Conference Battle Lines Drawn Over Proposed Playoff Formats

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 10: The Coaches' Trophy, awarded to head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide after defeating Louisiana State University Tigers in the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game during a press conference on January 10, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The general consensus is that there will be a 4-team playoff in D-1 College Football by 2014. However, the Devil is in the Details, and the fight over what it will actually look like takes center stage this month.

The SEC and the Big 12 want a "4 Best Teams" playoff regardless of conference championships. The Big 10, Pac-12 and the ACC favor a model that somehow reserves spots for conference champions.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany took a shot at Alabama last month when he said no playoff should include a team that didn't at least win a divisional title in its conference.

"I don't have a lot of regard for that team," Delany said. Bama coach Nick Saban fired back, saying that Delany was "somebody who is a little bit self absorbed"

Meanwhile Texas AD Deloss Dodds made it clear that the Big 12 sees no room for compromise on the playoff format.

"I don't see a compromise position," Dodds told reporters during the Big 12 spring meetings Thursday.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told the Wall Street Journal that a plus-one – a championship game after the bowls – was still on the table. When reminded of that news, Dodds smiled dismissively without commenting.

The SEC voted Friday to back a plan that would have the semifinal games be part of the current bowl system and then bid out the Championship game. Splitting the title game away from the Bowls will increase the TV revenue from the playoff.

BCS Director Bill Hancock believes that some kind of compromise between the two proposals has to be reached.

"There will be something for everybody," said Hancock. "There won't be everything for anybody. The BCS was built on collaboration and compromise. I think that will continue."

Conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick will meet June 13 and June 20 in Chicago to hash out the details of the proposed playoff. They would then present the final proposal to the Presidential Oversight Committee, which will meet June 26 in Washington, D.C. The playoff is expected to be in place by the 2014 season.

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