Neutral-site playoff plan gaining momentum

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
10:30
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The BCS powers that be say no final decisions on a future postseason format will be made this week, but one plan is gaining momentum. Colleague Mark Schlabach reports from the BCS meetings in Hollywood, Fla., that if a four-team playoff is approved, the semifinals and championship game will be played at neutral sites. BCS bowl games also will be played closer to New Year's Day.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and others had advocated for semifinals to play on campus at the home of the top two seeds, but the campus plan hasn't caught on.

From Schlabach's story:
The conference commissioners have reached a conclusion that some FBS schools' stadiums aren't large enough to host a national semifinal game and that many college towns don't have enough hotel rooms to accommodate bigger crowds.

"What happens if TCU finishes No. 2 in the country and hosts a semifinal game?" the source said. "TCU finished No. 3 two years ago. Are they really hosting No. 3 Ohio State in a 45,000-seat stadium? Where are people going to stay if Oregon hosts a semifinal game? In Portland? As much as it would be great for the sport to see a game played in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuscaloosa, Ala., or Lincoln, Neb., some of the logistical issues are just too severe. I think that idea has come home to roost as far as these guys are concerned."

I love that the commissioners have decided that some college football stadiums can't host college football games. Ridiculous. There aren't enough hotel rooms in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex? Portland, by the way, isn't exactly a six-hour drive from Oregon's campus in Eugene. And smaller stadiums create great atmospheres.

The Big Ten, of course, is more equipped to handle major on-campus games than any other conference, as it boasts mammoth stadiums, most of which are located in or near decent-sized cities. Penn State's Beaver Stadium would be the exception. So the likely death of the on-campus plan stings Jim Delany's league.

Also of interest to Big Ten fans, what to do with the Rose Bowl.
Rose Bowl officials repeatedly have said they prefer to keep their traditional matchup between Big Ten and Pac-12 teams; Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott also favor keeping the traditional tie-in intact. But if the Rose Bowl isn't willing to give up its affiliations with those conferences, it might fall out of a potential national semifinals rotation. However, the Rose Bowl would still be eligible to bid for a national championship game.

It might make sense for the Rose Bowl to stay out of the semifinal rotation but ensure it hosts the championship game more often than not.

Interesting times. Stay tuned.

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