College football’s newest way to crown a national champion should become a lot clearer in south Florida on Wednesday and Thursday.
The conference commissioners in charge of the Bowl Championship Series will meet for the fourth time this year, trying to sort out the future of the BCS. They are focusing on four options, though within in each plan there are myriad details to be worked.
A memo, first reported by USA Today and obtained by The Associated Press, identified much of what’s on the table.
A final decision isn’t expected to come from this round of meetings, but BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock has said he’d like the conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletics director to come out of them with extensive plans for the leagues to chew on over the next month or so.
A playoff is the best bet, but more detailed plans also allow for more reasons to object.
We break down the possibilities and give an educated guess about the chances of each being implemented.
BCS with adjustments
Original “Plus One”
But there’s a catch. Actually, there are several catches, most importantly where to play the games.
The Big Ten has been pushing home sites, which sounds cool — especially to Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany — until you start doing logistics on holding a huge sporting event in Manhattan, Kan., or Pullman, Wash.
Also, the prospect of playing outdoors in, say, Madison, Wis., in late December, is not something SEC Commissioner Mike Slive’s members will like.
The games could be played in the traditional bowls, rotating around the way the BCS does now. Or the three new games could be awarded to the highest bidders and be played separate from the bowls. Or possibly some combination of those two. But will fans travel to two neutral site games?
There’s also been the suggestion of picking the four highest-ranked conference champions.
That would raise the stakes on the regular season and league championship games — essentially turning championship weekend into the first round of the playoffs — and take some of the subjectivity out of selecting the teams. However, a possible playoff field featuring Nos. 1, 3, 5, and 7 is going to be tough to sell many fans.
When Hancock talks about coming up with something more specific, he’s talking mostly about this format.
Four Teams Plus