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Commissioners to Give College Presidents Playoff Options

CHICAGO – The conference commissioners who have been working on a four-team playoff to determine college football’s national champion plan to present the BCS presidential oversight committee multiple formats from which to choose.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the university presidents will “have options plural” to consider when they meet in two weeks. Scott spoke before leaving Wednesday’s meeting with conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

Scott declined to detail those options, but the commissioners have since January been working on ways to hold a four-team major college football playoff, starting in the 2014 season. Among the details that need to be worked out are when and where to play to games, how to incorporate the bowls, and how to select the four teams.

The BCS commissioners released a statement after the meeting saying they are “approaching consensus on many issues and we recognize there are also several issues that require additional conversations at both the commissioner and university president levels.

“We are determined to build upon our success and create a structure that further grows the sport while protecting the regular season. We also value the bowl tradition and recognize the many benefits it brings to student athletes. We have more work to do and more discussions to have with our presidents who are the parties that will make the final decision about the future structure of college football’s postseason.”

The commissioners are scheduled to meet again next week in Chicago and the presidential oversight committee is set to meet June 26 in Washington.

Scott would not say if the so-called “plus-one,” which instead of creating a four-team playoff with national semifinals simply sets the No. 1 vs. No. 2 title game after the bowls have been played instead of before, is still on the table.

It seems unlikely. The commissioners have made it clear that they are determined to come away with a four-team playoff, but how it will work is not so simple to figure out.

The bowls are likely to be involved in some fashion as hosts for the semifinals, possibly on a rotating basis or by using the traditional ties between conferences and bowls. The championship game site is likely to be bid out like the Super Bowl.

Then they also must figure out how the teams will be selected: Polls? Computer ratings? A selection committee? A system that emphasizes conference champions or one that allows conferences to place multiple teams in the playoff? Or a combination of all of the above.

Whatever they come up with, it needs to be done by the fall, when the BCS opens a new round of television negotiations.

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