BCS memo lists playoffs as option

Updated: April 6, 2012, 2:31 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Bowl Championship Series is focusing on four main options for changing the system that determines college football's national champion, from minor tweaks of the current system to a full-fledged, four-team playoff at neutral sites, USA Today reported.

According to a two-page memo obtained by the newspaper, the proposals are not the only options being considered, but have been the focus of discussion on how to change the system, which has been a topic of debate since its inception. The BCS' leaders are meeting April 24-26 in Hollywood, Fla.

"There is no leader in the clubhouse ... and frankly, that's just fine at this stage," BCS executive director Bill Hancock told USA Today.

Those supporting the BCS have insisted that a playoff would devalue the regular season and negatively impact the traditional bowl games and student-athlete academics. Critics have argued that the BCS has excluded deserving teams that are outside of the most powerful conferences, and has failed to reward teams for winning their conferences or going undefeated.

Among the proposals in the memo is "four teams plus" -- an arrangement that would expand to six teams to account for the traditional Big Ten versus Pac-12 rivalry embraced by the Rose Bowl, according to the report.

In that scenario, if the top four teams in the BCS standings included teams from the Big Ten and/or the Pac-12, that team (or teams) would play in the Rose Bowl, while the other four highest-ranked teams would play in two other games. Finalists for a championship game would be chosen from among the three winners, according to the report.

There is no leader in the clubhouse ... and frankly, that's just fine at this stage.

-- Bill Hancock, BCS executive director

The most radical departure proposed in the memo is a four-team playoff, with semifinals and a championship game, according to the report. The memo does not use the word "playoff" to describe the proposal, instead calling it a "four-team event."

A wide range of options for a playoff are presented in the memo, including:

• Playing all three games at bowls;
• Playing the semifinal games at bowls and selecting a bowl game site for the title game;
• Playing all three games at neutral sites and not branding the games as bowls;
• Playing semifinal games at campus sites and selecting a bowl game site for the title game.

The remaining proposals outlined in the memo obtained by USA Today include the "plus-one" formula that would select two teams after the bowl games for a championship game, and a slightly revamped BCS system that would change or eliminate the automatic qualifying status for conferences, except for contracts between conferences and bowl games.

Furthermore, according to the memo, if a plus-one or playoff system were put in place, the BCS would consider having a committee select matchups for as many as 16 bowl games, "with the aim of providing the most evenly matched and attractive games that make geographic sense for the participants."

ALSO SEE