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It’s Becoming More Obvious That This Year’s BCS Mess Will Bring Change

On Sunday, an LSU-Alabama rematch was locked in place for the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans.  Obviously, that was going to be a problem for people from other conferences and for people who believe a team must win its league — or at least its division — in order to win a BCS crown.

So on Monday morning, we wrote that “with enough controversy, a seeded plus-one format might begin to gain some traction among schools.”

That afternoon, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas called or such a plan to get some new consideration.  On Tuesday, NCAA president Mark Emmert said that he believed some type of change would come to the BCS.

Today, the snowball continues to grow and roll.

* Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby says the plus-one model is “inevitable at this point.”

* Washington AD Scott Woodward says a plus-one plan will “eventually” happen.

* UCLA AD Dan Guerrero says he was “vehemently” against anything playoff-esque initially, “but I’m a little more open to the discussion” of a plus-one at this point.

* Kansas State AD John Curries is pushing for changes in the way all the BCS bowls are selected (though bowls always have been and always will be about tourism first, fair selections second).

* ESPN executive VP John Skipper says his network is happy with the BCS games it now televises, but “the fan discontent concerns us a bit.”

From ESPN to Sports Illustrated, the national media seems to agree that all signs point to change.  And that’s a good thing.

Many people still don’t realize this, but the NCAA doesn’t officially recognize a champion in college football.  For a century, we’ve had polls and coalitions and alliances and now a Bowl Championship Series to help determine who wins what trophy… but none of it is official.  Thus the talk this year of a split national title between Alabama and LSU if the Tide win in New Orleans.  (That talk is already growing and will continue to grow right up until kickoff in the Superdome, by the way.)

It’s time the sport decide its champion on the field… and not just in a game where people vote in their top two teams.  A seeded plus-one format is the best solution.  That would create a national semifinal for football.  Whether the top four are chosen by committee or the current BCS rankings matters little.  A fifth-place team has a lot less room to whine than a third-place team.  (And no matter how much you want it, there will never be an eight or 16-team playoff under the current set-up.  The only way that happens is if the BCS schools create their own division within the NCAA.)

If you’re a fan of the plus-one system, then you need to be pulling for Alabama next month.  A Tide win would create more controversy and more debate and would likely bring more people to the “okay, we’ve got to fix this” conclusion.  A win by LSU might dull the argument as the nation’s obvious best team would have defeated all comers, including a team that it had already beaten once on the road.

More than likely, however, the snowball has already reached the point of no return.  The only question now appears to be how fast that snowball will travel.  The current BCS deal runs through January of 2014.  With enough debate in the weeks and months ahead, a new seeded plus-one format could be in place by January of 2015.

And as we stated above, we believe that would be a very, very good thing for college football.


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