SBD/April 30, 2012/Colleges

Conference Affiliation Could Determine Location Of College Football Semifinals

Conference affiliation could determine site of two national BCS semifinals
If the 11 FBS conferences and independent schools “decide to incorporate the existing Bowl Championship Series bowl games into a four-team playoff, the sites of the two national semifinal games might be determined by the conference affiliations of the two highest-ranked teams," according to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com. Under a plan proposed last week during BCS meetings in Hollywood, Fla., officials “discussed having the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Rose bowls serve as rotating sites for two semifinal games.” Sources said that conference commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick “are leaning heavily toward offering a national championship game to the highest bidder, which might include host cities of the current BCS bowls, or new hosts such as Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis.” Sources said that the commissioners “are leaning toward incorporating the existing BCS bowls into a playoff.” Instead of “designating two BCS bowls as the host sites for two semifinal games before a particular season, the sites wouldn't be determined until the four participating teams were named.” Sources also said that conference commissioners “were still weighing the positives and negatives of the proposed plan.” One potential issue is that based on "historical results, the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl might host national semifinal games more frequently than the Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.” As a result, financial considerations among the BCS bowls “would have to be negotiated for the plan to work” (ESPN.com, 4/27).

BEST OPTION CONSIDERED? In Orlando, Matt Murschel writes the best model “may not be one that is considered.” Murschel: “I’m talking about a four-team playoff that involves playing semifinal games on host campus sites. You can talk about preserving traditions in college football all you like but what better way to demonstrate that idea than having a college town host a semifinal?” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/30). In Tulsa, John Hoover wrote under the header, “BCS Has Been Good For College Football.” Even more than “matching the game's top two teams for a (mostly) undisputed champion, the BCS did something no one saw coming.” It “grew the sport of college football beyond anyone's expectations.” Univ. of Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione Friday said, "While there are all sorts of opportunities for debate and disagreement and differing opinions, the actual sport itself benefited because people were really excited about it.” Castiglione said, “Absolutely the BCS has worked. It has worked. It's given us a 1 versus 2 game that seldom happened before, and it's been a tremendous benefit for the non-(automatic qualifier) conferences. But, of course, we have heard the people who are saying they want something more. And we're listening." He added, “It’s been exceptionally good, even with some of the controversy along the way” (TULSA WORLD, 4/29).

WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote under the proposed plan, sports fans “will eventually realize an uncomfortable and awkward truth: This is absolutely no help to college athletes for whom this is supposed to be about.” The extra revenue will “almost certainly come with more shameful waste and extravagance instead of important changes.” Mellinger: “No matter where you stand on college athletes being paid, this is exploitation” (K.C. STAR, 4/29).
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