It had long been apparent that college football was going to go to a limited form of playoff beginning with the 2014 season, but Wednesday came very close to making that official: Meeting in Chicago, the BCS commissioners agreed on a four-team playoff within the current BCS bowls, and the proposal will go before the presidents oversight committee next week.
There will be an “emphasis” on conference champions — whatever that means — and the teams will be named by a selection committee.
I’m guessing the reaction of fans isn’t a full-on hallelujah, but it has to be at least a small sigh of relief.
You can’t help but recall the struggle to get to this day. Not so long ago, the college presidents were seen as intransigent in clinging to the bowl system and the notion that a football playoff would cause a system critics see as already out of control to spin even more crazily out of kilter.
Then there was a crack of support from Florida president Bernie Machen about five years ago, and not long after that, a playoff proposal from SEC commish Mike Slive and his ACC counterpart, John Swofford. That got nowhere.
But the public outcry no doubt eventually began to matter, especially when it included President Obama. And not the least important factor in this is the money involved, which will be far greater than in the bowls-only system.
Lots of details remain, and don’t think there’s an end to controversy. The jockeying and campaigning to be that No. 4 team instead of No. 5 will be fierce.
It appears the Pac-12 had to give on the deal. Commissioner Larry Scott had reheated the possibility of a plus-one format recently, but it appears that train had left the station. It remains to be seen whether the Rose Bowl will retain ties to the Pac-12 and Big Ten when it’s not hosting a semifinal. The assumption is, it will.