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May 1, 2008 - Bowl Championship Series keeps status quo, rejects playoff

The Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which matches the final regular-season’s top two NCAA Division I-A college football teams in a championship game separate from its Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose bowls, will not change its current format at least for the next several years. This decision was reached on April 30 by the commissioners who manage the BCS. Two of the commissioners requested a consideration of an alternate format, which would have built a four-team playoff into the current five-game structure. However, according to the USA Today, the lack of endorsement of any changes assures that the current system will remain in place through at least the 2013 season. In 2014, the Big Ten and Pac-10 contract with the Rose Bowl expires.

Both the USA Today article and an article in the International Herald Tribune discussed the influence of television networks on the conferences to move to a playoff system, which may be worth more advertising money and enhance the interest in the games. “Certainly the public would like to see a change,” Fox sports president Ed Goren said. “If there’s a change, we’re on board. If it stays the same, we’re thrilled. We just want to be associated with this product. It is a great, great product. I think there’s this wonderful misconception that television controls these leagues,” Goren said. Fox representatives said they’re committed to re-upping when their present four-year, $320-million deal expires after the 2010 bowls — change or no change. And, the Herald Tribune quoted Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney stating, “"To be honest with you, I think the calls for change are more external than they are internal.”

According to the USA Today, attendance at major college games averaged a record 46,962 last season, the 11th consecutive year that number has climbed. ABC, whose regular-season college football viewership hit a 10-year high in 2006, dipped 15% to an average of almost 4.4 million households in ‘07. But ratings for ESPN and CBS were their highest since 1999, and game viewership on ESPN2 averaged a record 1.027 million households, according to the networks.