DALLAS – The bullet points posted for BCS commissioners in a Grand Hyatt conference room Wednesday aren’t anything you haven’t seen or read before.
When considering reshaping college football’s postseason, the commissioners were reminded they must …
Improve the game of college football … enhance the experience for the student-athlete … Make it acceptable to the public.
Those are some of the playing rules. Those BCS commissioners left their latest meeting here having moved the ball only a few yards in what amounts to only a postseason scrimmage at this point. While they seem to have settled on no more than a four-team postseason model beginning in 2014, some of the issues are becoming clearer.
Revenue: CBSSports.com learned Wednesday that early projections are that a plus-one could be worth as much as double compared to the current BCS. That would be approximately $360 million based on 2011 distribution of $180 million.
But that’s without knowing if games would be played on campus, in the bowls or bid out to cities like the Super Bowl. The general assumption is that the money would be huge. I reported earlier in the week that a seeded, four-team plus-one could be worth $250 million-$500 million per year.
Access points: The idea of only conference winners being eligible is still on the table, mostly because it hasn’t been discussed to any broad degree. The idea has the interest of at least one commissioner.
In 10 of the 14 years the BCS has been in existence, at least one team that did not earn its conference’s BCS automatic berth ended ranked in the top four. If only conference winners were allowed in a plus-one in 2011, No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Stanford would not have been eligible.
Rose Bowl: The 800-pound tournament float in the room. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is determined to keep the tradition and history of the Rose Bowl in a new postseason. Remember, the Rose, Big Ten and Pac-10 had to be dragged into joining the BCS. In essence, college football would not be at this point in history had not the bowl and its partners reluctantly agreed to open its bowl to the BCS.
That probably means it would not want to be part of a national semifinal. (It would, in theory, stay in a championship game rotation.) But Rose Bowl officials are concerned they may have no choice.
While Delany has been adamant about keeping the Rose-Big Ten-Pac-12 connection, it was interesting to hear Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott on Wednesday. I asked him if he could ever envision the Rose Bowl game being a national semifinal.
“I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals,” he said.
The exam thing: The commissioners don’t want to play these games until after a general exam period that runs to Dec. 21. They want the season to end as close to Jan. 1 as possible. Using that window, here’s how a plus-one might look in 2014, the first year it could be played:
The weekend of Friday, Dec. 26 is a good place to start for the semifinals. Yes, that’s the day after Christmas, but teams have played on Thanksgiving for years. And Nick Saban isn’t going to fly Alabama in the night before the game just so his players can open their presents at home. It’s something we’re going to have to live with.
That leaves the championship game for Friday, Jan. 2 or Monday, Jan. 4, 2014. We’re assuming that the NFL would have dates tied up on Saturday and Sunday. College football bowls traditionally stay as far away as possible from going head-to-head with the NFL.
Ranking the teams: Another assumption -- the current system would stay in place with a plus-one – coaches poll, Harris poll, computers.
But Delany said even that subject has barely been discussed.
“Too early. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time talking about rankings …,” he said. “If there is a way to improve the poll that’s great. It’s been a pretty phenomenal kind of mechanism for building interest.”
“The level of understanding is modest in the sense that we have no idea what the marketplace would say, what the bowls would say, what the television people would say,” he added. “We’re just trying to understand conceptually what the pieces are. It will take months to test those kinds of options and ideas with presidents and athletic directors.
“It’s at the very beginning.”
The commissioners next meet here March 26. The annual BCS meeting is April 24-26 in Hollywood, Fla. The discussion could last late into the year. ESPN has an exclusive negotiating window for the new postseason model in the fall.