KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There is no middle ground in the growing debate over the structure of the coming college football playoff, according to Texas AD DeLoss Dodds.
It will either be the top four – a model favored by the Big 12 – or conference champs only, he said.
“I don't see a compromise position,” Dodds told reporters during the Big 12 spring meetings Thursday.
That is significant news from a power player in the debate. The playoff arguments are coalescing around the conferences that support the top four teams and those that favor conference champions only. There were reports Monday that a hybrid “three-and-one” might also be on the table.
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Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told the Wall Street Journal that a plus-one – a championship game after the bowls – was still on the table. When reminded of that news, Dodds smiled dismissively without commenting.
The Big 12 as a conference is on record as saying it favors the top four teams in the playoff, as opposed to conference champs only. It also favors a strength of schedule component. The SEC also favors the top-four model. The remaining BCS leagues – Big East, ACC, Pac-12, Big Ten – are supporting some form of conference champs only in the top four.
When informed that his league is in the minority, Iowa State Jamie Pollard said Wednesday, “We'll see. I'm just saying it's a work in progress."
Pollard is the current chairman of the Big 12 ADs.
Addressing conference realignment, Dodds added: “I think you'll see a lot of movement but I don't think you'll see it in the five [BCS] conferences. The five strong conferences will play a huge role in how this thing rolls out.”
When reminded that the Big East is currently a BCS conference, Dodds said, “I don't know if they qualify as a BCS. They've lost a lot of strength.”
As for the long-awaited TV deal, we're still not there yet. Dodds said it could be a couple of months before the 13-year, $2.6 billion deal with ESPN and Fox is finalized. According to reports that contract must be finalized before Big 12 schools agree to a 13-year grant of rights.
The league currently has a six-year grant of rights that essentially keeps teams from moving to another conference because their TV rights would be owned by the conference. That would be a key issue with the Big 12 having lost four teams since June 2010. Texas and Oklahoma twice almost bolted to the Pac-12.
"We have to see if we can get that TV contract completed," Dodds said. "If we do that, it (grant of rights) will probably be part of that contract.
Asked directly if the 10 CEOs had agreed in principle to the grant of rights, Dodds added: "I can't say that that's true but I think everybody is really positive about the numbers."
CBSSports.com reported earlier that the league's CEOs had verbally agreed to the ESPN/Fox deal.