KANSAS CITY, Mo. - When it comes to how major college football decides its national champion, the decision is about politics as much as competition.
The Bowl Championship Series won't last beyond its two-year contractual life. And word is that sometime in the next three or four weeks the decision will be made on what will replace the BCS, which has been the postseason's format/whipping boy since 1998.
This week at its annual spring meetings, the Big 12 Conference made it clear what it preferred for the postseason format. It wants the four best teams to compete in two semifinal games with the winners playing for the title. And it prefers a human committee be involved to select the four teams.
The athletic directors said Wednesday that was their preference. Thursday, they got the support of their bosses.
"That's the preference of the Big 12 Conference," said Oklahoma State's Burns Hargis, chair of the Big 12 board of directors.
An example of the political posturing, Florida president Bernie Machen, speaking at the Southeastern Conference spring meetings, said the SEC is not willing to compromise on having the top four in the playoff.
So, there's that. And there's this: One playoff "compromise" involves a "three-and-one" plan that would reserve the top three spots for conference champions. The fourth spot would be a "wild card" selection.
Last week, Pac-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott floated the idea of the "plus one" format, a plan that has been around for years and would involve selecting two teams to play for the title after the bowls have been completed
Texas athletic DeLoss Dodds doesn't see that as a possibility. He thinks that there will either be the top four teams selected (as the Big 12 prefers) or (the top four) conference champions only. "I don't see a compromise position," he said.
Incoming commissioner Bob Bowlsby is on the United States Olympics committee board of directors. That means he'll be in London for the Summer Olympics that run from July 27 through August. 12. Acting commissioner Chuck Neinas, whose term was to end on June 30, might stick around through July.
"We've discussed Bob's obligations, which we respect," said Oklahoma State's Burns Hargis, chair of the Big 12 board of directors. "Chuck has been kind in adjusting our original understanding. I think we would like to see an overlap period that would benefit Bob and the Conference."
Bowlsby attended the meetings, arriving here Wednesday and participating in discussions Thursday.
"It was great to see Bob and Chuck together today at the head table, talking about things," Hargis said. "I think the transition will be smooth."
More On Membership/Expansion
Acting commissioner Chuck Neinas and Iowa State's Jamie Pollard, chair of the athletic directors, made it clear that the Big 12 is content to stay with its current 10-school membership. The chair of the Big 12 board of directors and wo athletic directors echoed that sentiment Thursday.
"We're all very satisfied with 10 teams," Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis said. "We're not shutting the door to any opportunity that might arrive. We're not in the market, we're not receiving applications. Our expansion committee is inactive."
The current frenzy regarding expansion and realignment started three weeks ago when Florida State indicated it might - might - be interested in joining the Big 12.
"You're aware of comments like those made about Florida State," Hargis said. "I'm flattered a school like FSU is interested. It's just another indicator of where this conference is. But in terms of any school, including Florida State, there is no discussion going on."
"The irony is a year ago we liked 10 and we still like 10," Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger said. "Ten looks different this year than it did last year. What we like and what we're comfortable with. We have ten schools that want to be together. As the landscape changes, it (having 10 schools) gives us the opportunity to be nimble."
Kansas State athletic director John Currie: "No one wants to believe it. We're in a position of strength."
NCAA President Mark Emmert attended the Big 12's spring meetings Thursday and spent time talking with the Big 12 executive committee about NCAA issues. He was accompanied by staff members Kevin Lennon and Julie Roe Lach. "It was a good, solid substantial discussion," Kansas State athletic director John Currie said. "I think we all appreciate how they've approached being transparent about all the changes the NCAA is making."
"The understanding of our TV partners (ABC/ESPN and FOX) is that the contract extension is conditioned on the Big 12 agreeing to a 13-year grant of rights," Neinas said. "Each institution has its own process when it comes to agreeing to a grant of rights agreement. It's not something done overnight."
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger on the Big 12 partnering with the Southeastern Conference for the "champions bowl": "There's some real beauty to this agreement."