NCAA Presidents approve college football playoffs


NCAA Presidents approve college football playoffs

WASHINGTON -- College football will finally have a playoff. Come 2014, the BCS is dead.

A committee of university presidents on Tuesday approved the BCS commissioners' plan for a four-team playoff to start in two years.

''A four team playoff doesn't go too far,'' Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger said. ''It goes just the right amount.''

The move completes a six-month process for the commissioners, who have been working on a new way to determine a major college football champion after years of griping from fans.

''There were differences of views,'' Steger said. ''I think it would be a serious mistake to assume it was a rubber stamp.''

Instead of simply matching the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a championship game after the regular season, the way the Bowl Championship Series has done since 1998, the new format will create a pair of national semifinals. No. 1 will play No. 4, and No. 2 will play No. 3. The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS games - Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar - and two more to be determined.

The winners will advance to the championship.

The teams will be selected by a committee, similar to the way the NCAA basketball tournament field is set.

The commissioners want to lock in this format for 12 years with a television partner. The current BCS deal with ESPN runs through the 2013 season. The new format will be presented to potential TV partners in the fall, starting with ESPN.

There are still some details to work out, but all the decision-makers are on board.

Lower divisions of college football already have a playoff, but the highest level has always used bowls and polls to determine its champion. Those days are coming to an end.

''By making this change we felt we could enhance the regular season but at the same time provide the fans with the kind of postseason that will contribute to the regular season,'' Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said.

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Miami

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Miami

1. Get DeShone Kizer back on track. Notre Dame can’t afford a third consecutive sub-optimal game from its star quarterback, who followed his understandingly-ineffective game in Hurricane Matthew at N.C. State with a head-scratching benching in ideal conditions against Stanford. Miami has a good passing defense (13th in S&P+) that will provide a stiff test. The hope here is that Kizer returns from the bye week feeling refreshed, and that translates into the kind of showings he had in Weeks 1-5. But without a successful game from Kizer, Notre Dame will have an awfully difficult time beating Miami. 

2. Pressure Brad Kaaya. While all quarterbacks are, of course, far less effective under pressure, Kaaya’s splits are significant: A 67.5 completion percentage with no pressure and a 32.4 completion percentage under pressure. Miami ranks a mediocre 63d in adjusted sack rate, though Notre Dame’s defense ranks 119th at getting to the quarterback by the same measure. Notre Dame did have some success pressuring Stanford’s quarterbacks two weeks ago, but that was against a surprisingly weak Cardinal offensive line. If Notre Dame can’t make Kaaya uncomfortable on Saturday, he should have no problem picking apart the Irish secondary. 

3. Finally come up with “a play.” Notre Dame’s five losses have all been by eight or fewer points, and in each of them, the Irish have had a chance to win or tie late. Coach Brian Kelly feels like his team is only a play or two short of having beaten Texas, Michigan State, Duke, N.C. State and Stanford a year after making them against lesser opponents like Virginia and Temple. The onus is on Kelly and his coaching staff to get this still young team in better positions to make and execute those critical plays that could start flipping losses to wins. 

Prediction: Miami 27, Notre Dame 23. DeShone Kizer plays better but struggles to finish drives while Miami’s offense rides a second half surge to a comeback win to deal the Irish their sixth loss of the season. 

Hall of Fame to honor Butkus, Dent, Hampton, Sayers at Bears-Vikings game

Hall of Fame to honor Butkus, Dent, Hampton, Sayers at Bears-Vikings game

It will be a special evening for a handful of legendary Bears on Monday night.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will honor Dick Butkus, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Gale Sayers with a Ring of Excellence in a halftime presentation during the Bears-Vikings game at Soldier Field.

The Ring of Excellence is one of three symbols that represents Pro Football Hall of Fame status. The Gold Jacket, the Bronzed Bust and the Ring of Excellence will all be on display during the presentation.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Each former Bear will wear their Gold Jacket and the four Bronzed Busts will be temporarily removed from the Hall of Fame for the ceremony.

Monday marks the second of three seasons in which the Ring of Excellence will be presented to the Hall of Famers.

Check out photos (provided by the Chicago Bears) of each ring below: