Everyone seems to agree that a four-team college football championship playoff is coming.
That’s pretty much where the agreement ends.
The gritty details will unfold over the next six weeks, leading up to BCS executive director Bill Hancock’s request for the organization’s board of commissioners to present a final proposal on July 4, which he will then, in turn, present to the NCAA Presidential Oversight Committee.
This month, and on into June, conferences will be discussing various playoff models. The BCS commissioners’ meeting will be held in Chicago on June 20. The target date for implementing a playoff is fall of 2014.
The website www.BCSKnowHow.com offered the following summary of the issues being addressed:
How do we choose the teams?
What teams qualify for the system?
Where should we play the games?
Where does Notre Dame fit in?
When will the games be played?
Will the four-team playoff operate inside or outside the current bowl structure?
Over the past few days, various ‘players’ in the process have weighed in with a variety of comments and opinions. Here is a look at some of them:
Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany in Chicago Tribune:
"How I’m leaning is a hybrid model. There has to be a quality control model...I don’t want to adopt a model that discourages scheduling good opponents.”
ACC commissioner John Swofford to The Associated Press:
"They (ACC coaches and administrators) felt that was important as it relates to the regular season and as it relates to the meaningfulness of being a champion in order to play for the national championship. So there’s a preference there for incorporating conference champions into this, as best it could be done. And it may be difficult to make it four conference champions, but the feeling was, look at a hybrid that includes conference champions that meet a certain standard within the rankings. ... Maybe there's an at-large berth open. So we're interested in looking at that type of model first, as well as consideration of a 1-2-3-4 ranking model."
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, to the Orlando Sentinel:
"We think being a champion is very important. Being a conference champion is no small task. Not only are you having to get through your conference, but you’ve got to turn around and get through your conference game -- which all of us but one do."
Alabama coach Nick Saban to CBSSports.com:
"The one thing that I think is that people want to see the best teams play. They don't want a bunch of conference champions to end up playing in a championship game," Saban said. "If we do that, did we accomplish what we set out to accomplish? Hell no…"Sometimes it's a problem that the conference commissioners, all of whom have somewhat of an agenda to protect their conference and their league. Somebody above that needs to say, this is how we're doing it."
Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman to Sports Illustrated:
“What benefit does a playoff have? I can’t find one…The notion that now we’ll have an undisputed national champion is a pipe dream. We’re not going to have an undisputed national champion. We’ll have an undisputed winner of a playoff. That’s all you’ve got. You don’t necessarily have the best team.”
SEC commissioner Mike Slive to the Birmingham News, on how the SEC-Big 12 bowl agreement affects playoff discussions:
"It can be in the BCS or outside the BCS. Obviously we want to be very much a part of the BCS. It's our goal to enhance the postseason and complement what I hope will be a four-team playoff…At this point what we don't want to do is get out in front of the BCS conversations. We are going to go through that process and then make our decision about our game at that time. Because it could be inside the BCS."
Michigan State AD Mike Hollis to the Detroit News, on larger playoff models:
“Those of us in the industry see a lot of reasons why eight and 16 teams do not work…I think the most important thing in college football is the regular season. And I think anything that detracts from the regular season is a disadvantage for university life, college football and just the gathering and engaging that we want those home games to have. If all the sudden you're putting a number of games out there, a playoff system where it overtakes the balance of what the full football season looks like, I see that as a huge disadvantage to what we're trying to accomplish."
BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock in the Tampa Bay Times:
"If this were to happen, it would be remarkable. It would be the biggest change in the history of college football…"If you count the Bowl Coalition (the precursor to the BCS), we've been doing this for 22 years. Over a generation, things change. Perspectives change. This was evolutionary instead of revolutionary…The commissioners do not want to take away from the regular season. They've seen what the power of March is doing to basketball in January and February. They don't want to see that repeat itself in football…There is a sense that a four-team playoff would not affect the regular season. The regular season for football is the most important thing in college athletics. It drives the fan bases. It drives revenues, and it's the focal point of campus during the fall. If you had eight teams, 16, 24, it would put the regular season at risk.''