BCS officials met for two-plus hours on Tuesday night to get a jump-start on Wednesday's postseason-format talks in Chicago.
The first to exit the proceedings, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said the meeting was "positive." ACC commissioner John Swofford, for his part, said it was "a good start."
Privately, however, some commissioners expressed real concern about whether a complete recommendation for a playoff system can be achieved by next week, although they are aware of the pressures created by a perceived deadline of the end of this month in the face of media and public anticipation. One commissioner said "it will be a real challenge." Another said: "I'm not sure it's realistic."
BCS sources continue to indicate the most likely postseason scenario is a "Final Four" playoff, with semifinals played within the bowl setup, with the national title game bid out.
There is momentum for a committee to bring the "human element" to the selection process. Each conference would have a representative.
Still, there is apprehension about who would actually want to be on this committee. Working through where the Rose Bowl and Champions Bowl fit into the structure continue to be challenges. To accommodate the Rose Bowl concerns of the Big Ten and Pac-12, one BCS source said, "they'll go some distance but not all the way."
Ideally, sources say, they would play the semifinals on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 and the title game the following Monday. They may take geographic proximity and/or historic bowl affiliations into account when assigning where the teams play.
The current BCS bowls do get first crack at the semis. There are many advantages to having predetermined Final Four sites in their opinion, chief among them marketing and lodging concerns.
As for this week's meetings, one commissioner told ESPN the key after all the posturing and politicking since they last met in Ft. Lauderdale is to re-solidify their take on the Final Four and to return to the collegial tone they previously had in the room before they broke.
Another BCS source stressed the commissioners want to make enough progress this week to at least have a chance to iron out next week a plan to present to their Presidents in D.C. on June 26.