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.
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.