BCS and Plus One format: It's academic

July, 22, 2008
7/22/08
11:03
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

GREENSBORO, Ga. -- If anyone knows about the BCS format, where it's headed and what the powers that be think of it, it's ACC commissioner John Swofford, who was BCS coordinator from 2000-'01 and currently holds the position again. 

There seems to be a very simple overriding explanation as to why the Plus One format for the BCS championship failed to get anywhere this spring when it was last discussed seriously -- the university presidents don't want to implement any system that crosses into the second semester.

At Tuesday morning's breakfast/news conference with Swofford, who was at the April BCS meetings in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., one of the points he brought up is exactly how the BCS committee works.

As most of you probably know, the committee is comprised of 11 conference commissioners and the Notre Dame athletic director. While they're all very immersed in the subject and have their own opinions, they're also representing their respective schools, their presidents and athletic directors.

Swofford and SEC commissioner Mike Slive thought this thing was ready to roll. As Swofford explained Tuesday, the university presidents had other intentions. (That's not to say there weren't other people opposed to this plan, but if there's going to be a roadblock, the guys at the top of the academic food chain will be it).

"I think the parameters that are being considered when you talk about the BCS are several," Swofford said. "One is the respect that the college football community has for the bowl system and what it's meant to college football ... Secondly, it's a timeframe from the presidents, they're not interested at this point in time in starting anything that begins during exam period before Christmas. They're not interested in something that ends in the second semester. They strongly prefer that college football be a one-semester sport. And I think the other aspect of it is the health of the regular season. ... Every game during the regular season is incredibly important."

Overall, Swofford said, the "parameters of our presidents and leaders in higher education" are "why we are where we are."

What, then, is March Madness? The College World Series? You wanna talk academic nightmare? Talk to Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez. I did. And he said his new, condensed schedule was a nightmare.

Look, the best argument against a playoff is one Swofford did mention -- the "health" of the regular season. Let's get this out in the open -- I am against a playoff, simply because I love how much every Saturday means, I love the dysfunction in the final weeks and the controversy over it. I'll admit it.

There's no way, though, this proposal should be squashed because all of a sudden it's important for athletes to be in class in the spring, too.

Just ask Lopez what he thinks about that. Better yet, ask his players.

Not that it matters, anyway. You're stuck with this format for another six years.

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