Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott Believes This Proposed College Football Playoff Model Will Be in Place for At Least a DecadeJune 25, 2012 – 8:20 am by Chris Fedor
Last week, college football took a huge step toward implementing a playoff system and going away from the current BCS system. Since the national title game, BCS Commissioners have been meeting to explore ways that college football could change from the BCS to a playoff and last Wednesday, the Commissioners finally endorsed a seeded four-team playoff model for college football that would begin in 2014. There are still hurdles to clear and now things are in the hands of all the presidents but it looks like a playoff is on the way in college football. Some people will complain because it is only four teams as opposed to eight or even 16, but in an effort to identify a true national champion in college football while at the same time preserving the BCS Bowls and making the regular season count the way it always has, this seems like the best way to go.
Larry Scott joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to talk about taking steps toward implementing a playoff in college football, what they wanted to make sure they preserved in these negotiations, who is going to be on the committee to pick the four teams in the potential playoff and how long he expects this format to be in place if it gets approved.
On the steps they took toward implementing a playoff in college football:
“It was a collective effort and I’m certainly one of the new faces in the room. And our conference has changed so much in terms of our perks to make progress versus resisting change and being rooted in the status quo. I think our conference, being more progressive, more open-minded, more willing to try a new format made a big difference in the room so certainly the Big Ten, a traditional partner, recognized that we had a different viewpoint going forward and I think it helped open people’s minds to what was possible going forward but change doesn’t happen within the BCS unless everyone agrees. That’s the nature of it. It’s not an entity; it’s not a business where the majority vote rules. Everyone has to agree. There was a lot of give and take by all parties to get us to the point where we have a clear vision for what a four team playoff could look like.”
What they wanted to make sure they preserved in these conversations:
“Yeah we only had two or three principles that we kept articulating and said these are things that are of paramount importance to us if we’re going to consider a playoff going forward. One is preserving the preeminent division the Rose Bowl holds in the world of college football and in particular amongst the bowls. The second is preserving the regular season. The third is making sure that the Pac 12 is treated fairly given the fact that we play tougher a schedule than the other conferences. In terms of our first principle, it meant that if there was going to be a four team playoff that it was going to have to be a part of the bowl system because we weren’t going to let the Rose Bowl be relegated to second tier status and we know fans in Pasadena and Southern California enjoy sometimes seeing the best teams in the country outside the Pac 12 or the Big Ten. If this four team playoff ultimately gets approved by presidents next week what it will mean is every year Pac 12 and Big Ten teams will play in the Rose Bowl but will participate in semi-final games that may be held around the country and from time to time semi-finals will be held in Pasadena so that gives Southern California a chance to see some of the best teams in the country from outside our conference too.”
Who he expects to serve on the selection committee:
“I know I wouldn’t want to do it. There’s going to be some pressure on that committee. I’m not really a committee guy honestly. I didn’t spell it out thinking that would be a good result. I just don’t tend to think the sports world needs another committee but as we got into it, we realized the current system was flawed in so many ways. With coaches voting and they are voting without necessarily looking at the games, computers that are not transparent and one of the fundamental challenges we realized is unlike the NFL, there’s not enough games where teams from different conferences are playing against each other. You don’t have a body of work to look at that gives you a sense of how teams stack up so there’s going to be some subjective element to it regardless of what you do. Listening to some of my colleagues that have served on the men’s basketball committee and realized we have a better chance as a Pac 12 conference to get a fair shake for the fact that we play a nine game conference schedule, the fact that USC and Stanford play Notre Dame, the fact that we play tough out of conference competition, tougher than the SEC or what the Big 12 is doing, and there’s a chance that humans can give us credit for the strength of schedule and credit for what it takes to be the champion of the Pac 12 conference the way that polls and computers cannot. I actually came around on this one. Didn’t start there but came around thinking this could be a great benefit for our conference.”
How long he would expect this proposed four team playoff to be in place:
“It’s really hard to look at a crystal ball beyond five or ten years and I think you will see this format in place for a good period of time. I don’t think the conferences or BCS has done themselves a good service by having such a short term deal so that the format is a constant discussion point. It’s taken us a good six months in terms of discussion to get to and I think this solution is an artful balance that allows us to move forward with a playoff. Fans will see it more on the field and be less reliant on polls or objective measures but at the same time still preserves the importance of bowls, we’re still going to have top teams in the Rose Bowl, preserves the value of the season, fits with the academic calendar, there’s only one game – the National Championship game – that will take place once classes have already begun so I think this is a model that fits. I think you will see it in place for a while, I’d say at least a decade and after that we will see.”