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UPDATE: Pac-12, Big 10 Support A Plus-One Option, According To Report

Update: Apparently Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany does not support the plus-one model:

Just got off phone w/Jim Delany. He called Sea Times story "erroneous" and said that Big Ten ADs do not support a Plus-One. Post to follow.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply


The Big 10 and Pac-12 have historically been the two leagues who resisted change from the old bowl system to the current BCS. They held off as much as they could in allowing their coveted Rose Bowl to not always have their coveted Big 10 and Pac-12 champion play in the Rose Bowl. The matchup has still primarily been a Big 10 vs. Pac-12 matchup, only four times from 1998-2011 has featured a non-traditional matchup.

New Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has moved their league light  years forward by expansing the league and most recently their large television rights deal. Now the two leagues are going forward by supporting a plus-one format to determine the college football national champion, but the caveat that the Rose Bowl is protected.

This is according to the Seattle Times:

The proposed format the ADs favored in a straw vote calls for adding a BCS bowl, probably the Cotton in Dallas, and seeding the top four teams, which would play semifinal games in two BCS bowls on a rotating basis. Presumably, the current BCS formula still would be used to rank teams. Winners would advance to a title game in what has become known as a "plus-one" format.

In this format, the Rose Bowl wouldn't host semifinal games in exchange for the right to preserve an annual matchup of the Big Ten and Pac-12, but would host the title game every five years.

This idea of a plus-one was actually presented by commissioners Mike Slive of the SEC and John Swofford of the ACC back in 2008 but it was voted down. So, if four of the six conferences are on board for this -- assuming Slive and Swofford feel the same -- it should pass, and the Big  East does not have enough pull to be the only league to say no and stop this from happening. Plus, the Big 12 will probably go along just because they are sliding down the hierarchy of BCS conferences., Then the school presidents will need to be convinced of this.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock talked about this plus-one model:

BCS executive director Bill Hancock told The Seattle Times on Friday he senses no national traction toward an NFL-style playoff. As for movement toward a plus-one scheme, he said, "They just haven't talked about the future as a group. The intent is to do that after they (conference commissioners) evaluate the feelings on campus.

"My sense is that they're going to be open to anything that will make it better, short of an NFL-style playoff, as long as they stick with their principles - maintaining the bowl system and remembering that these are college athletes."


Once they gather input, commissioners will meet early in 2012 and share consensus of their league members on a format for the next contract. Any refusal by one of the six automatic-qualifying conferences likely would scuttle a proposal. But a change in format could be presented to the television networks within a year.

"My sense is that they're going to be open to anything that will make it better, short of an NFL-style playoff, as long as they stick with their principles - maintaining the bowl system and remembering that these are college athletes."

A few things, first this is a small step toward a 16-team college football playoff that I wold like, but there are still things preventing this from beginning.

I do not know the legalese of the BCS contract, but I feel comfortable saying that this is something that can not be implemented for the 2012 bowl season. The BCS deal runs through 2013-14, so that might be the earliest this could happen. Plus, the Big 10 and Pac-12 are saying they want change, but they really don't. They want their precious bowl to keep their protected with a Big 10 and Pac-12 matchup guaranteed. I would assume that if either of those leagues are in the top four they would go to that respective semi-final bowl, but would be replaced by the next best team within their league. 

That could put together another USC vs. Illinois matchup like what happened in the 2008 Rose Bowl game where Illinois was eligible for the BCS, but just barely but that was good enough for the Rose Bowl to take them and keep their traditional matchup alive.  The Rose Bowl can't have it both ways, because what if the next best Pac-12 or Big 10 team is ranked out of the top 14 of the BCS standings? I know it is a long shot but look at the Big East and ACC recently, they have had their second team not be eligible for a BCS game. So that is an issue, plus with the amount of money involved it is almost like a second automatic berth and is unfair to the other BCS leagues. 

Looking at the past final BCS standings since 2000 there were three instances in 20032006 and 2010 where the replacement team was outside of the top 14 of the BCS standings. There is an example of how keeping the Rose Bowl exempt is not going to fly, because the 'every week is a playoff' loses even more credibility.

Also, with a sixth BCS bowl game, could there be a chance that the Mountain West get an auto bid? With six bowls there are 12 teams instead of 10 and still a guaranteed minimum of six guaranteed auto bids each year and as many as eight depending if a non-AQ team and Notre Dame earn their way in through their qualifying criteria. Ever since 2005 -- which was the first year the non-AQ criteria changed from being ranked sixth to 12th -- there have been seven automatic qualifying spots each year.

So, with another bowl game why not add the Mountain West through their petition and permanently allow seven automatic qualifying conferences, because there would still be five more at-large berths to be earned. Perhaps the Cotton Bowl would take the Big 12 as their affiliated conference since most of the schools in that league were affiliated with the Cotton Bowl as members of the old SWC, and then give the Fiesta Bowl bid to the Mountain West. 

This is a good start toward a playoff, but it still has it's flaws with the main one allowing the Rose Bowl to protect their bowl game by keeping their Big 10 and Pac-12 together.

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