It sounds like the Big Ten has wasted no time in the offseason addressing one of the biggest issues in college football- creating a more even playing field all across the board. Conference commissioner Jim Delany has come out of the wood works and suggested a potential four-team playoff for the national championship game.
Of course we have heard this before (SEC in 2008, but without a formal plan), but to get a major conference commissioner to endorse it on the national stage now could actually get the ball rolling in the right direction. It’s by no means a perfect fix, but it’s a start.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Delany is lobbying hard to remove the top four BCS ranked teams from the BCS bowl game pool and have the higher seeded teams host semifinals at their college campuses. His proposal would also get rid of neutral site games which are not exactly neutral to begin with (ie. USC/Rose Bowl, LSU/Superdome).
Delany has another twist in mind in addition to the four-team playoff and it comes directly from the NFL. He wants to rotate the host of the national championship game each season via bidding, just like the Super Bowl. Northwestern University’s athletic director, Jim Phillips is all on board with his superior’s plan: “We have to listen to the fans; we cannot be tone-deaf. The Big Ten is open and curious.”
in disguise. After the BCS met in early January, it’s good to see these guys are finally thinking in the right direction. It seems like change may actually arrive after years of rhetoric and getting nowhere. Delany also suggested moving the national title game up, noting January 9th is too late to capture diminishing fan interest after the regular season is over.
“There is a very strong sense that we have missed the boat and are playing games too late,” Delany said. “Students are back in class, people are back at work.”
With respect to the Big Ten playoffs, Delany didn’t address that, asserting he needs to see where the Big Ten university presidents, chancellors, and AD’s stand on that. He does understand the concern though: “I think sports fans are conditioned to playoffs. I don’t begrudge them that. They’re looking for more games, but we’re trying to do the right thing.”
Delany seems reluctant to extend the season too much, but still believes in taking the “temperature” of the universities first, before suggesting a fix:
“It’s a matter of coming up with something that does not kill the baby with the bath water. We have a regular season that is vibrant. We have 12 games plus a (conference) championship game — that’s a lot of games. We have academic calendars, though that doesn’t resonate with many people. But if you’re dealing with university presidents, faculty and coaches, you’re talking about it.”
Click here to read more about the story from the Chicago Tribune.
Click here to read why Congress is crying for a national playoff system.