|Wednesday, December 10
Updated: December 11, 4:11 AM ET
A single extra game might be acceptable
By Darren Rovell
NEW YORK – To have playoffs or not to have playoffs, that is the question.
With the very real possibility of a split national championship for the first time since the BCS was created in 1998, debate about the system has reached its most controversial point. But college football fans who are counting on a playoff system, maybe a limited version of March Madness, to determine the national champion in the future shouldn't be too hopeful that their idea of perfection is coming any time soon, said NCAA president Myles Brand.
"What has become very clear to me is that the decisionmakers here are the presidents, and they have to decide whether they want a playoff," Brand told ESPN.com, after giving a keynote speech at the Sports Business Journal's Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Wednesday.
Brand, who outside of his capacity as president has been asked by the conference commissioners to facilitate some of the discussions concerning the Division I-A's college football postseason, said he doesn't believe that the presidents will decide to turn the postseason into a tournament.
"At most we're talking about a single extra game," Brand said. "We're not talking about a 16-, 8- or even 4-team playoff. I just don't think that's acceptable."
Technically, adding an extra game would make it a four-team playoff, and for fans of those schools that might have to split a national championship this year, that one extra game might suffice.
The USC Trojans are currently ranked No. 1 in both polls, and a win against Michigan in the Rose Bowl will most likely make them the champion anointed by sports writers. But USC cannot possibly finish the season on top of the ESPN/USA Today's Coaches Poll, since that poll is tied to the winner of the BCS championship game between the LSU Tigers and the Oklahoma Sooners, who lost 35-7 in the Big 12 title game to Kansas State on Saturday.
"The options are to stay the same or make some modest changes, and where we wind up on that is an open question," Brand said. "But I think we have to be careful in believing that the current postseason situation with Oklahoma is going to influence this decision. I think the presidents are going to make their decision for good reasons other than just this recent happening."
Although BCS commissioner Mike Tranghese said he believes the presidents are not interested in a playoff, Brand said he thinks the decision hasn't been made yet.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.