A Plus-One Playoff Is Unlikely
In fact, the automatic-qualifying BCS commissioners say they're less likely now to be in favor of a "Plus One" model for fear that would ultimately lead to a full-blown, 16-team playoff.
"We're not winning the PR war," Delany said. "There are good arguments on the other side, (they've) adopted many more fans and more media than our argument, but we do have a great regular season, a great bowl season and the 1-2 (BCS title) game.
"But it's not perfect. We don't have an NFL style or college basketball style playoff. I get that people want it. I'm not looking to lead the parade, just looking to answer the question."
Added NCAA president Mark Emmert about a college football playoff: "That's not a train I'm driving."
At this week's IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said they're in favor of a "Plus One." They are in the minority among the conference commissioners.
"I'm not morally, philosophically opposed to one and two (ranked teams) playing," Delany said. "I think that's good. I'm not morally, philosophically opposed to four (teams). I think history informs you the best way to think about the future – inside the NCAA for sure – every small incremental step has led to an incremental step; not only inside the NCAA, but inside the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball."
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said it wouldn't be fair to require the student-athletes to play additional games required for a playoff.
"It would be a huge disservice to add more games to them so that others can profit in some manner," Beebe said.
Delany said a "Plus One" would lead to four, six, eight, 12 and, ultimately, a 16-team playoff and said the pressure to increase the number of teams would come from everywhere – the NCAA, Congress, the public and the fan bases.
"I think it would be tremendously negative for most of us," Delany said. "Some of us (referring to the non-automatic qualifying BCS leagues) don't have a great investment in the regular season. If you look at attendance, you look at television, tradition, you look at the kind of matchups we have – there's no doubt about it – I would dispute anybody who says college football from September to November, who can say football has not been as successful as it's ever been.
"What's happened in the last 15 years in the regular season is off the charts. It's bigger and better than we've ever had."
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said while it's "easy to poke holes" in the BCS format, a playoff would hurt college football's regular season, which, he said, resembles a playoff.
"I think the regular season in college football has a lot of the dynamics and drama that's associated with a playoff," Scott said. "We have to think what a 16-team (playoff) would look like, the effects on regular season and bowl system. It's a pretty easy call that no one wants to go down that path."
Benson would be for the "Plus One," which in theory could pair the Nos. 1 and 4 teams and No. 2 and 3 teams against each other with the winners meeting in a "Plus One" championship.
Benson's reasoning is simple for the non-automatic qualifying conferences. "We've also proven it's a lot easier to get to No. 4 than it is to get to No. 2."
Two years ago, the SEC's Slive, who heads the most powerful and profitable conference, said he was in favor of a "Plus One" format within the BCS. He doesn't believe it would get much support this time around.
"What the concern that has always been expressed is 'bracket creep' is endemic," Slive said. "That has been the history of all championships, particularly those governed by the NCAA. The differentiating factor here is the BCS is not governed by the pressures for bracket expansion.
"If my colleagues wanted to put it back on the table, I would be very happy to talk about it," Slive said. "But my guess is that this coming April (at the annual BCS meetings), if we did that, it would be just as lonely as the April was two years ago."
Delany, the most vocal of the five automatic-qualifying BCS commissioners at The W Hotel for the IMG Forum, said a playoff would devalue the regular season.
"If I felt we could have a "Plus One" and it wouldn't lead to a plus six, plus eight, 12 or 16 ... but I think that would be the most negative thing we could do for ourselves," Delany said. "Just take a look at the NCAA basketball tournament (and how it's affected) regular season basketball."
Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Contact him at email@example.com and please follow him at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY