ACC’s Swofford confident 4-team football playoff will pass

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJune 19, 2012 

A college football playoff will be one step closer to a reality after Wednesday.

ACC commissioner John Swofford will be in Chicago to determine a proposal for the future of college football’s postseason. Swofford, the 10 other Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are scheduled to work out the details for a four-team playoff for the 2014 season.

Any model, including such details about the selection process, and its criteria, will have to be approved by the 12-member BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, which will meet next Tuesday in Washington.

Swofford said Monday he was confident Wednesday’s meeting would yield a consensus for a proposal for a four-team model, according to ESPN.

“I think we’ve made considerable progress on it,” Swofford told ESPN. “I think we’re within striking distance on most of it.”

There has been considerable disagreement on the commissioner level about the selection process. SEC commissioner Mike Slive, whose conference has won the past six BCS titles, prefers the top four teams — regardless of conference affiliation or conference championship game results — be selected.

Swofford, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas want to include conference champions in the selection criteria.

“I think winning a conference championship should matter,” Swofford told ESPN. “It doesn’t have to be the end-all, be-all, but I think it should matter. It keeps the focus on winning a conference championship during the regular season.”

The selection process and criteria will be among the details that need to be finalized. Among the issues:

•  The sites of playoff games: The current bowl structure likely will be used for the semifinals, with the title game being bid out each year to different site, a la the NFL’s Super Bowl.

•  How will the four teams be decided? There’s some push for a selection committee, like the one used to pick the field for the NCAA basketball tournament. There also has been discussion about using strength-of-schedule component, or some equivalent to a metric like the RPI, used for basketball, but not the current computer-based system used by the Bowl Championship Series.

•  How will the revenue be distributed? The new television deal could pull in between $350 to $400 million, or about double the payout of the current bowl package. Under the BCS model, the six major conferences take home the same payout, about $22 million each, with about $2.6 million each for to the other five conferences.

•  Will it benefit the ACC? According to a CBS Sports report, the commissioners have discussed distributing the revenue based on the historical performance of each conference in the BCS from 1998 through the 2013 season. That would help the ACC, which would be able to count Miami’s performance from the early 2000s, when it was a member of the Big East. FSU won the national title in 1999 and lost the title game a year later. Miami won in 2001 and lost in 2002 as a member of the Big East. No ACC team has played for the title since.

In the past 10 years, the ACC champion has finished in the top four of the final BCS standings once (Virginia Tech, 2007). One proposal, floated earlier this summer by the Big Ten, would allow a conference champion from one of the six major conferences in the playoff if it finished in the top six of the yet-to-be agreed rankings.

Even under that expanded criteria, the ACC would have had only one eligible team (Virginia Tech, 2007) since 2002. Clemson, which won the ACC in 2011, finished 15th in the final BCS standings.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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