CHICAGO — Before the 11 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick meet today in Chicago this afternoon to further discuss college football playoff options, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany spoke to reporters in downtown Chicago late Wednesday morning to talk about the challenges ahead and where the group stands.
And to warn us that a final decision on a playoff model isn't expected any time soon.
Delany reiterated that he was never a proponent of a four-team playoff with just conference champions. On the contrary, he favors a hybrid model that would take the top three conference champions so long as they finish in the top six in the final rankings. More than likely, a wild card team would be able to take that fourth spot, whether it is an independent like Notre Dame or a strong team that did not win its league, like Alabama in 2011. Delany did say, however, that a conference title should serve as a “tiebreaker” when teams are so close between Nos. 4-6 in the rankings.
Delany also mentioned that he wants any poll laced with subjectivity removed from the selection process. That would include the Coaches' Poll that is part of the current BCS rankings system. He prefers a selection committee that utilizes criteria that would make the process more transparent. Of course, bias is one of the major concerns with a committee. However, if the selection process takes into account strength of schedule, we likely will see better scheduling from teams, which would be great for the sport in September when many teams typically schedule cupcakes.
The most notable thing Delany said was that he does not expect the playoff model to be finalized June 26, the date when the Presidential Oversight Committee is to meet in Washington, D.C. BCS officials were expected to give the committee a few playoff options to vote on and enact at that time, but it doesn't look like they will be at that point by the end of today.
"I expect we'll...probably have more work to do," Delany said, regarding whether or not options would be finalized and ready to turn over to the Presidential Oversight Committee for a vote next week. "If we don't, I would be surprised, but maybe we won't."
College football officials don't have to begin negotiating with their TV partners until September, so these commissioners and presidents can take their time and make a rational decision. But how often has rationality been a part of college football's decision-making processes?
The BCS meeting will take place this afternoon at a hotel in downtown Chicago between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. CT. I don't expect anything earth-shattering to occur, but I will keep you posted at the NFP in case there is any real news to report.
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