Conference commissioners will meet today in New York, hoping to decide whether to have a six- or seven-game format for the new college football playoff.
Support has waned for adding a seventh marquee bowl game to the semifinal rotation. But there is still a strong possibility some automatic entry to the system will be given to the Big East and four other conferences now without a bowl of their own.
“Whether it’s seven games or six games, the commitment to access that was established at the Chicago meeting, I’m confident, is still in place,” Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson said Sunday from Denver, where the commissioners’ regular meeting with the BCS presidential oversight committee was being held.
The idea of adding a game to the playoff rotation that starts in 2014 came up at that September meeting in Chicago and initially had strong support.
The tentative plan was to match the best team from Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference against a team from the Pacific-12 Conference or Big 12.
But the game drew tepid interest from television networks, including ESPN, because adding a game to the format would increase the overall price tag on the new postseason package
A plan has also been discussed to have the best of the rest vs. Big 12 or Pac-12 bowl as part of the six-game format, but that, too, has met resistance.
In the new format, the Rose Bowl will keep its traditional Pac-12/Big Ten matchup in seasons it does not host a national semifinal. The Big 12 and SEC have locked up the Sugar Bowl when it’s not hosting a playoff game.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has a similar deal with the Orange Bowl, and another deal is being completed that would reserve the other spot in the Miami game for a team from the SEC or Big Ten or Notre Dame.
DUCKS NO. 1 IN POLL
Oregon is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll after Alabama gave up the top spot following a loss to Texas A&M.
The Ducks have 45 of 60 first-place votes. Kansas State is No. 2 with 14 first-place votes. Notre Dame is third and received one first-place vote.
The Crimson Tide, which had been No. 1 for 10 straight weeks, dropped to fourth after a 29-24 loss to the Aggies in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday.
Texas A&M moved up six spots to No. 9.
The Ducks were last No. 1 in 2010. That was the first season in the history of the program that Oregon reached No. 1, and the Ducks spent seven weeks there and reached the BCS championship game, which they lost to Auburn.
Besides Oregon, the other ranked Pac-12 schools are: Stanford (14th), Oregon State (15th), UCLA (17th) and USC (20th)
No. 25 Kent State is ranked for first time since Nov. 5, 1973.
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Penn State coach Bill O’Brien wants to move on from the fumble flap.
The Nittany Lions lost 32-23 to Nebraska on Saturday, and quarterback Matt McGloin hinted afterward that a ruling on a fumble that cost his team the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter was an example of the powers-that-be trying to keep the Nittany Lions down.
O’Brien doesn’t agree with McGloin or anyone else who propagates the notion there is a conspiracy against the Lions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. Penn State already is dealing with crippling NCAA sanctions this season and the next three.
O’Brien is calling for unity as the Lions (6-4, 4-2 Big Ten) finish the season with two home games.
“I would just say to the fans of Penn State that this is a very... even though it is not an undefeated team, it is a very special team with kids that are working hard,” he said. “We don’t feel like anyone is out to get us.”
“We are just trying to figure out how to score on offense, and stop people on defense, and be good on special teams. We need the fans of Penn State to stick with us. This football team stuck with Penn State, and we need the fans of Penn State to stick with us.”