Larry Scott has to feel pretty comfortable. Scott and the Pac-12 Conference were the first college commissioner and college conference to be nominated for Sports Business Journal Awards. It goes to show the respect the former WTA commissioner gets for his role in college athletics, a place not known for being at the cutting edge of anything but handouts under the table.
Now, it appears that Scott and the Pac-12 will be playing a key role in shaping a college football playoff. Bachman from the WSJ.
"I'd say before Friday that idea of a plus-one didn't have much traction, but I think the announcement on Friday's a game-changer," Scott said. "We're pretty far down the path on four-team playoff options, but given the very positive reaction to what the SEC and Big 12 have done, it's possible that (a plus-one) could get some traction."
If the Big Ten and Pac-12 can come to an agreement to stage their Rose Bowl game and hold rights on their own agreement, the four big conferences will have a clear setup for who gets into their title game. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 in Rose Bowl, SEC vs. Big 12 in Rose Bowl East. No one has really shed tears for an ACC or Big East contender not making it in the mix recently, so you have to figure that placing these four in a contest would make the most overall sense.
Scott's desire to have additional teams in the picture might complicate matters though.
A national-title game that matched the Champions Bowl and Rose Bowl winners could work as long as there was a way to include teams not in those four conferences, Scott said.
If Scott wants to do away with rankings deciding a college football, that would make a plus-one tough to accomplish. I doubt a Plus-One would work with the ACC and Big East (or mid-majors) as part of the picture. Perhaps Scott is just being diplomatic here. Who knows.
Really, the best possible solution would be secession. But it's radical, and I'm not sure if the conferences (even Scott) are ready to go that far.
Addendum: Scott's proposal for the semifinals to be held at bowl sites over neutral sites makes some sense from the standpoint of the fan (although he might just be posturing for the Pac-12, because the Rose Bowl has the sweetest setup for any of the four conferences). However, TV money rules, and there are alternatives. It could be helped if the major conferences agreed to neutral sites that are easy for fans of the conference to travel to (it's already accomplished every year with the Sweet 16 in college basketball).
Here are some possible venues using NFL stadiums.
Pac-12 host site: Glendale, new Los Angeles stadium, new Santa Clara stadium, Seattle
Big Ten host site: Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Chicago (you know, if the Big Ten actually craved homefield advantage)
Big 12 host site: Arlington, Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis
SEC host site: Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa, Miami
The Champions Bowl (or whatever they call it) is open to this idea. Of course, the Pac-12 and Big Ten and everyone who is paying their ARP dues want the Rose Bowl, so this discussion is all but moot on our end.