CHICAGO — Mike Slive of the Southeastern Conference wants to come away from the latest BCS meetings with his fellow commissioners ready to pitch a four-team playoff to the university presidents.
The leaders of the 11 other major college football leagues and Notre Dame’s athletic director were back in Chicago on Wednesday for another round of talks about creating two national semifinals that would lead to a title game. This is the sixth formal meeting this year on the future of the Bowl Championship Series, and the second in Chicago in about a week.
“I expect we’ll continue to make good progress on the four-team playoff,” Slive said before the meeting started. “We’d like to get as far as we need to get to make a comprehensive presentation to our presidents next week.”
Slive told reporters the commissioners don’t need to complete every detail of a plan for a new postseason before they break up on Thursday, echoing what Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told reporters earlier.
“My hope is that we come out with a consensus on a four-team playoff model and what it looks like,” Slive said.
The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee meets Tuesday in Washington, but Delany said that, too, is unlikely to be the final stage in this process.
“I expect direction from the presidents rather than closure,” Delany said.
Some talk of a so-called “plus-one” has crept back into the conversations about the future of college football’s postseason since the April meetings in Florida, when for the first time the commissioners all acknowledged that a four-team playoff was the way they were headed. The “plus-one” is different from the current system in that the championship game matchup is set after the major bowl games are played. But there are no semifinals, so it’s not a four-team playoff, something Slive has wanted for years.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott mentioned in May the plus-one was still an option, and the Big Ten presidents said they preferred it over a playoff. Ultimately, though, it appears that was more posturing and positioning than anything else.
The goal of these meetings is to work through the details of a playoff plan: where and when the games will be played and how the teams will be selected.
The commissioners have been focusing on ways to keep the major bowls involved as sites for the semifinals, either on a rotating basis or by linking conferences to bowls. There has also been debate over how teams are selected, with Slive supporting a process that simply takes the four highest ranked teams in the nation, regardless of conference, and others leaning more toward emphasizing conference champions.
Delany said he’s for a hybrid that would allow a team that doesn’t win its conference to make the playoffs, but could use a league title as a tiebreaker of sorts to separate closely ranked teams.
“I’m not so sure that the differences in our views are as significant as some people may have written,” Slive said.