Playoff plan may get tweaked

Published 1:59 am Thursday, September 20, 2012

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Conference commissioners are considering the possibility of adding another game to be part of the semifinal rotation for the new college football playoff.

The postseason plan approved by university presidents in June called for the national semifinals to rotate among six bowl sites. The years those sites do not host semifinals, they would be marquee bowl games, involving other highly ranked teams.

There are numerous details still be worked before the format is implemented in 2014, including the composition of the selection committee that will pick the playoff participants, site of the first championship game and revenue distribution.

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And now it seems like the plan might be tweaked to give teams that don’t make the playoff more chances to play in high revenue games.

“They created a playoff and they had a working concept for access, but they knew that more conversations were needed,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday after the second day of meetings. “ There was discussion about access and whether another game might be necessary. There was. …but how it comes out, we don’t know.”

Also to be determined is what the format will be called.

“The first championship game is 28 months away. And so the highest priorities are going to have to go to the television contract and site selection,” Hancock said, adding that ESPN has a one-month exclusive negotiating window beginning around Oct. 1.

“And we would like to have the television part of it finished this fall. And we’d like to be pretty far down the road on site selection this fall. Although I don’t think we’ll be finished on site selection, possibly not until April,” Hancock said.

Although requests for proposals won’t go out until November, Hancock said numerous cities have informally expressed interest. He said the process will likely be similar to the one used to pick the site of the NCAA’s Final Four.

Two of the sites are set. The Rose Bowl, long the destination for the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions, is in. The Orange Bowl, which recently agreed to a long-term deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference is in.

The site of the new bowl between the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference will also be in the semifinal rotation. Those leagues are expected to make a choice between Atlanta, Houston, Arlington, Texas, and New Orleans next month.

The Superdome in New Orleans, the site of the Sugar Bowl, and Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the home of the Cotton Bowl, are the leading candidates.

Whichever one does not land the so-called Champions Bowl, will have a good chance of landing a spot in the semifinal rotation, along with the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

As for the selection committee, Hancock said he believes it should be 15 to 20 people although the commissioners haven’t discussed a set number. The makeup could be heavy on conference administrators, but may also include some at-large members, another detail to be worked out.

“The working model has been that every conference would have a representative,” Hancock said. “ And then that there would be enough people on the committee to accommodate recusals. The concept being that when your institution is discussed you would be recused. ..”

And several factors were been discussed for determining revenue distribution. Among those are academic and on-field performance, Hancock said.

“And that decision ultimately will be made by the presidents who have their annual meeting in November,” Hancock said.

A committee is also considering options for a name, Hancock said.

“There are people who think we should have a naming contest and there are others who think we should just name it. I don’t know how it will come out.”