Redskins

Playoff sites likely to be picked by end of April

Playoff sites likely to be picked by end of April

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) The home of the first national championship game under the new playoff system, along with the three remaining semifinal rotation sites, will likely be picked by the end of April.

The second-to-last season of the Bowl Championship Series will wrap up Monday night, with No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama playing for the national title in Miami.

Starting with the 2014 season, the national champion of major college football will be determined with a four-team playoff. Three of the six sites that will be in the semifinal rotation have been picked. The others, along with the sites of the first and future championship games, will be in place before the summer, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Monday.

``We're going to announce the first (championship game) site even sooner than others,'' he said. ``I think it might happen even sooner than April''.

The BCS holds a regular meeting of conference commissioners in late April.

``What we anticipate in April is to announce is a couple, three more (championship sites) - 2015, 2016 and maybe `17,'' Hancock said. ``I think there's no question by April we will know who the other three participants in the rotation will be for semifinals.

The conference commissioners have already narrowed down possibilities for the first championship game site to Arlington, Texas (Cotton Bowl); Pasadena, Calif. (Rose Bowl), Glendale, Ariz. (Fiesta Bowl); Atlanta (Chick-fil-A Bowl); New Orleans (Sugar Bowl); Miami (Orange Bowl).

Sites for future national title games will be bid out the way the Super Bowl and Final Four are, and could end up in places that have not traditionally hosted major bowls.

The Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls have already been chosen for the semifinal rotation. The other three sites are likely to be Arlington, Glendale and Atlanta.

Hancock would only say the commissioners would prefer to have sites in three different time zones.

Hancock, speaking to reporters from the Football Writers Association of America, said the conference commissioners are working with a concept of having 15 to 18 people on the selection committee that will pick the final four participants.

Similar to the group that sets the field for the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the panel will be comprised of college athletics administrators, such as conference commissioners and athletic directors. The committee needs to be large enough accommodate members recused when teams from the conferences they represent are discussed.

``There were years in the basketball committee where we had so many recusals there were only four people left in the room to make some big decisions,'' Hancock said. ``We can't deal with that in football. I would envision every conference having a representative. The independents having a representative, and then some number of at-large people to be determined by the commissioners.

``It will be the most prestigious committee in college sports. It will be the most scrutinized committee in college sports. We are committed to a high level of transparency.''

The current BCS standings use two polls - the Harris poll and the coaches' poll - along with computers ratings that mostly do not reveal their formulas to determine the top two teams in the country. There is no plan to have an equivalent of the BCS standings in the new postseason system.

The college basketball selection committee uses a computer-rating called the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) as one of many tools to pick the field.

Hancock said they could not make an RPI equivalent for football.

``We ran an RPI and it was not accurate'' because there's not enough information coming out of a 12-game regular-season, he said.

``How I envision it, and I think the commissioners do to, is (the committee will) have everything at their disposal. They'll have computer rankings, they'll have the writers' poll, they'll have the coaches' poll, and they'll look at it all but at the end of the day it'll come down to the eye test. It'll come down to common sense.

``Who did you play? Did you win your conference? Where did you play? Who was injured when you played that game? What about common opponents? What about head-to-head?''

The committee will attempt to have the highest-seeded teams in the semifinal pairings play closest to home. There will be no limit to how many teams from a conference can be selected for the final four, and the committee will not avoid pairing teams from the same conference in the semifinals.

Both semifinals will be played on the same day, either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, and the championship game will always be played on Monday night, at least a week later.

Quick Links

10 Training Camp Questions: After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

10 Training Camp Questions: After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

When Reuben Foster collapsed to the Ashburn turf in May, time stopped for a second. Signing Foster brought such outrage towards the Washington team, and after being cleared by the NFL for the 2019 season, it seemed like the worst was behind Foster and the Redskins.

Then, in a blur, he was lost for the season with an ACL tear. 

The 2019 rebuilt Redskins defense lost a key cog before he ever even played a game, and suddenly a mediocre linebacking group from 2018 was largely back in the fold. Foster represented a potential game-breaking talent, a former first-round pick with elite pedigree in college. Add in the fact that the Redskins released Zach Brown before free agency, and the group looked humble. 

So going into training camp, one of the most intriguing position groups on the team now looks similar to 2018.

Mason Foster will start at one inside linebacker spot. Write that in Sharpie. And despite some public dustups with fans via social media, Foster is a team leader and a sure tackler. He's lost weight to help in coverage this year, and twice in the last three years has totaled more than 120 tackles. Of all the worries on the Redskins roster, Mason Foster isn't one of them.

After Reuben Foster went down, the team signed former second-round pick Jon Bostic. He's bounced around in his NFL career, as the Redskins will mark his fifth team in six years, but since he's landed in a 3-4 scheme, he's found his game. In the past two seasons with the Steelers and the Colts, Bostic proved highly capable as a run defender. On pass downs, he probably needs to come off the field. 

That's where things get interesting. 

Reuben Foster was the one player that coaches expected to be able to stay on the field for all three downs. Mason Foster might be able to, and it's too early to really determine what best suits Shaun Dion Hamilton.

In just his second year out of Alabama, and a year removed from a major knee injury, Hamilton could emerge as the starter next to Foster. He could emerge as a capable cover linebacker. But he didn't quite show enough last season to be confident in that assessment. 

Josh Harvey-Clemons will be the nickel linebacker, and watching him in minicamp, he finally looks like an NFL linebacker. Harvey-Clemons played safety in college at Louisville, and his first two seasons in Washington seemed like he didn't have the bulk to play in the front seven. If he's really added muscle, it will show up in Richmond. 

Then there's rookie Cole Holcomb. A speed 'backer that should make the team, Holcomb needs to learn to play instinctually. It won't be easy, but if it comes quick, his speed could make plays. 

Add it all up and the Redskins linebacker looks solid, but not spectacular. Reuben Foster was supposed to be that special piece, but he definitely won't play this season. 

If the defensive front plays as well as many think they're capable of, that could change things for the linebackers. And of course, players get better every year. Maybe Hamilton or Harvey-Clemons is on the verge of a breakout. 

That's why they practice and train all offseason, and that's what the fans will be watching for in Richmond. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

Stephen Strasburg had the best hitting performance of his career against the Braves Thursday night, going 3-3 at the plate with two singles and a 420-foot three-run bomb. 

He didn't just set personal records but reached rare air in baseball history. He's the second pitcher ever with at least three hits, a HR, and five RBI since the DH debuted in 1973 and the fifth pitcher in the last 50 seasons to get two hits in an inning including a home run. 

Strasburg set franchise firsts with his performance, dating all the way back to the Expos. 

An extraordinary milestone for the Nationals' ace, hopefully Strasburg's performance will inspire the team during a crucial four-game series with Atlanta. 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: