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Currently, the top two teams in the BCS standings after the regular season, including conference championships, advance to the title game. It’s a format that’s led to frequent debates about whether the right teams were getting a shot to play for a national title.

This year’s controversy involved whether Alabama (11-1) should get a second chance at undefeated LSU or if Big 12 champion Oklahoma State (12-1, including its bowl victory over Stanford) had earned a shot to play for the national title.

The BCS has often caused as many arguments as settled them, and drawn the ire of fans all over the country in the process. It’s also come under pressure from a political action committee called PlayoffPAC, and been the subject of a congressional hearing and a Department of Justice inquiry. Even President Barack Obama has said he doesn’t like it.

Apparently, all that consternation is starting to register with the decision-makers in the sport.

“I sense that people who run college football and run the conferences obviously are not tone-deaf,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming.

The structure in place, with four bowl games _ the Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta _ each taking turns hosting the championship game, in addition to its bowl, could handle the plus-one.

Slive said that he will not be the one championing the plus-one this time around.

“I’m eager to hear from my colleagues about their views, but I fully anticipate that there will also be a meaningful discussion about the plus-one,” he said.

Standing in the way of the plus-one last time were the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East and Big 12.

Since then, the Pac-10 has become the Pac-12 and it has a new commissioner, Larry Scott, who has quickly established himself as one of the most forward-thinking leaders in college sports. Previous commissioner Tom Hansen was adamantly against a plus-one. Scott is willing to listen.

“We don’t have a definite opinion on that or any other model yet,” he said. “It’s a little premature. Those conversations are going to start in earnest this spring and I’ll have opportunities to talk to other people informally within our conference and with other conferences between now and then.”

The Big 12 has an interim commissioner, with Chuck Neinas replacing the ousted Dan Beebe, who was a vocal opponent of any type of playoff. The embattled Big East has a new commissioner, too. John Marinatto has been busy trying to save his league, and it’s doubtful the conference is in a position to be a force in the upcoming BCS negotiations.

What hasn’t changed is the Big Ten’s stance, led by its influential commissioner, Jim Delany.

Delany is steadfastly against a full-blown playoff and has said his biggest fear with the plus-one would be that once a four-team playoff becomes a reality it would inevitably grow.

“I don’t necessarily think the slippery slope is theoretical,” he said last month. “I think the slippery slope is practical.”

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