Is a Plus-One playoff system back on the table?
When the SEC and Big 12 announced an agreement last week on a bowl game that would pit their champions in a major venue, many believed it was bad news for the ACC and Big East, the two conferences generally regarded as the weakest of the Big Six. Of course, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have long held strong ties to the Rose Bowl, making the ACC and Big East the lone two BCS conferences without a strong postseason alliance and on the outside looking in.
While that may be the case, there could be even bigger fallout from the deal between the SEC and Big 12: revived talks of a Plus-One playoff model.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott believes that the new alliance between the SEC and Big 12 will have an impact on playoff talks.
Thought to be all but done, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott raised the possibility that a title game could be on the horizon after all of the bowl games take place, according to Rachel Bachman of The Wall Street Journal. Scott called Friday's announcement of the alliance between the SEC and Big 12 a "game-changer." Of course, the Plus-One model is the small-scale playoff that many have been hoping for over the past decade or so when a playoff system in the FBS was nothing but a wild dream. It's also the model that I have long preferred to preserve the best regular season in sports.
The Big 12-SEC Champions Bowl, which will conceivably be a slight cut above the Cotton Bowl, is scheduled to start during the 2014 season and will act similarly to the Rose Bowl, which pits teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Scott said the winners from both contests could meet in a national championship game as long as there was a way to include teams not in those four conferences. But that wouldn't seem to be the case based on the chatter that occurred when the announcement of that new game was made.
"I'd say before Friday that idea of a Plus-One didn't have much traction, but I think the announcement on Friday's a game-changer," Scott said. "We're pretty far down the path on four-team playoff options, but given the very positive reaction to what the SEC and Big 12 have done, it's possible that [a Plus-One] could get some traction."
Teams in a Plus-One model would be selected after the bowl games instead of being seeded Nos. 1-4 and placed in semifinal games. It's unclear, however, how the title game participants would be selected in that scenario.
The 11 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick have been discussing the parameters of a four-team playoff for months, and many expect a final agreement to come into place around June 20, when the group will be meeting in Chicago for the next round of talks. The Presidential Oversight Committee would then vote on the plan, likely before July 4.
After the past round of discussions, the group decided to pursue multiple avenues involving a four-team, three-game approach. But Scott now believes that last week's deal between the SEC and Big 12 has had a major impact on the future talks. We'll see if his fellow commissioners agree.
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