The biggest story in the sports world Thursday may have come from inside a hotel meeting room in Hollywood, Fla.
A college football playoff is coming.
The key sentence of a statement issued by the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and Notre Dame: "We will present to our conferences a very small number of four-team options, each of which could be carried out in a number of ways."
In other words, get ready America, a four-team playoff is coming – but not until 2014, when the current BCS cycle concludes.
How it impacts the Sugar Bowl, which has hosted the national championship game after the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 seasons, remains to be seen.
However, reports Thursday indicate that two of the three most likely options for a playoff would include the four BCS bowl games – with both the semifinals and final rotating through the BCS sites, or with the semifinals at BCS sites and the final bid out to a third, non-bowl neutral site. Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com also reports that the third potential option would have all three games played at non-bowl neutral sites.
While it's not a full-fledged tournament like we have in other levels of college football or other college sports, Thursday's news is certainly an improvement over the current system.
Here's the statement in full:
"As part of our deliberations, we have carefully considered a number of concepts concerning the post-season structure for the BCS. From the start, we set out to protect college football's unique regular season which we see as the best regular season in sports. We are also mindful of the bowl tradition and seek to create a structure that continues to reward student-athletes with meaningful bowl appearances.
"Having carefully reviewed calendars and schedules, we believe that either an 8-team or a 16-team playoff would diminish the regular season and harm the bowls. College football's regular season is too important to diminish and we do not believe it's in the best interest of student-athletes, fans, or alumni to harm the regular season.
"Accordingly, as we proceed to review our options for improving the post-season, we have taken off the table both an 8-team and a 16-team playoff.
"We will continue to meet and review the exact structure for what a new post-season could look like. We are making substantial progress. We will present to our conferences a very small number of four-team options, each of which could be carried out in a number of ways.
"We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of in-bowl or out-of-bowl games. We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of campus sites or neutral sites. We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of various ways to rank or qualify teams.
"Our process is proceeding as we have planned and we look forward to further conversations."
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