Playoff sites likely to be picked by end of April
The home of the first national championship game under the new playoff system, along with the three remaining semifinal rotation sites, will likely be picked by the end of April.
The second-to-last season of the Bowl Championship Series will wrap up Monday night, with No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama playing for the national title in Miami.
Starting with the 2014 season, the national champion of major college football will be determined with a four-team playoff. Three of the six sites that will be in the semifinal rotation have been picked. The others, along with the sites of the first and future championship games, will be in place before the summer, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Monday.
''We're going to announce the first (championship game) site even sooner than others,'' he said. ''I think it might happen even sooner than April''.
The BCS holds a regular meeting of conference commissioners in late April.
''What we anticipate in April is to announce is a couple, three more (championship sites) - 2015, 2016 and maybe `17,'' Hancock said. ''I think there's no question by April we will know who the other three participants in the rotation will be for semifinals.
The conference commissioners have already narrowed down possibilities for the first championship game site to Arlington, Texas (Cotton Bowl); Pasadena, Calif. (Rose Bowl), Glendale, Ariz. (Fiesta Bowl); Atlanta (Chick-fil-A Bowl); New Orleans (Sugar Bowl); Miami (Orange Bowl).
Sites for future national title games will be bid out the way the Super Bowl and Final Four are, and could end up in places that have not traditionally hosted major bowls.
The Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls have already been chosen for the semifinal rotation. The other three sites are likely to be Arlington, Glendale and Atlanta.
Hancock would only say the commissioners would prefer to have sites in three different time zones.
Hancock, speaking to reporters from the Football Writers Association of America, said the conference commissioners are working with a concept of having 15 to 18 people on the selection committee that will pick the final four participants.
Similar to the group that sets the field for the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the panel will be comprised of college athletics administrators, such as conference commissioners and athletic directors. The committee needs to be large enough accommodate members recused when teams from the conferences they represent are discussed.
''There were years in the basketball committee where we had so many recusals there were only four people left in the room to make some big decisions,'' Hancock said. ''We can't deal with that in football. I would envision every conference having a representative. The independents having a representative, and then some number of at-large people to be determined by the commissioners.
''It will be the most prestigious committee in college sports. It will be the most scrutinized committee in college sports. We are committed to a high level of transparency.''
The current BCS standings use two polls - the Harris poll and the coaches' poll - along with computers ratings that mostly do not reveal their formulas to determine the top two teams in the country. There is no plan to have an equivalent of the BCS standings in the new postseason system.
The college basketball selection committee uses a computer-rating called the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) as one of many tools to pick the field.
Hancock said they could not make an RPI equivalent for football.
''We ran an RPI and it was not accurate'' because there's not enough information coming out of a 12-game regular-season, he said.
''How I envision it, and I think the commissioners do to, is (the committee will) have everything at their disposal. They'll have computer rankings, they'll have the writers' poll, they'll have the coaches' poll, and they'll look at it all but at the end of the day it'll come down to the eye test. It'll come down to common sense.
''Who did you play? Did you win your conference? Where did you play? Who was injured when you played that game? What about common opponents? What about head-to-head?''
The committee will attempt to have the highest-seeded teams in the semifinal pairings play closest to home. There will be no limit to how many teams from a conference can be selected for the final four, and the committee will not avoid pairing teams from the same conference in the semifinals.
Both semifinals will be played on the same day, either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, and the championship game will always be played on Monday night, at least a week later.