantage to the higher seed. Mandel notes he actually proposed the plan three years ago. However, about 40 percent of commissioners are still into the idea of holding semifinal games at the regular home venues of higher-seeded teams, Mandel reports.
As for what the bowl plan would've looked like over the last 14 years of the BCS, Pacific Takes has the complete breakdown. A sample:
Top four team format
#1 LSU vs. #4 Stanford (Sugar)
#2 Alabama vs. #3 Oklahoma State (Fiesta) (since Oklahoma State won their conference, can't imagine anyone consenting to two Sugar Bowls)
Championship Game somewhere.
Rose Bowl stays intact, Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Conference champions format
#1 LSU vs. #10 Wisconsin (Sugar)
#3 Oklahoma State vs. #5 Oregon (Fiesta)
Rose Bowl probably becomes consolation Big Ten/Pac-12 game, like Michigan vs. Stanford. Tradition preserved!
BCS commissioners returned to their conferences after Thursday with what Bill Hancock called "two to seven" sketches for a future college football playoff. Expect morsels of those plans to leak here and there over the next two months as conferences work to come to their own accords on which work best.
Here's one, as reported by Mark Schlabach, that looks to compromise on several issues surrounding where to play the games and what to do with existing bowls:
The ACC champ would play in the Orange Bowl, Big 12 champ in the Fiesta, Big Ten and Pac-12 champs in the Rose Bowl, and SEC champ in the Sugar Bowl. For instance, if Alabama finished No. 1 in the retooled BCS standings, the Crimson Tide would host the No. 4 seed in a national semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. If Oregon finished No. 2, the Ducks would host the No. 3 seed in the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO in Pasadena, Calif.
That means we wouldn't know until the regular season ends which BCS games are playoffs and which are just bowls. This would also give the top-ranked teams some semblance of home advantage, or at least a regional advantage. Alabama fans know how to get to New Orleans, I'm saying.
I'm really not sure why the bowls currently given BCS status would still need to be favored above non-BCS bowls -- the Cotton and Chick-fil-A have tended to do about as well as the Fiesta and Orange, as far as attendance goes. The whole thing's largely about preserving the Rose Bowl and, to a lesser extent, the Sugar, but most fans will go along for the time being with whatever gets a playoff.
Schlabach also reports having a bidding process for the national title game is the strong favorite.
Might this kind of thing be a winning compromise?
So! College football's about to get itself a four-team playoff. This is great. At least the second or third biggest news in the sport's history, perhaps. The BCS says it's listening to the fans now, so how about we hear from those fans? Especially fans of teams uniquely affected by all of this? Let's check in with some of SB Nation's many fine college blogs.
First up, Boise State fans from One Bronco Nation Under God. While BSU still plans to head to the Big East even though it won't need automatic qualifier status any more (everybody knew that was going away in 2014 anyway), the sweetest news is this:
No longer does BSU need to get into the Top Two to have a chance at a national championship. Now, the top four will be good enough, and getting to the top four will be much easier when playing a Big East schedule devoid of New Mexicos and UNLVs.
We've got plenty of time to haggle over the details (or pretend like our haggling actually means anything to the hagglers) like where to play the games, but Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries focuses on priorities:
I'd love to see Penn State host a Final Four game on the final Saturday in December, with driving snow and wind, and some poor southern team freezing their asses off. But, right now, that's not going to get this deal done. And now is not a time to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Independents Notre Dame and BYU also have choices ahead of them. While the Irish were represented at the BCS table and insist they'll come out just fine, the Cougars weren't. How will schools without conferences fare in a system that may prefer conference champs? BYU fans at Vanquish The Foe aren't quite sure, while Notre Dame blog One Foot Down ain't worried, offering up a revenue prediction:
Notre Dame receives the equivalent to the payout for a Big Ten team under this agreement, calculated annually, and an equal opportunity to participate for the national championship and the other bowls. Notre Dame receives the same payouts as any top four or top fourteen teams for participation. The BCS receives access to five of the top ten TV markets, a huge fanbase and a non-compete clause.
Representatives from the party most responsible for all this (both on-field and off), SEC blog Team Speed Kills, see no necessary reason for the SEC's dominance to end:
In the "SEC golden era" that started in 2006, there have been three seasons (2006, 2008, 2011) in which the SEC would have taken up half the slots based on the last regular-season BCS rankings. That's half of the time, which might not be too annoying to fans of other conferences, but is probably going to get under the skin of guys like Jim Delany.
The fan base with good reason to hate the BCS more than anybody wants an even bigger playoff to ensure the little guys have a chance. Sayeth Utah fans at Block U:
The playoffs help produce a truer champion than what we've had. With four teams, instead of two, it's not hard to see why this is the case. However, it's hard to imagine any non-BCS team, outside an amazing multi-season run or extreme parity among other BCS teams, getting into this new playoff. Especially if it's based on a certain BCS formula. Only TCU in
'08'10 would have qualified for a spot in the postseason under the current BCS rules.
As for the fate of the bowls, Oregon State blog Building The Dam is confident it will still mean something when the Beavers make it next.
But let's get down to specifics! Every Day Should Be Saturday devises a plan that ... YEP we'll totally end up stuck with something just about this amazing:
IF finalist equals PAC-12 CHAMPION THEN game reverts to JOHN WOODEN VIRGIN SPACELINES MOONBASE BUBBLEFIELD SPONSORED BY RICHARD BRANSON.
IF finalist is Boise THEN rule is invalid SEE BOISE EXCLUSION RULE
IF omitted team on edge of four spot is TEXAS THEN place MACK BROWN in BATHYSPHERE and lower to BOTTOM OF MARIANAS TRENCH for silence initiation and isolation process.
Now that we're even more sure than we were previously that college football will have a four-team playoff for 2014 and beyond, our attention now turns to what sort of four-team playoff we'll get. This is sort of what's been happening all week, but now it's all official-like.
We also know the order in which the various issues will be determined by each conference as they deliberate before meeting again in June:
First format will be hammered out. When and where games will be played. How teams are selected to be debated later, Larry Scott said.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) April 26, 2012
Semifinal games can either be played on campuses or at neutral sites. They can either incorporate certain bowl games or none at all. They could be put up for bid and tour the country. The title game itself could either land at a bowl or at a bid site.
The whole shebang can be scheduled to end on New Year's Day, as God clearly intended, or at some super strange time that makes no sense.
Selection could come down to a human committee, a revamped BCS computer system or some combination of the two. Conference championships could be a prerequisite for entry, or just any-ol'-body could be let in.
And, most importantly to the decision-makers, somebody's got to decide who gets what cut of money. But! Now we have some general sense of which debates are going to happen first.
The BCS has made its' official announcement regarding the future of college football's playoff: two to seven four-team playoff plans will now be taken back to the conferences for further discussion. Two-team plans, eight-team plans and 16-team plans have been ruled out*. But the biggest news here is that a four-team playoff beginning in 2014 is all but unavoidable now.
BCS director Bill Hancock called the development a "seismic change," saying conferences are "listening to the fans."
Automatic qualifications for certain conferences will be done away with, Hancock also announced, rendering a portion of the latest conference realignment scramble moot. This means all conferences will hypothetically have a fair shot at making the tournament.
Concrete decisions will begin to be made later in the summer. Hancock hopes for July. Plenty remains to be squabbled over, chief being who gets which slice of money. Conferences will also need to work out where to play the games (on-campus games are still alive, said Hancock), how to choose which teams get to play, the fates of the bowl games and when exactly games will happen.
And, officially, that Rose Bowl plan the Big Ten proposed is not going to happen.
The full statement from the BCS:
"As part of our deliberations, we have carefully considered a number of concepts concerning the post-season structure for the BCS. From the start, we set out to protect college football's unique regular season which we see as the best regular season in sports. We are also mindful of the bowl tradition and seek to create a structure that continues to reward student-athletes with meaningful bowl appearances.
"Having carefully reviewed calendars and schedules, we believe that either an 8-team or a 16-team playoff would diminish the regular season and harm the bowls. College football's regular season is too important to diminish and we do not believe it's in the best interest of student-athletes, fans, or alumni to harm the regular season.
"Accordingly, as we proceed to review our options for improving the post-season, we have taken off the table both an 8-team and a 16-team playoff.
"We will continue to meet and review the exact structure for what a new post-season could look like. We are making substantial progress. We will present to our conferences a very small number of four-team options, each of which could be carried out in a number of ways.
"We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of in-bowl or out-of-bowl games.
We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of campus sites or neutral sites. We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of various ways to rank or qualify teams.
"Our process is proceeding as we have planned and we look forward to further conversations."
* Yes, this mean we can start advocating for a 32-team playoff, but we're not going to get very far.
The BCS' current form is dead. But fear not! We still have plenty to argue about! So what happens if college football's playoff system admits only conference champions?
BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock provided the college football-loving public with some good news on Wednesday, declaring that progress has been made in discussions regarding the reform of the college football postseason. Things are going to change, but he was a bit inconclusive on the details.
"I think that's what everyone wants to do. Get down to two maybe three,'' Hancock said. "I think we're making good progress on that. I think we're going to make it.''
One thing is clear: "The status quo is off the table,'' Hancock said. Though he cautiously added they have not ruled out making over the current system that guarantees only a No. 1 vs. No. 2 championship game.
The status quo is off the table. Excellent. Everyone, rejoice! But ... what exactly does "making over the current system" mean? Changing the way the No. 1 and No. 2 teams are determined? Well, that's not necessarily a straightforward process.
"I'm trying to stay open-minded about how a committee could work, because I know people feel good about it in basketball," Scott said. "It's established. But, on first blush, it seems a little counterintuitive to me given the way the world has gone in terms of what our fans want -- which is more objective, more transparent." Scott, by far the most outspoken commissioner on this particular topic, does not want selection carried out behind a veil of secrecy. "The difference between two and three could be a decimal point in some set of formulas that I can't explain to you because they won't disclose how it works," Scott said. "That's not satisfactory."
Unfortunately, what Scott says here is the equivalent of a weatherman saying that a hurricane is on its way to the Eastern United States, and it's going to come ashore somewhere between Miami and New England. Even though Hancock wants to narrow the college football postseason debate to two or three options by Thursday, they seem to be a long way from figuring out the details of each option.
Some really interesting news from the BCS meetings in Florida, as it appears the current system for the college football postseason is dead. Stuart Mandel from SI.com tweeted remarks from BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock:
Bill Hancock on BCS scenarios: "I can officially say that the status quo is off the table."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) April 25, 2012
Hancock says the goal is to be narrowed down to 2-3 models by end of day tomorrow.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) April 25, 2012
Commissioners will take tomorrow's two to three "finalists" back to their conference meetings in late spring. Presidents get final say.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) April 25, 2012
CBS' Brett McMurphy had the further news that commissioners spent four hours today discussing how to pick teams for a playoff, so, yeah, the current system will change in 2014.
This isn't exactly shocking: it had become clear that the current system, featuring just one national championship game for all the proverbial Tostitos and no luck for teams ranked No. 3 or worse, was on its way out. But this is confirmation on that front.
For more on the BCS meetings and the march toward a college football playoff, stay tuned right here.
The primary revelations through much of the first day of BCS-ish meetings in Florida on the future of college football's postseason: the Rose Bowl is the most important thing in the world, and the Fiesta Bowl is totally fine with making more money and having a seat at the table, just so you know. The alternative for the Fiesta Bowl would be that it would be just another bowl game instead of part of the championship tournament, so this is mighty generous of the Fiesta Bowl.
The latter, first, since it might be the closest thing to actual news yet:
The big thaw is coming: Fiesta open to hosting national semi or champ game without its Fiesta brand.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) April 25, 2012
And here's Texas AD DeLoss Dodds with the biggest #ShotsFired so far:
"The only way it's going to get fixed," Dodds says, "is for the rest of the country to have a playoff of some kind and let [the Pac-12 and Big Ten] do their (own) deal. And then after five years, their coaches would go berserk because they're not in the mix for a national championship. And they'd have to join it."
In response, Big Ten commish Jim Delany said Dodds was wrong and, at some point, discussed ostrich racing. Onlookers seem to have discerned that Delany's fine with a four-team playoff so long as the Rose Bowl provides the site for ... something involved with the playoff.
The general course of events at this juncture seems to be that BCS bowls are angling for inclusion as playoff sites, meaning the campuses of competing teams wouldn't get any games -- unlike the FCS playoffs -- and fans would have to travel across the country twice during the holidays.
College football stadiums aren't big enough for college football, BCS commissioners seem to think.
The great debate over what to make of college football's postseason has appeared to come down to either a plus-one game tacked onto the current bowl system or a four-team playoff distinguished from the bowls entirely. If the BCS is replaced with a four-team model, then the next point of contention centers on where to play those games.
CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reports the four-team plan with semifinal games hosted off campus is the most likely playoff model to succeed. Out of the four plans, which include the widely lampooned Rose Bowl plan, this one looks to have the fewest detractors, according to the report.
The SEC isn't a big fan of the on-campus proposal, which would send warm-weather teams way up north on occasion. The Big Ten and Big 12, among others, prefer to have semifinal games played on campuses. One concern for everybody, however, is money. Some schools don't offer big stadiums, and in some cases games would be able to pack in a few more fans if held at stadiums previously vetted for sufficient capacity.
College football hot shots will meet again next week to try and narrow down the plans for the future of the sport's postseason. SI.com's Stewart Mandel reports the sentiment is indeed that a plus-one game will happen, at the very least, though a four-team tournament is still in play.
Elsewhere in that piece, Mandel passes along the frustrations of bowl committee people, who've found themselves largely left out of the debate. BCS bowl reps will have 30 minutes each to plead their cases next week, but that's it. It takes quite a bit to get a playoff supporter to sympathize with bowl suits, but that almost did it.
Luckily, elsewhere the head of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl laments the lack of quality bowl teams that would result from a playoff. Last year, that bowl's participants combined to field a losing record. So. Sympathizing was further stunted when the Fiesta Bowl chief says his game would do a better job of hosting a major college football game than State College would, thanks to its many volunteers.
Penn State seems capable of handling major college football games, as far as attendance goes. They do it seven times a year, while the Fiesta Bowl does it once. And I'd imagine a football-crazed college campus could round up a few volunteers for a national semifinal involving the home team.
Also, the Rose Bowl denies having anything to do with the now-infamous Rose Bowl plan, which would've turned the storied game into a third-wheel playoff game. With the Pac-12 also previously washing its hands, that leaves only the Big Ten, since nobody's buying my theory that Conference USA just really loves the Rose Bowl.
The idea of a legitimate playoff structure in college football has been batted around for quite a long time, but the NCAA has been unable to find a solid system to replace the current BCS structure. That looks like it may be the case for the foreseeable future, too, as BCS executive director Bill Hancock says there's no system currently in the lead to renovate the college football postseason.
"There's no leader in the clubhouse on this,'' Hancock told The Associated Press on Thursday night before he spoke at a leadership banquet at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
The problem isn't that ideas aren't being brought up to Hancock, but rather he isn't sure that a wholesale change is necessarily needed, according to the comments he made to The Associated Press.
"The most important question is, `Is there a need to make a significant change, and what are the reasons why a significant change is important?' If there's a need to do it, then it should be done,'' Hancock said. "Many fans would like to have a tournament in the postseason and the commissioners hear that. They get it. But can you have a tournament without detracting from the regular season?''
Considering that every other sport has a postseason tournament to determine its national champion, one would have to believe the answer to Hancock's question is "yes." It remains to be seen if there's a possibility of steering the BCS committee toward that answer, however, or if they're determined to find ways to make the BCS work.
For more on the march toward a college football playoff, stay tuned right here.
The college football playoffs debate's various parties may not agree on much, but there's one thing everyone can agree on: that Rose Bowl idea was the worst. Common ground!
Add SEC commissioner Mike Slive to the list. Slive and Conference USA chief Britton Banowsky spoke Monday at a gathering for reporters, with Slive saying of the Big Ten's idea, "It's not one of my favorites. What we're trying to do is simplify in many ways. I don't think that adds to the simplification of the postseason.''
That should surprise nobody, as the plan would benefit the Big Ten and the Pac-12 at the cost of everyone else. Even the Pac-12 has said it has no idea where the proposal came from.
The SEC seems to prefer a plus-one round over a bracketed, four-team tournament, especially if the latter means sending its teams up north to play in the cold, as the most popular model includes. For the time being, the basic battle line appears to be between the SEC and the other power conferences. Though the ACC hasn't yet weighed in, it sided with the SEC years ago when the two first tried to get a playoff going.
For more on the march toward a college football playoff, stay tuned right here.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has met with players from the USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal, and plans to meet with players for the Utah Utes, to get their input and feedback on various proposals geared towards overhauling college football's postseason, Stewart Mandel of SI.com reported.
Three of the players Scott met with on Thursday included Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin — three players projected to hear their names called in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
"It's interesting for us to be able to give our opinion as student-athletes, or former student-athletes," said Luck. "We talked about how bowl games affect everything from our classes to finals, how much it takes our family to travel, the plusses and merits in our mind. And also what we thought of a playoff."
Luck has the unique perspective of being the son of Oliver Luck, the athletic director for the West Virginia Mountaineers. The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up and three-time member of the Pac-10/Pac-12 All-Academic Team prefers a playoff system that doesn't interfere with academics.
"One thing I don't think he (Scott) had heard before was the bowl games going into second semester of schools," said Luck. "Guys had missed school for a week, week and a half. As a quarterback, I was always a little frustrated about having a month off between games. You definitely lose a little rhythm with your receivers.
"As a competitor, who wouldn't want a playoff? Who wouldn't want a chance to be the best and settle it all on the field?" he said. "If that can be done in a way to keep the historic bowls happy, to keep the academic integrity of a student-athlete, that'd be awesome. But if it cant, hopefully there's a good alternative."
Nothing could be dumber than the playoff plan that would make the Rose Bowl an unofficial semifinal game, you say? Oh, don't tempt college football, friend.
Important suits will meet throughout the summer to determine the successor to the BCS Championship Game as college football moves towards a playoff in 2014. The two plans that have gotten the most attention -- the plus-one and the four-team, conference champions-only model -- are still being discussed, as is one that would make the Rose Bowl a ... well, a something entirely different from all other surviving bowls.
In the latter plan, the four highest-ranked teams at the end of the regular season would meet in semifinals unless the Big Ten or Pac-12 champion, or both, were among the top four. Those leagues' teams still would meet in the Rose, and the next highest-ranked team or teams would slide into the semis. The national championship finalists would be selected after those three games.
A hybrid plus-one/playoff, with special circumstances for two of the country's dozen or so* conferences? That's so college football.
The Big Ten has made it clear that one of its highest priorities is preserving the status of the Rose Bowl, perhaps the only bowl that still really matters nationally. The Pac-12 has a special stake in the game as well. But rerouting the semifinals round through the game at the expense of all other (admittedly lesser) bowl games?
Seems a little too close to the weird, regional, selective postseason we have now. Incorporating a few traits from the bowl system into the playoff itself might be nice, but bowls will still exist outside of the tournament. And the SEC would surely argue the Sugar Bowl is important enough to get special consideration as well, as would the Mountain West with the MAACO. Maybe not that last one, but you can see how this could get tangled.
* Oh, like you know exactly how many conferences we'll have in 2014. The SUN BEAST has caught you slipping.
As it stands, college football bowl games pretty much just run themselves, under the NCAA's eye. They set up deals with conferences so they can have specific teams to choose from, then send some money back to their partner conferences, which is then distributed to each of the league's teams. So what happens to bowl games if college football adopts a playoff plan?
The popular thinking, especially among close observers of the Big Ten-Pac-12 partnership that sort of centers around the Rose Bowl, is that conferences could take over control of bowls themselves, thereby cutting out the bowl committee middle man and leaving pools of colorful blazers underfed. Each league could issue forth its own non-champion, like some sort of gladitorial contest. Bowls are sounding better by the minute!
CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd discovers* this is exactly what's being discussed by a NCAA task force. Dodd adds some interesting specifics:
The NCAA board of directors will consider the proposals at its April 26 meeting.
The task force prefers that the NCAA - basically president Mark Emmert -- retain oversight over approving title sponsors. More than one source mentioned NCAA concern over the image projected by title sponsor GoDaddy.com aligned with the Mobile, Ala.-based bowl.
So the NCAA's role could be to come up with some sort of classiness standard for sponsors, while conferences handle the business of determining which teams get to play in these exhibition games.
* I'm gonna be honest. I'm not entirely sure what's new between this and what the NCAA said a few months back, other than the GoDaddy thing, but that part is indeed something.
College football will soon have a playoff, even if it's just a two-team title game that uses the entire bowl season as its play-in round. It could still be a four-team playoff, which would be fine, or even an eight-team deal, as NCAA president Mark Emmert sort of predicts:
"The momentum seems to be -- and I'm just reading the tea leaves, pretty much like you -- the momentum seems to be toward an eight-team playoff," he said.
"We'll have to see how it works. I don't know whether it will really occur or not. I think there's a reasonable possibility it could."
What Emmert predicts isn't really all that critical, since his outfit has never had control of football's postseason, anyway. There's no guarantee it ever will, either, as commissioners aren't going to want to hand all that money over to the NCAA when their conferences can get the first cut of playoff spoils if they do their own thing. Still, that's what he thinks, in case you were wondering.
Important BCS people met in Dallas to talk about the future of college football's postseason this week. They didn't reach any major conclusions, of course, as they still have several months left to figure out a playoff plan for 2014. They do seem to be seeing eye-to-eye on a number of factors, though, which Brett McMurphy's survey of conference commissioners displays.
The survey's responding commissioners favor semifinal games played on the higher seed's campuses, a travelin' road show of a title game, semifinals "around Christmas" and a championship right around New Year's Day. There's not yet a consensus on whether only conference champs should get to participate, which is kind of surprising, as only the SEC has come out in tentative opposition of that idea so far.
The two-team, post-bowl model ("plus-one") is still on the table, while the fate of the four current BCS bowls remains a concern. Once they get all this squared away, there's the question of how much it's all worth in television money. That last part was a joke, as television money is pretty much concern No. 1 all the way through.
It's called March Madness, so permit the college football fan to remain mad for the entire duration. Your sport has a playoff and ours doesn't, so complaining is to be expected.
BCS commissioners continue to meet to come up with a new college football postseason, and you'll be astounded to note they haven't figured the whole thing out in only two days. Here's a round of quotes from various commissioners big and small regarding the latest meeting, and they all sound quite invested in working through a lengthy process.
Any time you get Mike Slive talking about the matrix, you know big stuff is happening. According to Slive's own description, the first meeting of commishes centered on the sport in general, while this one zeroed in on the BCS issue. They'll meet again in late April in Florida.
At issue is what to do about the current BCS deal expiring in two years. Two plans, a four-team playoff and a two-team, post-bowl game, appear to be the favorites, with multiple power conferences supporting the former and the SEC not quite so set on it if it allows only conference champs to participate.
It appears the talks for the BCS to move to a "plus-one" playoff format have taken the next step. According to CBS, the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame's athletic director met in Dallas Monday to discuss logistics for how to implement a playoff system, though they haven't decided whether or not to actually adopt said system. Here's the full statement from the BCS:
As part of our continuing discussions about how to decide college football's national champion while maintaining the best regular season in sports, we met today in Dallas. The meeting was constructive and highly detailed.
While no decisions have been made about the overall structure, our talks have entered the "brass tacks" level. For every concept that enjoys broad support, there are a host of intricate details that we're talking through.
For example, if we change the current format, would we play some games on campus or all games on neutral sites? If some games are on campus, is that too much of a competitive advantage? If all games are at neutral sites, would fans be able to travel to two games in a row? How would teams be selected? By a committee, by the current ranking formula, or by a different formula? When exactly would games be scheduled, considering finals, holidays and our desire to avoid mid-January games?
As we discuss the upsides and downsides of our decisions, we are united in our desire to protect our great regular season and honor the bowl tradition, while maintaining the collegiate nature of our sport.
We're making good progress toward our self-imposed goal of making a final recommendation this summer to our governing bodies.
Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel talked with a few of those in the room, and came away with a few other interesting nuggets:
From talking to several in the room, sounds like today's meeting focused more on the where and when of a playoff than who would be in it.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 26, 2012
Bill Hancock: No discussion of 8 or 16 team playoff. Everything else still on the table, including "pure" plus one (title game after bowls)— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 26, 2012
If the 2014 college football season concludes with a championship game whose participants are determined by a bracket, no matter how small that bracket may be, Jerry Jones would like to host that game. You are not surprised to learn this.
To the Dallas Morning News, a Cowboys Stadium spokesperson:
Stadium spokesman Brett Daniels said, "We're very interested in the future of the BCS and bringing a game to Cowboys Stadium."
BCS commissioners are meeting in that very city for another round of talks about what to do with college football's postseason once the current BCS deal runs out. A "plus-one" playoff remains the most likely format for starters, but since they've last met, a four-team model with semifinalists getting home field advantage has emerged as the public favorite, despite the SEC's opposition.
They have all summer to work out a transition plan, so don't expect any major news any time soon. Whenever there is major news, surely Cowboys Stadium will offer to host the breaking of it.
The annual comparisons of March Madness to the college football bowl system are easy. Realizing you get the playoff you deserve, though, is not.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive had a word with the Memphis Commercial Appeal over the weekend, clarifying his position on the coming changes to college football's postseason. The Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 have sort of tentatively (rock solid!) agreed on a four-team playoff model as one worth pursuing for the time being, but the SEC hasn't made its position all that clear, other than expressing concerns about the popular proposal.
From the Commercial Appeal:
"I never use the 'P' word, because I'm not a playoff guy. I've always felt a plus-one wasn't going to a playoff, because it could be done in the structure. I don't favor an NFL-style playoff with eight or 16 teams.
"I still think it's important to protect the regular season and the bowls. The college football regular season is the best regular season in sports. We have some concerns about the dates of postseason games, that they need to be played more in the traditional bowl season calendar.
A plus-one is a playoff, whether it's called that or not. It's a very, very small one, and one that will get people even more worked up for a multi-round tournament. It's a playoff with a really, really broad opening round.
Slive says the SEC is also in talks with its TV partners after adding Missouri and Texas A&M, working to strengthen its bowl tie-ins, and sending the conference basketball tournament to St. Louis. But is the matter of adding teams to the football schedule without ending annual rivalries still being discussed? Why, it still is!
Say, here's a 64-team college football tournament bracket. We can call it December Delirium! Also, what might it look like if we include FCS teams?
The Pac-12 has been at the forefront of whatever college football postseason movement has surged forth in the past year. The Pac-12 is at the forefront of most things, via it's in the future already. So it's little surprise to see the conference's residents have informally agreed among themselves that the BCS must be replaced.
What emerged, according to [Oregon State president Edward] Ray and [Arizona State president Michael] Crow, was consensus that the current BCS system needs to significantly change and that it should be replaced by a playoff system that may or may not include current BCS bowl members, including the Valley's Fiesta Bowl.
The Pac-12's primary concern with the whole thing is making sure the Rose Bowl still means something even after the creation of a playoff to replace the BCS. The Big Ten's main worry is the same.
Dignitaries from Stanford and elsewhere around the Pac-12 had already situated themselves on #TeamPlayoff as the BCS' clock winds down. With the Big Ten and Big 12 also seemingly in favor, and the SEC only tentatively objecting to the home field advantage portion of the current popular proposal, we're getting closer by the week to some sort of general agreement on ... something.
The Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 all more or less agree on a similar college football playoff plan for when the current BCS deal expires: four conference champions, with the highest-ranking two getting semifinal home field advantage. This led one to wonder about the obvious conference missing from that list, and wonder no more! The SEC has now weighed in via the Birmingham News, albeit thoughtfully and artfully:
"I'm willing to have a conversation about (only conference champions), but if you were going to ask me today, that would not be the way I want to go," [SEC commissioner Mike] Slive said. "It really is early in the discussions, notwithstanding what some commissioners say publicly. There's still a lot of information that needs to be generated."
Slive also expressed concerns about road team attendance at campus playoff games, noting basketball's playoff doesn't feature home games. It makes sense that the SEC would be the least likely conference to immediately support the so-called Big Ten Plan, as true home games could mean trips to snowy locales, the conference champs stipulation would mean we can't have an all-SEC West final four, and it's the so-called Big Ten Plan. The SEC would be hesitant to support a plan to make everyone say, "THE SEC IS GREAT," if such a plan were called "the so-called Big Ten Plan."
Slive also denied the SEC is interested in expanding to 16 teams. But remember: at one point, he insisted the SEC was fine sticking with 13 teams. So.
For more on the SEC, visit Team Speed Kills.
We've now heard from the Big Ten, the Pac-12, the President of the United States, and the architect of the BCS that a four-team playoff plan limited to conference champs, with top semifinalists earning home advantage, is the preferred college football postseason. Let's sort of add the Big 12 to that list, and then notice who hasn't appeared yet.
Though Chuck Neinas won't be the Big 12 commissioner for much longer, he's still come out in tentative support of the plan:
"I like the idea, if you're going to take four, take four champions," Neinas said. "They're not hard to identify. The selection process is one that would concern me. The easiest is taking four conference champions."
Among power conferences and power executive branches, this leaves the SEC, the ACC, and every executive branch on earth besides the United States'. Since those branches don't matter all that much, that leaves the SEC and ACC.
The two paired up to propose a college football playoff way before it was cool among elderly academics, but were spurned by their peers. Now they're holding off on jumping in the pile praising the four-team plan, and the SEC appears to have insisted on bringing its own media consultant into the latest money thing round. It would make sense that the two most Southern (until the ACC fulfills its dream of locking up the Toronto TV market by adding St. Michael's College) conferences would hold off on favoring a system that could mean road playoff games in Michigan or Idaho, if that's what's happening here.
The upcoming adjustment to college football's postseason is likely to be popular with at least the SEC or Big Ten, if it's popular with anybody. As the two big dogs at the table ("No dogs at the table," you shout at your dog, but dogs never stop doing what they want to do), Mike Slive and Jim Delany should each be in position to get his way for the most part*.
So it's with little surprise that you'll greet a Sports Business Journal report that new BCS media consultants Chuck Gerber and Dean Jordan already have respective relationships with the two biggest leagues. Gerber has worked with the SEC before, while Jordan has associations with the Big Ten, among many other conferences. Jordan's wider range of ties could suggest the SEC is the conference at odds with the others, but now we're trying to discover tactics by reading consultant resumes.
At stake is the new BCS deal that begins in 2014, which ESPN gets the first bid on. SBJ notes Fox, NBC, and Turner are also interested.
* Except for that thing about playing semifinal games on campuses. The Big Ten loves the idea, which therefore means the SEC might not be so wild about it. But getting a SEC team in cold weather sounds about as fair as getting a Big Ten team in Death Valley.
The Bowl Championship Series has had more than its share of detractors over the years, while fans and pundits alike have long bemoaned the lack of a traditional (or perhaps, more logical) playoff system in NCAA football. But a new system for determining a champion in 2014 and onward should be in place by the time the 2012 college season kicks off.
Pete Thamel of The New York Times spoke to Pac-12 Commissioner via phone interview, and Scott was vocal that there is plenty of room for improvement in the current system. Scott's line of thinking seems to match that of the Big Ten, which means that there could be an agreed-upon format already in motion.
Scott said that a one-game playoff would not be enough to mute the critics of the current system and that an eight-game playoff would be difficult to fit into the academic calendar, a priority for Pac-12 leaders. He would not say directly that he favors a four-team playoff, but his view appears to be in line with many of the top B.C.S. officials.
As for the potential playoff format, Scott agreed with the position of the Big Ten, first reported by The Chicago Tribune, which favored home sites for the semifinal games and a neutral site for the championship game. After a number of discussions with the N.F.L., Scott said, following its model made sense.
Final decisions are still far from final, but the Pac-12 and Big Ten being on the same page is a good first step on the road toward a playoff system.
For more college football, visit SB Nation's NCAA Football hub.
Important college football people are meeting to talk about what to do once the current BCS deal expires. Reports have a plus-one model (it's OK to call it "a really little playoff!") being the favored route, with the BCS turning control of the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange back over to the committees themselves.
The responsible parties have released a statement saying not a whole lot but providing a sort of deadline, and you'll be so kind as to not giggle at the thought of the WAC being called a BCS conference in this first line here:
Statement by the eleven BCS Commissioners and the Notre Dame Athletics Director:
In an effort to grow college football's great popularity and success, we just completed two days of productive meetings in Dallas, Texas.
We have until the fall of this year to finalize any possible changes to our current structure. That's when contractual obligations require us to begin negotiations with our television carrier for future coverage decisions. We have a self-imposed deadline of sometime this summer to decide what changes we will propose to our governing bodies for football's post-season. It's still early in our process and we will continue to meet with our conferences and review options.
Whatever we do, we want to protect college football's regular season which is the best and most meaningful in sports. We want to preserve the great bowl tradition while making it better and more attractive. We also have heard the message about playing bowl games closer to or on January 1, the way it used to be.
As we proceed, we will evaluate the many pros and cons of numerous possible changes. Every idea has exciting up sides, as well as complicated consequences. From the realities of the calendar to the issues presented in terms of venues such as who hosts games, we have tremendous responsibilities and opportunities.
The bottom line is we will continue to talk about how to make a great sport even better for student-athletes, fans and everyone who loves college football.
It has been clear for quite awhile, at least to most college football fans, that a BCS replacement is needed. Things are luckily moving in that direction, too, with the recent reports indicating that it'll likely begin with a "plus-one" system.
Meetings as far as what that would consist of are being held this week in Dallas, featuring all 11 conference commissioners, the athletic director of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and BCS executive director Bill Hancock. Hancock didn't have many specifics when talking to the media regarding what's being talked about, but did give some general quotes in a Sports Illustrated report.
While there seems to be growing support for creating a four-team playoff to determine a champion, how exactly that would work and when the games would be played remains to be seen.
"It's very clear the commissioners do not want the championship game to be played too late,'' Hancock said in a telephone interview. Hancock added the commissioners were "resolute about not having BCS games in the midweek after Jan. 1''.
It seems that a four-team tournament involving three games -- essentially a pair of semifinal games before determining a national champion -- is going to happen much sooner than an eight- or 16-team tournament, according to the sources the Sporting News was able to gather.
The next meeting regarding the BCS replacement is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, but Sporting News quoted Hancock as saying he'd be "surprised" if anything happened before this summer.
For more college football, visit SB Nation's NCAA Football hub.
A college football playoff system seems to be coming much closer to fruition after plenty of complaints over the past several years. The Pac-12 is the latest conference to seemingly agree that change is needed as far the NCAA football postseason is concerned.
It isn't a surprise, of course, but the Register-Guard's George Schroeder quoted a Pac-12 insider with some positive comments regarding a playoff system in his Tuesday morning column.
We're not sure what form it will take -- no one is at this point -- but when the next BCS TV deal kicks in two years from now, well, there might not even be a BCS. Whatever it's called, it won't much resemble the current postseason structure.
"I would be shocked if it doesn't get significantly changed."
Those words come from a Pac-12 insider who didn't want to be identified. The league's commissioner was traveling Tuesday and unavailable for comment. On Monday, Scott told the San Jose Mercury News the Pac-12 "has stopped short of taking a position" on potential changes.
Schroeder's report coincides with the Arizona State president saying last week that the Pac-12 isn't a strong supporter of the present model.
It certainly isn't a surprise that the Pac-12 would be in favor of some sort of change -- there are quite a few reports that have adamantly said change is coming -- but it's nice to know that they seemingly won't hold anything up.
Now that the Big Ten has reportedly talked up a four-team playoff proposal, it seems like the rest of the college football world is a little more confident in stepping forth with BCS slams and calls for postseason tournaments. Michael Crow, Arizona State president, however, has been #TeamPlayoff for a while now.
Since telling CBS Sports in January that he'd like to see an eight-team playoff restricted to only conference champions, he's remained on message, telling the Arizona Republic the Pac-12's members "are not strong supporters of the present model."
Coincidental that a school president who operates in the same state as the Fiesta Bowl, the crowning glory of bowl corruption, is among the strongest critics of the BCS? Probably not!
We're at the point where we'll continue to see proposals and counter-proposals, even once something is finally settled upon (and for decades after), since everybody wants to be the guy who came up with the perfect college football playoff plan.
You'd hate to presume, but I do believe we've stumbled upon a favorite strategy of SEC commissioner Mike Slive's. Back during conference realignment, Slive swore the SEC was perfectly content with 12 and then with 13 teams, even while many of his coaches and administrators publicly insisted the league would soon jump to 14.
Now, regarding the latest swell of attention for a playoff*, specifically the creation of a four-team deal, Slive said Wednesday that we should all slow down just a second.
"What would it look like and whether it's actually going to happen, all of that is premature,'' Slive said. "I think we need the time to sit down and analyze it. We need time to take ideas back to our respective conferences and ... a decision to be made sometime later this year as we begin to talk about the ... next format.''
Moments later, University of Georgia president Michael Adams said, "My best guess is we’re going to end up with either a four- or eight-team playoff by the time we get to 2014." So just come right out and say it, sir.
* An item Slive was among the first conference commissioners to express support for.
For more SEC, visit SEC blog Team Speed Kills.
The Big Ten could soon be on board with a college football playoff, but only if it gets to keep the Rose Bowl and if it doesn't have to fly south for the winter. How much of an advantage would the Big Ten's plan mean?
With the Pac-12 and Big 12 formally or informally lending their support to the push for a college football playoff, an abandoned joint project of the SEC and ACC from a few years ago, only one power league has remained opposed. And that could be changing, with two Big Ten athletic directors telling the Associated Press it's time to think about a playoff system that still leaves the bowls intact.
The AP quotes Michigan St. Spartans AD Mark Hollis ("All of the Big Ten athletic directors are comfortable exploring the possibility of a four-team playoff") and his Ohio St. Buckeyes counterpart, Gene Smith ("It's time to be curious about everything").
The Big Ten's favored postseason plan, reported by the Chicago Tribune, calls for home field advantage for the top two semifinalists, with bowls remaining as they are. That would leave the Rose Bowl in working condition for the time being, satisfying Jim Delany's primary public concern with the whole ordeal.
And with the Pac-12 and Big Ten entering a long-term partnership, it's not out of the question that the Rose could become a joint property of the two conferences at some point, further ... well, further solving all that stuff even more. It would be so darn solved.
For more wholesomeness, visit Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.
Bowl games are wonderful, but there are too many of them. And a potential 2014 eligibility change could be one more step along the way to a superior postseason.
We are heading into another long offseason of arguing about whether a playoff is necessary, what format is best, and whether the bowls are worth saving. But instead of having the same conversation we've been having for a decade (or decades), let's catch everybody up.
College football needs fundamental changes. But a playoff? That's just something selfish fans want when they should focus on what's most important: helping the players get what they deserve.
The BCS National Champion could soon be determined by a playoff system.
Can Congress bring a postseason to college football?
Shouldn't everything be more like the MAC? Let us also ponder a college football postseason that could fluctuate to accommodate more or fewer good teams and what in the world Kansas is doing right now.
If you're keeping a really weird score card, four of the five biggest conferences are now on board with a plus-one game being used to determine the champion at the highest level of college football. The SEC and ACC have supported the idea for years -- though it's reasonable to wonder whether the SEC's changed its mind, now that it can get two teams into the title game this way -- and the Big 12 and Pac-12 have recently joined.
At this year's IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, the Big 12 voted to support the plus-one format, while Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby says his conference is ready. And he has "bowls" in his name!
Smaller conferences will support change any way they can get it, leaving one major conference that's yet to throw its weight behind one extra round of college football. At the same conference, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany lamented that a plus-one would lead to calls for a full college football playoff.
Yes, that would be so very awful.
The system's broken, you say? You're outraged that (random No. 2 team) was selected over (random No. 3 team)? Then it's time to pick which method would be better. Small playoff? Big playoff? Go back to the old way?
The BCS as we know it will only last for two more years. This is not news, as a new contract must be agreed upon for 2014 and on, but the construction of the next championship game occupation could look quite different than what we have at the moment. Gene Wojciechowski reports, there's an informal proposal among BCS leadership to give up all BCS games besides the title game.
That would free the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange to invite their own pairings. Each would still work to maintain some conference allegiances -- the Rose would still want the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions -- but none would be required to take any teams beyond those obligated by its conference deals.
More importantly, it would also do away with automatic BCS qualification for the winners of anointed conferences.
Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas and BCS patriarch Roy Kramer have supported eliminating the collective's AQ provisions. Out of the goodness of their hearts and only for the sake of the nation's smaller programs, of course. There's speculation (there is!) that this is all a move to break up the college football postseason monopoly as Congress grows more and more interested by the year.
The idea of eliminating automatic qualifier status from the next round of BCS deals has popped up a lot lately. New Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told CBS Sports he supports eliminating AQ rights for conferences, a move he thinks would slow down conference "gerrymandering" for BCS bowl bids.
Now former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, the so-called father of the BCS, is mulling the switch. Appearing on the Paul Finebaum show, Kramer considered the possibility.
@dennisdoddcbs Kramer suggests elimination of AQ status. "Could be controversial." Wow, if Kramer sez it must be gaining traction.
He did go on to defend the BCS, saying it's opened up opportunities for Boise State and others and has increased college football interest. So it's not an outright call for overhaul by any means, but if perhaps the BCS' oldest fan is calling for a significant change, it's a good sign for the future of the sport's postseason. Not in the short term, because this would mean Boise State could be screwed out of a bigger bowl even if it wins a power conference, but in the long term.
If such a rule were to have been implemented for this season, for instance, Boise State wouldn't necessarily be a BCS doubtful after having lost only one game.
Complaining about the lack of a college football playoff has become part of the sport's official timeline and fabric. What happens if playoff proponents actually get their way one day? And what would the 2011 field look like?
Athletics directors for the two conferences have apparently embraced the notion of the most limited form of a playoff. If college presidents back them up on the proposal, it could reshape the college postseason.
The BCS and the Justice Department had their long-anticipated meeting Thursday. Bill Hancock sat down with the DOJ for 90 minutes to discuss concerns about fairness and anti-trust legislation. Hancock came away from the meetings "confident."
"I went into it confident that the BCS complies with the law, and I left the meeting even more confident," Hancock said. ". . . They asked good questions. They asked how the BCS operates, and talked about access and finances. I gave them some history.
"We had an opportunity to explain what we do and why it doesn't pose any antitrust concerns . . . that it improved access (to top-tier bowls) and attendance and the (championship) game is much more of a national game and fans have benefited.
Hancock also slyly mentioned "No. 1 and 2 have met 13 of 13 years by our standards," which is a sneaky way of throwing that out there, especially since the BCS' "standards" of what constitutes the No. 1 team and the No. 2 team have not always been eye-to-eye with other voting bodies.
A Justice spokesperson said there would be no comment from the department. Alrighty.
For more college football, visit SB Nation’s NCAA Football hub.
After announcing that he would file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is now seeking law firms to join his case against the football entity. The Deseret News reported that Shurtleff's office filed a request of information on a government website designed for law firms. Readers are directed to this link to see the filing.
From there it is possible to read the 11-page filing, which includes a list of questions to be answered. Outside of fee arrangements, the questions ask if the answering law firm has had experience litigating the BCS or similar institutions.
Respondents have until Aug. 8 to submit their paperwork, so we shouldn't expect anything a legal team to appear overnight and challenge the BCS immediately. However, the BCS will also need to look out for the United States Department of Justice, which will hold a meeting with BCS officials on June 30.
Just don't get any hopes up of a change to the current bowl setup. It will likely take years for anything to come of this.
For more college football, visit SB Nation’s NCAA Football hub.
Where college football ends its regular season may say a lot about the inherent nature of the sport and its fault lines. Spencer Hall looks at the sport and the shaky ground it inhabits.
While NCAA President Mark Emmert has responded to the Department of Justice's inquiry into the BCS, that has not quelled concerns over college football's postseason. The Justice Department has requested and will receive a meeting with the BCS this summer. This doesn't appear to be anything more than a preliminary examination of the system the BCS has set up. A federal investigation of the BCS system is not in the discussion yet.
BCS officials want to show that its system fits in with existing antitrust legislation. Though the BCS has made changes in recent years to open up its postseason games to teams that play in non-automatic qualifying conferences, critics of this system still aren't satisfied.
A playoff system like the Football Championship Series is often brought up as a replacement for the BCS, as the previous system still relied on conference tie-ins to bowl games and the polls establishing the national championship.
For more college football, visit SB Nation’s NCAA Football hub.
NCAA president Mark Emmert responded to the Department of Justice’s inquiry about the BCS and possibility of a playoff system. As you can imagine, Emmert’s response was akin to shrugging his shoulders and saying “not our problem.” It’s passing the buck, in a way, as Emmert notes the Football Bowl Subdivision member institutions must propose an alternative to the system.
Here is an excerpt of Emmert’s response to the DOJ’s most basic question: Why not a playoff?
“Unless the membership decides to discontinue the existing BCS system and formally proposes creation of a championship for FBS institutions, there is no directive for the Association to establish a playoff. As noted, the FBS has never offered for consideration and vote a proposal to create an NCAA FBS championship.”
When asked whether the BCS is the best choice and whether any alternatives exist, Emmert responded with a single sentence that, essentially, said “go ask the BCS that one.” You can read the full letter, in PDF form, here.
I was wondering when this inquiry would get wacky and it appears we’ve hit that point. A DOJ inquiry seemed odd in the first place, and the whole ordeal seems to be little more than a fun public relations war Emmert refuses to touch.
For more college football, visit SB Nation’s NCAA Football hub.
Due to the obvious benefits associated with being a part of the Bowl Championship Series, the Mountain West Conference has been trying to become a BCS league for quite some time. The imminent departures of power schools Utah, BYU, and TCU put a serious dent in their quest for admission into sports' ultimate old boys network, the Mountain West is adding some new teams that will keep them in the hunt for a BCS spot.
Boise State, Hawaii, Fresno State, and Nevada all have strong football programs, and their additions will keep the Mountain West the seventh best football conference in college football at absolute worst. They have an outside shot at getting into the BCS with these new schools, but they'll have to get in upon appeal. There are three criteria that conferences have to meet to get an automatic seat at the BCS table, and the Mountain West would meet two of the three if their numbers were calculated with Boise State and TCU in the conference, but with Utah and BYU out.
1. The conference must finish among the top six in a listing of the average of each conference's highest ranked team at the end of each regular season.
2. The conference must finish among the top six in a listing of the average computer rankings of every conference's full roster of teams at the end of each regular season.
3. The conference must accumulate a score of at least 50 percent of the highest ranking conference's score in the Adjusted Top-25 Performance Ranking, which measures how many teams each conference placed in the BCS top 25 and adjusts for conference size.
Criteria No. 2 is the big hang-up for the Mountain West, as SB Nation's MWC blog Mountain West Connection explains:
Category two which is the average of all the teams in the league is what is holding the Mountain West down with struggling teams like Wyoming, UNLV and New Mexico.
Even with the bottom teams hurting the overall strength of the league, and looking just at the numbers the Mountain West is in a good position to gain a waiver because they are ahead of the Big East and ACC in two separate categories, but it will still come down to a petition to get in.
Of course, Congress might make sure that the BCS is not even a thing before the Mountain West gets a chance to play with the big boys, but that's a completely different animal. As long as the BCS exists, the Mountain West conference wants to be a part of it, and they have an excellent case for joining.
For more on the Mountain West Conference and this developing story, check out Mountain West Connection.
The NCAA has responded snippily to reports of a letter from the Justice Department on the subject of the Bowl Championship Series and whether the governing body has looked into a playoff for FBS football. In the brief statement, NCAA vice president of communications Bob Williams says the NCAA will respond shortly, but to the Department itself:
When we actually receive the letter from the Department of Justice we will respond to its questions directly. It should be noted that President Emmert consistently has said, including in the New York Times article, that the NCAA is willing to help create a playoff format for Football Bowl Subdivision football if the FBS membership makes that decision.
We have the full text of the letter right here, sir! The NCAA knows it doesn't have PR on its side on this one, and is thus wise to operate one-on-one instead of letting this continue to air out in public.
For more college football, visit SB Nation's NCAA Football hub.
Christine Varney, the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for antitrust, sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert about the Bowl Championship Series, essentially asking why the BCS shouldn't be considering in violation of antitrust laws. This didn't quite come out of nowhere, as Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has previously met with the Justice Department about the matter, and Varney cites several other experts who've joined the cause.
Varney asks Emmert why FBS college football doesn't have a playoff, when other NCAA sports do.
The full text of the letter:
Dear Dr. Emmert:
Serious questions continue to arise suggesting that the current Bowl Championship Series (DCS) system may not be conducted consistent with the competition principles expressed in the federal antitrust laws. The Attorney General of Utah has announced an intention to file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS. In addition,we recently received a request to open an investigation of the BCS from a group of twenty-one professors, a copy of which is attached. Other prominent individuals also have publicly encouraged the Antitrust Division to take action against the BCS, arguing that it violates the antitrust laws.
On March 2, 2011, the New York Times reported that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was "willing to help create a playoff format to decide a national championship for the top level of college football." In that context, it would be helpful for us to understand your views and/or plans on the following:
1. Why does the Football Bowl Subdivision not have a playoff, when so many other NCAA sports have NCAA-run playoffs or championships?
2. What steps, if any, has the NCAA taken to create a playoff among Football Bowl Subdivision programs before or during your tenure? To the extent any steps were taken, why were they not successful? What steps does the NCAA plan to take to create a playoff at this time?
3. Have you determined that there are aspects of the BCS system that do not serve the interests of fans, colleges, universities, and players? To what extent could an alternative system better serve those interests?
Your views would be relevant in helping us to determine the best course of action with regard to the BCS. Therefore, we thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.
So what does all this mean? If a suit is launched against the BCS, Dan Wetzel, for one, thinks it could succeedwhether a judge finds the system to violate antitrust law or not.
For more college football, visit SB Nation's NCAA Football hub.
Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff will file suit against the BCS after years of threatening (literally!) to do so. This all started when the Utah Utes were denied a shot at the national title in 2008 despite going 13-0, finishing No. 2 after obliterating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl. Shurtleff says he expects other state attorneys general to join his effort.
This isn't about bragging rights, it isn't some kind of frivolous deal, there are serious antitrust violations that are harming taxpayer-funded institutions to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Shurtleff had previously met with the Justice Department to attempt to activate its involvement. His timing in announcing this suit couldn't have been better, considering it's breaking on the heels of the NCAA investigation into the Fiesta Bowl.
BCS executive Bill Hancock, of course, was ready with a retort, telling USA Today the parameters of a hypothetical antitrust lawsuit wouldn't apply to the BCS.
In this installment of Evil Contarian, Jon Bois shifts into Cranky Condescending Jerk Mode and tries, once again, to defend the indefensible.
Imagine college football wasn't stuck in the 1950's and there was a playoff to decide the National Championship. Here are five teams that would challenge the unbeatens -- Oregon, Auburn and TCU -- to win the title.
Sure, at this point it seems unlikely that either TCU or Boise State will get a chance to play in the BCS National Championship Game this year. Neither team has the strength of schedule to get it just by going undefeated, and both are likely to be less appealing than a one-loss SEC champion, be it Auburn or Alabama.
But what if Oregon loses, or both Auburn and Alabama fall out of the race? That's what BCS Evolution is wondering, too, and our BCS expert comes up with two possible narratives.
If TCU or Boise State go to the BCS championship game, the big conferences will want a playoff to weed them out in the early rounds.
The idea of this argument is that the major conferences support the current system to exclude potential outsiders from championship consideration. Based on this premise, if TCU or Boise State make the championship game the BCS will have failed this, and these conferences will have no reason to fight a playoff.
If TCU or Boise State go to the BCS championship game it will prove the system works, removing the need for a playoff.
This is certainly the angle (BCS executive director) Bill Hancock would take. This would put a serious dent in arguments that it is impossible for teams from outside the automatic qualifying conferences to earn their way to the championship game. This could be further argued by pointing out that the MWC is on pace to be considered for an automatic qualification for 2012 and 2013.
I would tend to agree with the former verdict — sure, the BCS tossing a bone to the scrappy mid-majors once in a while would quiet the playoff clamor, but the big conferences want the prestige and the cash that comes with national championships as often as possible.
You can vote on which verdict is right at BCS Evolution.
The SEC Media Days has gone retro for 2010, or at least that's the way I prefer to think of a complete internet outage at the SEC's annual media circus. It helps keep the killing rage at bay, and turns an ISP meltdown into a festive, stylish ode to our journalistic forebears who had to work without a functional internet connection.
BCS head Bill Hancock's appearance coincided with this complete internet outage, and just as well. He labored through a regurgitation of the BCS's standard talking points with a PowerPoint presentation.
It's still a bit premature to write obituaries for the Big 12...but at the pace a possible Pac-10 expansion is going, things are moving rapidly towards the demise of (at least) one of the six power conferences. And that begs the question: how exactly did we get here?
Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel provides an excellent breakdown and dates the moment when things began to fall apart for the Big 12 to 2008, when league commissioner Dan Beebe sided with the Big 10 and Pac-10 in turning down an offer to create a plus-one playoff system in college football. Indeed, while the constant refrain has been that we as fans are stuck with the BCS "because of the money", the (obvious) reality is that a college football playoff system would be much more of a cash cow. As Wetzel notes, Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany conceded in congressional testimony that a 16-team playoff would garner about four times the revenue as the BCS system.
So why did the Big 12, Big 10 and Pac-10 conspire to kill it? Well, according to Wetzel, the Big 12 did so because they were dopes. But the Big 10 and Pac-10 apparently wanted to position themselves to take a bigger cut further down the line. If the major conferences had come together on a plus-one playoff system a few years ago, the revenue would have been split more or less evenly between them. By voting down the system, the Big 10 and Pac-10 bought time to aggressively pursue expansion, and set up their own television networks that create a new system of haves and have-nots in the college football landscape. If the two manage to cannibalize the Big 12, with the SEC likely to follow suit and do so to the ACC as well, these new mega-conferences will be positioned to rake in monumental sums if and when a playoff ever does come to college football.
So, in short, the Big 10 and Pac-10 were playing chess, and the Big 12 didn't even know there was a game going on.
I'm not entirely sure why they asked me to do this thing about what happens over the next decade in college football; everyone knows that Skynet's but a few years away from seizing control of our nation and its infrastructure, throwing the balance of society into chaos and bloodshed. That's science, people. But if we must pretend that the Reverse Robot Dinosaur Revolution won't happen, here's what changes would theoretically await the world's greatest sport. And really, there's nowhere to start but sports' most controversial (and by that we mean "hated") postseason.
1. A college football playoff will finally... not happen: Look, I don't want to write this. I want to write that college football will implement an eight-team playoff with the top six conference winners and two wild cards and that it'll be in a Super Bowl-style method of placing games--much easier to sell out a home game than a neutral-site game--and that the BCS will get stabbed into oblivion by a nuclear missile like in one of those terrible action movies. That's not going to happen, because that's not the way a power structure operates. The BCS is comfortably in place and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Sorry.
2. That's okay, because a non-BCS school will compete for the national title: Setting aside the total hose job the BCS put on TCU and Boise State this season by placing them in the Separate But Equal Bowl, it's important to realize just how close the Horned Frogs came to the title game. If Texas doesn't pull off the quick drive for the field goal against Nebraska and Cincinnati doesn't come back from that 21-point deficit against Pittsburgh, TCU's in the game. Both Texas' and Cincinnati's comebacks were major improbabilities; fate will not continue to side against the non-BCS schools forever.
3. The opt-out is coming: This won't be pretty, but with the Marcus Jordan situation and the immense, wasted moneymaking potential of Tim Tebow, eventually the NCAA's going to throw its hands up and let its most marketable players get theirs. Thus, if an athlete approaches his school with written contract offers totaling more than his scholarship's cost, the NCAA will let him (or her) explore those professional opportunities without blowing their eligibility. It won't go smoothly, and it'll be an even bigger headache than before. If that surprises you, please allow us to introduce you to the NCAA. They are where good ideas go to die.
4. Oregon will begin changing uniforms after each quarter: This will continue for a few years until Phil Knight perfects the color-changing jersey technology that has eluded him for decades. It'll be visually stunning, but the jersey will--on rare occasions, we assure you--burst into flames fueled by the complex polymers in the fabric and pads underneath. It'll place Oregon players' lives in mortal danger, but did you hear us? COLOR CHANGING UNIFORM TECHNOLOGY.
5. The Big XII is about to look very different: The Big XII isn't as much "dysfunctional" as just plain underutilized; no conference with Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska should be such an afterthought on the national landscape. But lo and behold, a defection to the Big Ten by Missouri (that's very, very happening, by the way; the Big 10 would love to get in on the St. Louis market, and Missouri's brass have been writing "MIZZOU + BIG TEN 4EVER" on their Trapper Keepers ever since the BXI mentioned the word "expansion") will shock the conference into action. It might be ugly, and we're highly skeptical that Baylor survives the, ahem, restructuring.
But CBS should and probably will be throwing gobs of money at the conference, which is struggling with an uneven, undercompetitive deal with Fox at the moment. There's frankly no reason why the Big XII should be taking in more than $100 million less than the Big Ten or SEC--to say nothing of the fact that most Iowa State games aren't even televised--and we're sure CBS would like to fix that situation.
6. San Jose State will just start skipping games and wondering if anybody notices: Nobody will notice.
7. And finally, concussion prevention will dramatically change the nature of the game: The darkest, most unmentionable aspect of college football is undoubtedly head injuries and the treatment thereof; by the end of the decade, we'll look back on Tim Tebow missing one whole game after his brain rearrangement against Kentucky and conclude that the sport was run by barbarians and ignorant savages back then. But if you were to go to a sports physician and say "we want that (this is where you point at college football; look, this would be so much easier if it were visual, but SBN wouldn't pony up for a full film crew), but with no concussions," you'd be laughed out of the building.
We won't make any predictions about how the league deals with concussions, mainly because it's obvious the NCAA has no idea how to do so. Currently, the word is that they'll empower officials to remove players from a game if one has signs of having suffered a concussion. That's a silly idea for multiple reasons; first, that's completely not the referee's job. They're field judges, not doctors, and they shouldn't be counted on for something as serious as determining a player's well-being. Second, the issue isn't whether guys are playing with concussions, it's that they're suffering too many of them over the course of a career. And frankly, there are way too many idiot athletes without the capacity to demonstrate that they haven't recently suffered a concussion to begin with.
We're not sure what the move will be; to guess the NCAA's reaction is, frankly, a disservice to their talent for imagining new and odd ways to make their athletes' lives more unsatisfactory. So we don't know what it is, but we know you're going to hate it. Can't wait.
As you probably know already, both Boise State and TCU are undefeated, but neither even got a shot at the national championship (somewhat amazingly, the senior class at Boise has gone 48-4 ... and never played for the title).
Anyways, all this unjustness and fan outrage and been channeled into something more productive than some angry tweets directed toward @insidetheBCS.
Playoff PAC, "a federal political committee dedicated to establishing a competitive post-season championship for college football" has produced a television commercial that will air in select markets on Fox before Thursday night's National Championship game between Texas and Alabama.
The select markets are Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Coincidentally, those markets cover undefeated teams that have been snubbed in the past two years by the BCS championship - Boise State, Texas Christian and Utah.
The BCS safely insulates itself from any possible embarrassments by putting TCU and Boise State at the Fiesta Bowl against each other. I mean, “The Fiesta Bowl chooses both teams because they believe they will be the best draw for attendance and ratings.” Yes, that’s it!
In all the hubbub surrounding the coaches’ poll and its insane voting this week, Dan Shanoff asks: Why not just let Tim Tebow vote for everyone? I’m sorry, that is not what he asked. (But he thought it.)
What he asks instead is “Why not include the Blogpoll?”
The BlogPoll has been around for a few years now; its legitimacy is unquestioned — it is in the second year of affiliation with CBSSports.com as its partner. This week’s results merely highlighted the most striking differentials yet between the BlogPoll and its “mainstream” cohorts. Alternate, knowledgeable, credentialed perspectives — like the BlogPoll — will only help the BCS system.
My only critique of the suggestion of including the Blogpoll (full disclosure: I am a voter) is the potential for the exact same partisanship you would see in a regional writers’ poll. If only there were some way to just get the teams in a bracket of some sort, and then play it out and the end of the season…but now that’s just paint chip-eating crazy talk, something never seen in sport before.
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