Playoff sites top agenda
The next phase of college football's postseason arrives Tuesday.
OK, so there's still one more season of the much-maligned Bowl Championship Series before we arrive, in 2014, at a four-team playoff. But as commissioners of 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick arrive for another round of meetings Tuesday-Thursday in Pasadena, Calif., they're prepared to unveil answers to several questions including what it's called and where it will be played.
But we might have to wait a while longer to learn who will choose the teams, and how.
• The site of the first championship game could be announced as early as Tuesday. Set for Jan. 11, 2015, it has been considered a lock to be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. But according to several published reports, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa made a strong bid and had gained consideration.
Although the championship game is expected to rotate among several cities, only the first site is expected to be announced this week.
• The name and logo of the playoff. Don't expect flashy. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last week the aim was for something classic, not corporate. "We want it to be more like the Masters than NASCAR," he said. Do not expect anything like "BCS." That brand, battered by controversy that ultimately led to the current postseason metamorphosis, will be retired after this season's championship game, which will be played Jan. 6, 2014, at the Rose Bowl.
• The Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls are expected to be named as the three so-called "host" bowls, which will join the "contract" bowls (Rose, Sugar and Orange) as rotating hosts for semifinal games. Only one other bowl the Holiday Bowl in San Diego put in a bid to be part of the system.
• The most important issue probably won't be finalized this week. Although the commissioners have spent plenty of time working on the composition of the committee that will select playoff participants, and the criteria it will use, it hasn't been settled.
There's consensus that each FBS conference will be represented, as well as several "at-large" representatives; the committee could number from 14-20. Candidates could include current administrators, but also former college administrators, retired coaches and even retired media members.
"You need people that know the game and understand the game and have experience and wisdom and integrity and respect," ACC commissioner John Swofford told USA TODAY Sports in February, when the commissioners last met.
The commissioners also have worked to determine what guidelines the committee would use in ranking and choosing participants. Although it is expected to function much like the NCAA basketball committee does in filling out the NCAA Tournament bracket, the smaller field (four teams vs. 68) and sample size (12 or 13 games vs. 35) significantly raises the stakes. Commissioners hope to deemphasize polls and won-loss records, and to develop more comprehensive data and reports.