Playoff format should be finalized

When the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee meets Tuesday in Washington, D.C., it will have the ball first-and-goal at the 1-yard line.

And if the 12 university chief executive officers who comprise the committee cross the goal line as anticipated during the meeting, college football fans will win and officially get what they have long wanted — a four-team, seeded playoff for the Football Bowl Subdivision to crown its champion.

The committee’s approval of the format, which would go into effect for the 2014 season and replace the existing beleaguered BCS, is expected because conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced last week in Chicago that they had come to a consensus on the model after six months of discussions.

The announcement was significant because it meant Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott had conceded defeat in their farce of a fight for a plus-one, a format in which all the bowl games are played and then the top two teams meet for the national championship. The two had been bludgeoned by playoff proponents SEC commissioner Mike Slive and the Big 12 during the war for college football’s postseason future.

Although the commissioners and Swarbrick have maintained that the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee will simply not rubber-stamp their recommendation, that is exactly what should happen Tuesday. Even egotistic Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman, a member of the committee and a staunch plus-one supporter, seems resigned to a playoff.

“Clearly, that all the commissioners reached a consensus of some sort is a big step,” Perlman told The Washington Post recently. “I think the presidents would be reluctant to overrule the people that actually work in the area unless there was good reason to do so.”

Besides the playoff, the committee is also expected Tuesday to approve the format being in place for 12 years as well as the semifinals rotating among the existing BCS game sites (Orange, Rose, Fiesta, Sugar) and even possibly others (i.e. Cotton and Champions). Additionally, it is certain to authorize that the national championship game be bid out like the Super Bowl and that a committee be tasked with selecting the playoff’s participants, likely the top four teams, possibly with extra consideration given to conference champions.

All that will remain is who will serve on the selection committee and how to split up the revenue from the playoff. Yet as important as both are, it seems apparent to commissioners that both will be sent back to them to finalize specifics.

“Could there be a present with a bow on it and everything wrapped up (on Tuesday)?” said Delany of the playoff format after last week’s meeting in Chicago. “It could happen, if you’re real optimistic. But I would think we’ll probably need to spend some more time together and probably resolve some outstanding issues.”

So when the committee lines up Tuesday, don’t worry about its members fumbling the playoff, college football fans. After all, there’s practically no defense left on the field after Delany and Scott quit on plus-one last week and with Perlman seeming to come around.

Instead, focus on your celebration, because this game-winning touchdown won’t be called back.