Larry Scott looking forward to progress at upcoming BCS meetings

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – A new era of college football is quickly approaching, and soon there may be answers to some key questions about the exciting new postseason format for one of America’s most popular sports.

Conference commissioners will gather at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena starting Tuesday for the latest round of BCS meetings, and a number of topics regarding the formation of the upcoming four-team playoff could be decided and announced.

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“We’ve all taken different pieces of the transformation of the playoff along the way,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in his office prior to the meetings. “We’re anticipating being far enough along that we could possibly announce who the host bowls will be in addition to the three contract bowls that have already been determined.

“You can’t really predict the things we’ll actually make decisions on and announce versus those that will represent meaningful progress.”

In addition to a national championship game that will be independent of the bowl structure, two semifinal games will rotate among the three contract bowls - the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls - and the three host bowls. In all, seven games will be staged each year as part of the new system.

Dates already have been announced for all games running the length of the initial TV contract. But where the first title game will be played and what the entire playoff will be called could be announced as early as this week. Dallas is considered the front-runner to land the championship game, but Tampa, Fla. is another finalist.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time examining two topics. One is the brand, the name and the overall positioning of it,” Scott said. “The other component is selection committee. That’s a really important component - how do we decide the four teams participating in the playoff.”

Subcommittees are devoted to nailing down details ahead of everyone signing off on the fine print.

“I’m very involved with the site selection and anything that has to do with branding and marketing,” Scott said. “Those are the things I was asked to volunteer for. And the TV stuff as well.”

The Pac-12 commissioner also is intricately involved with building the supporting playoff organization. Assisting executive director Bill Hancock establishing the framework and staff to support the new entity has been a big priority from day one.

“We’ve formed a company. It’s not just one person working from their home,” Scott said, alluding to the lack of dedicated staffers running the BCS. “[Hancock] did an extraordinary job but I think we realized that as we move to a playoff and a bigger structure, we don’t want to be so reliant on the bowls. It’s going to be more independent. We realize how important this will be to American sports fans and that we have to treat it more like a business in terms of how it’s being run.”

School presidents and chancellors will be in ultimate control of the organization as part of a board of directors. Conference commissioners will control day-to-day policy in conjunction with the Dallas-based staff.

While there’s plenty of work still left to be done, it’s clear this week will see plenty of progress on making a four-team college football playoff a reality come the 2014-15 season.

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