Death Of The BCS: Commissioners Agree On Four-Team Playoff Beginning In '14
BCS Commissioners yesterday after a “four-hour meeting” in Chicago emerged together and announced that they had "developed a consensus behind a four-team seeded playoff," according to Brett McMurphy of CBSSPORTS.com. Sources said that the commissioners “will recommend a seeded-four team playoff that will feature the ‘best four teams’ as chosen by a selection committee to the Presidential Oversight Committee.” The Presidential Oversight Committee meets Tuesday in DC “and ultimately must approve the playoff," which will begin after the '14 regular season. Sources said that the teams will be chosen by a selection committee "with the committee putting emphasis on conference champions.” The preference of the commissioners “is to play the semifinals around Jan. 1 among the existing BCS bowl sites (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta and Orange) with the championship game played less than two weeks later on the Monday following the NFL wildcard round (around Jan. 9-11).” McMurphy noted there is "already unanimous support to have the championship game bid out to any city or venue in the same fashion as the Super Bowl is awarded.” With such “a strong backing by the commissioners of a four-team playoff, it would be surprising if the Presidential Oversight Committee did not approve that” (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/20). ESPN’s Joe Schad said after yesterday’s meeting, "There was a lot more positive energy, a lot of feeling that those presidents are going to go ahead and approve what the majority of the room has decided is in the best interest of college football” (“SportsCenter,” 6/20). In L.A., Chris Dufresne writes the presidents “could take days or weeks to render their final decision" (L.A. TIMES, 6/21). In DC, Mark Giannotto writes it is “clear a new day has arrived” (WASHINGTON POST, 6/21).
DELANEY CITES UNITY: The AP’s Ralph Russo noted the 11 commissioners “stood shoulder-to-shoulder behind” Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick as he read the BCS statement. Yesterday’s meeting was “the sixth formal get-together of the year,” and after talking for four hours, the commissioners “emerged with a commitment to stand behind a plan.” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said, “We're very unified.” Sources said that “the semifinals of the proposed plan would rotate among the major bowls and not be tied to traditional conference relationships” (AP, 6/20).
AND OTHERS SEE A UNITED FRONT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Rachel Bachman writes BCS leaders “showed more unity in standing shoulder to shoulder" yesterday "than they have at any time in the previous five months of discussions.” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, “There are some differences, and some legitimate differences, but we will work them out" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/21). In Chicago, Tina Akouris writes the “impact of having the group together as the announcement was made was not lost on” Slive. He said, “The fact that we’re all here together is an important statement for college football.” BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock said that he “wasn’t sure if the playoff format would retain the BCS name.” Hancock said, “If the presidents decide to go down this path, then we will start working on those kinds of details. The result of that decision will determine the name of the event. I don’t think it will be called (the BCS)” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/21).
WHAT'S TO BE DETERMINED: USA TODAY’s Steve Wieberg notes the current BCS contracts run through the '13 season and the playoff, "expected to fetch up" to $400M in annual TV rights fees, up from the current $125M a year, would go into effect in '14. Commissioners favor "semifinals in existing top-tier bowls, keeping the bowls meaningful.” The selection committee “would mirror that in basketball,” but two commissioners said that the football committee would be “charged with picking the nation’s four best, most deserving teams, giving strong weight to conference championships” (USA TODAY, 6/21). In N.Y., Pete Thamel notes there “will be a preference given to conference champions in the selection, but how much is yet to be determined.” Strength of schedule “will also be strongly considered.” There have “yet to be any discussions about how the finances will be split among the teams” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/21). In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein notes several issues “still need to be worked out, including dates of the games, the criteria a selection committee would use and revenue sharing.” Delany said that details “don't need to be hashed out until negotiations with TV partners begin in September or October” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/21). ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg wrote when a new TV deal is finalized for football's future postseason model, “the conferences will have a substantially larger revenue pie to divide.” But he wrote, “How should they split up the dough?” Rittenberg cited a CBSSports.com report this week that stated commissioners are "considering a proposal that would assign revenue based on past on-field performances.” But another factor “could be academic performance” (ESPN.com, 6/20).
COMMITTEE VIBE: In Detroit, Mark Snyder notes to find “knowledgeable people with available time for the committee, prominent former coaches have been floated as a consideration.” Former Univ. of Michigan coach and College Football HOFer Lloyd Carr said, “That's part of the real issue, with whatever they're going to come up with, the media and especially ESPN, they've got such a dominant voice, they promote, and it puts pressure on who is going to vote and influence them." Snyder notes Carr has “voted for years in the coaches poll and last year was a Harris poll voter.” Carr added, "One good thing, if they involve former coaches, the former coaches do have a lot more time to watch the games and the time to see the other teams. In the coaches poll, we were always voting on teams we had not seen" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/21). ESPN’s Bram Weinstein: “How they get to that Final Four will be interesting as well (because) the computers that have spit out an algorithm ranking the teams, that may be a thing of the past” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 6/20).
WHO IS HOSTING? In Dallas, Chuck Carlton notes the potential title game could be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. A source said that the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the Cowboys and Cowboys Stadium “have formed a nonprofit entity to bid on future national championship games.” The Cotton Bowl “could be involved in a revolving semifinal matchup, depending on the major bowls chosen to host the semifinals” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/21). In Jacksonville, Garry Smits notes Gator Bowl President Rick Catlett made the city's "intentions known in bidding for the national championship game.” When asked if Jacksonville would join other sites in efforts to host the “first true national championship” for football, Catlett said, “Absolutely.” He added, “Mayor (Alvin) Brown and (Jacksonville director of sports and entertainment) Alan Verlander are committed to bringing events like this to the city of Jacksonville and I think we're going to be able to put together a great bid" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/21).
RUMOR HAS IT: In Chicago, Brian Hamilton wrote Notre Dame “will not shift allegiance of other sports to the Big 12 soon, as a report contended could occur by the end of summer.” Swarbrick jokingly said, “I saw that and I thought (Bob) Bowlsby and I should hold hands up there. I have no idea what prompted that. It is not based on any discussion, any meeting we have done” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/21).