In the past several months we’ve seen the president of the NCAA, the Big Ten and the executive director of the BcS acknowledge in some form or another that a change to major college football is coming, with all heavily intimating that a four-team playoff would be palatable. Earlier this week, Georgia president Michael Adams wouldn’t rule out an eight-team playoff as Div. 1-A’s first foray into a playoff system.
Now the president of a member of the Pac-12, which along with its Rose Bowl counterpart has long been staunchly anti-playoff, has gone public with the most “radical” concept for how the postseason should be structured.
In an interview with Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic, Arizona State president Michael Crow (pictured, right) laid out his proposal for a playoff system that would be run — our emphasis added — by the NCAA: the eight highest-ranked champions from the 11 conferences participating in a single-elimination tournament. Crow, the Republic writes, “declined to specifically say how the playoff would work, such as seeding or where games would be played.”
There was also no mention of how independents such as Notre Dame and BYU could qualify for such a playoff system, although “get the hell in a conference” would be implied.
For as radical as it looks compared to what’s already been tossed out there for public consumption, Crow’s proposal doesn’t appear to be a case of flinging something against the wall and hoping it sticks:
He said his plan has some momentum among other college presidents inside and outside his conference, though he declined to identify them. He said he will push other Pacific-12 Conference presidents to adopt his proposal when they meet next month in Los Angeles.
If Crow’s system were in place for the 2011 season, and the BcS rankings were utilized, the playoff field would’ve consisted of LSU (SEC), Oklahoma State (Big 12), Oregon (Pac-12), TCU (MWC), Wisconsin (Big Ten), Clemson (ACC), Southern Miss (Conference USA) and West Virginia (Big East). If seedings were based solely on BcS rankings, the matchups would’ve looked as follows:
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 23 West Virginia (a regular season rematch, of course)
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 21 Southern Miss
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 18 TCU
No. 10 Wisconsin vs. No. 15 Clemson
Noticeably absent? 2011 BcS champion Alabama, which did not win its division let alone its conference and thus would not qualify under Crow’s proposal.
Crow’s plan would likely meet serious resistance from, among others, the SEC, which has placed two teams inside the top eight in each of the past six final regular-season BcS rankings. Resistance could also come from the Big Ten, which by all accounts is grudgingly being pulled into considering a four-team model; an eight-team playoff right out of the gate may cause Jim Delany‘s head to spontaneously combust.
As was the case with the Big Ten kicking around a four-team playoff with on-campus semifinals, though, the powerbrokers in college football — for whatever reason — are coming to the realization that the postseason in its sport is broken and something, anything, needs to be done to fix it.
“In the Pac-12, we are not strong supporters of the present model,” Crow said.
“The reason for this new model is the model we have right now is not conducive to the long-term success of college football.”
One other interesting note from the Republic’s piece: Bill Hancock, executive director of the BcS, stated that a final decision on what the future of college football’s postseason will look like when the current cycle ends after the 2013 season could be made this summer.
Long-needed change is coming to the top level of college football, and it appears to be coming faster than even the staunchest playoff proponents could’ve ever anticipated.