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Updated: commissioners confirm a ‘consensus’ on playoff

Jim Delany AP

Updated 6:55 p.m. ET: Following today’s BCS meetings, it appears the conference commissioners have come up with a plan to present to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee on June 26. Meeting with the media today, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick “broke” the news: 

We have reached a consensus on a 4-team playoff,” Swarbrick said.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive added that he was “delighted, very pleased” on what the committee had reached, though he would not divulge any details. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said last week that the committee was planing to present multiple options to the Presidential Oversight Committee, and a plus-one could still be discussed in some capacity.

However, a four-team playoff with semifinal games incorporated into the bowls and a bid-out championship game seems inevitable at this point.


Earlier this week, a report surfaced that (surprise!) a decision on a playoff format likely wouldn’t be finalized until sometime around September.

The reality is, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone; when the momentum for some type of playoff system to replace the BcS began building earlier this year, it was thought that the talks would stretch into and, possibly, through the summer months before a decision was reached.

For his part, one of the most powerful men in the sport concurs with the “original” timeline.

Speaking to reporters prior to yet another meeting of his counterparts, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany flatly stated that he doesn’t expect a format to be decided on when the BcS Oversight Committee meets June 26.  At the previous commissioners meetings last week, it was expected that the group would come to an agreement on one playoff option to be presented to the committee.  Instead, the commissioners will present a number of options for the presidents to discuss nearly a week from today.

Delany’s SEC counterpart, however, seemed to indicate that the commissioners may be able to whittle down the options considerably ahead of the committee meetings in Washington D.C.

“We hope to have a consensus on team-team playoff model” prior to next Thursday, Mike Slive said, adding, “we hope to make a comprehensive presentation to presidents next week.”

Just what form such a consensus presentation — it won’t be a single option per Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson — would take remains unclear, although a favorite does appear to be emerging: the four highest-rated conference champions would qualify for the four-team field, provided they were ranked in the top six.  If one or more of those conference champs were ranked outside that marker, it or they would be replaced by the highest-ranked teams regardless of conference standing.

Also to be determined?  How those rankings will be formulated.  Delany prefers a selection committee, or at least a process that doesn’t involve human polls or non-transparent computer formulas.

Like with all of the other issues surrounding the playoff issue, how such a search committee would be populated remains a fluid situation.

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24 Responses to “Updated: commissioners confirm a ‘consensus’ on playoff”
  1. jonkybon says: Jun 20, 2012 3:57 PM

    While playoffs are great for fans and will bring in a lot of revenue for the schools, I think the powers that be aught to remember these are college kids. They already play 12-14 games each season, all the practices, scrimmages, etc. Then factor in that these are supposed to be STUDENT athletes. Let’s consider the young men and make extra time for classes and allow their bodies to heal by cutting back on games, not adding more.

  2. secucks says: Jun 20, 2012 4:00 PM

    Everyone should be aware that any playoff system that doesn’t allow at least 3 Special Education Conference teams to qualify for the NC game isn’t going to be supported by the Special Education Conference.

  3. normtide says: Jun 20, 2012 4:26 PM

    Great picture. Secucks, crying because you can not compete has not helped yet, so why keep trying? The SEC and BIG12 are confident in their members. The B1G knows they will never again have 2 top tier teams at once. It comes down to confidence. If you think you can field better teams than the SEC’s top two, do not hide behind specialized rules. The BIG12 ain’t scared, Delany and his fan base are peeing their pants…

  4. coolhorn says: Jun 20, 2012 4:43 PM

    This genie’s too far out of the bottle to keep the status quo, or go for a simple plus one. There’s strong arguments to be made for an eight team playoff, but a four team playoff is certainly the minimum good start to a playoff system for major college football.

    The four conference champion model, as long as each of the four champions is in the top six, is an acceptable proposal, and using the highest-ranked non-champion if one of the four champions isn’t in the top six is also acceptable. A selection committee to choose the top four teams is fine, as long as it is large enough to preclude regional biases, and is made up of members qualified by experience and expertise.

    I agree with a poster above…the SEC and Big XII have put the product on the field to compete during the BCS era. The B1G and PAC 12 have the resources to do the same. There doesn’t need to be any special set of rules that benefit teams in a conference that can’t or won’t keep up with the others. tOSU and Michigan don’t need any help from the policy-makers, and neither do USC, Stanford, and Oregon. Play the games on the field, and leave the games out of planning for a playoff. Ultimately, the fans won’t accept anything less.

  5. blitz4848 says: Jun 20, 2012 4:51 PM

    We fans want to see the BEST 4 (or 8) teams compete…….

    Don’t give a damn who or how many from any of the conferences/independents…..PERIOD!!!!!

  6. Deb says: Jun 20, 2012 4:54 PM

    @jonkybon …

    No offense, but a four-team playoff isn’t a significant burden compared with what the players are doing now. If we were looking at a real playoff scenario–8-12 teams with three weeks of games–then it wouldn’t be that difficult for reasonable people to ensure the season didn’t overwhelm the student athletes.

    The problem with this entire process is that it’s not being run by reasonable people. Every other football division has playoffs. This isn’t rocket science. But here you have people trying to ensure their teams are in the mix whether or not they earn a spot on merit. And you have people trying to ensure their bowl cities are in the mix because they want the money. That’s the rub.

  7. secucks says: Jun 20, 2012 7:02 PM

    normtide – I’m neither against nor for a 4 team conference champion format. My comment is meant as an observation that even though the consensus lean is towards such a system it will never transpire as the Special Education Conference will never allow such a system be put into place. As determined, the NC is quite meaningless and actually I’m really in jonkybon’s corner on this as to the reasons why. I see no purpose in trying to create a playoff system. It’s hugely expense, puts a burden on players and the schools and at the end of the day any of the top few teams could come out on top.

  8. drummerhoff says: Jun 20, 2012 8:24 PM

    A few telling tweets …

    @dennisdoddcbs All you need to know about what happened here in Chi today is Mike Slive’s take: “I’m certainly pleased with where we are.”

    @SN_Greenberg Slive and Neinas were standing behind Delany & yukking it up while Delany was addressing media. Think SEC, Big 12 getting what they want?

    @LandThieves Playoffs are coming. SEC and Big12 are going to be swimming Uncle Scrooge style in a pool of money. Hey FSU and Clemson. You want some?

  9. deadeye says: Jun 20, 2012 8:27 PM

    Well now at least the nose of the camel is in the tent. Within the next five seasons expect the playoff to expand to either 6 or 8.

    Once this playoff compromise becomes official, FSU and Clemson will bolt for the BIG12 and VT will begin discussions with the SEC. The ACC’s days as a football conference are numbered.

  10. egomaniac247 says: Jun 20, 2012 9:31 PM

    YES! YES!! YES!!!


    Daniel Bryan

  11. jonkybon says: Jun 20, 2012 10:12 PM

    Deb says:Jun 20, 2012 4:54 PM

    @jonkybon …

    No offense, but a four-team playoff isn’t a significant burden compared with what the players are doing now. If we were looking at a real playoff scenario–8-12 teams with three weeks of games–then it wouldn’t be that difficult for reasonable people to ensure the season didn’t overwhelm the student athletes.


    It may not seem like much to someone that has never worn pads. Too many people foolishly think its about their opinionsand don’t give a crap about the young men. Take it from someone that has played a 12 game season that included a bowl game, its a lot to ask. I know the pros play a 16 game schedule, but if you heard them during the last strike, they complained it was too much. Its hard enough to avoid a serious injury when you train year round and that is your only concern. NCAA rules wont allow that on these young men (nor should they). The body wasn’t meant for that kind of punishment. For any of you that claim, what is two or three more games, lets see if you’d feel the same after playing in two.

  12. cyraider says: Jun 20, 2012 10:25 PM

    WHOOOOOO Cares about Notre Dame?!?!?!?!? they’re not good, not going to be good anytime soon and haven’t been good in over a decade…Even when Baby Quinn was there and they were being force fed down our throats by everyone in the media they weren’t good! Why does their opinion count? Why? Why?

  13. normtide says: Jun 20, 2012 10:39 PM

    I played football, and every season when the last game was over, I wished for one more game. Football for fans has a season with a somewhat set number of games. For players it is year round. Conditioning, play books, working with teammates on your own time. I doubt a game or two more is pushing anyone over board.

    For the record, my idea for the FBS is this: Remove about half the teams ( UTSA, WKU, UAB, etc.), form 4 or 6 leagues, relegate (based on losses and attendance) to allow lower schools a chance to step up and avoid freeloaders, take league champs and 2 or 4 wildcards and play it out.

  14. Deb says: Jun 20, 2012 10:43 PM

    @jonkybon …

    Honey, I’ve survived 28 surgeries, three battles with aggressive, invasive cancer, and four years in a war zone. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not making any assumptions about you; don’t make any about me or what my body has managed to withstand.

    What I meant was that a four-team playoff will mean one extra game. They’ll drop the bowl game, and if they had the good sense to choose teams according to rank and drop championship games that have only recently been adopted for most conferences, their seasons won’t be any longer than they are now. I am well-versed in the damage football does to a body and strongly backed the NFLPA’s opposition to extending the pro season. Don’t talk to me like I’m some wet-behind-the-ears schoolgirl. Most of us have a lot more experience with both “pads” and the wear & tear life can do to a body than a guy who is so thin-skinned he can’t discuss an issue without pulling out an imaginary ruler to prove his manhood.

  15. Deb says: Jun 20, 2012 10:59 PM

    And jonkybon …

    As I said, if they were willing to pull the trigger and go to a regular 8/12-team playoff, there are other options. That would mean three extra games for the playoff teams. Again, if you select playoff teams by rank, you could eliminate the meaningless conference championship games. You certainly would eliminate the meaningless bowl games. You could also shorten the regular season by one or two OOC games.

    This season, the top-ranked teams from each of the four major conferences–B1G, SEC, Pac 12, Big 12–has an FCS team on its schedule. What is the point of those games? Eliminate those “fillers” from the regular-season schedules and you’ll have plenty of time to accommodate a three-game playoff period.

    I’m not just making comments here. I’ve loved and followed the game for a lifetime and do care about the welfare of the players.

  16. orthomarine says: Jun 21, 2012 3:04 AM



  17. dickroy says: Jun 21, 2012 7:28 AM


    My friend I am with you on this all the way. I have always thought an 8 team playoff is the way to go. I think the 38 or so useless bowl games are ridiculous. The 4 or 5 weeks between the end of the season and the championship game. Well that is too stupid to even comment on!
    You stay well!

  18. fcmlefty1 says: Jun 21, 2012 10:10 AM

    It appears we’ve finally made it to the land of playoffs! This 4-team will do for awhile, but I think we all know 8 will happen about 10 years from now.

    I do find one thing kind of funny though – the way the selection committee will be required to look at teams. If this selection committee was in place now, they’d have been more or less instructed to have selected Oklahoma State over Alabama this past year. Had that happened, this whole playoff thing wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. Funny how this stuff works sometimes…

  19. dickroy says: Jun 21, 2012 11:41 AM

    Yea 4 is much better than what we have, but I can’t wait for 8.

  20. klownboy says: Jun 21, 2012 2:58 PM

    I see this eventually expanding to eight teams…

  21. Chris Ross says: Jun 21, 2012 3:11 PM

    I think this was definitely something that was inevitable. A playoff system was coming and it wasn’t a matter of if but more a matter of when. I guess when is going to be 2014. It’s going to be really interesting to see how this changes the game in college football and how much more or less interest it garners in general. Big changes for sure.

  22. florida727 says: Jun 22, 2012 8:12 AM

    #Deb, good posts. Sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through, but it gave me a newfound respect for you.

    #jonkybon, your argument about length of schedule and/or number of games played loses virtually all its credibility when you consider the time off between conference championship games and the bowl season. It’s like having 4 bye weeks in a row. And what’s to say the National Championship game MUST be played immediately following January 1? The NFL plays into February now. After the ‘semi-finals’ why not a two week break? The media would love it so it gives them something to do leading up to the championship game. The extra week give the bodies time to bounce back.

    I still believe the best proposal I’ve heard to-date is the six team playoff, using the existing BCS bowl games. #1 and #2 get ‘first round’ byes. #3 plays #6 in one of the BCS bowl games. #4 plays #5 in another BCS bowl game. The winners play in the other 2 BCS bowl games… the de facto national semi-finals. Then bid out the National Championship game the way the NFL bids out their Super Bowl. Can’t remember who originally posed this scenario. Wish I could to give them credit. It’s the best scenario I’ve heard because it keeps the BCS sponsors and game sites happy, while assuring the NCAA a hefty National Championship payday.

  23. fcmlefty1 says: Jun 22, 2012 9:43 AM

    “And what’s to say the National Championship game MUST be played immediately following January 1?”

    Season has to be done before 2nd semester starts. You have to remember that most of the stars from the two finalists are going to be NFL bound. When they are NFL bound, most choose to not go to school spring semester, as they focus on draft prep (and make no mistake – the NFL wants it that way – kids that actually stay in school 2nd semester are a pain in the butt for thier respective NFL team). If they aren’t enrolled 2nd semester, they’d be ineligible to play in the championship game.

  24. waynefontes says: Jun 26, 2012 11:17 AM

    As long as they keep it to four. You expand it to eight, and you really start to devalue the regular season.

    College football has the best regular season by far in any sport.

    Everyone loves March Madness. Nobody cares about college basketball before March, except for ACC fans.

    Can’t blame them, what else do they have to cheer about?

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