BCS Moves Inexorably Toward 4 Team Playoff, The Devil Is In The Hundreds of Millions of Details

This week's meeting in Hollywood, FL, involving the commissioners of the 11 FBS Conferences, Notre Dame, and the BCS has concluded, with the outcome the obvious announcement that after 2 more seasons of the status quo, following the 2014 football season some form of expanded playoff will ensue.

SBNation has complete coverage to this point, which is no where near the end point. Each Conference Commissioner will be discussing with their University Presidents the several scenarios for figuring out who, where, and when to play the games that will still not necessarily crown the best team the National Champion, but will [probably] be another step in the right direction.

"The status quo is off the table," BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said.

All signs at least indicate that there is wide spread comprehension that the current system is no longer acceptable, the Rose Bowl is special and different (as denoted by viewership), and the stakes are high enough to make it worth everyone's while to make some accommodations. (That's where some of the hundreds of millions of details comes in; the next BCS contract will infuse hundreds of millions of additional dollars into college football in general, and to varying degrees, every FBS institution. Hancock at least honestly admitted "Negotiations will be contentious.")

How to choose who gets in will be a subject of much further debate, though it does seem the process will need to be more transparent, as Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has stressed. How to divide up the money is just as important, though, given that the current concept of "Automatic Qualifier" conferences is headed for obsolescence, but with conference overhaul, so to is the future relative status of especially the Big East Conference. (Was Boise St.'s move, with San Diego St. in tow, really worth it? Or the best move? Be prepared for another course correction in conference composition.)

To be clear, the BCS and the BCS era is not and has not been a bad thing, just because its been far from a great thing. It's what ushered in more dollars and more opportunity than ever before, and what drove the development of the conference and national networks that highlight all collegiate sports at undreamed of levels. And what made the shortcomings of the BCS actually matter. However, its also high time for the next step in progress to be taken.

Indeed, many will be dis-satisfied with how far things move, or don't move, ahead with the new deal, and there's certain to still be inequities. But the powers that be will be cautious moving forward. They are all in it to serve their own interests, but also to not screw it up too badly, something that's certainly possible with this many HIGHLY engaged participants.

"You want evolution, not revolution, because you don't know what the unintended consequences will be," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said.

Beaver fans can probably rest easy, confident that the Rose Bowl will still be worth the trip by the time Oregon St. ever gets to go there to play someone other than UCLA. And Duck fans will probably never see a bigger game in Autzen Stadium than a Pac-12 Championship game (Small stadium size coupled with Oregon's recent rise to national prominence reminded everyone of the difference between a crowd of 100,000, 80,000, and 60,000).

But a couple of steps toward "Holiday Madness" in the tradition of NCAA Basketball's "March Madness" seem certain to be taken.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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