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NOTES

BCS to discuss modified playoff

January 08, 2008|Chris Dufresne and Bill Dwyre | Times Staff Writers

NEW ORLEANS -- Despite continued resistance from two conferences and a major bowl, incoming Bowl Championship Series coordinator John Swofford says college football leaders will continue to explore a modified playoff.

"I think the subject deserves that," Swofford, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, said Monday at a Football Writers Assn. of America meeting.

College football officials have ruled out an expanded "NFL-style" playoff.

Four conferences -- ACC, Big East, Southeastern and Big 12 -- are interested in pursuing a Plus One model that would add an additional game to the current five-game BCS arrangement.

The Pacific 10 and Big Ten Conferences, and the Rose Bowl, are opposed to Plus One.

The BCS is in the second year of a four-year contract with Fox. ABC has a separate contract with the Rose Bowl that runs through the 2013 season.

Swofford, who succeeds SEC Commissioner Mike Slive in a two-year rotation as BCS coordinator, said Plus One will be on the agenda at commissioners' meetings this spring in Miami even though he knows some BCS partners adamantly oppose it.

"I don't think that necessarily closes the discussion," Swofford said.

Plus One would potentially seed the top four teams in the final BCS standings. No. 1 would play No. 4 and No. 2 would play No. 3 in two of the major BCS bowls, and the winners would then play for the BCS title.

Swofford admitted Plus One would not solve the controversies that have often plagued the BCS since its inception in 1998.

If Plus One was used this year, Georgia and USC, two of the hottest teams in the country, would not have made the cut. Georgia finished No. 5 in the BCS standings; USC was No. 7.

Swofford said the BCS this year would begin television contract negotiations with Fox, which has an exclusive negotiating window. The Pac-10, Big Ten and Rose Bowl have argued that a playoff of any kind could not be possible until after the ABC contract expires in 2014.

Chuck Gerber, executive vice president for college sports for ABC and ESPN, said his company would be interested in bidding for the Fox portion of the BCS package in 2010.

"If they open the process, we are willing to discuss it," Gerber said.

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The offensive and defensive players of the game were Louisiana State's Matt Flynn, the quarterback, and teammate Ricky Jean-Francois, a defensive tackle.

Flynn, who missed his team's SEC title game with an injury, threw a career-high four scoring passes. He ended his career fourth among LSU quarterbacks with 21 scoring passes this season. Jean-Francois had six tackles, and made a key one-handed block of a field goal in the second period to help LSU get control of the game.

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Les Miles, LSU's coach, said that the tough SEC prepares its conference champion perfectly for games like Monday night's.

"In our league, you play competitive games every week, you play from behind, you take risks," Miles said.

"That puts the SEC team in a game like this in some sort of comfort zone. Down 10, down 13 points. Matt Flynn knows we will find a way to turn it around. There was never a point where we didn't feel we couldn't throw on them, or stop them."

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The flashy interception made by LSU cornerback Chevis Jackson that may have been the turning point in the second quarter was his fifth interception of the season and the eighth of his career. Jackson is a senior.

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LSU entered the game as the second-most penalized team in the nation, but it turned out to be Ohio State that brought the most yellow flags.

The Buckeyes lost 83 yards in seven penalties, including several personal fouls.

"This was a tough football game," said Jim Tressel, Ohio State coach. "It was demanding and I'm sure there were moments when we weren't perfectly on cue. . . . But no, I don't think we lost our composure."

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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