The BCS Executive Committee and Conference Commissioners Meet in Chicago to Discuss a BCS Playoff Format
By Kevin Lonnquist
The question that enters Wednesday’s BCS meetings in Chicago is whether the BCS executive committee and conference commissioners can build enough of a consensus so a desired four-team playoff format will be determined.
Given how the Big 12, SEC, Big East, ACC and PAC 12 have different viewpoints over a new system that will begin in 2014, it may be until Labor Day that we know what we have. All 11 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick are scheduled to return to Chicago next week in the hopes of having something prepared to send to the College President’s Oversight Committee when it meets June 26 in Washington, D.C. Virginia Tech’s Charles Steger is the chair of the committee.
All parties have to determine how these teams will be selected, if reconfigured BCS standings will be used or if a selection committee – similar to the ones used for men’s basketball and baseball – will be needed and where the semifinal games will be played.
The Big 12 and SEC have made it known they want the four best teams to be selected regardless of whether they have won conference championships or not. See defending national champion Alabama which won the SEC’s sixth consecutive national championship. Big 12 outgoing commissioner Chuck Neinas and incoming commissioner Bob Bowlsby and SEC commissioner Mike Slive have pretty much drawn their lines in the sand.
However, the Big 10 presidents would like to protect their long-standing relationship with the Rose Bowl. Knowing the current system will be changed, the presidents are in favor of using the plus-one model – a game that would be played following the bowl games – and commissioner Jim Delaney would like a selection committee involved.
Like the Big 10, the PAC 12 wants to maintain its relationship with the Rose Bowl. Commissioner Larry Scott favors a format where conference champions are in play. However, that puts a danger on teams winning conferences with less than sterling records especially if they upset a favorite in the conference championship game.
The ACC is at risk here. Knowing that several schools have hinted at looking at other conferences, commissioner John Swofford favors the use of conference champions.
It would appear that the Big East is losing clout in these discussions, especially since it forced the resignation of commissioner John Marinatto last month. Joseph a. Bailey III is the acting commissioner.
When BCS conference commissioners agreed in April to drop AQ and non-AQ status from any potential future playoff format, it really hurt the Big East. Given that its top football powers in West Virginia (Big 12) and Pittsburgh (ACC) are leaving, the chances of putting a team in a high-paying BCS game are slimmer.
Most of these conferences prefer that the current bowl games be used to host the semifinals and then award the national championship game to the highest bidding city. That would definitely include Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome in New Orleans, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Dolphins Stadium in Miami and possibly the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Cal.
The current BCS championship format expires after the 2013 season and 2014 bowl games.