On October 19, 2011, in an interview with the Arizona Republic, Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson outlined his proposal to dismantle the Bowl Championship Series and create a 16-team playoff to determine a college football national champion.
Thompson, who believes the playoff would generate upwards of $700 million annually for college football, is unhappy with the current system and is confident that his financial projections would earn nearly three times the $182 million the BCS generated last year. Thompson stated, “what we are trying to do is offer an alternative with the current system. We have not been comfortable with the current system.”
Under the proposed playoff, more schools would have an equal shot at playing for a national title as all 11 BCS conference champions would get a bid into the playoff as long as they were ranked in the top 30 in the country. The remaining spots would be filled by at-large bids. Teams that do not qualify for the playoff could play in minor bowl games. The playoff rounds would be played at home stadiums of teams in the tournament as well as bowls that are currently a part of the BCS system. The payouts for the playoff games would escalate as teams advanced with the potential for a conference to receive $95 million if one of their institutions advanced to the championship game.
Thompson said this plan was sent to conference commissioners and Notre Dame in September and will be discussed next month. The current BCS contract expires in early 2014.