ACC coaches favor playoff with emphasis on conference champions

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. File/The State

CLEMSON - Atlantic Coast Conference coaches are weighing in on the playoff format they would like to see in college football this week at the ACC meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., a preference likely influenced by last year’s national title game when two teams from the Southeastern Conference played for college football’s top prize.

ACC coaches approached for their opinions favored a new postseason format that includes conference champion status as a part of the criteria for entrance into a playoff field.

College football decision makers have indicated they will likely adopt a four-team playoff when the current BCS agreement expires after the 2013 season.

“There has to be some stipulation in there about champions,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters. “Because not everybody plays the same schedule. We play a nine-game conference schedule. Other teams don’t. That’s weighed in. Some conferences have a conference championship game. Others don’t. Being a conference champion is no small task. Not only are you going through your conference, then you turn around and play a conference championship game. There has to be a lot of weight given to conference champions.”

Last season Alabama did notwin its own division yet played LSU for the national title and won. That scenario seems to have accelerated a push for a playoff in college football as other power conferences try to increase their chances of having a representative play on the biggest stage, a stage that has been increasingly controlled by the SEC.

Boston College coach Frank Spaziani shared the same position as Fisher.

“I do know the conference champion does need to be involved,” Spaziani told ESPN. “A conference champion, certainly, in order to keep the season and the championship games relevant has to be involved in whatever the BCS comes up with.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has made a proposal that include only conference champions.

Under his plan only the top four rated conference champions - presumably using a formula similar to the BCS points - would earn playoff berths unless they failed to reside in the top six of the points standings then the highest-rated non-conference champion would earn the berth.