Updated: BCS recommends a four-team playoff in 2014

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UPDATED 4/26 @ 2:45 p.m. ET: To steal a line from SI’s Andy Staples: happy V-BCS day.

In an announcement that is surprising to probably no one, yet is nevertheless important, the BCS has recommended that there be a playoff in major college football beginning in 2014.

Or, a four-team event. Whatever. I don’t care. It’s a playoff.

The BCS announced Wednesday that there are between two and seven variations of a four-team playoff being considered, with plus-one, eight-team and 16-team options officially off the table (for now).

It’s also worth noting the three-semifinal option (i.e., the Rose Bowl plan) has been given the pink slip as well.

How the selections for the four teams will be made, not to mention other logistics, are still to be determined, but we do know that automatic qualifying status is officially dead starting in 2014, according to BCS executive director Bill Hancock.

We’ll have more on this later, but for now, we want to hear your thoughts on the decision:

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No one is quite sure yet — not even the BCS committee — what major college football’s postseason will look like in the foreseeable future.

One thing is for sure, though. It won’t look like the current system.

Thank. You.

On the first of a two-day set of meetings over the BCS/playoff discussion, college football got perhaps its most explicit news to date regarding how a national champion will be decided.

Of all people, the news came from BCS executive director, Bill Hancock.

I can officially say that the status quo is off the table,” Hancock (pictured) said. “The BCS as we know it with the exact same policies will not continue.”

Meanwhile, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports and many others with a brain rejoice in the streets.

The BCS committee, composed of all 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, has been whittling down as many as 50-60 postseason ideas since January with a final decision expected to be made in July.

Earlier this month, the committee announced it had narrowed discussions into four primary preferences. Of those four, it appears a true plus-one or a “four team event” (which is really a playoff for normal people like you and me, but a four-letter word for BCS supporters) with semifinal games hosted at neutral locations are the most likely choices — with an emphasis on the latter.

But don’t get too ahead of yourself. Selection criteria (the BCS committee spent four hours going over that today) and the definition of “neutral” (in other words, does neutral mean a bowl game site? A site bid? A combination?)  are still some of the items up for debate. The 11 BCS committee members will reportedly take two or three “finalist” ideas back to their conferences for further discussion.

Although it sounds as though the primary options have been decided.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger, C Zach Shackelford in concussion protocol

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Texas has lost two straight upset bids in strikingly similar fashion: true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger leads a potential-game winning drive, scrambles, hits his head on the turf and ends the possession in a puzzling throw.

The first came in last week’s loss to No. 10 Oklahoma. Trailing 29-24 late in the fourth quarter, scrambled for two yards to the Texas-48 yard line but hit his head on the Cotton Bowl turf and was forced to leave the game for five plays. Shane Buechele pushed the Longhorns to the Oklahoma 31, but he was replaced after a sack and Ehlinger ended up throwing the ball away on 4th-and-13 from the OU 34 with two minutes to play. That, as they say, was that.

Fast forward to Saturday and Texas was trailing No. 11 Oklahoma State 13-10 in overtime when Ehlinger opened the possession with a scramble that again saw the back of his head bang against the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium turf. He stayed in the game this time, but ended the game on a puzzling (to say the least) interception to absolutely no one on 3rd-and-4 from the OSU 6.

While Ehlinger was not evaluated for a concussion during the game, he did not practice Sunday and head coach Tom Herman said Monday that Ehlinger and center Zach Shackelford are in concussion protocol.

Complicating matters for Texas is that sophomore back-up Shane Buechele is playing on a gimpy ankle that kept him out against San Jose State and Kansas State that Herman said will not improve as the season goes on.

No matter, Texas will face a hungry Baylor team on Saturday (noon ET, ESPNU) that nearly completed a comeback against No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday night.