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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:27 AM ET, 01/13/2012

BCS overhaul? NCAA President Mark Emmert supports 4-team playoff

Alabama stepped up on the big stage in Monday’s BCS national championship, shutting out LSU 21-0 with a dominant defensive display.

The top-ranked Tigers crumbled in a game that failed to live up to its billing as a rematch of the ‘Game of the Century.’ And while the result gave fans of the Crimson Tide and sound defensive football all they could have wanted, it left the rest of those watching ( or not watching ), wondering “what if”.

What if Oklahoma State, Stanford or Oregon had been given an opportunity to play in the title game? What if the BCS had a built-in four-, eight- or 16-team playoff that allowed us to find out how one of those teams would have matched up with the SEC’s powerhouses?

NCAA President Mark Emmert was wondering the same things, and for that reason, said he would support a four-team playoff in college football.

Following his annual state of the association speech Thursday in Indianapolis, Emmert said he would support such a move if the BCS were to propose it. But Emmert cautioned against a playoff field that would include any more than four teams due to its likely impact on the length of the season.

“The notion of having a Final Four approach is probably a sound one,” Emmert said. “Moving toward a 16-team playoff is highly problematic because I think that’s too much to ask a young man’s body to do. It’s too many games, it intrudes into the school year and, of course, it would probably necessitate a complete end to the bowl system that so many people like now.”


NCAA President Mark Emmert would support a four-team playoff. (Manuel Balce Ceneta - AP)
When it comes to the BCS, dollars drive decisions, and right now, the bowl system continues to bring in cash by the boatload for bowl-bound schools and the system’s governing body. But fans and a number of coaches have been clamoring for a postseason playoff for years and continue to look for a better way to determine a national champion.

The 11 BCS conferences met this week in New Orleans to discuss possible changes for the 2014 season and beyond, coming up with 50-60 possibilities. According to BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock, it will take another five to seven meetings to settle on a proposal in July.

Ironically, it was the SEC and ACC whose commissioners first proposed the four-team playoff (or plus-one) idea in 2008, but the rest of the power conferences were not on board. Four years later, that feeling has changed.

“Four years ago, five of us didn’t want to have the conversation,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said. “Now we all want to have the conversation.”

That may not solve all the problems facing college football’s postseason or placate BCS detractors like Washington Post columnist John Feinstein, who last month wrote: “The notion of college football picking a true national champion remains nothing more than a dream. Our long national nightmare continues.”

But it may be a start.

What do you think? Is the four-team playoff model enough to resolve your issues with the BCS system? Would an eight- or 16-team playoff be better? Is the system fine as is? What’s your take?

More from Washington Post Sports:

Early Lead: Was Alabama’s win worth watching?

Alabama gets best of LSU in BCS title game

Hamilton: BCS championship ratings decline may spur changes

Feinstein: BCS gives us a nightmare schedule instead of a dream tournament

By  |  10:27 AM ET, 01/13/2012

 
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