NCF Nation: 2013 Big 12 spring meetings

IRVING, Texas -- Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds made headlines when he championed an eight-team college football playoff Thursday at the Big 12's spring meetings, despite the four-team version still being more than a year away.

"It's a baby step. It's a good step," Dodds said. "I'm kind of an eight-team person."

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby wasn't biting on the possibility of Dodds' preference becoming reality.

"I don’t see us expanding to eight any time soon," he said.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck was also asked about Dodds' comments, but he's not looking for any bracket expansion, either.

"Let’s give four a shot and see," Luck said.

Luck agreed with Dodds' assertion that the debate about the No. 5 team -- aka the first team not invited to the playoff -- would carry more weight and be more heated than a debate about a No. 9 team, but stopped short of saying that would be enough to expand the playoff.

"It’d be interesting to go back and look the last 10 years at who would have qualified and how big of a gap there was between 4 and 5, and then 5, 6, 7, 8. Is there a discussion about 8 and 9?" he said. "A lot of years, it seems like there’s three or four really good teams, and then there’s a little bit of a dropoff, but I’m not sure I’d advocate eight at this point."

Bowlsby, meanwhile, argued that now -- just as the game's power brokers have become comfortable with altering the postseason again -- wasn't the time for further tinkering that might have far-reaching implications.

"One of the reasons why the playoff was eventually voted in was because people who had been opposed to the playoff got comfortable around the fact that it could be accomplished without decimating the bowl environment that has been so good to us over the years," Bowlsby said. "And if you add another four games to this, then you’re going to be playing into the middle of December and over the holidays and irreversibly change the bowl environment and therefore, the postseason."

Video: Big 12 spring meetings Day 2

May, 30, 2013
5/30/13
7:46
PM ET

 
David Ubben wraps a quiet Day 2 at the Big 12 spring meetings in Irving, Texas.
IRVING, Texas -- The inaugural game of the College Football Playoff's four-team tournament is still more than 19 months away, but Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds says it's merely a step in the right direction.

"It's a baby step. It's a good step," Dodds said on Thursday at the Big 12's annual spring meetings. "I'm kind of an eight-team person."

Texas has grown into one of the highest-earning and most profitable athletic departments in college sports under Dodds, who has championed a playoff for decades. He argued that an eight-team playoff would lessen the controversy over teams not included in a four-team field.

"I think there'll be a lot of conversation about the fifth team and who didn't get in and an 11-1 team that didn't get in because somebody's 12-0 that maybe wasn't quite as good as 11-1. If you take eight, you're not going to have that. The ninth team is going to have a concern, but it's not like the fifth team."

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Dodds also said he was "not interested" in serving on the College Football Playoff selection committee.
IRVING, Texas -- The big topic of conversation at the Big 12's spring meetings Wednesday was doing the league's part to help piece together the College Football Playoff selection committee, but plenty more took place inside the meeting room, too. Here are a few notes from the Big 12's business this week.

Big 12 plays officiating guinea pig

Conference officials approved the use of eight-man officiating crews for the 2013 season. It'll be a one-year experiment that's revisited at the end of the season, and the Big 12 will be the only league in college football to use the additional official, who will be located in the offensive backfield, on the side of the quarterback, opposite the referee.

The crews, which will cost an additional $2,000 per school, will be used for all conference games and four selected nonconference games.

"Most people think our officials are as good as any in the country, and [Big 12 coordinator of officials] Walt [Anderson] is a seasoned and successful coordinator and an innovative guy. I think that's why [the national coordinator and other league coordinators] thought the Big 12 was a pretty good place to try it out."

Bowl tie-ins getting straightened out

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the Big 12 won't officially announce its bowl tie-ins this week, but the picture is coming into shape during the week of meetings, and the Alamo Bowl could replace the Cotton Bowl as the top Big 12 game for teams who don't qualify for the four-team playoff.

"We're not finished with that yet, but it looks like it's going to work that way," Bowlsby said. "We're not quite there, but we're not far."

He reiterated his stance that the Big 12 wants its bowl games to remain anchored in Texas but also have games out west (i.e., Arizona and/or California) and a game in Florida (possibly the Russell Athletic Bowl or Gator Bowl), as well as a game with a destination within driving distance for fans. That sentiment was driven in part by 25,000 Iowa State fans showing up at last year's Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

NCAA briefs Big 12 on lawsuits

NCAA attorney Donald Remy updated Big 12 officials on class-action lawsuits filed by former players claiming the NCAA used their images in video games without their permission. Former Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller and former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon are among the plaintiffs.

"This is years away from being resolved, and there’s probably an appeals process after that," Bowlsby said.

He declined to speculate on what a loss for the NCAA might mean, citing "too many moving parts" in any fallout from the lawsuits.
IRVING, Texas -- Bob Bowlsby spent 66 nights in a hotel when he was on the committee that puts together the NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket.

Now that college football is a season away from entering the playoff era, the Big 12 commissioner knows firsthand the exhausting task that awaits whoever ends up serving on the selection committee for the first four-team playoff in 2014. Bowlsby echoed comments earlier Wednesday by College Football Playoff executive chairman Bill Hancock that current commissioners, coaches and media would be excluded from possible duties, but a few current athletic directors were among the 15 names Bowlsby submitted for inclusion on the committee.

All 10 conferences were asked to submit 15 suggestions, but Bowlsby narrowed his list of 40 to candidates with the most "extensive football background" and "impeccable integrity."

"It sounds like a lot of the same people are going to be on everybody's list," Bowlsby said. The commissioners won't be submitting a candidate to represent their respective conferences on the committee, instead agreeing that the committee should be comprised of "the people of highest ability and highest integrity."

Bowlsby declined to name any of his specific candidates, and chose his words carefully so as not to out anyone who's up for discussion. He said it was "reasonable" to expect that committee members be paid a stipend, and as Bowlsby knows from his time on the basketball committee, it will be well-earned.

"It’s going to take somebody with significant work ethic," he said, noting that the job would include film study and travel.

Heavy criticism is the surest element to come with the job, but Bowlsby says he's not convinced that will scare away qualified candidates and make piecing together the committee an even more difficult task.

"There will be people who relish service, take it seriously and serve with great effectiveness," he said.

Term limits -- perhaps two three-year terms or one four-year term -- are still being discussed, but don't expect any clarity for about 90 days, Bowlsby said.

Hancock will pare down the list of about 100 candidates to a committee of 12 to 20 selectors. Bowlsby didn't share the 15 names he submitted for consideration with the league's athletic directors, according to Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt. As far as Big 12 names go, former league interim commissioner Chuck Neinas was the only obvious one who would likely receive consideration.

"Chuck Neinas is the best of the best, and whatever he would be willing to do, I don't think you could find a finer man out there than Chuck," Hocutt said.

The Big 12 footprint might also have a chance to host the meetings during which the committee will discuss and, eventually, select playoff teams. Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that Hancock said the College Football Playoff, based in Irving, Texas, may convene the final of four or five annual meetings -- or all of the meetings -- in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

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