Plan for 4-team college football playoff emerges
The expected became a reality Wednesday as college football's leaders announced they will move forward with a four-team playoff to decide...
CHICAGO — The expected became a reality Wednesday as college football's leaders announced they will move forward with a four-team playoff to decide the sport's champion starting in 2014.
The decision effectively ends the controversial and polarizing Bowl Championship Series system, which began in 1998 as a way to match the sport's top two teams in a title game.
The decision has been expected for months as conference commissioners conceded as early as January the relentless controversy would prompt a change to a playoff-style format. The only step remaining, which appears to be a formality, is the presentation of their plan to the BCS oversight committee Tuesday in Washington.
But much like the BCS was constantly steeped in controversy, the selection of a four-team playoff still appears destined to inflame the sport's passionate fans. While the BCS commissioners did not announce the details of how they would pick the teams for the four-team playoff, a source with direct knowledge of the decision said the plan is for a selection committee to "more than likely" pick the four best teams.
There will be a preference given to conference champions in the selection, but how much is yet to be determined. Strength of schedule also will be strongly considered. There have yet to be any discussions about how the finances will be split among the teams.
The two semifinal games are expected to be played within the bowl system, and the national championship will be bid on like the Super Bowl.
"We are excited to be on the threshold of creating a new postseason structure for college football that builds on the great popularity of our sport," said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame's athletic director.
All 11 conference commissioners stood behind Swarbrick, who read the BCS statement.
The commissioners have been working on reshaping college football's postseason since January. The meeting was the sixth formal get-together of the year. They met for four hours and emerged with a commitment to stand behind a plan.
"I think we're very unified," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.
The commissioners and Swarbrick all stressed that ultimately the decision lies with the presidents on the oversight committee. And that they will have more than just one model to talk about at their meeting.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 presidents have both expressed support for the so-called plus-one model, which gives the BCS a new look by selecting the championship-game participants after the bowls are played instead of creating a pair of national semifinals.
"I'm comfortable both of those will still be discussed at the president's meeting," Delany said.