BCS considering parts of MWC proposal

PASADENA, Calif. -- The BCS could decide to adopt parts of the playoff plan proposed by the Mountain West Conference, even as the group seems unlikely to scrap its current system of determining college football's champion.

A buttoned-up BCS finished its last day of meetings Wednesday in the city that will host the championship game in early 2010. Only BCS coordinator John Swofford emerged briefly to speak to reporters a day after the group heard a case for changing to an eight-team playoff from the current single-game championship format.

It's unlikely that the MWC's proposal will bring about any major changes to the BCS's format, despite pressure from the major-college conferences largely left out of the big-money bowls, as well as legislators and government officials including President Barack Obama.

Of the MWC proposal that he termed "a fundamental change," Swofford said he agreed with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson's assessment that the plan could be considered in one or two of its parts even if the playoff system is shot down by the college presidents.

"A selection committee? Yes," Swofford said, of a performance-based group replacing the computers and polls of the current formula.

But the sweeping change of a playoff system, he said, couldn't be separated out.

"Ultimately it will be in the presidents' hands," Swofford said. In June, the BCS commissioners are scheduled to pass any changes on to the presidents group when it meets.

For those preferring a playoff, the BCS "will always have some controversy," he said, indicating that part of the proposal was a likely non-starter, although the lack of playoff is the chief objection raised by opponents.

Asked if the BCS commissioners felt there was any significant legal issue, Swofford said, "No, we don't."

Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff is investigating whether the BCS violates federal antitrust laws and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) asked for the BCS to be put on the agenda of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.

The University of Utah was undefeated last season, but denied a shot in the BCS title game between two teams with at least one loss.

Obama publicly endorsed a playoff system, but hasn't taken any action.

The MWC's proposed changes are significant, starting with the criteria for selecting eight teams for a playoff by a 12-person committee that would discard the polls and computers used to determine the BCS standings.

The BCS system, Swofford said, "has been successful in a lot of ways," including here in Pasadena where "you can see the connectedness of the Rose Bowl and the BCS."