In his version of the obligatory postseason harangue against the current system of selecting (that is that word I mean) a champion and its complete inadequacy for sorting through the wreckage of a host of flawed teams this season - as well as in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006 and in more than half the seasons before the creation of the current model - the alarmingly consistent Wizard of Odds drops an oft-repeated criticism against the "idealists" struggling in vain for a playoff:
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How long is never? Through maybe 2011, maybe sooner, if outgoing commissioner Mike Slive's "season of discussion" about the BCS results in a "Plus One" format, to which he has long been "open-minded." One of the "Plus One" proposals as described in the afore-linked article by Thamel, the one supposedly crushing all our futile playoff dreams:
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Big Ten commish Delaney: Big Ten-Pac Ten Rose Bowl yesterday, Big Ten-Pac Ten Rose Bowl today, Big Ten-Pac Ten Rose Bowl forever!
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The alternative proposal, what is usually meant by the term "Plus One" as often advocated by Kirk Herbstreit and as conceived to pacify the staunch playoff
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This particular battleship (the regal "S.S. Playoff") has been under construction since ESPN turned a regional sport into something resembling a coherent national game and provided a nonstop format of highlights, information and talking heads to stoke debate, because popular opinion has been in favor of a playoff for more than a decade. The BCS was created directly in response to the popular outrage over the split Nebraska-Michigan championship in 1997, just after undefeated Penn State had been snubbed by both polls in 1994, Florida State had won a controversial poll vote over Notre Dame after losing to the Irish in the regular season in 1993 and polls had split on champions in 1990 and 1991. We got the BCS to give us an undisputed #1 vs. #2 matchup for an undisputed championship, and it has proved thoroughly inadequate – seven controversies about a worthy exclusion from the mythical title game in ten years, worse than the old rate of unrest. So, eventually, we'll get a playoff.
The "light at the end of the tunnel" moment was Florida president Bernie Machen's playoff push at the SEC meetings last May, even after the system had worked for his Gators in 2006, the first "insider" among the ranks of the ever-powerful, ever-greedy, ever-oppositional presidents to publicly break in favor of the idea. Then, I said this about his proposal:
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Maybe you can't have a playoff without the traditionalist powers. Push ahead, and they'll come on board - they did in the past, and, in response to the overwhelming public demand for a playoff, they will again, at the risk of being compared to sixties-era segregationists holding up inevitable civil rights reform.
These, then, are the options in the coming months:
B) A short-term, untenable compromise under the name of "Plus One," to evolve into scenario "A" at some point in the near future,
C) The same old untenable compromise, to evolve into either scenario "A" or "B" at some point in the near future or collapse under the pressure to change.