(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
As someone who didn't like the BCS formula but didn't want a playoff, I have been surprised by my willingness to accept the coming change. The commissioners want to keep the bowl system intact, which is good. They want to play the semifinals in the bowls. They want to continue to have everything they have now and add a post-bowl championship game. It may be that the commissioners can have everything. But it may be that they will wake up to find that the camel has wedged its entire body beneath the tent and they are left out in the cold. Let the vigil begin.
Computers have been an easy scapegoat for the BCS, which never trusted its own numbers. Even as justifiable criticism mounted against the BCS, there was never a sincere effort for math to help identify who should play for the national championship. Margin of victory isn't counted? For years, mathematicians found that a joke. BCS computer analysts complained about the difficulty of ranking teams that don't play each other without factoring in scoring margin. More emphasis is needed on strength of schedule? The irony is the commissioners eliminated a strength-of-schedule component -- along with team record and quality wins -- in 2004 after the LSU/USC split national championship. The computers' math isn't transparent? That's true in the case of every ranking except Colley's. Yet the commissioners never demanded the formulas. One analyst once offered to drive to a conference office and demonstrate how his rankings worked. He was told that wasn't necessary.
"I am delighted," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who has supported a four-team playoff for years and whose league has won the last six BCS titles. "I am pleased with the progress we have made. There are some differences, but we will work them out. We're trying to do what is in the best interest of the game."
"I'm confident as we brief [the presidents] over the next week or so, give them an understanding of the evolution of the ideas -- what's been put off to the side, why it's been put off to the side, how we were able to manage the things that seemed to be irreconcilable for a long time -- that they will give our advice appropriate weight," said Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. " ... Could there be a present with a bow on it and everything wrapped up [on Tuesday]? It could happen, if you're real optimistic. But I would think we'll probably need to spend some more time together, and probably resolve some outstanding issues."
That model, multiple sources told CBSSports.com, would be the "best four teams" chosen by a selection committee with the committee putting emphasis on conference champions. It has not been determined how many individuals would make up the committee. The preference of the commissioners is to play the semifinals around Jan. 1 among the existing BCS bowl sites (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta and Orange) with the championship game played less than two weeks later on the Monday following the NFL wildcard round (around Jan. 9-11). There is already unanimous support to have the championship game bid out to any city or venue in the same fashion as the Super Bowl is awarded.
"We are excited to be on the threshold of creating a new postseason structure that builds on the popularity of our sport," the commissioners said in a statement. "We have developed a consensus behind a four-team, seeded playoff, while recognizing that the presidents will certainly present their views, including a discussion of a Plus-One. We also discussed various selection methods and look forward to having these discussions with the presidents. "We are getting very close and we look forward to next week's meeting?…" Encouraging? You'd have to think so. Still, I'm taking the over. It's called keeping it real. As long as nobody seriously brings up the Plus-One any longer, though I'm afraid that's wanting too much.
"In a year of unprecedented athletic success, the fact that the University of Alabama continues to do extremely well in terms of the NCAA's annual Academic Progress Rate is a point of tremendous pride," UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore said in a UA press release. "There is no doubt that this report shows that Alabama strives to do things the right way, producing champions on the field and in the classroom."
"It's great to have Julio here in the offseason program," Smith said. "Last year was very unique because we didn't have an offseason program. We anticipate his maturation process is going to go real quick. The arrow is just going up and up with him, and I think with all of our second-year players."
Jim Brown's on-again, off-again offseason tirade against the Cleveland Browns has been laced with repeated jabs at Trent Richardson, the rookie being counted on to produce some of Brown's ancient magic on the field. Brown downplayed Richardson as an "ordinary" talent. Richardson is out to prove the (cranky) legend incorrect. "I laugh at the situation," Richardson told ESPN.com earlier this month. "You don't know me from spic to span. But he's Jim Brown. He's done a lot here and I haven't done anything yet. I have a lot to accomplish and big shoes to fill. When it comes down to it, I have to work and make sure I make him a believer. I haven't done anything yet."
Bovada, one of the world's largest online sports betting websites, revealed its 2012 conference and division odds today. The most favorable don't belong to just one SEC team, as Alabama and LSU are both listed as 11/5 favorites to take home the SEC championship. Looking just at the SEC West, both teams carry an 8/5 chance to finish on top.