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Big Ten prefers plus-one over 4-team playoff

By Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — Big Ten officials laid out their choices for a new world of postseason football after the presidents meetings, meshing their wishes with the realty of the current landscape.

After meeting Sunday at conference headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill., the chancellors, presidents and Commissioner Jim Delany did not emerge with a concrete stance but put in order their preferences, which emphasize sticking with the status quo Bowl Championship Series while understanding the push for a playoff.

The Big Ten, according to Delany and Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman, said its second choice is a plus-one model in which two teams would play for a national championship after the bowl games.

Its third choice would be a four-team playoff with the teams chosen by a selection committee. A championship game would be bid out to various sites, Delany said.

Negotiations between conferences on deciding a model could last beyond June 26, when the Presidential Oversight Committee will meet in Washington, D.C., he said.

While most agree the mission is to feature the four best teams in the postseason, the trick will be figuring out how to identify them.

The SEC and the Big 12 have said they do not want to give automatic inclusion to conference champions. No one involved believes the current combination of Harris Poll, coaches poll and BCS computer rankings should remain in place.

“The present poll system is not a good proxy,” Delany said.

He said the plus-one model remains on the table but added the four-team playoff model appears to be the most popular option nationally.

If a selection committee is used to determine the four teams, Delany said it would receive certain instructions. A selection committee would receive certain instructions, which Perlman and Delany said were not outlined Sunday, to determine the top four teams. The committee should weigh factors such as “honoring champions, honoring strength of schedule, recognizing teams that play an additional championship team over one that doesn’t,” Delany said.

Delany said the Big Ten prefers the plus-one system in the interest of protecting the Rose Bowl and the integrity of the regular season.

“The Rose Bowl is one of the outstanding sports events in the world,” he said. “I don’t think that’s an overstatement.”

He said there still would be “reasonable access and opportunity” to championship opportunities for the Big Ten in a plus-one model.

The Big Ten, he said, recognizes that “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

—The conference also announced it will distribute a record $284 million in revenue to members this year.

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