Big 10, Pac-10 play the role of BCS villians Print
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Tuesday, 29 April 2008 13:09
NCAAF Headline News

 HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) -If only the Big Ten and Pac-10 weren't so stubbornly loyal to the Rose Bowl, the BCS would be on its way to a playoff.
That's the perception - though not the reality - and it's allowed the other conferences to be safely noncommittal about the possibility of turning the Bowl Championship Series into a four-team major college football playoff.
``I think the characterization of the Big Ten and Pac-10 being at one place and everyone else being at the other place, I don't think it's accurate,'' Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told reporters Tuesday during a break in the BCS meetings at a beachfront hotel.
``Just because somebody says they're open-minded and interested in looking at other models doesn't mean they're committed to it.''
Clearly the Rose Bowl and its separate TV contract with ABC is a major hurdle for the BCS to clear if it wants to adopt the so-called plus-one format. Delany and Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen have said they do not support it.
One magazine even dubbed the Rose Bowl alliance 'The Axis of Obstruction.''
``I think it's a stretch myself,'' Delany said with a laugh.
He's got a point.
Even Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, the man who will present a plus-one plan on Wednesday to the 10 other conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, has refused to say whether he and his constituents would vote for such a plan.
Same goes for Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford, who took over for Slive as BCS coordinator in January and immediately said he was committed to putting the plus-one on the agenda for these meetings.
Swofford said the plus-one has been talked about within the ACC, but he's never polled his members to find out if they would support it.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe have taken the same approach. Both say they want to talk about a plus-one, but that's as far as they'll go.
``I think the burden for change is on those who want change,'' Delany said.
But there doesn't seem to be a clamor for change among the rest of the group.
``I think there are a lot of people in the room that are happy with the way things are now, but the question is: Is there a better way that improves the BCS and improves the postseason for college football?'' Swofford said.
As for the commissioners of the five conferences that don't have automatic bids to the big-money bowls - the Mountain West, Western Athletic, Mid-American, Sun Belt and Conference USA - they're just worried about keeping the piece of the action they gained three years ago. That's when the BCS went to five games and lowered the standards for their teams to earn a bid.
``We don't get into opinions about whether plus-one, seeded this or that, until there's an alternative structure that may be developed that we can react to,'' Mid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst said. ``If there is one, first thing our folks will look at is the access point. Do we still have 10 access points? What's the number, and what will history show about being able to get on the field?''
On Tuesday, the BCS met with bowl officials and executives from ESPN/ABC and Fox. The big plus-one discussion comes Wednesday after Slive's presentation.
At a briefing with reporters to wrap up Tuesday's meetings, Swofford said the plus-one discussions could come to end Wednesday.
``If this kind of change doesn't have enough support from the commissioners group, then it simply stops there,'' he said.
If the BCS does want to make a format change starting with the 2011 bowls, it needs to be approved in August by the university presidents before the TV rights negotiations with Fox begin in the fall. The chances of that happening seem remote, at best.
The BCS is in the middle of a four-year, $320 million deal with Fox for the rights to the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls, along with three national title games. The deal runs through the 2010 bowls.
Fox sports president Ed Goren said he wants to get an agreement before the BCS has a chance to entertain other offers.
``We'll go through the angst if it does get to that,'' Goren said Tuesday. ``We just care about the endgame, and that's renewing this relationship.''
Goren said Fox will be happy to take whatever format the BCS comes up with. So expect more of the same.
``There are people who are saying, 'Let's look at this idea but we don't endorse it,''' Delany said.
Which prompted a reporter to point out to Delany that other conferences can avoid looking like the villains because of the hard line taken by the Big Ten and Pac-10.
``Thank you,'' he said, then walked off chuckling.
 

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