It is unanimous. A four team, seeded playoff is coming to college football with a likely starting date set for the 2014 season. The changes still need to be approved by the conference's member presidents before any changes can become official.
Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick was the first to announce the decision. "We have reached a consensus on a 4-team playoff," Swarbrick said, the only member of the meetings who is not a conference commissioner.
The conference commissioners met in Chicago Wednesday knowing that a deadline to advance the postseason changes to the next step was looming, and jointly announced that a consensus on a four-team playoff seeded playoff has been reached. Big Ten commissioner said earlier in the day that he was optimistic that significant progress would be made but he was unsure a final decision would be reached today, before the commissioners had planned to hand over the decision-making process to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.
Delany noted that the plans will be taken back to each conference's memberships for final approval, and they will have the opportunity to present alternative plans before accepting the new format. This is expected to keep the Plus-1 format on the table for discussion, although at this point it appears that ship may have sailed.
Also, specifics on how the seeding will be done are not yet known. It is also unknown if the format will be restricted to conference champions, or division champions. At this point the commissioners seem to lean toward the idea of a selection committee to determine the four teams that would be included, similar to how the NCAA selection committee fields the men's and women's basketball tournaments and more. The commissioners also support predetermined sites for the four bowl sites that would be serving as hosts for the playoff games.
So there you have it college football fans. The playoff era is upon us, once a few finer details are put in ink and the presidents of the universities approve the format. It is unlikely that the four-team playoff will fizzle out at this point, with momentum building in this direction for quite some time now.
Kevin McGuire is a national college football writer for Examiner.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Submit your mailbag questions via Tumblr. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.