Bloomberg News

College Football’s Four-Team Playoff System Gets Final Approval

November 13, 2012

College football’s four-team playoff system will begin in the 2014-15 season after being ratified by university presidents and conference commissioners.

The group also agreed yesterday in Denver to share revenue, with a higher portion going to conferences of the four playoff schools. Part of the payout -- as much as 10 percent, according to a report on CBSSports.com -- will depend on the teams’ academic performance, officials also said in a news release.

“Everything is on track so fans can enjoy the postseason they’ve been asking for,” Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, chairman of the Presidential Oversight Committee, said in the release. “College football, with its great regular season, is strong and popular -- it’s about to get stronger and more popular.”

Yesterday’s vote ratified a playoff plan given preliminary approval in June. The national semifinals will rotate among six bowl games, setting up two playoff games along with four other major bowls each season. The location for the national championship game will be up for bid each year, similar to the process for the National Football League’s Super Bowl.

Additional details, such as the name of the new structure, details of the selection committee, and location for the first playoff games, including the championship, remain undecided.

Big Loser

The biggest loser in the new, six-bowl Bowl Championship Series system will be the Big East Conference, ESPN reported, citing unidentified people.

In the current system, the biggest portion of BCS revenue is shared among the six most powerful conferences -- Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern. One team from each automatically qualifies for a BCS bowl game.

Under the new format, a second tier will be created, known as the Group of Five, which will comprise a demoted Big East along with Conference USA, the Mountain West, the Sun Belt and the Mid-American, ESPN said. The highest-ranked team will get an automatic invitation to an at-large BCS bowl.

The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC will still get one automatic spot in one of the BCS bowls in the new system.

A television contract for the four games and championship may be worth $7.3 billion over 12 years, Sports Business Journal reported.

“We are closing in on the final aspects of what will be a superb television agreement,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said yesterday in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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