CHICAGO — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the new college football playoff structure should be completed within the next few months, but there’s no chance it will be implemented in time for the 2013 season.
“I would say sort of by the first of the year everything should be sort of put together and all the knowns will be total and the unknowns will be eliminated,” Delany said Thursday at Big Ten basketball media day. “But right now we’re still working through the process.”
Delany said college football is negotiating with ESPN to televise the playoff. Several hurdles still remain before the system’s implementation, including a decision on the size and makeup of the selection committee. Delany said it should include somewhere between 12 and 20 members and could involve current athletics directors and administrators.
“Large enough to withstand a few half-dozen recusals,” he said. “I don’t want to be on it.”
There’s no determination if the postseason will include six or seven bowls. A revenue-sharing structure also remains unsettled.
What is known, Delany said, is the system will include four teams that qualify for the national semifinals based committee selection. He said the committee involvement will “be more rational and more transparent and more understandable” that the current Bowl Championship Series selection process.
“They’ll select the access teams inside the bowls, and they’ll select the one-four, two-three,” Delany said. “Four teams for the championship game, and four others for access.”
The four “access” teams will include competitive non-BCS schools (Mountain West champion, for example) and highly ranked schools from competitive leagues (third place Southeastern Conference team, second place Big Ten team). If a seventh bowl is included, that will add two more “access” teams.
The Rose Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12) and the newly formed “Champions” Bowl (SEC vs. Big 12) will host match-ups outside the committee structure, as will the Orange Bowl (ACC vs. a selected team). Delany said it’s “likely” the Big Ten often will send a team to the Orange Bowl.
“We’ve been in discussion for a long time with them,” Delany said. “I expect that’s where we’ll be, but we’re not prepared to make an announcement today. We’d be there in some years but not all years.”
The league likely will keep the same number of bowl agreements (eight) past 2013, but the league could move into a few new markets. Delany touted the league’s relationship with the Capital One Bowl as one he’d like to preserve.
“We’ve got important relationships with Florida and Texas,” Delany said. “I think there will be other opportunities to look at as well.
“We’ve got a great alignment. We expect to have another great alignment.”
Other items of note from Delany:
When asked if the league has had more discussions about adding a ninth Big Ten game, Delany repeatedly said, “Right now it’s eight.” He added that the league doesn’t “have any issue” with moving conference games into early September like the SEC and other leagues.
“The stronger your September schedule is, the less you need to do that,” Delany said. “If our schools do increase the quality and strength of schedule in September, you probably don’t. You do that sort of in response to the fact that the games that you have available … are not sufficient to hold everyone’s interest. I think it’s a way of holding interest and creating games that matter early. The negatives are that some people have played a non-conference game and others might not play one for a month.”
The league’s media agreements prevent schools from playing night games in November, but Delany has no opposition toward changes.
“November night games could be if that’s what our schools wanted,” Delany said. “There’s no line in the sand on that issue. Typically the weather really changes in the third and four week of October so we’ve been mindful about the fans and their comfort. But if people wanted to experiment, we don’t have any philosophical opposition.”
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