Posted on: May 1, 2008 1:00 pm
Edited on: May 1, 2008 2:50 pm

The real story behind the BCS meetings

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany's calculated plan worked.

Tuesday at lunch, Delany emerged from the BCS meetings and went on a rant about his place (and his conference's place) in the postseason. Remember, Delany doesn't talk publicly about much of anything with reporters. At least lately. This past week he has been practically chatty talking about his league's perception. He, the Big Ten, Pac-10 and Rose Bowl aren't obstructionists, he said, in college football's postseason. In fact, Delany contended, that the Big Ten and Pac-10 have been progressive in helping deliver the Rose Bowl to the BCS. Without it we'd still in the old Bowl Coalition.

"The characterization of the Big Ten and Pac-10 being at one place and everyone else being at the other place, I don't think that's accurate," Delany said. "You guys (media) have an opportunity to talk to a lot of people here. I would ask you to ask each one of those people how strongly they feel about the call for change. I don't see it."

Then Delany lobbed the bomb that changed the course of these meetings.

"Thirty-six months ago, all six commissioners, all six (BCS oversight committee) presidents, the AD advisory committee said we don't want a plus one," Delany said. "About 18 months ago, people people said let's look at it. I think there are a lot of people who like where they are, but they should speak for themselves."

Basically, Delany called out his peers.

If you want a plus-one, identify yourself.

On Wednesday, they did. The six BCS bosses were paraded out for the media to state their case. For: ACC commissioner and the SEC's Mike Slive. Against: Everyone else -- Big 12, Big East, Pac-10, Big Ten and Notre Dame AD Kevin White.

Considering the group needs a consensus to change things, there's a loooooonnnng way to go before we get a playoff. The Big 12 presidents considered the issue in March and turned it down flat. Big East commish Mike Tranghese said, "We're opposed to a playoff. We don't think a playoff is in the best interests of college football."

The great thing was hearing all these powerful public. None of us (media) thought a plus-one would be passed but we weren't expecting what was essentially a public vote. Now these guys are on record. If you want to write your local congressman, er, commissioner now you know where to go.

  Slive, who stuck his neck out and presented the plus-one, was disappointed that the issue wasn't "vetted" more by presidents at the conference level. The Big 12 was the only league that formally presented the issue to its presidents. The Big 12 presidents rejected anything resembling an NFL-style playoff that meant a team would have to play more than 14 games. A Big 12 champion playing in a plus-one championship game would be playing in its 15th game.

  The so-called Group of Five non-BCS conferences (WAC, MAC, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt) have a combined vote but didn't use it because a formal vote wasn't taken.

"There could have been support for a plus-one model if it meant a better chance for a team from the Group of Five to have a chance to play in it," said WAC commissioner Karl Benson. But we're happy with the system with the way it is. It has provided access and it has provided revenue."

  The so-called "bracket creep" argument doesn't make sense. Several commissioners said they were concerned that a four-team bracket would soon expand to eight or 16. Don't believe the hype. The BCS commissioners (and their presidents) control the BCS. That's different from Divisions I-AA, III and III where NCAA committees control the playoffs.

If the commissioners and presidents wanted a playoff to end at four, it would end at four. There would be no group above them who could overrule.

While I was in Florida ...

  These schools had more players drafted than Alabama (which had none): Arkansas State, Army, Bentley, Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Furman, Gardner-Webb, Hampton, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwest Missouri State, St. Augustine's and Wheaton.

  Matthew Stafford somehow got anointed as the No. 1 quarterback in next year's draft. Stafford is popular with the honeys, loves NASCAR and can lift a keg over his head, but to call him the best NFL quarterbacks prospect after only two seasons? It must be a shallow draft next year. Matthew has yet to throw for 300 yards but has been held under 100 yards six times.

  Two more bowls made the postseason cut. The approval of the St. Petersburg and Congressional bowls by the NCAA on Thursday brings the number to 34. That's 68 teams for a division that produced only 71 bowl-eligible teams last season. That's also three more than the NCAA Tournament. I'm waiting for the time when the St. Pete and Congressional have to petition the NCAA to allow a 5-7 team in its shindig because there aren't enough teams to go around.





The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com