Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Big Ten Should Set Sights Higher for Playoff

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Big Ten Should Set Sights Higher for Playoff

Article excerpt

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is reluctant to endorse any football playoff format that would allow a team that didn't reach its conference championship game to be able to compete for the national title. Naturally, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a problem with that - and for a good reason. The Crimson Tide didn't make it to the Southeastern Conference title game last December, finishing second in the SEC West to LSU after losing a 9-6 overtime snoozer to the Tigers. But when the Bowl Championship Series computer finished crunching the numbers at the end of the season, it selected Alabama and LSU for a rematch in the BCS national championship game at the Superdome in New Orleans.

The Crimson Tide defense was even stingier the second time around, blanking the Tigers 20-0 to win the national title. It was Alabama's second NCAA championship in three seasons and the sixth in a row by the dominant SEC.

"It's self-absorbed people who are worried about how it affects their circumstances or their league rather than what's best for college football who would want to do that," said Saban, dismissing any notion of conference championship or division title restrictions. "It's not what's best for the fans because they've made it very clear what they want it to be.. People want to see the best four teams in a playoff."

Actually, most fans would prefer to get all they can from a playoff. A four-team tournament in major college football may be a good place to start, but only because any playoff is better than none.

If the Football Championship Subdivision - yes, I prefer NCAA Division I-AA, too - can figure out how to have 20 teams in a postseason tournament, there's no reason why the big boys can't eventually get at least eight involved.

Eight slots would pretty much guarantee an opportunity for any conference champion ranked in the top 10 as two or three wild card teams. …

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