ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN.com that “considerable progress” had been made towards a playoff as 11 FBS Commissioner's and Notre Dame's AD head into their meetings Wednesday in Chicago. This is leaving many optimistic that a 4 team BCS playoff is coming soon.
“I have some hope and a certain level of confidence,” Swofford said. “When we left Florida, that was a big step to have a consensus in the room to go to a three-game, four-team playoff. I said the devil was in the details and that would be just as challenging. We're finding that to be true, but I think a lot of people have put their heads into this. I think we've made considerable progress on it. I think we're within striking distance on most of it.”
The biggest issues between this being a dream and a reality are:
- When and where the semifinals and national championship game will be played
- How the 4 teams will be selected
- What will happen to existing Bowl games
- How will the $400-$500 million in TV revenue be divided among the conferences
“Some of the details have to be worked out,” Swofford said. “I think we can get there on most of it.”
I think for now, the semifinals and championship will be bid out. It can't exist within the current bowl system for several reasons. First, that's 3 games divided between 4 BCS bowls. I mean, unless you had the two losers play in a 4th game for a third place trophy but who cares. Second, certain conferences are already aligned in bowls, like Big 10 and Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl, not to mention the Big 12 and SEC lining up together.
I think college football is ultimately headed to 4 major conferences when all the alignment is done. I think the ACC will lose it's football powers.
But people familiar with the BCS discussions say I'm wro
ng and that they're working to incorporate the 4 BCS bowl games. Apparently one idea is that the 2 highest seeds will host semifinal games at their respective conferences' affiliated bowl. Like if USC was hosting a semifinal game it'd be at the Rose Bowl.
Some are considering rotating the games between the BCS bowls and having them predetermined before a season.
But it still seems like the National Championship game will be bid out like the Superbowl.
“Our preference is that the semifinals be incorporated into the bowl system, which seems to be in good shape,” Swofford said. “We're comfortable with the championship game being bid out.”
Another issue that needs to be settled is how the 4 teams will be chosen. The SEC commissioner Mike Silve is in favor of the highest 4 teams being included. And how could you blame him, that benefits the SEC greatly. They had two teams from the same division, let alone conference, in the National Championship game. SEC West Runner-Up Alabama beat SEC West Champion LSU for the title.
The other commissioners seem to prefer giving some preferential treatment to league champions. Many felt Big 12 Champion Oklahoma State should've gotten a shot at LSU.
“In terms of the selection process, we'd be comfortable with a compromise, and I think there's going to have to be a compromise on it,” Swofford said. “I think you can mix those two (selection proposals) and come out with something that's sensible and that people can agree on.”
“I think winning a conference championship should matter,” Swofford said. “It doesn't have to be the end-all, be-all, but I think it should matter. It keeps the focus on winning a conference championship during the regular season.”
This will probably lead to a selection committee system that takes into consideration other factors.