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College Football One Step Closer To A Playoff

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College football fans' hopes of a playoff to determine a national champion each year are another step closer to becoming reality.

Today, BCS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic Jack Swarbrick reached a consensus on a four-team playoff model that would replace the current BCS system beginning in the 2014 season.

While final details have not yet been ironed out, the important thing is that a consensus has been reached among the commissioners. For some time, there seemed to be a lot of division, such as how to select the participants, what model to go by, even down to who would be eligible for the playoff.

There is still one hurdle to cross, and that's approval from the BCS presidential oversight committee, which meets June 26 in Washington, D.C. Once the proposed plan is approved, the playoff will officially be enacted.

"We're very unified," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said. "There are issues that have yet to be finalized. There's always devil in the detail, from the model to the selection process, but clearly we've made a lot of progress."

Delany and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott were proponents of limiting the playoff team to conference champions only. However, that idea was met with opposition from other conferences such as the SEC, which had both participants in this year's national championship game.

A lot of compromises had to be made for the commissioners to get to this point, and fans can only hope the presidents will be the same way.

"I'm sure it won't satisfy everyone," Scott said. "Until you have an eight-team or 16-team seeded playoff, there will be folks out there that aren't completely satisfied. We get that. But we're trying to balance other important parties, like the value of the regular season, the bowls, the academic calendar."

The commissioners made it clear they were at a consensus on a four-team playoff, but they didn't completely rule out a plus-one model. The difference between the two ideas is that a plus-one would keep the current BCS formulas and simply play an extra game after all the bowl games had been completed.

This model has been preferred by Nebraska chancellor, Harvey Pearlman, who is on record as being completely satisfied with the status quo. Obviously, that is no longer an option, but the fact that the plus-one model is still technically a possibility could present a problem if Pearlman and other presidents advocate for that particular model.

However, that probably won't be an issue. It's apparent the majority of the presidents prefer a four-team playoff, so if there is any disagreement, it will probably be resolved by peer pressure.

The fact the BCS will no longer be used starting in 2014 is not a new one. Yet, it still seems too good to be true a playoff is actually going to happen.

The commissioners have come a long way to get to today's consensus. As recent as six months ago, many of them were staunchly opposed to the idea of a playoff, despite the majority of college football fans having a collective coronary while screaming for one.

Yet those oppositions have been put to the side and now, college football is one step closer to something that hasn't happened in the 143 years the sport has been played: a playoff.

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