HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- If only the Big Ten and Pac-10 weren't so stubbornly loyal to the Rose Bowl, the BCS would be on its way to a playoff.
That's the perception -- though not the reality -- and it's allowed the other conferences to be safely noncommittal about the possibility of turning the Bowl Championship Series into a four-team major college football playoff.
"I think the characterization of the Big Ten and Pac-10 being at one place and everyone else being at the other place, I don't think it's accurate," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told reporters Tuesday during a break in the BCS meetings at a beachfront hotel.
"Just because somebody says they're open-minded and interested in looking at other models doesn't mean they're committed to it."
Clearly the Rose Bowl and its separate TV contract with ABC is a major hurdle for the BCS to clear if it wants to adopt the so-called plus-one format. Delany and Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen have said they do not support it.
One magazine even dubbed the Rose Bowl alliance "The Axis of Obstruction."
"I think it's a stretch myself," Delany said with a laugh.
Ed Marion, an NFL official for 28 years and a head linesman in three Super Bowls, died Monday at his home in Paoli, Pa. He was 81. He officiated in the 1971, 1975 and 1977 Super Bowls. ... The Buffalo Bills will receive $78 million -- more than double their calculated 2006 operating income -- to play eight games in Toronto over the next five years. ... Buddy Nix is out as assistant general manager of the San Diego Chargers, with the team saying he retired and his wife saying he resigned. Nix wasn't available for comment Tuesday.
Track and Field
World-record holder Asafa Powell won't race for the next two months because of a chest injury. His manager says the sprinter will be able to run at the Beijing Olympics in August.
Lowe's Motor Speedway will have a SAFER barrier along the inside wall of its backstretch by the time the track opens for NASCAR racing next month. An additional 340 feet of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers are being installed, and track president Humpy Wheeler said the project will be completed in time for the May 17th All-Star Race. ... Ken Schrader will replace the injured Dario Franchitti in Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Franchitti broke his left ankle last Saturday in a hard crash at Talladega Superspeedway during the Nationwide Series' Aaron's 312.
Manchester United set up the first all-English final in the history of the Champions League, beating Barcelona 1-0 in Manchester, England, behind Paul Scholes' goal in the 14th minute. After winning the home-and-home semifinal on 1-0 aggregate, Manchester will meet the winner of today's Chelsea-Liverpool tilt in the final May 21 in Moscow. ... Gordon Bradley, who coached Pele and Johan Cruyff with the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, died Tuesday. He was 74.
Ben Hansbrough, who helped Mississippi State advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament last month, is transferring to Notre Dame. The 6-foot-3-inch guard started 28 of Mississippi State's 34 games and was fourth on the team with a 10.5 scoring average. Hansbrough is the younger brother of AP Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough, a forward for North Carolina.
Shawn Estrada of Los Angeles became the ninth American to qualify for the Beijing Olympics when he beat Brazilian middleweight Yamaguchi Florentine 12-7 in the Americas Qualifier in Guatemala City.
The Astana team will take part in the Spanish Vuelta after it was barred from the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia because of doping violations. Astana was among 20 teams invited to Spain's premier cycling race. Organizers said all met the "maximum requirements in terms of ethics, image and administration."