Mike Slive's primary motivation is to get as many SEC teams into the college football postseason, but that probably won't be able to derail a playoff from eventually emerging. (Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images)
The 11 conference commissioners are meeting in Chicago this week, trying to hammer out the details of what the college football postseason will be in 2014. Only one thing is clear: it won't be the BCS. Oh, it'll have a bowl framework; the commissioners haven't had an epiphany. Just the name is going away; whatever emerges will be called something else. The BCS brand has too much baggage associated with it, so it's going the way of the do-do bird.
The conference commissioners seem to be agreeing to bid out the national championship game outside of the bowl system. That's good news for college football fans outside of the sun belt. Domed stadiums in Detroit, Indianapolis, and St. Louis are all possibilities to host a title game, plus the usual suspects in Pasadena, Phoenix, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, and all over the state of Florida. (Dear Kansas City, your decision to cheap-out and not pay for a rolling roof for Arrowhead is one you'll regret.)
Where is this evolving to? The commissioners seem to be approaching some level of gridlock, and might just be looking to put together some recommendations for the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee to evaluate next week. That makes Harvey Perlman's preference for the Plus-One model an important factor to remember. That could be the trump card that may force the SEC to bend a little in this debate.
Where does this end up? Right now, the signals seem to indicate that the most likely approach is probably taking the top three conference champions and a wild card team. Last year, that probably would have given us a "Final Four" of LSU, Oklahoma State, Oregon, and Alabama. How would those teams be selected and seeded? With all of the controversy of the BCS formula, I think a selection committee is the most likely scenario.
But the commissioners could always surprise us with another twist; it's not like this discussion hasn't had plenty of surprise developments. (Remember when the idea of playing games at campus sites seemed to be the leading proposal? Those were the good 'ol days!) But more likely in my mind is that the commissioners might suggest something informally in a whisper, but let the college presidents make the final choice.