Don’t bury the plus-one, ’cause it’s not dead yet.

About a month ago, I posted this, about the postseason debate between the conference commissioners:

… While I don’t believe they’ll throw up their hands and stick with what they’ve done – that’s not where the money is, after all – it would surprise me less and less if they don’t fall back on a true plus-one, a title game after all the bowls are played in which the top two teams face off, as their default.  The fans get a new shiny toy, the schools get another game from which to generate revenue and the commissioners get to put off all the hard decisions that can’t reach agreement on for another day.  Which will no doubt come.

Guess what?  The plus-one is still ticking.

“I’d say before Friday that idea of a plus-one didn’t have much traction, but I think the announcement on Friday’s a game-changer,” Scott said. “We’re pretty far down the path on four-team playoff options, but given the very positive reaction to what the SEC and Big 12 have done, it’s possible that (a plus-one) could get some traction.”

Scott’s not the only one saying that.

“At this point in the process, the discussion and momentum seems to surround a four-team, three-game approach,” Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “As we continue to focus on finding an option that leads to a consensus among the group, we’ll have to see if that involves the consideration of other models, including the simplified plus-one.”

You can see why it’s attractive as a short-term solution.  It preserves the bowls’ importance.  It lets the lock-ins with the Rose Bowl and the new Big 12/SEC bowl game serve in many years as national semi-final games.  But it still throws a lifeline to the Big East, ACC and the mid-majors (as well as the rest of the BCS bowls).  And it adds one more postseason game to the mix.  Cha ching!

Most importantly, nobody has to make any hard decisions about selection committees, game sites or eligibility.  That’ll make Notre Dame happy.

Problem is, what they’re left with is an unstable mess.  There will still be situations when there will be a huge debate over which teams should play in the title game.  And there will be all the attendant problems with which teams get into the playoff pool – the eligible bowls – in the first place.  In other words, this approach doesn’t really settle any of the issues which have led to the situation the decision makers find themselves in now.  It simply puts off judgment day, albeit with an additional check for the trouble.

A month ago I said it wouldn’t surprise me if they wound up adopting the plus-one as the new format.  Now, I’d say it’s at least 50-50 they do.  A month from now I’ll probably be saying I’ll be surprised if they don’t.

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UPDATE:  While some sound as if a consensus is still uncertain, Michael Adams says the SEC is about to wrap things up.

Adams said the SEC presidents had a “lengthy” teleconference last Thursday, and he expects plenty of “substance” to be discussed at next week’s SEC meetings in Destin, Fla. Adams indicated that the main issue is the SEC’s position on the changing landscape of the college football postseason. The presidents are approaching a “unified” take on the playoff, according to Adams, which should be voted on and announced next week.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Don’t bury the plus-one, ’cause it’s not dead yet.

  1. bubblescreen

    The beauty of the plus-one, from the commissioners perspective, is that there is no playoff pool, in theory. Everyone would still be eligible to make the top 2 after the bowls. it’s basically adding another week to the regular season, but with a LOT more money involved & better games.

    It also consolidates the money & power. Imagine how much the Rose Bowl would get from ESPN or the “Champions Bowl” would get from whoever if they could guarantee those matchups of conference champions every year. And that money would go directly to the conferences, not the larger BCS or FBS pool.

  2. boiled peanut

    I blame Dan Wetzel.

  3. Joe Shmoe

    Do the SEC presidents ever have lengthy conference calls to discuss academics or is it just to talk football?