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BCS change to be slow, or nonexistent

January 09, 2007|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. — They change Bowl Championship Series coordinators every two years, but their stories stay the same.

There will be no pro-style playoff in college football, BCS Coordinator Mike Slive said Monday at the annual Football Writers Assn. of America breakfast, though a more limited expansion may be in the offing.

Just don't ask when.

"The health of college football is robust," said Slive, who also is commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.

So what's changed in a month, after what seemed like another tipping-point crisis when Florida jumped Michigan for the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings?

A lot. The bowl season, cited as the sport's backbone and a reason not to expand to a playoff, has been scintillating.

Michigan, which thought it deserved a rematch in the title game against Ohio State, didn't look worthy after a lopsided loss to USC in the Rose Bowl.

Slive, in the second year of his term, repeated what he and previous coordinators have stated: the BCS is open to ideas but not at the expense of diluting the regular season or the bowl structure.

"The bowls have been good to us," Slive said.

Slive remains in favor of considering the "plus-one" option, which is not a playoff but another added layer to the current BCS format.

"I think we need to take a very hard look at that," Slive said.

Right now, though, Slive admits he's not even sure what "plus-one" means.

"I don't think we've drilled down deeply enough to make that decision at this point," he said.

Two models are being considered. The first would seed the top four teams in the BCS standings and match them in semifinal games in the bowls, and then have the two winners play about a week later for the national title.

The other plan would involve going back to traditional bowl matchups, with the Pacific 10 Conference and Big Ten playing every year in the Rose Bowl, and then choosing the top two teams after the four major bowls have been played.

Slive said, however, he didn't think plus-one could be implemented until after the current BCS deal expires. Fox is in the first year of a four-year deal to broadcast all BCS games except the Rose Bowl, which remains on ABC.

Slive guessed that "if anything changes, it will be at the end of the four-year period. There are just so many hurdles."

Negotiations for any new format would have to begin before the expiration of the contract, and Slive said the future of the BCS will be on the docket when SEC presidents meet this spring.

Slive said there will always be criticism of the system, but school presidents remain opposed to radical change.

What about Boise State finishing 13-0 and not being able to play for the national title?

Slive went to his SEC roots to answer that one.

"Boise had a tremendous year," Slive said. "Two years ago, Auburn had a tremendous year and didn't play in the national championship game when they were undefeated."

Slive noted that the Associated Press poll, which is no longer part of the BCS formula, could independently crown a champion.

Boise State was No. 9 in the AP poll before it beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. It would seem unlikely the Broncos could jump all the teams ranked ahead of them in the polls that also won their bowls, including USC, Wisconsin, Louisville, Louisiana State and the BCS title-game winner.

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