BCS: 'Host of intricate details' being discussed
GRAPEVINE, Texas—BCS leaders finally are starting to get into some specifics in their discussions about possible -- maybe even likely -- changes in college football's postseason and how to determine a champion.
They are finding out just how tricky the process will be. And it's still far from being finished.
"The complexity is phenomenal, the level of details requires a great deal of time," BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said Monday, after the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame's athletic director met for about 7 1/2 hours.
This was the third meeting this year, coming just more than a month after the group met over two days at the same hotel connected to a terminal at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
"There's no consensus yet on anything," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "The first couple of meetings, we talked a lot about just college football in general, the regular season. This time, less of that and more about how we need to start getting closer to where the rubber meets the road. And there's lots of different options, and start to analyze each one of those and the pros and cons that go with them."
MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said while progress is being made, things are also getting more complicated.
"The deeper you get, the deeper you're going to have to dig," Steinbrecher said.
While the commissioners have acknowledged a four-team playoff is among the options being considered, and there seems to be considerable talk about that, Hancock cautioned that isn't a done deal.
"There's a long way to go and a lot of people still to hear from," he said.
The next meeting is scheduled April 24-26 in Hollywood, Fla., when the Football Bowl Association holds its annual meetings.
The group released a statement after the meeting that concluded with: "We're making good progress toward our self-imposed goal of making a final recommendation this summer to our governing bodies."
Among the things that have to be taken into account with a four-team playoff system would be where games would be played (Neutral sites or on campuses?) and how teams would be selected (Current ranking system, new ranking system or a selection committee?). Some have suggested a format that requires teams in a conference to win their league to be eligible for a playoff.
The statement also said Monday's meeting was "constructive and highly detailed." But it acknowledged that no decisions were made about the overall structure, and listed a series of the questions they are trying to answer.
"For every concept that enjoys broad support, there are a host of intricate details that we're talking through," the statement read.
"For example, if we change the current format, would we play some games on campus or all games on neutral sites? If some games are on campus, is that too much of a competitive advantage? If all games are at neutral sites, would fans be able to travel to two games in a row? How would teams be selected? By a committee, by the current ranking formula, or by a different formula? When exactly would games be scheduled, considering finals, holidays and our desire to avoid mid-January games?"
Also taking part Monday were television consultants hired to help provide advice about the potential value of different postseason models being considered.
The BCS is in the middle of a four-year deal with ESPN that runs through the 2014 season. A new BCS format must be in place before the fall when television negotiations with ESPN open, though Hancock indicated last month that the contract did allow for a delay if needed.
Hancock wouldn't get into specifics about the potential value of a new TV deal, but expects "good numbers."
Chuck Neinas, the interim commissioner of the Big 12 through June, said the figures he heard Monday are encouraging.
"A buck or two," Neinas said, with a smile. "We're still in the embryonic stage."
Neinas said there is still a sensitivity to dates and not extending the season. He described the full meeting as "thought provoking" with good discussion.
"It's a bit of a matrix. You've got 11 conferences, 100-something institutions, people coming at it with different bowl arrangements," Slive said. "Take all of that, and lay it out. You have to start to focus in on what we can do with all of that that protects the regular season and makes the postseason better."