SBD/May 16, 2012/Colleges

Big Ten Shoots Down Proposal For Football Playoffs On Campus, Prefers Bowl Sites

Big Ten commish, ADs are in favor of four-team playoff with rotating bowl sites
Any notion of having BCS playoff semifinals on campus sites "is now dead,” according to Teddy Greenstein of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Big Ten ADs yesterday “made two things clear: They're on board with a four-team playoff beginning with the 2014 season, and their preference is to have rotating bowl sites, including the Rose, host the semifinals.” Michigan State AD Mark Hollis said, "It's critical to keep the Rose Bowl in the equation. And from the kids' perspective, the bowl experience is the one thing they want to keep. With campus sites, it becomes like a regular-season game." Nebraska AD Tom Osborne added, "The bowls have been good to us. If you took them out of the playoff, it would pretty much destroy the bowl system." Greenstein notes Delany and the Big Ten ADs “favor a ‘hybrid’ model, likely the three highest-rated conference champions and a wild card from any league” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/16).

WHO, WHAT, WHEN, HOW: In Detroit, Matt Carboneau notes Delany and the Big Ten ADs for the past two days have been “hashing out ways they would like to see the system play out when it goes into effect in 2014.” Delany said, "We're moving in the direction on the 'what,' on the model of 'what.' So that's maturing a bit and I'm hopeful that in the next 60 days, that thing will be resolved. The 'how' and the 'who' are yet to be resolved." Carboneau notes the group “is supportive of the four-team format and they are also very adamant that it be played within the bowl system, keeping the importance of the Rose Bowl intact” (DETROIT NEWS, 5/16). ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg wrote what is going to take longer is “how the teams are selected, always a hot topic in college football and one that will only get hotter.” Delany “wants to make that part of the process as transparent as possible.” Delany said, "Regardless of how we go, it's going to be difficult for coaches and fans and programs and conferences to absorb." He added, "The conversation about the how and the who needs to be really open. Let's get coaches in the room and talk it out. Let's get commissioners in the room and talk it out. Let's do it in front of the media. Let's (let) everyone see the difficulty of these decisions and then let's make decisions and live with it" (ESPN.com, 5/15). YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel writes a football playoff “will be great no matter where the games are played,” but it would “just be better on campus.” Wetzel: “But the bowl lobby has won, and a select few of them are about to become even more fabulously wealthy off the labors of student-athletes” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/16).

UP THE ANTE: Delany said that there is “a ‘very strong consensus’ among the league's athletic directors that the bowl-eligibility requirement should increase from six wins to seven wins, a sentiment that's echoed nationally.” Delany said, “For us, it means redefining a successful year at 7-5 from the standpoint of a bowl season. We argued for 6-6. We've experienced 6-6. Now we're suggesting that it's in our best interest, the bowls' best interest as well as the other conferences that might benefit by these open slots to look at a 7-5 standard" (ESPN.com, 5/15).

BLUE RIBBON PANEL: In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes Univ. of Texas men's AD DeLoss Dodds earlier this week “gave his preference for a college football playoff format.” In his version, the four teams “would be selected by a blue-ribbon committee of ‘seven or nine’ objective panelists who are very familiar with college football and follow the game passionately.” Dodds said, "They'd be people who have football backgrounds and who are not biased.” He also proposed “an odd number of panelists to avoid ties,” and said that he “favors picking four teams at large who were not necessarily conference champions.” The four teams “would be selected before the bowls make their choice.” Dodds said of the four teams, "This entity needs to be separate. It needs to be their own bowls, their own TV, their own sponsors. Those four selected would not play in the bowls.” He added, "And I'd have them bid it out to cities and stadiums for the three games, and I favor neutral sites for the games because using the campuses would be too much of an advantage" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/16).

WINDY CITY: Univ. of Illinois AD Mike Thomas said that plans “could be finalized this summer to schedule a football game in Chicago as early as 2013, competing every other season in odd-numbered years.” He said that venues “still are being discussed but noted Soldier Field ‘is certainly an option.’” In Chicago, Shannon Ryan notes Illinois and Northwestern played against each other at Wrigley Field in ’10 and both programs “have been making stronger pushes lately to secure Chicago as their own turf in recruiting and branding” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/16).
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