A playoff is coming. The big question for the Pac-12: Will it be the type of playoff that exists for the greatest absolute benefit of the conference?
It seems the only proposals left on the table are four team playoffs, meaning that the BCS as we know it will cease to exist after the contract runs out through the 2014 season. The plus one is coming, which ensures that Pac-12 schools will stand a good chance of having a representative every year.
It remains to be seen what format will be the one used though, and that could end up determining who ends up dancing in this contest.
- Will it be the #1 vs #4, #2 vs #3 format that a lot of conferences favor for its simplicity? It makes a lot of sense when you think of it...until you realize this strategy ends up putting the election back in the hands of the voters that have always tended to favor the East Coast schools and particularly the Southern bloc.
- Will it be a conference championship format that favors the top four conferences? Obviously that qualification would end up back in the hands of the voters, and it probably wouldn't give us the top four teams playing each other, but it would provide us with more of a regular season that matters.
"So much of the passion of a move to a playoff is to see it earned on the field," Scott said. "What more clear way to have intellectual consistency with the idea of a playoff than to earn it as a conference champion? It would de-emphasize the highly subjective polls that are based on a coach and media voting and a few computers." He added that any formula "based more on results" would be good for the sport.
Obviously this wouldn't clear up all the headaches (you'd have to figure out the top four conferences, but that could more easily be configured based on head-to-heads and strength of schedule formulas), but it does seem like a more reasonable model than any of the currently maddening systems that have been put in place to begin with.