ESPN will not pressure Bowl Championship Series officials into pursuing a playoff when the cable network takes over full control of the broadcast package in 2011.
ESPN executive Burke Magnus said Thursday at the annual meeting of the Football Writers Assn. of America that the company recently bid for BCS broadcast rights with the understanding there would be no changes through the duration of the four-year contract, which expires in 2014.
"The format is left to the people who run the sport," Magnus said.
ESPN outbid Fox for the next four-year run of the BCS, starting with the 2011 season.
BCS officials last spring rejected a modified playoff plan, and most conferences remain adamantly opposed to any NFL-style playoff option.
Utah's attorney general announced this week he is investigating the BCS for possible federal antitrust violations.
Utah finished the regular season at 12-0 but did not qualify for the championship game because the Utes finished No. 6 in the final BCS standings.
Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford, in the second year of his two-year term as BCS coordinator, said Thursday that lawyers have assured him the BCS is not in violation of antitrust laws.
Swofford says he realizes many people, including President-elect Barack Obama, would like to see a playoff in college football. He said, though, that not enough college presidents support the plan.
"The desires of the public may not always be the same as the decision makers in higher education," Swofford said.
OK, now here's the playoff flip side:
The Orange Bowl honored 10 former Heisman Trophy winners before Thursday's game.
Nine of the winners -- all but 1978 winner Billy Sims of Oklahoma -- participated in a pregame news conference.
The players were asked whether they favored the current the system or wanted a playoff.
Eight of the nine said they wanted a playoff, with Desmond Howard (Michigan, 1991) declining to answer.
A sampling of the responses:
Doug Flutie, Boston College (1984): "Definitely, different system."
Andre Ware, Houston (1989): "I think different system, certainly."
Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh (1976): "Ditto, I agree."
Marcus Allen, USC (1981): "I do believe a playoff system is probably something that should happen."
Ty Detmer, Brigham Young (1990): "Yeah, different system."
Joe Bellino, Navy (1960): "I'll have to agree with the majority."
Danny Wuerffel, Florida (1996): "I definitely think there needs to be."
Gino Torretta, Miami (1992): "I mean, obviously, we all think there should be some type of playoff."
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow had two passes intercepted in the first half -- marking the first two-interception game in Tebow's career. He began the game having thrown only two interceptions all season, in 268 attempts.
Oklahoma began the game averaging 54 points a game, and Florida was averaging 45.
Yet, the two schools produced the first scoreless first quarter in a BCS championship game since the first one, in January 1999, between Florida State and Tennessee.