Today is judgment day for BCS repair
By: By ANDREW BAGNATO, AP Sports Writer
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Today is judgment day for the Bowl Championship Series’ plus-one format.
As three days of ECS meetings wrap up, Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive will present his plan to the other 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White. The proposal would seed the top four teams in two semifinal bowl games, with the winners meeting in a national championship game.
The commissioners can’t adopt the change, which would require presidential approval. But they can kill it.
“If this kind of change doesn’t have enough support from the commissioners group to move forward at this given point in time, then it simply stops there,” ECS coordinator John Swofford told reporters at a briefing to wrap up Tuesday’s meetings.
The Big Ten and Pac-10 have been widely portrayed as the two leading opponents to the plan. Without them, the ECS would be on its way to a playoff.
That’s the perception and it’s allowed the other conferences to be safely noncommittal about the plus-one concept.
That rankles Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
“I think the characterization of the Big Ten and Pac-10 being at one place and everyone else being at the other place, I don’t think it’s accurate,” Delany told reporters Tuesday during a break in the ECS meetings at a beachfront hotel.
“Just because somebody says they’re open-minded and interested in looking at other models doesn’t mean they’re committed to it.”
The Big Ten and Pac-10 are loyal to the Rose Bowl, and they worry that any move to a plus-one would open the door to a full-blown playoff. The Rose Bowl and its separate TV contract with ABC is a major hurdle for the ECS to clear if it wants to adopt the new format.
One magazine even dubbed the Rose Bowl alliance “The Axis of Obstruction.”
“I think it’s a stretch myself,” Delany said with a laugh.
He’s got a point.
Even Slive has refused to say whether he and his constituents would vote for such a plan. Same goes for Swofford, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Swofford said the plus-one has been talked about within the ACC, but he’s never polled his members to find out if they would support it.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe have taken the same approach.
Both say they want to talk about a plus-one, but that’s as far as they’ll go.
“I think the burden for change is on those who want change,” Delany said.
But there doesn’t seem to be a clamor for change among the rest of the group.
“I think there are a lot of people in the room that are happy with the way things are now, but the question is: Is there a better way that improves the ECS and improves the postseason for college football?” Swofford said.
If the ECS does want to make a format change starting with the 2011 bowls, it needs to be approved in August by the university presidents before the TV rights negotiations with Fox begin in the fall. The chances of that happening seem remote, at best.
The ECS is in the middle of a four-year, $320 million deal with Fox for the rights to the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls, along with three national title games. The deal runs through the 2010 bowls.