The philosophy is in place. The participants aren't.
There is a general feeling emerging that several BCS commissioners would like to proceed with a plus-one postseason model. But how, and when? Two (Pac-10's Tom Hansen and Big Ten's Jim Delany) are dead set against a plus-one, which to some seems to be the next logical evolution of the BCS.
|Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has no intention of allowing a plus-one system. (Getty Images)|
The gang of four commissioners (ACC, Big 12, SEC, Big East) all have said at one time or another they would be open to discussion of a plus-one -- essentially a seeded four-team progressive "playoff" played in the BCS bowls. Such a model could command higher network rights fees. Almost as important, it could help quell public outcry against the current controversial 10-year-old BCS.
"We'd be open to adjustments with some very strict parameters," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said. "No players engaged in more than 14 games. No intrusion on finals (in December) or the next semester. No (impact on) the bowl structure or regular season."
The BCS commissioners will meet April 28-30 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., seemingly at a crossroads in BCS history. They will begin negotiations later this year on a new contract (presumably with Fox) that ends after the 2010 bowls. The Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-10 have a separate deal with ABC that ends after the 2014 game.
How those negotiations conclude might decide if there is a plus-one or even a BCS in the future of college football.
"I think we're either going to kill it then (a plus-one) or pursue it then," Beebe said of the April meeting.
A plus-one most likely would involve seeding the top four teams in the final BCS standings. The winners of two semifinal games would then meet at some future date.
Less likely is another plus-one possibility: The BCS bowls would stage their normal games with two teams advancing through a rating system and/or a human committee. That setup would make it more likely that the Rose Bowl could keep its Big Ten and Pac-10 arrangement each season without necessarily participating in a bracketed playoff.
The first two years of the double-hosting model have produced varying results. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl produced one of the best postseason games in history with Boise State upsetting Oklahoma. But last month, three of the five BCS bowl games declined in TV ratings. Only the Rose and Orange produced marginal increases. The national championship game between LSU and Ohio State saw a 17 percent decline from the previous year when Florida beat Ohio State.
If a plus-one is somehow pushed through, there is an added issue. The BCS bowl and television contracts don't "sync up" until the 2015 postseason. That might be eventually what evolves from the April meetings: A plus-one is a possibility, but in seven years at the earliest.
"I don't think it's television's role to get into the mix of what they should do or not do," Gerber said. "Having said that, if the Rose Bowl came to us and said that they wanted to be part of this new formatted BCS, we would do everything we can to make our contract available to do that."