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The commissioners all agree the college football season needs to wrap up as close to Jan. 1 as possible. That would mean semifinals soon after Christmas and the title game within a few days of the calendar flipping.

“One of the goals is to make the postseason a celebration of college football,” Slive said. “And to focus in on a reasonable time frame that is consistent with a reasonable bowl season. And then be able to have a championship game and semifinals at a time and a place that would allow us to really celebrate college football at a time when people are thinking about college football, which is in and around the end of December and early January.”

Where is the best place to celebrate college football? That figures to be a heated debate.

Slive has made it clear he’s not a fan of playing semifinals on campus, a plan the Big Ten has presented and the Pac-12 supports.

“I’m a big proponent of it,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “That was the choice we made in our conference with our championship game. Collegiate atmosphere. Guaranteed sellout. We’ve said all along preserving the regular season is important. What better way to emphasize the importance of the regular season then having a chance to earn a home game? It’s a proven NFL model.”

Slive prefers playing the games at neutral sites, the way the NCAA basketball tournament does.

That leads to the question: How do the bowls fit in?

The national championship game has shifted between the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose bowl sites during the 14 years the BCS has been in existence. First, the bowl itself was the championship game. Then the BCS moved to a five-game model in which the championship was played after the bowls but at one of those four stadiums.

The commissioners are considering allowing the bowls to be involved, but not necessarily calling the three playoff games “bowls.”

The Fiesta Bowl would be fine not hosting a bowl in certain years, if it can host a playoff game. On the other hand, the Rose Bowl would prefer to just be the Rose Bowl, sticking with its traditional matchup of Big Ten champion vs. Pac-12 champion on New Year’s Day. But those league champions will often be heading to the playoffs in a new format.

“They definitely want to be part of the system,” Scott said of the Rose Bowl.

The commissioners won’t even get into how they pick the teams until after they have presented a format to the presidential oversight committee.

“The whole topic of selection and who would get in is something that we’ve really parked for now,” Scott said. “We realize that’s going to require a whole lot more debate and study.”

Among those debates: Slive prefers the four top-ranked teams regardless of conferences in the playoffs. Scott likes the idea of taking the top four conference champions as a way of moving away from the subjectivity of polls that dominate the current BCS standings.

Much to be decided, but at least everybody is speaking the same language.

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