Dr. Saturday

Despite Larry Scott’s efforts, a plus-one model should not be back on the table

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(Jim Urquhart/AP)

The Big 12/SEC decision to create a "Champions Bowl" in an effort to match the Pac-12/Big Ten's Rose Bowl ties might have just backfired.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the "Champions Bowl" was a "game-changer" and that it might have reopened the door for the previously tabled idea of a plus-one game to determine college football's national champion.

"I'd say before Friday that idea of a plus-one didn't have much traction, but I think the announcement on Friday's a game-changer," Scott told the Wall State Journal. "We're pretty far down the path on four-team playoff options, but given the very positive reaction to what the SEC and Big 12 have done, it's possible that (a plus-one) could get some traction."

Ugh.

A plus-one model keeps the bowl system and tacks on an extra game to decide the national champion. But deciding which teams should earn a spot in that coveted extra game has always been controversial and will be even more so with the Big 12/SEC partnership in the "Champions Bowl." That game would more than likely pit the two top teams in the country in a makeshift semifinal game. Similarly, the Rose Bowl might do the same thing.

The plus-one model could allow an undefeated Big East or ACC team to sneak into the national title game, but more than likely it will shut out those conferences as well as the nonautomatic qualifying schools because of strength of schedule (if that's added back into the rankings mix).

As Yahoo! Sports colleague Dan Wetzel said on Twitter: "Plus One is less fan friendly, more controversial and less profitable than 4-team playoff. Other than that, it's great."

Of course, this is just Scott's take on the future of college football. The 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame have been diligently working on a four-team playoff that, while not perfect, would be a more fair representation of college football's best teams and give them all a chance to compete for the national title.

While Scott's comments definitely throw a monkey wrench into the discussions regarding changes to the BCS, I doubt it will change the course to a four-team playoff. The plus-one model isn't new and it was already pushed aside. The "Champions Bowl" shouldn't change that and if anything, I think it would provide further proof that the best teams might not end up playing for a national title.

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