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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Conference commissioners look at changes to BCS format

At meetings in South Florida they discuss several potential scenarios to take effect in 2014, including some sort of four-team playoff.

April 25, 2012|Chris Dufresne
  • Alabama Coach Nick Saban, right, celebrates with quarterback A.J. McCarron following the Crimson Tide's victory over LSU in the BCS Championship game in January. The road to the BCS title could see some significant changes in a couple years.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban, right, celebrates with quarterback A.J. McCarron… (Dave Martin / Associated…)

The labor-intensive drive toward a new postseason in college football continued Wednesday in South Florida with conference commissioners agreeing so far only that the status quo is off the table.

"There will be change," said Bill Hancock, Bowl Championship Series executive director. "How significant no one knows yet."

Commissioners wrap up their annual spring meetings Thursday with the hope of taking three or four postseason options back to their conference presidents. The goal is to have resolution by midsummer in preparation for contract negotiations next fall.

The BCS, which was formed in 1998, has two years left on an existing contract in which a standings formula is used to pick the national title participants.

The most likely scenario for the new format, beginning in 2014, centers on some sort of four-team playoff in which existing bowls or neutral locations will be used to stage semifinal matchups.

Also on the table, as a fall back, is the original "Plus One" plan in which No. 1 and No. 2 would be paired after the bowl games are played.

Bowl officials are, obviously, very interested in how the new system might incorporate the exiting BCS games.

"Change is inevitable," Rose Bowl executive Kevin Ash said by phone from South Florida. "We want to be part of the system, we want to be relevant in the postseason and we want to be with our partners."

The BCS was made possible only after the then-Pacific 10 Conference and Big Ten Conference agreed to release their champions in years they were ranked No. 1 or No. 2.

In exchange, the Rose Bowl has played host to three national title games and, in two years, will play host to both the final Rose Bowl and BCS title game under the current formula.

"I think we've been successful in adapting to change in the system," Ash said.

A new postseason look may force the Rose Bowl to consider in some years playing host to a semifinal matchup, giving up its traditional matchup between the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Granddaddy might also be forced to bid to remain in the national title rotation.

Numerous details and nuances need to be worked out.

"Our whole goal is giving the conferences fewer options to chew on next month," Hancock said.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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