Apparently, the BCS brass is coming around to what so many of us have crowed about for so long.
College football needs a playoff.
Oh, the talk coming out of the BCS meetings in Dallas this week has been about the Plus-One format. Four teams. Three games. One eventual champion. But let's call this what it is — a four-team playoff.
And let's celebrate accordingly — anyone else want to dance through the streets with me?
Granted, no official change has been announced. The commissioners of the big-time college football conferences plus the Notre Dame athletic director concluded two days of meetings on Wednesday afternoon, and while the official statement they released was mundane and the public comments they made were downplaying just about everything, it sounds as if the discussions were lively.
According to multiple sources reported by various outlets, the Plus One is now the preferred format of the future among BCS administrators.
Not so long ago, finding a college administrator in favor of anything resembling a playoff was rarer than seeing Lady Gaga in a normal outfit. Now, there's a chance that when the BCS leaders meet later this year, they could agree to the Plus One.
So, what changed their minds?
The SEC and the almighty dollar, though probably not in that order.
The SEC has run its string of consecutive national championships to six. While the college football world was already growing weary of the league's dominance, its takeover of the BCS championship game this past season pushed a lot of folks over the edge.
Fans didn't like the all-SEC matchup — and rematch — between Alabama and LSU, and they let it be known. Television viewership was as low as it's ever been for a BCS national championship game.
College football administrators seem just as fed up with the SEC's stranglehold on the title. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have even floated the idea that the first two games in a Plus-One model — essentially the national semifinal games — need to be played at home sites on campus.
If possible, they'd like to get those warm-weather SEC teams out of their comfort zones. Make them play in damp Eugene, Ore., or frigid Madison, Wisc.
There's no guarantee, of course, that any of that would derail the SEC's dominance. The league might just keep winning regardless of the format.
Which brings us to the other, and ultimately more important, factor in this movement to change the BCS.
Lots and lots of money.
When ABC won the broadcast rights to the first eight years of the BCS (1998-2005), it paid $550 million. No doubt, that's a hefty sum.
But according to a source on CBSSports.com, implementing a four-team playoff format could potentially make the annual payday nearly that much. It could be worth upward of $500 million per season.
The thinking is that ESPN, for example, doles out about $100 million for each NFL game that it broadcasts. Those are regular-season games, and while those run-of-the-mill games have become must-see TV in this NFL-crazed country, they are still regular-season games.
You have to think that the interest in a college football playoff game would be as great.
Networks would shell out big bucks for those rights. It'd be new. It'd be fresh. It'd be a recipe for a multiyear TV deal in the billions of dollars.
And that doesn't even account for the additional profit from the tickets sold to those two extra games.
All of that money, of course, would be divided among the conferences, and that's something every league administrator can support. Sure, the SEC may have to agree to change a system that has been so good to them. Yes, the Big Ten and Pac-12 may have to forgo their idea for on-campus games.
But those types of things are easier to do when your league stands to bag a massive multimillion windfall.
The college football bigwigs still have a lot of questions about the Plus One. How do you schedule games that don't encroach on the academic calendar? How do you avoid Christmas while not conflicting with the NFL? How do you keep the regular season relevant?
(I'll save my argument for how a playoff would actually make the regular season more relevant for another day.)
Despite all the hurdles that still remain, the biggest roadblock has been cleared — the BCS brass believes college football needs a playoff.