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BCS eases requirements for at-large qualifiers

4/26/2006 - College Football

PHOENIX -- College football's Bowl Championship Series on
Wednesday lowered the bar for at-large qualifiers.

Instead of having to finish in the top 12 of the final BCS
standings, teams finishing in the top 14 will now be eligible for
one of the lucrative postseason berths. The change reflects the
addition of a fifth BCS bowl, which means there will be 10 BCS
slots instead of eight next season.

"There's a lot of logic to that because of the additional two
slots," BCS coordinator Mike Slive said as three days of BCS
meetings ended Wednesday.

Any Division I-A team is eligible for at-large consideration.
The BCS did not change its automatic qualifiers -- the No. 1 and No.
2 teams in the final standings; the champions of the Big East, Big
Ten, Southeastern, Pac-10, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conferences;
Notre Dame if it finishes in the top eight; and a non-BCS team that
finishes in the top 12, or in the top 16 if they're ahead of a BCS
champion.

The 11 Division I-A commissioners, athletic directors, bowl
representatives and Fox executives made no other substantive
changes to the controversial system that determines major college
football's national champion.

The BCS will continue to use the Harris Poll, the USA Today
coaches poll and six computers for its standings.

"It allows us to say we've got the BCS standings as they were
last year," Slive said.

Most of this week's meetings focused on more subtle
details -- beginning with the identity of the new title game. On
Monday, Slive said the game would have a name "before we leave
here." But that changed after meetings Tuesday with Fox, which
wants to make the announcement.

"We're willing to defer to them," Slive said.

Fox bought rights to four of the five games -- the Rose Bowl
still belongs to ABC -- in a four-year, $320 million deal.