Delany Quick to Praise College Football Playoff
By Brandon Castel
Once a leading member of college football’s “anti-playoff” movement, Jim Delany was singing a different tune this week.
He’s finally in harmony with the rest of the country.
“The Big Ten Conference is pleased with the decision made by the presidential oversight committee to implement a four-team playoff for college football,” Delany said in a statement following yesterday’s meeting in Washington D.C.
“It was a great day for college football student-athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.”
The Big Ten Commissioner—and the conference as a whole—had been one of the loudest opponents to change when it came to crowning a national champion in college football.
Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee and head football coach Urban Meyer were also among those vehemently opposed to changing the current system. Like Delany, they felt a playoff would compromise college football’s regular season and destroy the fabric of the Big Ten’s relationship with both the Pac-12 and the Rose Bowl.
Apparently, neither of those concerns are still on the mind of Delany and his fellow Big Ten comrades as college football zooms toward a four-team playoff in 2014.
“We feel that this system will protect the regular season,” Delany said Wednesday, “preserve the tradition of bowl games and further enhance the Big Ten’s partnership with the Pac-12 and Rose Bowl while simultaneously allowing for great innovation.”
After years of conservatively clinging to the status quo BCS system, which had been in place since 1998, Delany finally admitted last month that a playoff was inevitable. This came on the heels of a meeting with Big Ten athletic directors in Chicago, and while the conference still favored the status quo, Delany reluctantly agreed that a playoff might be the best thing for college football.
It was an earth-shattering moment, one which signified a true shift in thinking amongst college football’s power brokers, but Delany’s biggest concern was that his conference maintain its traditional relationship with the Rose Bowl.
Exactly how that will work with the new four-team playoff is still uncertain. The Rose Bowl will be used to host an NCAA semifinal game, but it will rotate with five other venues.
Under the new system, there would be two semifinal games hosted by the traditional bowls, then a national championship game which will be awarded to the highest-bidder.
Whenever the Rose Bowl is not involved in the playoff—which would be two out of every three years if they divvy the games evenly—it would continue to maintain a tie-in with the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences.
That is not much different than the current setup, where the Rose Bowl has been used as the site for the BCS National Championship game on a rotating basis every four years.
The 2013 BCS National Championship Game is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida—the new home of the Orange Bowl.
Coincidently, the Rose Bowl will host the final BCS National Championship game under the old system. The game will take place on Jan. 7, 2014, and it will be the final game before college football officially turns the page to a playoff format for the 2014-15 season.
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