College football moving closer to playoff

By Adam Greene

The Crimson White, U. Alabama via UWIRE

For years, many fans and pundits throughout the country have clamored for a playoff in college football to replace the current Bowl Championship Series formula.

But it took two teams from the same conference playing in the BCS National Championship game to finally open the floodgates for playoff talk. When the BCS rankings chose Alabama and LSU as the nation’s top two teams back in December, nearly every critic of the current system finally had their argument.

Leaders of the six major conferences have set a June 20 deadline and plan on cementing a playoff system acceptable to all parties. The commissioners seem to have settled on a four-team format. However, the teams who will earn those spots are still a matter of contention.

SEC coaches all agree that the top four teams should play each other, a plan that could guarantee more than one team from a conference makes it to the postseason. On the other side of the fence, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney and conference coaches advocate for a model in which only conference champions make the cut for playoff eligibility.

“If you’d have to win a conference championship, you might get the first team, the fifth team, the seventh team and the 12th team in the country playing in this tournament,” Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said.

Saban, like most coaches in the SEC, said he’s in support of having the four best teams in the playoff, with winning your conference not being a requirement. CBS radio host Tim Brando said having the four best teams is the only option.

“Securing the top four teams is No. 1 priority right now,” Brando said. “Anything less will not be tolerated.”

After commissioners decide on the format, a location must be chosen.

“The BCS will go where the money is,” radio host Paul Finebaum said. “Because cities such as Dallas and Atlanta do not already host BCS bowl games, they will likely be more aggressive than Miami or Pasadena.”

While a playoff would pacify the masses, it may leave some schools on the outside looking in. Six conferences fighting for four playoff slots could render the weaker ones virtually insignificant. The Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference, juggernauts in basketball, are currently fighting to maintain relevance in football.   Though many believe a playoff would inevitably bring about four super-conferences, no immediate expansion is on the horizon for the SEC. After six consecutive BCS championships, the most powerful conference may only benefit from a change in the postseason.

“We’re a powerhouse conference,” Alabama student and business major Brandon Stovall said. “Our league’s heavy emphasis on defense and overall style of football could give us a huge advantage in a playoff.”

Fans and experts alike seem to reach a general consensus on the sport’s future. The only thing left to do is hold our breaths and hope the conference commissioners can reach an agreement, as well.

“[A playoff format] will only strengthen the SEC’s chances,” Finebaum said. “It enhances the chances for each conference and will benefit everyone.”

Read more here: http://cw.ua.edu/2012/06/13/college-football-moving-closer-to-playoff/
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