Compromise Will Select New Playoff Format, Not Power Conferences

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It’s now June 1. That means likely within the next month, we could see a decision made on how college football will indeed select the four teams in the new college football playoff.

Power conferences are butting heads on verbal proposals and standing firm.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany explained earlier this spring that any team that doesn’t win its division doesn’t belong in the playoffs. He made it very clear that he “doesn’t have a lot of regard for that team”. And that team he was talking about was Alabama.

Nick Saban fired back during Spring Media Days that he thinks “somebody is a little too self-absorbed” by not wanting to proceed the way the fans want.

And then there’s Texas AD DeLoss Dodds who thinks there is no compromise between the parties, and he just wants to get the selection decision over with already.

The SEC unanimously wants the top four teams – whether conference winners or not – to be in the playoffs. This has been made very clear. Commissioner Slive now has orders from SEC coaches, Athletic Directors and likely university presidents that give him the authority to proceed with a unanimous choice on where the SEC stands and present it to other conference commissioners.

Even though Slive is driving the bus of the most powerful conference in the country, there will be give and take from both sides.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said he believes there will be compromise in all the madness:

“Yes, I think all the conferences will have to. There will be something for everybody. There won’t be everything for anybody. The BCS was built on collaboration and compromise. I think that will continue.”

I have stood firm on the notion that the best decision for all parties is to compromise, and so has SportingNews writer Matt Hayes’ sources.

The way it stands now is that there will likely be a playoff that takes the top three ranked conference champions and a wildcard selected by a committee or some type of third-party ranking to select the wildcard team if the fourth team is not a top ranked conference champion. In other words, the SEC has a chance to get two teams in year-in and year-out.

This solves the SEC’s problems of 2011, and should put the other conferences at ease knowing they get a fair shot, too.

Take 2011 for instance – the top three conference champions were No. 1 LSU (SEC), No. 3 Oklahoma State (Big 12) and No. 5 Oregon (Pac-12). The highest ranked non-conference champion was obviously No. 2 Alabama.

It would have played out as such:

  • No. 1 LSU vs. No. 5 Oregon
  • No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State

Another reason compromise will win is because college football will have to figure out what to do with Notre Dame. Currently conference-less, the Domers would have to find a way to get into the playoff if selected. No conference championship equals no entry unless there is a special exemption for Independents, according to Jim Delany. With a 3-1 model, UND or other Independents will be allowed entry into the playoffs in the wildcard selection. It would be modern warfare if the wildcard comes down to either UND or another SEC team.

There will be compromise when the smoke clears and a playoff path is selected. The 3-1 model is the best route and offers the best opportunity for everyone to agree on something.

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