BCS official open to some kind of mini-playoff system

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If the Bowl Championship Series were to
adopt a mini-playoff format, it wouldn't happen until at least the
2010 college football season.

BCS coordinator and Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike
Slive said Monday he was "very, very open-minded about a
plus-one," which could create a four-team playoff.

"I think we need to take a very hard look at that," Slive told
reporters at a Football Writers Association of America meeting.

But a full-fledged NFL-style playoff has no chance of happening
anytime soon, Slive said.

"The question is 'Is 1 and 2 enough?'" he said.

Slive doesn't expect any changes until Fox's four-year $320
million TV deal ends with the 2010 bowls.

The plus-one model was discussed by the BCS, though never
seriously, when it expanded to five games and scheduled the
championship game after the four major bowls. The first BCS
national championship game was played Monday night between No. 1
Ohio State and No. 2 Florida at University of Phoenix Stadium in

Although current TV contracts would not prohibit a BCS format
change, Slive said it seemed unlikely any major alterations could
be made in time to affect the current arrangement.

Fox is in the first year of a four-year deal for the broadcast
rights to the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls until 2010 and the
national title game until 2009. The Rose Bowl has its own TV deal
with ABC, a contract that runs through 2014.

Currently, the championship game is set after the regular
season, using the top two teams in the final BCS standings.

With the plus-one model that has received the most attention,
the top four teams would be seeded into two of the marquee bowls,
essentially creating national semifinals. The winners would play a
week later for the national title.

Another possible plus-one format would set the bowls using
traditional ties-ins -- such as Pac-10 and Big Ten champions meeting
in the Rose Bowl and the SEC champ playing in the Sugar -- and have
the final BCS standings come out after the bowls are played.

The commissioners of the 11 Division I-A conferences and Notre
Dame athletic director Kevin White will meet in March and June, and
the college football postseason will be a topic, Slive said.

He said he would approach any discussion about postseason
changes with three priorities in mind -- adhering to schools'
academic missions, maintaining the passion of the regular season
and preserving the bowl tradition.

Ultimately, university presidents will make the decision, and
they have shown little support for a playoff in the past.

"I told our presidents they need to think about this and make
some decisions about whether or not the BCS format should be the
way it is today or whether they want to talk about some other
format," Slive said.

The new five-game BCS format has one bowl site hosting two games
in eight days. This season, the Fiesta Bowl hosted the championship
game. The Sugar Bowl, which returned to the Superdome on Jan. 3
after skipping a year because of Hurricane Katrina, is scheduled to
host two games next season.

"The question is not what New Orleans can do for us," Slive
said, "but what can we do for New Orleans."