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BCS to play five games at four current sites starting in 2006

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Bowl Championship Series added a game without adding a bowl but is no closer to a playoff than before.

The BCS will play five games at the current four sites starting in the 2006 season, with the bowl that hosts the national championship game also holding an earlier postseason game.

A committee of school presidents unanimously approved the double-hosting model presented to them by the BCS conference commissioners, Oregon president Dave Frohnmayer said Thursday.

``This model is the least disruptive to current relationships between individual conferences and the individual bowls,'' Frohnmayer, chairman of the Presidential Oversight Committee, said during a teleconference.

The changes follow a season in which the BCS was criticized for a system that led to co-national champions, Southern California and LSU. While the new model doesn't address the main complaints, the BCS is working on a new formula for the standings that it hopes will fix last year's problem.

Under the new model, the championship game will still rotate between the Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and Rose bowls, but it will be played about a week after the other four games. The name of the championship game has yet to be determined.

The approved model will be presented to the Rose Bowl and ABC, who are set to begin negotiations on a television contract Friday.

By expanding, the BCS is starting to give schools from smaller conferences greater access to the big payout games.

Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg said the BCS looked into bringing in another bowl for the extra game.

The double-hosting model drew the support of the current BCS bowls, who were concerned they would host the championship only every five years, instead of every four.

``This is a new model that presents unique opportunities for the bowls hosting them. The feedback from our current bowl partners has been very positive towards it,'' said Weiberg, the incoming BCS coordinator.

Frohnmayer said the university presidents rejected the so-called plus-one model, which would have matched the top two teams after the four BCS bowls, because it would be a step toward creating a playoff system. He said there was ``adamant opposition'' among presidents for moving the BCS in that direction.

Both Frohnmayer and Weiberg said the BCS was looking to maintain and strengthen the traditional ties between conferences and bowls. Those ties have been loosened to help the BCS match No. 1 and No. 2, and has led to some nontraditional bowl matchups.

The Rose Bowl has been especially concerned with how its involvement with the BCS affects its long-standing relationship with the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences. The Rose Bowl is the only BCS game with ties to two conferences.

Two seasons ago, Pac-10 co-champ USC and Big Ten co-champ Iowa played in the Orange Bowl, which rankled the Rose Bowl and left it with Pac-10 co-champ Washington State and Oklahoma of the Big 12.

While the possibility still exists that teams outside the Big Ten and Pac-10 will play in the Rose Bowl, game organizers are pleased with the change.

``It puts us back to a four-year cycle with eight potential visits by Pac-10 and Big Ten teams,'' said Mitch Dorger, CEO of the Tournament of Roses.

It also creates the potential for the Rose Bowl to pit the Big Ten and Pac-10 champs one week and a national title game the next.

Sugar Bowl director Paul Hoolahan said he was supportive of the double-hosting model and wasn't troubled by the possibility of the Rose Bowl landing four marquee teams in one year.

``If that were to happen in the year that they were designated to host the national championship, so be it and more power to them,'' he said.

The BCS begins its television negotiations with ABC in the fall. Those talks will determine many of the details of the new-look BCS, such as sponsorship for the championship game, how the bowls set matchups and when the title game will be played.
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