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Larry Scott echoes support for Big Ten’s playoff plan

Larry Scott AP

When Big Ten commissioner and long-time status quo supporter Jim Delany indicated earlier this month that his conference was kicking around the idea of a four-team playoff, the anticipation of change in college football’s postseason gained substantial momentum.

Now, another college football power broker is adding his two cents to the playoff discussion. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott spoke with the New York Times on Friday and echoed the idea of having four teams play semifinal games on campus with a championship game alternating among bidding host cities.

“There’s a reason that in the N.F.L. they only play the Super Bowl as a neutral-site game,” Scott told the Times. “There’s a reason they play playoffs and A.F.C. and N.F.C. championships with home hosting.”

Scott didn’t say explicitly he supported a four-team playoff, but added he didn’t like the idea of an eight-team playoff. You can put two and two together on that (see what we did there?). But whether it’s a newly adopted championship format, or raising the minimum requirement to participate in bowl games, Scott concedes it’s time for a fresh start.

“So much of the passion of a move to a playoff is to see it earned on the field,” Scott said. “What more clear way to have intellectual consistency with the idea of a playoff than to earn it as a conference champion? It would de-emphasize the highly subjective polls that are based on a coach and media voting and a few computers.”

Eleven conference commissioners plus Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick just completed the second of several meetings last week to discuss the future of major college football’s postseason. A playoff of some kind could replace the current BCS system by 2014.

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23 Responses to “Larry Scott echoes support for Big Ten’s playoff plan”
  1. mhalt99 says: Feb 26, 2012 5:57 PM

    how can we make even more money off these kids backs…………….oh yeah…….oh and that will make the fans happy too.

    next up….where can we find even cheaper labor?

  2. normtide says: Feb 26, 2012 6:43 PM

    If everyone hates college football so much, why watch it, why follow it? A playoff will not solve all the problems, but it is a great idea.

    The issue that stands in the way of paying players is title-9. You would have to pay your worst woman’s golfer the exact amount you would pay your star QB. Among athletic departments that actually turn a profit, the football program pays for ALL other sports and the profit. A few true basketball schools are the only exceptions, a very few, like maybe 6 or 7 at best. Instead of just complaining, pitch ideas or legislation that would make paying players feasible.

  3. mrslay1 says: Feb 26, 2012 6:48 PM

    Delany will fight this with stupid ideas till everyone is sick of it in his attempt to kill playoffs.
    The 4 team will be better than what we have but not enough. And how are you going to have 2 teams with homefield and 2 that don’t.
    Here we go… end of the season and the top 4 teams all have 11-1 records. Who gets the home field… who ever is voted in 1 & 2. If you don’t make these games with preset destinations it will never solve anything as someone will be crying foul. After the way Pokie state cryed about the rankings last year, does anyone really believe that if they had gone to Bama to play a playoff game, lost, that they wouldn’t be crying it should have been at their house? This will never work as long as the polls decide to much.

  4. normtide says: Feb 26, 2012 7:06 PM

    I have said all along, the best way to make a playoff work, especially one that involves 8 teams or more, is by contracting 40~60 teams. FBS is up to around 125 teams, and over half really have no chance of being the best team. Less teams, and only FBS OOC opponents provide for a better system to rank teams.

  5. normtide says: Feb 26, 2012 7:10 PM

    Oh forgot to add. Under a system I just proposed, I would be all for an addition/contraction system like some soccer leagues use. Teams that win yearly at the next lower level can move up, while teams that lose more often then not on a yearly basis, would move down.

  6. halbert53 says: Feb 26, 2012 7:37 PM

    Four-team playoff is stupid. Six teams. The top two in BCS standings who won a conference championship game get first round bye. If more than one team from same conference make playoffs, put in opposite sides of bracket. For first round games, any remaining conference champions in top 6 host playoff game on campus. Second round games hosted on campus of top two seeds OR at regional NFL venues if available. Championship game site rotated among major bowl sites. This system allows strength of schedule to be a factor and rewards teams that win conference. It also provides an opportunity for more than one team from stronger conferences to earn a playoff spot. It eliminates the long time between end of regular season and championship game. Yes, Big 12 didn’t have championship game this past season (which would have given Okla. State enough bounce to make championship game). If no Big 12 championship game is an anomaly then NCAA could grant a waiver PRIOR to start of season. If Big 12 doesn’t want to expand back to 12 teams, then they shouldn’t get same consideration as other large conferences.

  7. mgm36 says: Feb 26, 2012 7:38 PM

    I certainly have no idea if this will pass but they have to do something to change what they have in place

  8. martin7341 says: Feb 26, 2012 7:42 PM

    The Rose Bowl (most years) is the model Bowl for this sort of thing. You have a Pac 12 team that is the result of a championship game and a Big 10 Team that is the result of a championship game. In essence, the Rose Bowl Champion is the winner of a 4 team playoff. Not only that, but the regular season matters and the conference championship matters that much more.

    To me this is simple – on New Years Day, you play the 4 Traditional Bowl Games – Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange. Slot those 8 teams at the beginning of the year. I know there are not exactly 8 conferences but it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out a formula for the other 6 teams. On January 2nd, you’ll then have 4 teams. Two weeks later, you then have the semi-finals at two (or even one) predetermined, weather friendly location(s). This is also the NFL Division Championship weekend so there are four NFL games scheduled. I don’t think it should be too hard to figure out how to add two College Games to the weekend.

    Then you simply play the championship game the week before the SuperBowl.

    You can also keep playing some of the lesser bowl games – you can trim the obscene total by requiring 7 or even 8 wins.

  9. rubbernilly says: Feb 26, 2012 7:45 PM


    I, too, think promotion/relegation are interesting concepts for structuring the conferences, but you’ll never get traction with it. Too many old rivalries will go away without protected games, etc.

    My idea for playoffs:
    1) Any conference that is viable by NCAA standards and can produce a champion must have that champion in the pool of playoff teams
    2) After that (anywhere from 8 to 10 teams, depending on the migration each year), fill out the rest of a 12-team field by choosing the highest ranked teams
    3) Top 4 Conference Champions (by rank) get a bye, with preference to those who played a Conference Championship game

  10. martin7341 says: Feb 26, 2012 7:46 PM

    Forgo to mention – in theory, my system would be a 16 team tournament – starting with the 8 Conference Championship/Bowl Qualifying games. Certainly, team 17 can hold off on the whining.

  11. overratedgators says: Feb 26, 2012 9:24 PM

    Dear CFT Board Posters,

    Thanks for your insightful and fascinating ideas on how to further enhance the wild success of the Bowl Championship Series. I know you’ve all given a lot of thought to each of your suggestions, and can assure you that we didn’t read a single one.

    We are fully committed to coming up with ideas that we think we think will net our members the most free cash flow, and once we’ve had time to find those solutions, we look forward to announcing them, showing them down your throat, and then telling you how much you love them.

    Please stay tuned as we work though this exciting process in complete disregard of your opinions.

    Yours in dictatorship,

    Bill Hancock
    Bowl Championship Series

  12. tmb333 says: Feb 26, 2012 9:27 PM

    A 16 team playoff is the answer.
    Make every conference play a championship game. The CCG winner gets an automatic bid.

    The five at large bids would only come from the 11 losers of the CCG. This requires a team to at least win their division to get in. It breaks down the argument that the regular season would lose importance.

    Use a bcs type system to pick the at large teams and seed the tournament.

    Unless a contraction is completed, it has to be 16 to include every conference champion to avoid anti trust issues.

    Play first two rounds at the higher seeds home field. All games will be sold out unlike most bowl games. Wait two weeks and make all other bowl games be completed in this window. Play semifinal at two separate sites bid on like the bb tournament does. Championship game host site would also be bid on. Everyone wins due to the windfall.

  13. halbert53 says: Feb 26, 2012 10:26 PM

    So the winner of a weak division–like UCLA this season –would be eligible for playoffs but a 1-loss Alabama (whose only crime is being in what is currently strongest division of the strongest conference) would not be eligible for playoffs? What about Stanford? Strengths of conferences and divisions ebbs and flows. Sometimes best two or even three teams from a conference are in same division. This won’t fly.

  14. mrslay1 says: Feb 26, 2012 11:02 PM

    If it’s pokie a&m they will be crying if ther 37th

  15. dryzzt23 says: Feb 26, 2012 11:48 PM

    There MUST be a rule that outlaws conference rematches:

    2006 – OSU v Michigan rematch not allowed due to bias against the Big Ten

    2011 – LSU v ‘Bama rematch allowed b/c hey they’re SEC schools and they can do whatever they want b/c of the abhorrent media bias in favor of whatever the SEC wants

  16. vincentbojackson says: Feb 27, 2012 12:19 AM

    These guys are all clowns. They don’t like a playoff to determine a National Champion but think it makes complete sense to “settle things on the field” at the conference level.

    It’s insulting that these guys think we can’t see the hypocrisy.

  17. tuckfexas says: Feb 27, 2012 2:41 AM

    I don’t think 16 will fly, but 8 will cover all the legitimate contenders. 8-4-2-1, it’s easy enough & can be built into the current bowl structure.

  18. florida727 says: Feb 27, 2012 10:34 AM

    I’d love to take credit for this because it makes so much sense, but I can’t, it was another poster’s idea…

    6 teams. Top 2 get first round byes. Use existing BCS bowl games.

    Example: #3 plays #6 in the Sugar Bowl. #4 plays #5 in the Orange Bowl. The following week (or 2 weeks later), #1 plays the 4/5 winner in the Fiesta Bowl, and #2 plays the 3/6 winner in the Rose Bowl. (Slight modification could be that they re-seed after the 3/6 and 4/5 games to ensure the #1 seed has the “easiest” road to the title game.)

    Winner of the #1/#4 and #2/#3 games play for the title in the BCS National Championship game. No other BCS bowl game loses its “importance” since every year the matchups rotate sites… just like the BCS National Championship site rotates sites every year.

    Sounded like the best scenario when I saw it posted before. Thought I’d share again…

  19. halbert53 says: Feb 27, 2012 12:09 PM

    Using six team format and linking to existing BCS bowl games is only way to have playoff system while having meaningful bowl games. If top six teams are in playoffs, then BCS bowls would lose the best teams and the effect would trickle down. First round bye for top two teams, who must win conference championship game.

  20. pollaml says: Feb 27, 2012 12:59 PM

    All good ideas, but y’all are forgetting one key item…College Football is more about the fans than maybe any other sport. While the four team play-off may not be ideal, it allows fans to see one game in their home stadium, should they earn a 1 or 2 seed, yet it doesn’t handicap the average fan from attending the championship game financially.

    Most likely, the plus one is all we will get regardless.

  21. Pac12Ute says: Feb 27, 2012 1:03 PM

    Larry Scott is my new hero

  22. txnative61 says: Feb 28, 2012 3:21 AM

    Hey, I know, how about a single elimination tournament starting in early November, with invitations based on rankings (to keep the computers employed). I know, I know, its a crazy idea! I was just thinking about March Madness, being so close, and all. A workable paradigm, already existing in the NCAA!!? Just unfathomable!

  23. fcmlefty1 says: Mar 1, 2012 4:04 PM

    You guys are all missing one of the most key elements of the whole deal: The whole thing needs to be wrapped up by time 2nd semester starts in early January. The “current BCS bowls are quarterfinals” that some of you have is DOA.

    Another reason it can’t go past semester start: A large chunk of the star players from these teams would be ineligible to play in the games. A very large chunk of them do not go to school 2nd semester and instead concentrate on the NFL Combine and subsequent NFL Draft.

    I think what we are destined to see is bowl season being kicked off the weekend before Christmas with the two semi final games. The regular bowl schedule (minus about 6 of the real dogs – because 7-5 for bowl eligibility is coming too) will then follow, and the Championship game will be played the weekend after New Years Day.

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