Notre Dame football: Ex-AD Corrigan discusses looming playoff talks
Five 16-school super-conferences? Conferences buying bowls? Secession from the NCAA? Four-team playoff? Eight teams? A conference affiliation for Notre Dame?
College football has a lot to consider in the next couple weeks.
"This is a very big thing," Gene Corrigan said of three monumental meetings scheduled for later this month. "We've had the bowl system forever. People forget how bad it was before (the Bowl Championship Series). At least now we have No. 1 playing No. 2."
Corrigan is one of college football's renaissance men who brought the game from the dark ages of back room deals and contrived matchups to the cusp of what's in place today.
As the athletic director at Notre Dame (1981-87) and later commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference (1987-97) Corrigan grew to understand and embrace the role of a power broker.
He was a visionary, who could evaluate situations without a knee-jerk reaction. Perspective allowed him to consider the impact of changes from all angles -- the conference, the school, the academics, the athletes.
Corrigan can appreciate the gravity of the challenge facing college football's present-day hierarchy as it tries to satiate the public's outcry for a fair route to the championship and still preserve academic integrity.
"If I had my dream, (college football) would go back to 11 games (in the regular season, rather than 12) and there would be a 16-team playoff," Corrigan said. "The first two rounds would be on campus sites."
The rest would be settled in bowls.
"They're talking about a four-team playoff (now)," Corrigan said. "Can you do it? Yes. Is it feasible? Yes. That adds two games to a 13-game schedule (for those playing in a conference championship game). It's almost like the NFL (which plays 16)."
Several idea balloons have been floated leading up to next round of BCS meetings in Chicago over the next couple of weeks.
Some of the more intriguing possibilities would be:
-- Five 16-team super-conferences -- Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Southeastern and Pac-12.
"I never dreamed the ACC would have (its present) 14 teams," Corrigan said. "We had nine. I thought, maybe it could go to 12."
-- At first, the four top-rated conference champions would be involved in a playoff.
-- From that, an eight-team playoff would evolve -- all five champs and the next three highest-rated teams.
-- Those 80 teams in the super-conferences would secede from the NCAA.
"In effect, that happened a while ago," Corrigan said. "In a courtroom decision several years ago, the NCAA lost its voice in determining a champion."