Pac-12 on-board with playoff

The Pac-12, long a conference that opposed a college football playoff, is now fully on board with adopting one.

Pac-12 presidents and CEOs, in Los Angeles for the conference basketball tournament this past weekend, "agreed in principle Saturday to try to end college football's Bowl Championship Series, proposing its replacement with a playoff system that would allow only conference winners to play for college football's national title," according to Craig Harris of the Arizona Daily Republic.

"I don't hear anyone saying business as usual is acceptable," Edward Ray, Oregon State University's president, and chairman of the Pac-12 universities' CEO group, told the Republic. "We need change."

While the details are scant -- Will the bowls be part of a playoff? How many teams will be selected for the playoff? Will it just be conference champions? -- it's now clear there's considerable momentum for the major conferences to announce a new playoff format this summer that will replace the BCS bowl games. The BCS contracts expire in 2014.

The only thing that will give most on the West Coast pause: The Rose Bowl. What becomes of the greatest asset in college sports? That, too, is unclear.

However, the Pac-12 chief executives want to protect the iconic Rose Bowl's status as an elite postseason game in which only representatives from the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences play. In a playoff scenario, it might or might not be one of the playoff games.

The executives also do not want to extend the college football season, even preferring to shorten it so the championship game is closer to New Year's Day. Officials said they do not want to cut into class time for college football players.

So, in other words, it appears major changes are coming to the Pac-12 and all of college football, it's only a matter of what that change will look like when the details are ironed out.

And, yes, don't for a moment think that the foundation of all this is the simple fact a playoff will generate billions in revenue for all involved -- the conferences and their members, as well as their broadcast partners.