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Monday, March 5, 2012
Chuck Neinas supports four-team playoff

By David Ubben

During the commissioners' BCS meetings last month, Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas took a backseat on public comments regarding a playoff.

His thoughts on possible change to college football's postseason weren't as sought after as peers like Larry Scott in the Pac-12, Jim Delany in the Big Ten or Mike Slive in the SEC.

That was, in part, because Neinas plans to leave his post by July 1 and hand his brief title of commissioner over to a successor.

Neinas, though, opened up about his thoughts in a recent interview with The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel.

Eight and 16-team models seem to be losing steam, while the four-team model with three additional games is picking up traction. Neinas joined that chorus.
"I like the idea, if you're going to take four, take four champions,” Neinas told the paper. "They're not hard to identify.

"The selection process is one that would concern me. The easiest is taking four conference champions."

It's still very, very early in the process, but I'd bet we see a four-team playoff eventually. What that looks like, how teams are selected and where games are played could get messy, though.

Neinas said he doesn't see a downside to a four-team playoff, but the payoff?
"Looking at it very broadly, we've agreed, we've got to do something to maintain public interest," Neinas said. "We want a vibrant postseason. We have to explore ideas that will make it better. There's obviously strong support of a four-team arrangement."

Hoo boy. I'm going to have to sit down. I'm a bit lightheaded. Be still, my beating heart.

I'm not as anti-BCS as some, though I certainly prefer a playoff. I sleep at night by telling myself it's better than the old system, and until this offseason, I'd sort of given up on the idea of a playoff becoming a reality.

A four-team playoff would be a beautiful sight. We may see one soon, and the Big 12 isn't standing in the way.

In some ways, I like the idea of blocking out teams that don't win their conference title. They had their shot. Win, and they would be in, Tramel writes.

But would the playoff be about the four best teams? If so, you'd probably have to eliminate the conference champion requirement.

We saw it this year, though. The Alabama-LSU title rematch rendered the "Game of the Century" meaningless. A four-team playoff would intensify those games and turn conference title games into mammoth showdowns with national titles on the line in almost every major conference. The same would be true of late-season games in leagues like the Big 12, which lacks a conference title game.

Thinking about it gets me pretty excited. It has that effect, it would seem, on those with the power to change.

Stay tuned.