HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Sorry playoff supporters, it seems that you'll have to wait a little longer.
While official word probably won't come until Wednesday at the earliest, the BCS structure looks like it is going to remain the same. Amid speculation that a modest plus-one playoff might be considered here, BCS chairman John Swofford didn't sound like a man ready to participate in ripping apart the college football landscape.
"I continue to sense a certain comfort level, if you will, with the current status of things with the BCS," Swofford said Monday at the conclusion of the first day of the annual BCS meetings.
The real nitty gritty will come Wednesday morning when SEC commissioner Mike Slive intends to put forward his version of the plus-one. In his model, the top four teams in the BCS standings would be seeded and play 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 in two national semifinals. The national championship game would be held one to two weeks later.
It's hard, though, to find overwhelming support here for such a plan. Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany are adamantly opposed to a plus-one.
"The BCS is not a democracy where majority rules, it's a full consensus body," said Swofford who is also the ACC commissioner.
Any real change probably won't occur until after the 2013 season when television contracts of the four BCS bowls line up. The Rose Bowl contract with ABC expires after the January 2014 game. The Fiesta, Sugar and Orange deals expire after the 2009 season (2010 bowls). Fox is expected to extend the deal for the three bowls in the fall.
The 10-year-old BCS has had its share of flaws but seems to be settling into a rhythm if the commissioners fail to act on a plus-one. Swofford announced Monday that the three-year-old Harris Poll will be retained for another two years. The Harris Poll was created after the Associated Press decided to remove its media poll from the process. The Harris is made of up of former players, administrators and media members. The six computer indexes will be retained for 2008 as well. The BCS gives one-third weight each to the Harris Poll, coaches' poll and the computers. Tuesday will be spent in meetings with television partners (ABC and Fox). Fox Sports president Ed Goren is expected to meet with the group at approximately 2 p.m. ET. That could be when we hear how strident Fox is about changing the current BCS structure.
Goren was quoted last week as saying that three years ago he was one of those favoring a new format.
"But I've either been brainwashed, or educated, to another side to this story," he told the Chicago Tribune.
Delany said, somewhat sarcastically, that a 16-team playoff could easily be set up. It would require eliminating conference championship games and reducing the regular season to 11 games, he said. The problem, as Delany knows, that such a format would be rejected out of hand by the commissioners.
There is problem enough with a plus-one. Under Slive's model, another BCS bowl would have to be added. The Chick-Fil-A and Cotton are intensely interested in becoming that new bowl if the discussion ever gets that far. It probably won't here.
"I don't think we really need to go there at this point (adding another bowl)," Swofford said. "It's a little premature for me as chair of the group ... We have two more days of meetings to go."