Someone pinch me.
It seems Jim Delany, easily the most conservative power broker in college football, has pulled an audible a month or so before the BCS committee is supposed to decide on the details of a four-team playoff.
How so? During a Big Ten conference call this morning, Delany said he supported a playoff field consisting of the four best teams.
Wait, wait, wait. Wait… wait. Didn’t Delany previously support a playoff field that featured, at least in some form or fashion, conference champions?
Yes he did, and it was a good idea too.
But, didn’t Delany say just last month he didn’t “have a lot regard” for non-division teams playing for a championship? You know, the quote that set off Nick Saban to call out “self-absorbed” people who (gasp!) only favor what’s best for their conference?
Either Saban’s words got to Delany, or the Big Ten commish had a more natural change of heart. In any case, Delany was on a tear today, adding that the BCS computer rankings were “non-transparent and biased” when it came to selecting teams for a championship. In the process, the Big Ten commissioner may have provoked the biggest question of all:
Who are you and what have you done with Jimmy?
It should be noted that the Big Ten’s stance on the postseason, at least according to Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman, goes in the following order as of today: 1) status quo, 2) plus-one and 3) four-team playoff. A playoff is happening, though. It’s too far along in the process.
Furthermore, Perlman said he “didn’t find many faults” with the current system. This was, of course, just before Delany did a 180 and blasted the BCS computers. So, at least Big Ten inconsistency still appears alive and well.
(Big Ten response: doesn’t matter; we’re $284 million richer)
However, Delany and Perlman both said they would be okay with a selection committee for a playoff. That’s one of a couple of pieces that are close to being solved. The others?
- A playoff likely won’t feature a field composed of only conference champions (Cue Notre Dame comments… now!). Whether the field will be the “four best teams” or some compromise — say, three conference champs and an at-large — isn’t known yet.
- Semifinal games appear bowl bound, while a championship game will head to a neutral site.
The playoff talk can be saturating, but the next few weeks will greatly affect major college football for years to come.