BCS Nixes Playoff Plan

Get used of six more nuclear winters, er, falls of the BCS.

At least.

The commissioners of the six major conferences (plus Notre Dame AD Kevin White) agreed Wednesday to keep the BCS in its current form through the 2013 season (and January 2014 bowls). Despite outcries from the public and the media, there wasn't enough support to change the structure from those who run the sport.

The issue never came to a formal vote but it became evident -- probably even before the BCS meetings that ended Wednesday -- that the push for the first playoff at the Division I-A level was going to be shot down.

"I know that's what a lot of fans don't want to hear, but they're not responsible for crafting what we have in college football," said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.

"Another wise person said, 'If isn't broken don't fix it,'" said White.

That seemed to summarize the feelings of all the commissioners. The sport is enjoying unprecedented success on the field, in the stands and on television. Why risk an unknown for an admittedly flawed, but financially successful, known?

After years of planning, SEC commissioner Mike Slive formally presented a plus-one model to his peers Wednesday. He found opposition from the Big East, Big 12, Pac-10, Big Ten and Notre Dame. The ACC was the lone conference in Slive's plus-one camp.

Under Slive's plan, the top four ranked teams at end of the regular season would meet -- No. 1 would play No. 4 and No. 2 would play No. 3. The winners would meet approximately a week later for the national championship.

In addition, another BCS bowl would have had to be added. That takes hopefuls Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) and Cotton (Dallas), among others, out of the running for now.

Instead, the 10-year-old BCS will continue in its current state -- with the double-hosting model. The No. 1 and No. 2 teams at the end of the regular season will go on meeting in the BCS title game. The bowl that hosts the title game also will continue its traditional game a week before the championship game.

Slive appeared to become emotional as he met with the media after the announcement that his idea didn't pass. The 67-year-old commissioner began working on plus-one shortly after Auburn was denied a shot at the BCS title game despite going undefeated in 2004.

He can't be accused of being a homer. In his six years as commissioner, SEC teams have won three national championships in the BCS system.

"There's no such thing as standing pat. I think we performed a service. It is on the table. It's there now."

Whether a postseason comes up again in the foreseeable future is up for debate. The BCS is now committed to going through the current Fox contract with the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar (expires after the 2010 bowls) and the ABC contract with the Rose (expires after the 2014 game) in its current form.

The next time a plus-one most like would even be discussed at this level is 2012m when negotiations begin on new television contracts.

Until then, opponents will have to be convinced that a plus-one isn't a big, bad playoff. The Big 12 presidents essentially rejected a plus-one model at their meetings in March. There was also the old beer-leads-to-heroin fear that a four-team bracket would eventually expand to include more teams.

"They viewed this as a four-team playoff," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said of his presidents, "(that) here would be pressure to add more teams."

"A seeded model looked like a playoff to us," Tranghese said. "We don't think a playoff is in the best interests of college football."

Applied to the 2007 season, a plus-one would have created its own problems. LSU and Virginia Tech in one national semifinal would have been a rematch of their regular-season meeting. Two teams that a lot of folks thought desired a title shot -- USC and Georgia -- didn't finish in the top four.

"It seems we exchange one piece of controversy for another," Tranghese said.

Either way, Division I-A football remains the only sport in which the NCAA doesn't sponsor a championship. From 1936 to 1997, wire service champions were recognized. Since the BCS started in 1998, the winner of the 1-2 game was considered the BCS champion. The Associated Press media poll still declares its own champion. Only once in the BCS era has it differed from the BCS champion. In 2003, the AP poll picked USC even though LSU won the BCS title game.


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