SBD/June 21, 2012/Colleges

The Death Of The BCS, Part II: Was It A Slam Dunk For Slive?

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One writer thinks SEC's domination of BCS era could continue in new playoff system
Despite yesterday’s announcement for a four-team college football playoff, “get used to a world -- a new college football playoff world -- much like the current one," where Tigers, Tide, Gators and Dawgs are "running loose and free over the landscape,” according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. While weight will be given to conference champions, the “overriding conclusion was that the conference that has dominated the game in the BCS era will have at least as good a chance in the playoff era. Maybe better.” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said of Slive, “I think he wanted a four-team playoff. I think he's been vague about what four 'best' means. He left himself some flexibility" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/20).

WHO WAVED THE WHITE FLAG? FOXSPORTS’ Thayer Evans writes that yesterday’s announcement signified that Delany and Scott “had officially waved the white flag in arguably the biggest war in the history of their sport -- a war won by” Slive, former Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas and current Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Based on the “expected final details of the playoff, the SEC/Big 12 massacred the Big Ten/Pac-12.” Delany and Scott’s “only moral victory was that Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman still will be allowed to make a presentation on the plus-one to the BCS presidential oversight committee.” Evans writes although Delany and Scott “said all the right things as part of Wednesday’s announcement, their body language didn’t seem to match their words.” Delany stood “with his arms folded across his chest during most of it, while Scott was stoic, with his hands folded near his waist” (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/21). In Detroit, Mark Snyder writes of the commissioners, “Give them credit. They are, appropriately, giving it the old college try.” But there were “enough indications here about where this is heading: a middle ground that meshes conference champions and the best teams,” which ACC Commissioner John Swofford said those two “don’t have to be exclusive” concepts. A released statement on the decision said that “discussion of a Plus-One” by the Presidents is “one reason the Big Ten and Pac-12 were able to stand there united despite their presidents’ reluctance to embrace the four-team model, preferring the plus-one model” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/21). Delany said, “I was never a champions-only advocate. It’s been reported that I was. I was never that.” SI.com's Stewart Mandel noted on this issue, Delany "got what he wanted” (SI.com, 6/20). USC AD Pat Haden “favors conference champions being rewarded with national-championship opportunities.” Haden said, “Because that takes the potential bias out of a voting committee. You have to win something” (OCREGISTER.com, 6/20).

VICTORY LAP FOR SLIVE: YAHOO SPORTS’ Pat Forde wrote if the “long slog toward a college football playoff were the Tour de France, the only thing left would be the ceremonial victory lap down the Champs-Élysées.” And the “guy in the yellow jersey, sipping champagne as he rides … would be Mike Slive.” Slive has “forced change upon a resistant sport.” It is a “fairly remarkable change of tack for a sport that seemed addicted to an ossified bowl system.” The change “began over the winter, when Delany rather abruptly said he was open to a playoff, and momentum accelerated from there.” The commissioners have “come together behind the shrewd, circumspect leader of the SEC.” Forde wrote, “Slive has won on a playoff. He likely will win on his preferred criteria for entry into the playoff. He will win on having the title game played outside the bowl structure, bid out to a neutral-site city. He already won on semifinals sites, having led the successful opposition to playing those games on campuses. Instead, according to reports, they will rotate among existing bowls” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/20).

BYE BYE BCS: In N.Y., Pete Thamel writes the decision “effectively ends the controversial and polarizing" BCS system (N.Y. TIMES, 6/21). ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel wrote the consensus of the commissioners “is a tribute to their belief that the BCS had outlived its usefulness.” Or it may be a tribute to how the group is “tired of defending the BCS against an effective guerrilla media campaign for a playoff” (ESPN.com, 6/20). CBSSPORTS.com’s Matt Hinton wrote “the victory for playoff advocates is simply that a playoff is going to exist.” That in itself “is the giant leap forward” (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/20). SI.com’s Stewart Mandel wrote yesterday’s news was “unquestionably significant.” Commissioners “finally found a playoff model they can all live with for 2014 and beyond.” And one “highly encouraging buzzword kept making the rounds Wednesday: Transparency” (SI.com, 6/20). ESPN’s Chris Fowler said of the four-team playoff, “Based on Twitter, there are people who love it, there are people who still believe this falls far short. I think it is a good day for fans who have been deeply dissatisfied with the BCS in recent years. This isn’t the perfect plan in the minds of many. It is an improvement. In this sport, change comes at a glacial pace and I was a little bit surprised and pleased today that they came out and announced they had a consensus. I think it’s a formality that the Presidential Oversight Committee next week will approve this” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 6/20).

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