Holdups for BCS playoff plans

How to decide who will play for the Coaches' Trophy is a question facing any playoff format. Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire

On Jan. 10, the day after the most recent BCS Championship Game, a meeting was held in New Orleans to begin discussion about the future of college football's postseason.

After the meeting came an announcement that serious conversation had taken place regarding several new formats, including some that could quite clearly be categorized as a playoff. This news wasn't surprising, but it did indicate that conference commissioners would have many questions to answer in the coming months -- the same types of questions that had been debated in hypothetical scenarios by sports media and fans for the past couple of decades.

Now that the BCS leadership has subsequently met a few more times in February, March and April, it seems that some of the key questions have been all but officially answered.

Who: Four teams.

What: A bracketed playoff in which the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed in one national semifinal, and No. 2 will play No. 3 in the other. The winners will meet for college football's national championship.

Why: If ever there was a rhetorical question, this is it.

The Who and What may be good enough for many fans, but the road to this four-team playoff is filled with potholes for those left to negotiate the Where, When and How. Examining these questions and their possible answers shows just how much work still lies ahead for those charged with taking this playoff concept and turning it into a product that will be embraced by players, coaches, university presidents, fans and, perhaps most importantly, a TV network that will write a check big enough to make this overhaul worthwhile.