There had been so much progress towards a four-team playoff in college football, and then the Big 12 and SEC made an agreement to have their champions meet in a bowl game, beginning with the 2014 season.
And that re-opened the idea of a “plus one” college playoff system.
“The SEC-Big 12 agreement has changed perceptions,” Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said.
Now Thompson doesn’t know what will happen. First was the idea of a four-team playoff, which was a bit frustrating for Thompson, who has long pushed for playoffs in college football. Thompson said the Mountain West champion would have been among the four teams in that playoff three of the past five years, and the opportunity for those teams to play for a national title has obviously passed. But still, a four-team playoff was better than the old way of doing things.
“It’s better than it was,” Thompson said of a four-team playoff. “It’s an improvement.”
The “plus one” model wouldn’t be beneficial to the Mountain West. Then again, a four-team playoff likely would exclude the MW champions most years anyway. An eight-team playoff would have given more teams and leagues an opportunity to play for a championship, but Thompson sees no chance of that happening anytime soon.
“I still think an eight-team playoff is doable and feasible and more fair,” Thompson said. “It’s just not going to happen while I’m in this chair.”
Thompson figured that any television rights contract for a playoff would be 8-10 years – or a minimum of at least six years. Thompson said if Congress was bothered before by the Bowl Championship Series, the move from a four-team playoff back to a “plus one” could reignite some concern.
“It’s going to get interesting,” Thompson said.