The Anti-Playoff Big 10 Is Open To A Four Team Model

The BCS is changing, but nothing is official at this time as there is just talk of what might be happening. The likely result is either do away with auto bids all together or have four-team playoff, excuse me a 'plus-one,' that is the term to be used because you know a playoff is a dirty word to a lot of conference commissioners and schools presidents.

However, the Big 10 is warming up to the idea of a playoff and has their proposal in mind:

The Big Ten is not only ready to listen to proposals regarding a national four-team football playoff, league and school officials are kicking around an intriguing idea.

Sources told the Tribune that a Big Ten plan would remove the top four teams from the BCS bowl pool and have semifinal games played on the college campus of the higher seed. That would do away with the facade of "neutral" sites such as New Orleans, Miami and Pasadena, Calif., and ease travel concern for fans.
The championship game then could be bid out, like the Super Bowl.

[...]

"We have to listen to the fans; we cannot be tone-deaf," said Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips, who chairs the Big Ten's Administrators Council. "The Big Ten is open and curious."

The Big 10 was the last team people would have thought to embrace a playoff since they are staunch in tradition with the Rose Bowl and their hand was basically forced to add a 12th team to keep up with their Pac-12 counterpart.

The only real wrinkle to their plan compared to other similar modes is that the semifinal matchups would be played at the home field of the higher seed.

However, the Big 10 is not entirely on board with a playoff as they still have some questions to ask. These come from Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, and of course the Rose Bowl is mentioned:

1) Is it fair to the student-athletes already suiting up for 12-13 games?
2) Would it undermine college football's vital regular season?
3) Would the teams be chosen in a way that reflects competitive fairness?
And of course,
4) Can the Rose Bowl be protected?

The Big 10 can't have it both ways, because would the league rather have a No. 3 ranked Michigan team skipping out on the chance to play for a national title in favor of an essentially meaningless postseason game that is rich in tradition? Probably not.

A natiional title carries more prestige than a Rose Bowl victory -- or at least it should. So the best the Big 10 could do would be to protect the matchup in general, but still allow a team in the top four to skip out on the Rose Bowl to attend the playoff. Also considering that the Big 10 has not had a team ranked in the top four since 2007 this issue may not come up very often.

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