Pac-12 would benefit in 'plus-one'

December, 27, 2011
12/27/11
1:36
PM ET
ESPN.com's Brad Edwards considers a potential "plus-one" quasi-playoff being added to the BCS, and he shows that it's hardly flawless.

First, here's specifically what he is writing about:
For that reason, it had been assumed until very recently that the "unseeded plus-one" would be the next step for college football's postseason. In this model, conference champions would be assigned to their designated bowl spots (Big Ten and Pac-12 to Rose, SEC to Sugar, Big 12 to Fiesta, ACC to Orange); the remaining spots would be filled through a selection process; all bowl games would be played; then the final BCS standings would be run after the bowls. The top two teams would play in the national championship game a week later.

There are a few reasons this might be an improvement over the current system. In a season like 2011, if the Fiesta chose the Alabama Crimson Tide as the opponent for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, it would set up a true national semifinal game and ultimately lead to a title game that everyone could feel much better about. At the very least, this format would return us to the days of more than one bowl game having national championship impact.

But Edwards paints a picture of unintended consequences and potential pratfalls that should give decision-makers pause.

That might not be the most interesting thing, however, for Pac-12 fans. Edwards' story includes a graphic that answers this question: Which conferences would benefit the most from a four-team playoff?

So here are the leagues that had the most third- and fourth-place finishers in the BCS standings from 1998-2011.

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