Wednesday, June 13, 2012

College Football's Postseason in the Balance

Two good reads on the mega-meeting being held today, which we hope will deliver the long-awaited playoff model for determining major college football's national championship.

The first:

BCS on brink of moving to four-team playoff –
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College football is headed … where, exactly?
Most signs continue to point to a four-team playoff, starting with the 2014 season and replacing the Bowl Championship Series' single-championship-game format that has kicked up controversy for much of the past 14 years.

But there are differences to iron out, details to fill in. The conference commissioners who oversee the BCS gather Wednesday in Chicago and roll up their sleeves. Whether they'll emerge from the scheduled seven-hour meeting with a basic plan — particulars to come — is uncertain.
Via USA Today
And, the second:

Five college football postseason options weigh tradition, logic
Published on Chron CFB | shared via feedly

Wednesday in Chicago, the conference commissioners who collectively form the Bowl Championship Series brain trust, again will meet to determine the future of college football's postseason.

With the current version of the BCS guaranteed to exist for just two more years, the commissioners are seriously considering major changes beginning with the 2014 season. By all accounts, anything larger than a four-team playoff is off the table. So, too, are semifinal games played on campus sites.

But even though much is yet to be decided, a plan might be in place by June 26, when the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee meets in Washington.
Via the Houston Chronicle.
The overarching sentiment of both pieces is "uncertainty," with an undercurrent of high stakes negotiation and deal-making.

The Chronicle story lays out five possible outcomes, ranging from the status quo to a hybrid four-team system that includes three conference champions and a wild card for a fourth team. While never underestimating the BCS commissioners' ability to screw this thing up, the most likely outcome is the last of the five.

It appeases those who believe conference championship should mean something while also giving ground to teams that play in stronger conferences. It's also likely to be favored by Notre Dame, which desperately wants to maintain its independent status.

The champions only model would be an unmitigated disaster. As Finger points out in the Chronicle story (see what I did there?), it rewards teams that play in weaker conferences, meaning that a two-loss ACC or even three-loss Big East champ could crowd out a one-loss Big 12 or SEC squad. If you think conference realignment is a mess now, watch the race to the bottom that follows.

What will be interesting to see is how consummate politician Jim Delany and the pragmatic Larry Scott maneuver to protect their Rose Bowl love affair.

High drama, folks.


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