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Big Ten exploring 4-team playoff
The Big Ten, which helped squash the notion of a four-team playoff to crown a national champion in college football several years ago, is taking another look.
BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said Tuesday night that’s good news.
“Our process is working perfectly,” Hancock said. “One of good things about our process is that there’s no timetable so that a deliberate and thoughtful decision can be reached.
“The tricky part is our 11 conference commissioners and the Notre Dame AD may have 12 different opinions about the direction we should go over the next six to eight months.”
Hancock, who still expects a conclusion in July, said the group of BCS decision-makers will meet again at the end of this month.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said all of the Big Ten athletic directors are comfortable exploring the possibility of a four-team playoff.
“Four is better than two,” Hollis said.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith agreed and said the discussions stem from feedback “that we need to do something different,” especially after the recent BCS title game between LSU and Alabama drew lower ratings that other championship games.
“The fans have been loud and clear,” Smith said. “We also recognize that structurally there’s things that we want to try and change with the bowl system — how teams get in the bowls. It’s time to be curious about everything.”
The BCS title game pits the nation’s top two teams based on poll and computer rankings. The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that one idea before the Big Ten calls for playing the two semifinal games on the campuses of the higher seeded teams, with the national championship held in a city awarded hosting rights—like the Super Bowl.
The so-called plus-one format—two semifinals plus the title game—was proposed in 2008 by the commissioners of the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference. It was shot down by the leaders of the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East, Big 12 and Notre Dame.
“I am pleased to hear there is renewed interest in the plus-one format, the same format we introduced for consideration in 2008,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement to the AP. “There are many details that need to be considered and it is premature to be campaigning for any particular plus-one model.”
The 11 Bowl Championship Series conferences have already met to discuss possible changes to the system starting in 2014. NCAA President Mark Emmert has said he supports a four-team championship playoff and is strongly against a 16-team format.
Emmert has also said there has been talk of using a Final Four model, a scenario which could have matched LSU against Stanford and Alabama versus Oklahoma State this season, with the winners advancing to the title game.
Despite the Big Ten’s interest in a playoff, there is at least one big hurdle: The Rose Bowl, with its storied history to two of the nation’s biggest conferences.
“The Rose Bowl is extremely important to Michigan State just as it is to every school in the Big Ten and Pac-12,” Hollis said. “There are more questions than answers about how any format would work, including where the games would be played and what the bowl-type experiences would be like in a championship format.
“My eyes are always open to explore all opportunities, but I don’t think we want to exceed 15 games.”
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, who is open to any option that includes keeping the conference and Pac-12 tied to the Rose Bowl, said he’s not sure the plus-one model will please everybody.
“I know a lot of people would love to see one more great football game, but I’m not sure this type of playoff will make it more fair,” Brandon said. “At some point, you have to draw the line. With four teams, there will be controversies about who those four teams should be because it’s usually not clear.”
Smith said there are too many bowl games, lagging ticket sales and teams are already playing “too deep into January” with players who happen to be students, too. He had reservations about a playoff where students play back to back games.
Still, he said there was a need to discuss the format now.
“This is the window of time before we go and do something with another partner, or current partner, we don’t want to just do the same thing without trying to address some of those issues,” he said. “But if we ended up with a plus-one playoff, it would be exciting for fans but there’s a lot of issues around it.”
Hancock has said 50 to 60 possibilities for various changes were presented during a meeting in New Orleans, where Alabama beat LSU in the BCS title game last month.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who declined comment Tuesday, has acknowledged he would consider the prospect of a four-team field.
“Four years ago, five of us didn’t want to have the conversation,” Delany told reporters last month. “Now we all want to have the conversation.”
Asked about how the revenue from a playoff would be distributed, Smith noted that was a key issue.
“You know, as we went into the BCS system and it was developed over time, the distribution of money changed over time, right?” he said. “What we need to do is if we end up there, that needs to be decided early. I agree with our commissioner that whatever we do it needs to in my view a longer-term deal as opposed to a shorter-term deal so we can lock these things in and give it a chance to work. That includes the distribution of the funds. But that has to be talked about.”
First-year Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas and Nebraska’s Tom Osborne, whose school has been in the league for less than a year, both said they believe the champion will eventually be determined by a four-team playoff.
“If you were able to develop a two-game, four-team scenario that would give the masses a feeling that we’re getting a better sense of a true national champion, I think that’s a good thing,” Thomas said.
Osborne noted that the NFL has its highest seeds play at home in the playoffs and doing the same thing in college would solve travel concerns for at least some of the fans.
“I think if a team is ranked higher and has done better in the regular season, it makes some sense to play on their home field even though it may be a cold-weather environment and then play the championship game in a neutral site,” Osborne said.
But Osborne, who won three national championships as coach of the Huskers, knows no plan will satisfy everyone.
“Everyone who looks at the plus-one model realizes that if you have four teams in play, you’re still going to have the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth teams saying we got a bad deal, we should be one of those four teams,” he said. “So there’ll be continual unrest until you have some kind of a much larger playoff.”
Does Brady miss Weis????
Yeah he had a great season BUT in playoffs he made some big time bone head plays! You know plays that Crist got benched for. Who starts the SUPER BOWL with a safety on a crazy call with noone open????? You could easily argue that play lost the game. You gotta admit the Pats WON Super Bowls with Charlie Weis as OC!!!
I think he misses a couple quality wide outs more than he misses ole Charlie.
Every team in the FBS, from the lowliest challengers to Alabama, face challenges entering the 2012 season. The successful programs identify and address these challenges while the less successful programs remain stagnant...
Justin Ferguson, a 6-2, 205 lb, WR from Pembroke Pines, FL, has committed to play football at the University of Notre Dame.
With National Signing Day come and gone, the vast majority of programs around the country have closed the book on their 2012 class and are making preparations to recruit the next crop of young football stars.
A few players still remain undeclared and unsigned (Davonte Neal---we could use you), but for the most part, what you see now is what you're going to get from our rivals.
Important note: Before we get started let's agree not to turn this into a discussion about who is and who is not a rival to Notre Dame. Save those arguments for another day. If it makes you feel better, think of these as "teams of interest" because the Irish play them so often.
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rish focus on speed, athleticism with recruiting class
Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and his staff welcomed a celebrated class of 16 student-athletes on national signing day. Even though coveted wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, the California high school player of the year and a four star recruit from Fresno, CA’s Washington Union H.S., changed his mind Tuesday evening and decided to attend the University of Houston, Kelly was proud of what his staff accomplished with this recruiting haul.
OFFENSE 2012---BIG CHANGES ?
Rnthusiasm is something I have been blessed with. In every aspect of my
life I have always looked forward with the knowledge that things were
going to be better. I knew that 2012 would be a tough year, a year of
change and a year of learning--all leading up to a great 2013. But
now I am convinced that 2012 is going to be a very exciting year as
well. Damn the schedule, FULL SPEAD AHEAD.
The other day KEITH ARNOLD wrote that he was very excited about the
offense in CHUCK MARTIN's hands. Today there is an excellent post on
another site about CHUCK MARTIN's way of coaching a spread offense.
COACH KELLY did what he had to do to win as many games as he could with
the players he inherited. He was not happy with the offense last year,
in fact he was very upset. He dumped the entire offensive coaching
staff and replaced it with new blood---different thinking is evident.
CHUCK MARTIN is a very enthusiastic guy---he will have the offense
jumping. When he was head coach at GRAND VALLEY he ran a spread with more
running than passing. He most likely will do the same here.
With EVERETT GOLSON starting the possibility of the QB running will be a
sure thing. The RBs will be quick and fast. The OL will be opening
holes. The passing game will still be wide open, but there will be more
down field passes to fast young lads who can jump out of the stadium.
I have felt this way for a few months now and I hope my enthusiasm
is contageous. Onward and upward,lads---Once more into the breach.
2012 be damned---BRING IT ON.
Robert Frost said,
"Nothing worthwhile in life has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm".
Enthusiasm is a synonym for passion and in life if any person or people bring a passionate sprit into any undertaking the chances of success are magnified times many. Sure, in any endeavor you need skill, discipline, desire and the right people to pull it off, but if those same people are led by a passionate person who shows vigor and intensity to the job at hand it amazes me the level at which good people can rise.
The 2012 schedule is daunting, likely the strongest SOS in D1 football, but isn't that what kids come to Notre Dame to experience. The challenge set before this team is part of why you approach this goal with the vigor I speak of. Winning is easy when the goals are low; it is also unsatisfying to winners who strive for more.
The sweet smell of victory surrounds us, the glory of great accomplishments propels us and the reality of extraordinary success is what makes Notre Dame special.
I like your enthusiasm; I agree that the 2012 season should be exciting, and that we should be competitive in every game.
We do have some "issues" though on both sides of the ball, and on special teams, that will be challenges to overcome. First I should back up by saying that I'm not sure I agree that Kelly "cleaned out the offensive staff." From what I have read, Molnar left to take the UMASS position which was a promotion for him; he was not "dumped" to the best of my knowledge; and Warriner, OL, and Hinton, RBs, left really unexpectedly to go to Ohio State; in no sense, really, do they seem to have been "dumped." It was a shock really when they left.
On offense, we have some promise, but significant issues also. RB has more depth, but no power back really, and no explosive speed. WR is sort of "weak" IMO, and a starting lineup of Goodman, Toma, and TJ Jones does not provide us with explosiveness, nor, IMO, with all that much athletic talent either at the position.
QB is obviously unsettled; while there is potential there, no one really has stepped up his game at this point so as to indicate that he is a sure bet contributor for next year. Golson has great promise, but can he really do it? No one knows for sure at this point. Hendrix has promise also, but can he make those quick decisions necessary to be a great qb? Again, we don't know. Rees seems to have regressed from year 1 to year 2? Can he improve in the off season and be a contributor? Again, unknown. Kiel has promise, but it's rare for a freshman to come in and be a major contributor in Div 1 football. So I don't think we'd want to pin our hopes on him for year 1 of his stay at ND.
The OL, while improving, needs to be better still IMO; they did not do well really against the better teams such as USC, Stanford, and FL State. They need to be, IMO, bigger, faster, stronger and more athletic.
On defense, we start luckily with a very fine DL with good depth there. LB, to me, was a weak position last year, with only Manti playing at a high level. IMO, we were not fast at LB in general, we couldn't tackle, and we couldn't cover. We seemingly need to get a lot better there.
We lost 3 of our 4 starters in the defensive backfield, so we'll really be young there; we have potential, but this is not a strong area of the team IMO as we look at things here in Feb.
Our special teams were fair at best last year. Punt returns were especially atrocious, though punt coverage, and kickoff coverage, except for a few breakdowns, were pretty good; and kickoff returns were good. Our punting was average at best, and our place-kicking was not up to the standards established in the previous year; and Ruffer is now gone, so who knows how things will be this year?
Anyway, there is promise for 2012, but many issues that need to be resolved also.
Beautifully written post on passion and leadership and what these can accomplish; well done !
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