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Delany proposes mix of rankings, conf. champs for playoff criteria

Jim Delany AP

Considering the BCS committee revealed a three semifinal, Rose Bowl-preferred plan covered in Jim Delany’s fingerprints last month, it should come as a shock to no one that the Big Ten commissioner once again has an idea that takes simplicity and chucks it as hard as possible across the football field.

Now that a four-team playoff has been recommended, what immediately follows are the logistics — you know, the who, what, when, where, how and why.

Speaking today to multiple reporters, Delany laid out selection criteria for a four-team playoff that, despite its relative complexity, is at least intriguing.

The proposal works as follows: if any conference champion — remember, there are no more AQ and non-AQ conferences beginning in 2014 — finished among the top six in the rankings, it would automatically be admitted to the four team playoff.

So, at its simplest, if four conference champs finished in the top six of the final regular season rankings, that would be your four-team playoff.

However, if there were less than four conference champs in the top six at the end of the season, any remaining spots would be filled by the highest ranked teams, including independents. If Delany’s model was used last season, the final four would have looked like this:

No. 1 LSU(SEC champ) vs. No. 5 Oregon (Pac-12 champ), and No. 2 Alabama (at-large) vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State (Big 12 champ).

That seems pretty legit on paper. But, as usual, there are issues. Say Notre Dame finishes the season ranked No. 1 — yes, go ahead and scoff, we’ll wait — ahead of four conference champions who just so happen to finish in the top six of the rankings. What then?

Is that scenario unlikely? Yes, very. But is it possible? Also yes, and therefore must be considered. The BCS committee could add additional criteria like, say, strength of schedule, but at that point it’s probably worth expanding the playoff pool.

As I noted yesterday, the four-team playoff idea is being accepted as an already-flawed system because the flaws are, at the very least, marginally less gross than those of the status quo. But the margin for error in the selection process is also only marginally bigger than the status quo as well.

A mixture of conference champs and at-large participants is a good selection combination, and in that regard, Delany’s idea is sound. It’s just a wee bit complicated for a four-team playoff. In other words, when it comes to the selection process, look for either all conference champs, or a selection of the four best teams regardless of whether they won their conference or not.

If South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier ever gets his wish and college football goes to an eight-team playoff, though, it would be prudent to use some variation of Delany’s idea.

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17 Responses to “Delany proposes mix of rankings, conf. champs for playoff criteria”
  1. rolltide510 says: May 2, 2012 6:01 PM

    If conference championships will play a role, the Notre Dame needs to join conference.

  2. orthomarine says: May 2, 2012 6:24 PM

    Hey Notre Dame…. Your not that special…

    Join a conference or your not eligible…

  3. bozosforall says: May 2, 2012 6:29 PM

    orthomarine says:
    May 2, 2012 6:24 PM
    Hey Notre Dame…. Your not that special…

    Join a conference or your not eligible…

    __
    It’s “you’re”…but your idea has merit.

    There still needs to be more inclusion in the playoff field, which means that they need to adopt Spurrier’s eight-team playoff model at the very least.

  4. orthomarine says: May 2, 2012 6:32 PM

    I’m on an iPhone at a bar and did not care to correct it…. My bad though

  5. halbert53 says: May 2, 2012 7:08 PM

    If only four teams, a ranking system that factors in strength of schedule should be used to determine the four playoff teams. But, the top two seeds should be the two highest ranked conference champions in the playoffs. In short, a conference runner-up or fb independent like Notre Dame would not be a # 1 or # 2 seed. Also, if two teams in the playoffs are from the same conference, they should play on opposite sides of the bracket. This system rewards conference champions, allows more than one team from a conference to earn a playoff spot, and prevents a first-round rematch of conference opponents; if two teams from the same conference were to meet in the championship game, both would have earned the right to be there on the field. This would work exceedingly well with bowl game tie-ins (conference bowl alliance of top two seeds) OR having the top two seeds host a playoff on campus.

  6. takingbovadasmoney says: May 2, 2012 9:05 PM

    Ah hell, just let Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist pick the teams.

  7. tuckfexas says: May 2, 2012 9:25 PM

    Notre Dame is about as relevent as Temple.

  8. socalgold says: May 2, 2012 10:09 PM

    Hey Delaney you dipshit. Quick little fact that you are completely unaware of apparently. Alabama says go EFF yourself. Look at last year’s results and Alabama is locked out. Moron.

  9. thefiesty1 says: May 2, 2012 10:27 PM

    The top four conferences, why include the top six in rankings. If your taking the top six in rankings what happens if some formerly non AQ conference gets left out of the playoff because they aren’t in the top 6? If Rutgers is the Little East champ but an Oklahoma also is a conference champ but OK is in the top 6 but A Rutgers isn’t even in the top 10 but has a better record than an OK, who gets in the playoff?

  10. jimr10 says: May 3, 2012 7:15 AM

    Delaney wants to make sure the SEC will not have two teams..

  11. normtide says: May 3, 2012 8:46 AM

    Delany is so afraid of the SEC. Show your pride B1G. LMAO

  12. fcmlefty1 says: May 3, 2012 10:38 AM

    Delaney’s new plan is the fairest compromise I’ve heard yet. In a year where there are 4 very strong conference champs (which, to get 4 of them in the top 6, would require that all 4 of them are 11-1 or better), its only fair to give all 4 thier shot. In a year like last year where there were not 4 strong champions, it makes all the sense in the world to give a strong wild card thier shot. Delaney’s new plan would have eliminated Wisconsin from the race last year, so its not like this is some self-serving plan for the Big 10.

    Strength of schedule definitely needs to play into the equation. But on the other side of that coin, FCS teams on the schedule need to be a heavy, heavy anchor to the strength of the schedule. The system should not differentiate the FCS teams – they should all be treated as the 244th team in the country (dead last of the estimated 124 teams in FBS and 120 in FCS for the 2014 season).

    Also, the Notre Dame thing, love them or hate them (as I do) – for the purposes of the BCS/Playoffs, they are viewed as thier own conference, not just one team. I hate that it plays out that way, but it is the hand thats been dealt. Any plan will treat them as such when its all said and done.

  13. nightman13 says: May 3, 2012 1:05 PM

    Ahh the ol “Strength of Schedule” tiebreaker. Aka, put SEC teams ahead of everybody else because we’re so important and awesome.

    Hey SEC, if you’re teams are really so damn good, why don’t you come up North to play in the elements? It’s because your teams are only good in perfect conditions. Can’t handle cold, snow, mud or wind.

  14. nightman13 says: May 3, 2012 1:05 PM

    your, not you’re

  15. normtide says: May 3, 2012 3:03 PM

    Yes nightman, because the best power running games and defenses in the nation would be a hender in the elements. A combo of the best athletes and the best coaches usually wins, regardless of the “elements”. The SEC has the national champs in football, basketball, and baseball atm. Hell, even y’all don’t want to live there, hence the rust belt.

  16. florida727 says: May 3, 2012 5:02 PM

    Have to admit, I get a really good laugh when people like “nightman” rail-on about “playing in the elements”. My response typically ends up being along the lines of: when your teams, who are (allegedly) so good in horrible conditions, come and play in perfect conditions, WHY DON’T THEY JUST WIN? You’d think it would be so incredibly easy to play in PERFECT conditions, wouldn’t you?

    BTW, “nightman”, go tell a football player in Texas they don’t know how to play in the wind. I’ll assume you’re okay with lumping Texas A&M into the stupidity of your rationalization now that they’re coming into the SEC fold.

    Win first, then criticize. Until then, you haven’t earned the right. You can’t win in PERFECT conditions. What does that tell you about the inferiority of your play? I know what it tells me.

  17. mcastleton928 says: May 4, 2012 5:48 AM

    I actually like this system – for the time being. It might just force the independents to join conferences (like Notre Dame and BYU join the Big 12 as football-only members and Army to the Big East as a football-only member).

    The “Delaney Plan” would have satisfied a lot of people last season because there would have been no real controversy as per the four teams that would have made it in (#1 LSU vs. #5 Oregon in the Sugar Bowl and #2 Alabama vs. #3 Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl). Sure, some in the Stanford camp would have complained, but Stanford also lost at home to Oregon by 23 points and the Ducks won the Pac-12 Championship. Stanford would have then played Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, and Clemson, who won the ACC Championship, would have played against either Boise State or Arkansas in the Orange Bowl.

    As a die-hard Utah Football fan, the “Delaney Plan” would have worked for us in both of our undefeated seasons in the 2000′s. In 2004, Utah would have made it to the BCS “Final Four” because the Utes finished at #5 in the final BCS standings and Texas, who finished at #4, was not a conference champion (Oklahoma won the Big 12 that year). The “Final Four” that year would have been #1 USC vs. #5 Utah in the Rose Bowl and #2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Auburn in the Fiesta Bowl. In the famous 2008 season, in which Utah finished as the only undefeated team in the country, the Utes would have also made it to the “Final Four” because they finished at #6 in the final BCS Standings (while also being a conference champion) while two of the teams ahead of them (#3 Texas and #4 Alabama) were not conference champions. The “Final Four” that year would have been #1 Oklahoma vs. #6 Utah in the Fiesta Bowl and #2 Florida vs. #5 USC in the Sugar Bowl (USC was Pac-1o Champions that year).

    The only drawback of this system is that it does not solve the problem of what should be done when there are five or more undefeated teams in a season (like 2004). If all of the teams are conference champions (which they would be) AND ranked in the top 6 of the final BCS Standings, which team(s) (if there are 6 undefeated teams) would get left out? It would then become another “beauty contest” that would come down to the polls and the computers. Thankfully, there are not many seasons in which there are 5 or more undefeated teams at the end of the season. This format should work for the time being, but I would like for them to eventually move to a 16-team playoff that would involve all 10 conference champions (the WAC is dead as a football conference) and 5 at-large berths.

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