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Four-team playoff gaining big support

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- College football is on the verge of finally having a playoff, its own version of the final four.

For the first time, all the power brokers who run the highest level of the sport are comfortable with the idea of deciding a championship the way it's done from pee-wees to pros. And they are doing it the way fans have been hoping it would be.

"Yes, we've agreed to use the P word," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday.

They want to limit a playoff to four teams. Now they have to figure out how to pick them, where and when to play the games and how the bowls do or do not fit in. The new postseason format would begin after the 2014 season.

As for the 14-year-old Bowl Championship Series, it's on life support. Any chance that it survives past the next two seasons? "I hope not," said Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, who pitched a four-team playoff four years ago but was shot down.

"This is a seismic change for college football," BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said after the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame's athletic director wrapped up three days of meetings in South Florida.

That Hancock actually used the word playoff when describing what was being considered alone signaled a shift in thinking for the BCS. In a memo leading up to these meetings, the term "four-team event" was used to describe creating two national semifinals and a championship game.

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