Bowl Championship Series commissioners approved on Wednesday the framework for a new postseason model beginning in 2006.
The "double-hosting" BCS model will begin after that 2006 season with the 2006-2007 bowls. The four existing BCS bowls -- Sugar, Fiesta, Rose and Orange -- will each play host to two games once every four years. The second game in the bowl will be the BCS title game matching the two top-ranked teams from the regular season.
The other four bowls will be a mixture of conference champions and increased at-large openings to provide access for any coalition teams that qualify. The addition of a fifth game means there will be two more BCS slots, bringing the total to 10. Counting the champions of the six BCS leagues, that would leave four at-large openings. It is expected that a coalition team (formerly "non-BCS") could qualify for one of those spots if it finished in the top 12 in the final BCS regular-season rankings.
Resolution of the issue was made possible when the Rose Bowl agreed to open a slot for coalition qualifiers under certain conditions. The most likely scenario is if the Rose loses either the Pac-10 or Big Ten champion to the BCS title game (No. 1 vs. No. 2). It was not immediately known how often coalition qualifiers would play in any of the four bowls.
|Miami (Ohio), with Ben Roethlisberger at QB, might have made a BCS bowl instead of the GMAC in 2003. (AP)|
BCS presidents weren't going to approve the "plus-one" model that had winning teams progressing to a championship game after playing what amounted to semifinal games in BCS bowls. Commissioners were told by presidents in February to add a fifth game (if the market supported it) to accommodate coalition teams.
It is expected there will be a continuation of "anchor" conferences for each bowl -- the Big 12 in the Fiesta, SEC in the Sugar, ACC in the Orange and Pac-10 and Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. When any of those bowls lose a conference champion to the BCS title game, it could get first choice of any BCS-eligible team.
The conferences and ABC are expected to sign at least a four-year contract to continue the BCS system that started in 1998. A new deal would carry the BCS out through at least the 2009 season.
Commissioners were under pressure this week to finalize a new postseason model. ABC and the Rose Bowl begin negotiations on a new contract beginning Friday.