The site of the ultimate game will probably be announced next week.
So will the unique name.
Not so fast on either the selection committee or the formula for sharing the revenue.
But all systems are go on the upcoming Division I college football playoff in 20 months that figures to reshape the sport and the current bowl system.
Let the branding begin.
“We want it to be more like the Masters than NASCAR,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of sentiment toward that. It’s been a very thoughtful process. We’ve looked into everything like television, sponsorships and how it will be portrayed.”
When the 11 major conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director convene in Pasadena for three days next week, they’ll tackle the pivotal issues facing the first playoff setup for the 2014 season.
Only Arlington and Tampa, Fla., bid for the rights to host the initial national championship game. Almost everyone considers it a slam dunk the game will be held at Cowboys Stadium.
No one’s leaked out information on a possible name, but I’m looking for something very basic and classy like The Champions or The Championship.
“Are we close to a name? Yes,” Bowlsby said after a panel discussion of advertising and public relations students on the University of Texas campus. “That one’s probably done. I think it’s going to be pretty cool.”
College football has finally taken control of its sport and moved toward a proper resolution the same as the NCAA’s other 88 sports — on a playing field, not in a poll.
“This is going to be what I grew up with, having football on New Year’s Day,” Bowlsby said. “I think college football is going to recapture that two-day holiday. I think people are going to plan their holiday festivities around it. I think the consuming population will be surprised how good the new playoff will be. It’s going to be great.”
And long overdue.
The sport for too long has given away its game to the bowl games, the guys in the brightly colored blazers and the television networks. Tim Weiser, the Big 12’s deputy commissioner, mentioned that conferences also are discussing taking over bowl games themselves and all that entails — lower ticket guarantees for the schools, greater share of the revenue, times and locations — instead of having the tail continue to wag the dog.
The Big 12 and SEC have already done that, agreeing to a Champions Bowl arrangement between their two league winners if they are not involved in the four-team post-season. Former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, also on the panel, joked, “I think the Big 12 will win four of the next five national championships.”
At least, I think he was joking. Beebe spoke publicly for one of the few times since he was forced out of the Big 12. He said he felt validated when the league chose the path of shared granting of third-tier rights that he recommended.
“I feel gratified the things I advocated were ultimately adopted,” Beebe said. “I felt we were in a bus heading over the cliff, then they turned back and ran over me.”
Everyone seems to be on the same bus now, with some details to come.
As Bowlsby said, “I don’t know if much will come out next week with the selection committee. We’ve done a lot of work on it, but to say it’s ripe yet, that would not be accurate.”
The size and identity of the selection committee, of course, remains a sticking point because all the conferences require representation. Agreeing on a lone representative of a conference can be tricky. Would Alabama be happy if Pat Dye represented the SEC? How would Texas like the makeup of a committee that includes Barry Switzer?
The playoff will create as many issues as it solves, but even that scenario betters the outcome of three dozen — many of them meaningless — bowl games. Perhaps overgrown leagues like the SEC and Big Ten will come to the realization that an extra conference championship game will become too big a detriment to their national title aspirations as the Big 12 learned when teams like Kansas State and Texas were knocked off.
Even though Bowlsby has said the Big 12 has considered petitioning in the name of deregulation that conferences be allowed to play a title game even if they don’t have the requisite 12 members, it has not gone forward with the idea.
“If we were successful in having that rule deregulation, I’m not sure we’d have a post-season playoff even if we could,” Bowlsby said. “It just doesn’t make sense to stipulate how conferences declare their champions. It’s part fishing expedition. I wouldn’t say we have any grand plan.”
But finally college football does.
BOHLS, GOLDEN CHAT
Join columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden at 11 a.m. Wednesday for their weekly live chat, at statesman.com/bevobeat.