A four-team playoff is coming to D-1 College football.
But good luck in figuring out what format will be used, where it will be played, and how the teams will be selected.
That is the gist of the meeting between 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick Wednesday in Chicago.
The goal is to have a playoff system in place for after the 2014 season, and to have the format in place this fall -- just in time for the next round of TV contract negotiations.
The rumors are that the bowls will be involved in some way -- perhaps with the BCS bowls hosting the semi-finals on a rotating basis and then bidding out the championship game -- much like the Super Bowl.
It is not known if the "Plus 1" format, picking two teams after the bowls run their course, is still on the table. That is the format that the Pac 12 and Big 10 desire since it would be the best for the Rose Bowl. It is expected that this format would have the Rose Bowl and the new "Champions Bowl" (pitting Big 12 and SEC champs), as de facto semifinal games.
The Big 12 and the SEC simply want a system that selects the four best teams, regardless of conference affiliation. There is also an idea of a hybrid format, where you have three conference champions and one at-large selection.
As for the selection of the teams, that argument is still raging, and it doesn't necessarily need to be worked out before the format is in place. Some want the BCS system (computers and polls), others want a selection committee similar to the ones used in NCAA basketball and baseball.
The commissioners of the major conferences in NCAA Division I meet next week in Chicago. It is doubtful that a playoff format will come out of that meeting, but rather it will carry over to the BCS Presidential Oversight meetings June 26-27 in Washington.
BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock released a statement after Wednesday's meetings.
"We made progress in our meeting today to discuss the future of college football's post-season. We are approaching consensus on many issues, and we recognize there are also several issues that require additional conversations at both the commissioner and university president levels."
"We are determined to build upon our successes and create a structure that further grows the sport while protecting the regular season. We also value the bowl tradition and recognize the many benefits it brings to student-athletes."
"We have more work to do and more discussions to have with our presidents, who are the parties that will make the final decisions about the future structure of college football's post-season."
While the goal is to have something in place in time to up the ante for the TV networks involved in negotiations in the fall, BCS commissioners are confident that if it isn't in place by then, it will be by the end of the 2012 regular season.