'Plus-One' model has merit

The first time I heard the "plus-one" model for an NCAA Division 1-A football playoff I thought it sounded like a really good idea. Now I'm absolutely convinced it is an idea whose time has come.

Consider how easy it would've been to incorporate a "plus-one" formula into the bowl system this January:

Take the top four teams in the final BCS poll – Ohio State, Florida, Michigan and LSU – then match them up according to their rankings. Pit No. 1 seed Ohio State against No. 4 LSU in the Rose Bowl (where the Big Ten champ traditionally goes) and pit No. 2 seed Florida against No. 3 Michigan in the Sugar Bowl (where the SEC champ traditionally goes). The Orange and Fiesta Bowls would be left to pick their four teams from among Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Louisville, Wake Forest, Boise State and Oklahoma.

All of the BCS bowl games would be played on Jan. 1, with the Rose and Sugar Bowl winners advancing to meet Jan. 8 for all the marbles.

This scenario would defeat the three major arguments that playoff opponents typically raise:

1.The players would be overworked. (Only the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl winners would play an extra game. Everyone else would finish at the usual time.)

2.The bowl system would suffer. (The plus-one model actually gives the two bowls who host BCS semifinal games added importance.)

3.Adopting a four-team plus-one format eventually would lead to an eight-team playoff, then to a 16-team playoff. (Not if the plus-one system is as well received as I think it will be.)

I believe it's inevitable that the "plus-one" model will be adopted someday. In fact, I suspect that the BCS's decision to schedule this year's championship game one week after the others is a step in that direction. At least, I hope that's the case.


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