BCS official open to some kind of mini-playoff system

Updated: January 8, 2007, 9:46 PM ET
Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If the Bowl Championship Series were to adopt a mini-playoff format, it wouldn't happen until at least the 2010 college football season.

BCS coordinator and Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive said Monday he was "very, very open-minded about a plus-one," which could create a four-team playoff.

"I think we need to take a very hard look at that," Slive told reporters at a Football Writers Association of America meeting.

But a full-fledged NFL-style playoff has no chance of happening anytime soon, Slive said.

"The question is 'Is 1 and 2 enough?'" he said.

Slive doesn't expect any changes until Fox's four-year $320 million TV deal ends with the 2010 bowls.

The plus-one model was discussed by the BCS, though never seriously, when it expanded to five games and scheduled the championship game after the four major bowls. The first BCS national championship game was played Monday night between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Florida at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Although current TV contracts would not prohibit a BCS format change, Slive said it seemed unlikely any major alterations could be made in time to affect the current arrangement.

Fox is in the first year of a four-year deal for the broadcast rights to the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls until 2010 and the national title game until 2009. The Rose Bowl has its own TV deal with ABC, a contract that runs through 2014.

Currently, the championship game is set after the regular season, using the top two teams in the final BCS standings.

With the plus-one model that has received the most attention, the top four teams would be seeded into two of the marquee bowls, essentially creating national semifinals. The winners would play a week later for the national title.

Another possible plus-one format would set the bowls using traditional ties-ins -- such as Pac-10 and Big Ten champions meeting in the Rose Bowl and the SEC champ playing in the Sugar -- and have the final BCS standings come out after the bowls are played.

The commissioners of the 11 Division I-A conferences and Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White will meet in March and June, and the college football postseason will be a topic, Slive said.

He said he would approach any discussion about postseason changes with three priorities in mind -- adhering to schools' academic missions, maintaining the passion of the regular season and preserving the bowl tradition.

Ultimately, university presidents will make the decision, and they have shown little support for a playoff in the past.

"I told our presidents they need to think about this and make some decisions about whether or not the BCS format should be the way it is today or whether they want to talk about some other format," Slive said.

The new five-game BCS format has one bowl site hosting two games in eight days. This season, the Fiesta Bowl hosted the championship game. The Sugar Bowl, which returned to the Superdome on Jan. 3 after skipping a year because of Hurricane Katrina, is scheduled to host two games next season.

"The question is not what New Orleans can do for us," Slive said, "but what can we do for New Orleans."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press