College football’s newest way to crown a national champion should become a lot clearer in south Florida today and Thursday.
The conference commissioners in charge of the Bowl Championship Series will meet for the fourth time this year, trying to sort out the future of the BCS. They are focusing on four options, though within in each plan there are myriad details to be worked.
A memo, first reported by USA Today and obtained by The Associated Press, identified much of what’s on the table.
We break down the possibilities and give an educated guess about the chances of each being implemented.
BCS WITH ADJUSTMENTS
What is it? Basically, more of the same with tweaks. No more automatic bids. No more two teams per conference limit. More flexibility for the bowls to swap teams to create better matchups.
Pros: Three SEC teams in the big games.
Cons: Three SEC teams in the big games.
Chance it is chosen: It seems unlikely that the powers that be would tantalize fans with talk of expanding to a format that allows more teams the chance to enter the postseason with a shot to win the national title, and then pull the chair right out from under them.
ORIGINAL “PLUS ONE”
What is it? Instead of setting the championship game after the regular season and conference title games are over, the title game teams would be selected after the bowls are played.
Pros: The bowls are still important, and it also eliminates those midweek BCS games that often have no buzz.
Cons: Hard to sell this as progress.
Chance it is chosen: Outside chance.
What is it? What we’ve all been waiting for, a playoff. A small one. The conference commissioners want the season to end closer to New Year’s Day than it has been, so semis would likely be a few days before the calendar flips.
There’s been the suggestion of picking the four highest-ranked conference champions.
Pros: It’s a playoff.
Cons: No matter how they configure it, people will complain that they screwed it up.
Chance it is chosen: If there is a leader among the formats, this is it.
FOUR TEAMS PLUS
What is it? The four highest ranked teams meet in the semis, but the Big Ten and Pac-12 always play in the Rose Bowl. This could produce the oddity of three semifinals.
Pros: Delany and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott get what they want.
Con: Three semifinals?
Chance it is chose: All you need to know is this quote from SEC commissioner Mike Slive: “It’s not one of my favorites.”