Ralph D. Russo

WASHINGTON: College football will finally have a playoff. Come 2014, the BCS is dead.

A committee of university presidents on Tuesday approved the BCS commissioners’ plan for a four-team playoff to start in two years.

“A four team playoff doesn’t go too far,” Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger said. “It goes just the right amount.”

The move completes a six-month process for the commissioners, who have been working on a new way to determine a major college football champion after years of griping from fans.

Instead of simply matching the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a championship game after the regular season, the way the Bowl Championship Series has done since 1998, the new format will create two national semifinals. No. 1 will play No. 4, and No. 2 will play No. 3. The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS games — Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar — and two more to be determined.

The winners will advance to the championship on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the last semifinal. The first championship Monday is set for Jan. 12, 2015.

The site of the title game will move around the way the Super Bowl does, with cities bidding for the right to host.

The teams will be selected by a committee, similar to the way the NCAA basketball tournament field is set.

The commissioners want to lock in this format for 12 years with a television partner. The current BCS deal with ESPN runs through the 2013 season. The new format will be presented to potential TV partners in the fall, starting with ESPN.

There are still some details to work out such as who will be on the committee and what new bowls will be involved in the semifinal rotation.

“By making this change we felt we could enhance the regular season but at the same time provide the fans with the kind of postseason that will contribute to the regular season,” Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said.