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Posted on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

BCS out, playoff in? College football takes giant step in that direction

By Kyle Meinke

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has remained one of the most vocal opponents to a college football playoff, even as momentum built for such a system in the past year.

He called the notion of a playoff "ridiculous" in a WolverineNation story earlier this year, saying "I don't care what you come up with, it's not going to be a fair playoff."

Just three months later, change appears to be afoot after college football's bigwigs said after three days of deliberation that they favor a four-team playoff over the current BCS system.


College football's national championship trophy could be awarded at the end of a four-team playoff by the 2014 season.

Associated Press

"Yes, we've agreed to use the P word," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.

The playoff would be limited to four teams. What's left to figure out is how to pick the teams, where and when to play the games and what to do with the bowls. The new format would go into effect after for the 2014 season.

As for the current Bowl Championship Series, it's on life support. Any chance that it survives past the next two seasons? "I hope not," Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said Thursday.

"This is a seismic change for college football," BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said after the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame's athletic director wrapped up three days of meetings at a beachside hotel in south Florida.

Hancock said the commissioners will present a "small number" of options for a four-team playoff to their leagues over the next month or so at conference meetings. Hancock estimated about two to seven configurations are being considered.

Now it's up to each conference to determine which option it likes best. The commissioners will get back together in June and try to come up with a final version, and eventually the university presidents will have sign off on it. That would probably come in July.

Hancock warned that if no agreement is reached, the fallback could be sticking with an overhauled version of the old system, which aims for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 championship game.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



Sun, May 6, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

Is Brandon's opposition due to his concern re the cost to send the Michigan band to more football games? Don't worry, Dave. Michigan football isn't going anywhere soon...including Indianapolis in early December. Where's the threat?

Duncan Moore

Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

I would hope that they would move the championship game to some northern sites in domes to put a end to the home field advantage by many of the SEC schools!


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 3:45 a.m.

The perfect solution would be to # 1 ) Eliminate the conference championship # 2 ) Replace it with " The Week Of Inter-Conference Match-ups" starting 10 days after the season ends. This " Week of inter-conference Match-ups purpose is to have teams " play in" to all the bowl games. This week is also the same time that an 8 team tournament to determine the National Championship starts with the higher seeded teams hosting the games. From this week, the bowl match-ups are made and the final four is set to be played at the bowl sites on New Years day. So now if a team is to win the NC, the most games they have to play is 15. Ar the end of the season if you do not make it to a bowl you have played either 12 or 13 games. If you did make it to a bowl you have played 14 games. If you lost in the final four you have played 14 games. This also solves the problem of the concern of playing too many games permenently as there is no way to increase the size of the 8 team playoff.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

Eliminate the conference championship games and replace them with the start of the 8 team tourneyment !!!


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 4:07 a.m.

So, instead of 2 teams per conference playing each-other in their respective conference championship game that week, ALL teams with at least 6 and 6 records in every conference play in these games at the end of the conference schedule to determine where they will go "Bowling" around Christmas time. And the top 8 teams in the Country start their playoff this week, with the higher seeded teams hosting the games. The winners advance on to the "Final 4"and the losers will end up getting matched-up in a bowl game. So, in essence the first round of the 8 team tourneyment is played in leau of the conference championship games. What game would have more national interest ? LSU vs Georgia OR Wisconsin @ LSU ---- Oregon VS UCLA OR Oregon @ Oklahoma St. ---- Alabama and Michigan not playing OR Michigan @ Alabama..... Not to mention that these games become relavant !!


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

Hey Ted, how do you feel about conference championship games? Ease down bro. Your going to blister your finger tips.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

I actually am in favor of inter-conference scheduling home and home games as the last games of the year. IE..michigan vs usc or Ohio St vs oregon. They can serve as finally forcing teams to play in cold weather and truely sizing teams up for rankings before the bowl games and to see how deserving they are as an accepter of the invitation to play in a playoff game. I am pretty confident that such games would garner more interest than A conference championship game. Not to mention it serves as somewhat of a shaking out process and 1st round


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Allowing the conference schedule to be expanded by one game for every team would more than make up for the loss in revenue by eliminating the conference championship game and a limited post season that would only include a four team playoff. Essentially the most a team could play is 15 games (only 2 teams) while everyone else plays 14 games. So what is absolutely nessesary is the elimination of the conference championship for a number of reasons.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

But I maintain that the true solution would be to SCRAP the conference championship games and add an additional conference game to everyone's schedule by replacing that weekend with every team in the conference playing their cross-over games. So everyone plays the same amount of games during the regular season before the bowls. Thats 13 games. Then the teams that are eligable play a bowl game. In which the 4 big bowl games set up as an 8 team playoff , then two bowl set up for two games. Then their in a nutral site NC game.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

One solution to the conference championship problem is if you have to at least play in that game in order to be eligable for the four team playoff and the divisions within the conferences are scraped and the 2 top teams in the conference at the end of the regular season face off securing the odds of making sure the better teams play in the conference championship games.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

THE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES HAVE TO BE ELIMINATED !! It is a disadvantage to have to play this game. Why should the reward of being the best in your conference force you to play an extra game while other oppenents can rest and scout you. The only reason the game would not be harmful is if it was mandated that you have to win it in order to get into the 4 team playoff. So fure opponents have to play this extra game as well. But, that is off the table and it should be . The best four teams in the country deserve a shot at it. Alabama deserved to play in that championship last year even though they didn't win their conference. Also the chance of playing a team in your conference 2x is a major flaw and prooves to be anti-climactic and ends up giving the games less meaning. Ohio St. and Michigan should only play once a year unless it is for the National Championship. Those are just a number of the unintended consequences of creating the conference championship games.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

When constructing this system, the designers have to carefully navigate the waters by remembering what makes college football unique and hence so attractive....1) The weekly significance of the regular season. This is why some are saying only conference champions should be eligable for the playoff. The FAULT with this is that a conference frequently has more than 1 team deserving to be in the top four. 2) The weekly top 10 poll is also something unique to college football. One loss can set you back and out. This is why the regular season games are so impactfull on one-another. 3) The bowl games. No other sport has anything like it. The FAULT with the bowl games are that most of them are irrelavant and rarely have an impact on on another. This results in lower interest and veiwership. A playoff system constructed based off on the results of these bowl games finally gives them significance.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

There are limitations to the current BCS selection method for the top 2 teams, but it's deemed satisfactory to play for the NC. If expanded to 4 using the same or similar system that would be even more just and palatable. You have to draw the line somewhere, just be consistent.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 6:51 a.m.

What people want to see at the end of the year is the top teams face off in inter conference matchups. At least 2 per team. And we want to see it at the end of the year. So, I would say it would be a good idea to get rid of the conference championships. And replace that lost revenue with the extra game in an 8 team playoff. Yes , the conference misses out of 100 percent revenue from the conference championship, but in addition to the bowl they would get in the first round they have a 1 in 4 odds to play in another game and 1 in 8 to play in the championship.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

And it is not that difficult to resolve. Who cares about feeling left out. That is not the concern. The concern is leaving out a team that has a greater chance to win the championship than a team that is allowed in.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

@MRunner73 "Needing a few tweaks" would not even be close to solving the flaw of the current system, and is precisley why, (If you have been paying attention to college football for the last 10 years) they have finally decided to go to a playoff format.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

@MRunner73 Of coarse there is no perfect system, but if a team who is ranked 8th is left out, it is far closer to perfection than is if a number 2 ranked team is left out. The odds of the team best team winning the NC are increased with the amount of teams it allows in to the playoff. That is what is the object...Figuring out who is the best team in the country.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

As you can see by your own comments; this can VERY difficult to resolve. There is no perfect solution because there will be a team or school who will feel left out. For what it's worth, the BCS needs a few tweaks and then remain consistent. There will always be the whinners who feel left out every year. At least Michigan took their lumps with grace in 2006.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 6:36 a.m.

Unless of coarse, the only way you play in the playoff without winning the conference championship is if you enter the NC playoff as a wild-card. Which means there are more than four teams.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 6:39 a.m.

but the same amount of games are played of the people vying to win the national championship.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 6:29 a.m.

What needs to be addressed is the Need to eliminate the conference championship game and replace that weekend with everyone playing the crossover games. In the pros you have to play an extra game if you are a wild-card. It's an unfair advantage to not have to play the extra game as was the case with Alabama this past year. Everyone should play the same amount of games.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

I like bballcoachfballfan's suggestion, however I would expand this to 32 teams. The selection process is still difficult to maneuver. You could do the top 2 from each conference and 10 At-Large, however if we take last season as an example, then Western Kentucky (7-5) and either Utah State (7-6)or Nevada (7-6) would get autobids. If you add a stipulation that a conference must have a minimum of 10 teams to get two automatic qualifiers, then you risk a team like Bosie State (12-1) not being selected as an At-Large bid (though unlikely, but it is an example). You could still stick with conference champs and then select the rest based on the top 25, but which poll do you rely on? Both? It would still leave up to 7 real At-Large bids, which could be interesting. In any case, this is speculative, and certainly not under consideration by the NCAA. Whatever decision they do make will be based on maximizing profits while minimizing the damage done to the profits of bowl games. This is a really great business. Their primary employees are barely compensated in relation to the amount of revenue they generate, and those at the top make out like bandits.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

Here is the most fair system: 1. Eliminate the 12th regular season game 2. Eliminate the conference championship games 3. Begin a 16 team tournament after T-Giving. 4. To stop all the complaining, allow every conference champion in--all 11, even the "non-BCS" schools. 5. 5 at large teams from the major conferences get in 6. Use campus sites until the Final Four 7. At last, crown a true champion Here is the adjunct benefit: we might start seeing real non-conference match-ups again. A non-conference loss won't kill you anymore as long as you regroup and win your own league.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:22 a.m.

And the playing of the conference championships has many flaws.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:20 a.m.

I agree with you're idea of eliminating the conference championship. However the league will be reluctant to cut this game off since it would also mean missing out on the revenue it produces. However, the elimination of this game could probably be worked out since the revenue would more that likely be made up in a playoff in which it had a good chance to have one of it's conference teams play in at least 2 of it's games.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:12 a.m.

If you eliminate the 12th regular season games then there will be 10 or 11 teams in each conference cutting back one game off their schedule, which means missing out on that revenue. That part of your plan Is definately NOT going to happen.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

TruBlu, not to disagree with Any Rand, but Walt Whitman, a much more intelligent wit, did. Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, ( I am large, I contain multitudes.) - Song of Myself


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

Seeing the variety of opinions here, I'm beginning to doubt there will be a solution which satisfies everyone. College football is great - and that's what we want it to remain. Maybe it's too much to expect to have a truly objective, rational system. I'm reminded to two Ayn Rand quotes (not that I'm a big fan, but think these might apply): 1. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. 2.Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. And so it goes. Hope the "deciders" give us less to gripe about and less to be distracted by.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

Maybe UM should follow ND's modus operandi. . . Become an independent. . . and be a master of own destiny. . .


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Kudos to Dave Brandon for being opposed to any sort of playoff system and I totally agree with his comments. There is also the issue of playing a 15th and 16th game and two "bowl" type games for fans to travel to. How well is that going to work?


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 6:25 a.m.

they should play the bowls first then seed the 4 teams


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

The Conference championships are not very interesting anyway since they rarely match the 2 best teams in the conference. If they excluded this game I would not have a problem with split championships anyway.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

The conference championship game actually serves no purpose. It is almost a penalty. It allows others to rest while they have to play an extra game. Could you imagine if the NFL made the best team in the league play an extra game before the playoffs while others had the opportunity to rest and at the same time scout you ? They have to figure out a way to fix this unintended consequence.... possibly eliminating it and just adding an extra conference game for everyone in the league.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 5:47 a.m.

16 games (12 regular season, 1 conference championship game, 1 bowl game, 2 playoff games). That does seem like a lot, LSU played 14 this year , but the teams in the sub-divisions play a playoff system in which they play at least that much.

Ed Kimball

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

It might be a good idea in theory, but it makes for a very long season for the four teams in the playoffs, especially the two in the final game.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

As long as we play that green team to the west, that red and silver team to the south and that gold team next door football will remain great for the Wolverine faithful. Toss in a pac 12 team in Pasadena and I'm in football heaven. Pick-a-champ, BCS or playoff contenders just adds the cherry on top.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

Seems like a lot of changes in the wind including at home with the Wolverine nation.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

bigblue: ". . . the big-10 and pac-12 might decide to opt out and go back to the old Rose Bowl match-up." If they did it could be one of the BEST decisions ever made in college football history. The Rose Bowl is the best bowl in college football, as it has been for over 100 years. Keep its tradition intact. It will thrive, and survive the morass about to consume college football in a stupidly devised playoff system. The college football schedule is becoming a severe hardship for our student athletes. Schedulers keep adding more games. Enough! Take back our game! Go back to the old system. Let the coaches vote on a national champion. Let the sports writers vote. Let the chips fall where they may. Allow conferences to become healthy, showcasing their best in their own bowl games. Allow players to become healthy, in the classroom and on the field. Shorten the absurdly long season, not lengthen it.

Mush Room

Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.



Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

Yes, the Rose Bowl is the premier bowl, of which it must always be remembered was inaugurated with a 49-0 Michigan win over Stanford.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 10:58 a.m.

a2grateful, I wish you were the big 10 commissioner. This would be the best possible scenario for us.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

Good thoughts!


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

There is also talk that if a playoff system happens that the big-10 and pac-12 might decide to opt out and go back to the old Rose Bowl match-up. If they did it might be one of the worst decisions ever made in college football history.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

there is no talk by the 2 conferences excluding themselves from a championship game. none.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

Hey ribs1- Your quote about the Big 10 being selected to play in the 4 team playoff once every 5 years or so I feel is ridiculous. I see every year one team from the Big 10 going undefeated or with only one does an undefeated or 1 loss big 10 team not get included in the 4 team playoff. (of course there is still the Big 10's championship game between the Legends and the Leaders, but I still feel the team who wins that championship game is in the playoffs unless that champion happens to win the conference with 2 losses and I doubt that happens once every 5 years or so considering your logic) Just Sayin' GO BLUE!!!!


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 10:56 a.m.

This would be the best possible situation for the big 10. Why would the big ten want to be a part of a system where they might get chosen to be in a playoff once every 5 years or so?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

Why should ND be involved in this?....................... they should just go ahead and join the Big 10.

AA native, ND fan

Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

And ND doesn't want or need them either.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

oh hell no! B1G doesn't need nor want them.

AA native, ND fan

Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

Precisely, Hailmary. For better or worse, it's about $$$ and who puts butts in the stands. ND has/does both. There is no question why ND should be involved under this setup.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

2 reasons, one, they like calling their own shots and 2 they are financially healthy. Money talks and ND has plenty of both.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

All I know is that I hated the pre-BCS system. Almost anything would have been better: and of course that's what we got - almost anything but still better than the absurdity we once called "choosing a national champion." We probably always will be saddled with a compromise system which doesn't really cover all the issues even if "Division I" football was pared to 50 teams, let alone if we leave it at 112 or so teams. The NFL manages, what, 32 teams nationally? Okay, so right there's an idea: pare the eligible teams down to around 40 or less. A ny team which hasn't ranked above 41st in the last 25 years: should be dropped to a lower tier division. Then revamp the conferences so they more resemble NFL "regions." All conferences would belong to a centralized "UFL" (University Football League - to avoid the "CFL" confusion with Canadian pro football) Beyond that, not much can be done because the season for university teams is too short compared to the NFL teams.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

no system is or can be perfect.some teams will always be screwed.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

This is true. On the other hand, I don't think we've ever seen five unbeaten teams so it's highly unlikely that an unbeaten team wouldn't get chosen in a 4-team playoff. I don't really care as much about teams missing out after losing only one or two games - they should just win all their games next time.