Before getting to your emails, it's worth reminding everyone that some authors of mail you see here aren't who they say they are. When you see a note from "Brady Hoke" or "Montee Ball" or "Urban Meyer" or "Jim Delany," you should know it's not actually those folks writing in. Last Friday, I included a note from "Allan Evridge," the former Wisconsin quarterback. The real Allan Evridge didn't write it, but some folks thought he did and asked him if he had. Allan contacted me this week to clear up the situation.
To be clear: Big Ten players and coaches -- current and former -- probably aren't going to be writing in for the mailblog. Most of you know that, but it's worth reiterating. My apologies to Allan for the confusion.
The response to this week's poll question about the Rose Bowl's role in a college football playoff system was terrific. We know how commissioner Jim Delany and the league office feels about the Rose Bowl, but it's great to hear your voices on the situation. Fans from almost every Big Ten squad weighed in. Great stuff.
To the mail ...
Jesse from Olathe, Kan., writes: As a Buckeye grad and childhood fan, I have to agree with Mr. Chatelain. Since my birth, 1981 so 30 years of football, the Buckeyes have won or been co-champion of the Big Ten 12 times, (I included 2010 because whether or not wins were vacated the season was played), but only played in the Rose Bowl twice, 16% of the time. It would be interesting to see the percentage for the other schools (All you Adam). Delany and Scott's argument for keeping the tradition for the Rose Bowl is tiresome and not even the real reason for keeping the Rose Bowl. Like everything else it is about MONEY and making sure their leagues are included in the most sure fire money making bowl.
Adam Rittenberg: Jesse, you make some great points, and I think you're representative of a new generation of Big Ten fans who aren't as tied into the Rose Bowl because of the BCS system. Since the BCS launched in 1998, Wisconsin has made the most appearances in Pasadena (4), followed by Michigan (3). Purdue, Illinois, Penn State and Ohio State all have gone once. But the BCS structure, and the access changes have made the Rose Bowl not the only premier postseason destination for Big Ten champions.
Gary from Maryland writes: Adam, As a PSU fan (therefore, admittedly biased), I believe the Rose is the most unique bowl experience in college football. In addition to pomp and tradion though, it's also an exposure and revenue monster for the B1G/P12, so I understand why Delaney and co. are very leery of sharing it and/or letting it lose prestige. I guess my question is what would the monetary pay-out be for the national semifinal games? If it's not on the order of the Rose, does it become purely a business decision to pass on the semis?
Adam Rittenberg: Gary, while we don't know the exact figures, all the college football power brokers, including Jim Delany, have acknowledged that a playoff would generate a lot more money for the leagues and the schools. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson in January estimated a 16-team playoff would bring in $700 million, and even a smaller playoff would bring in the dough. The TV payout would be ginormous, as the recent conference TV deals have shown. And if there's a bidding process, even if only for the title game, it would bring in even more revenue. So the push to keep the Rose Bowl as relevant as possible isn't about the money. The smart business move -- no emotion involved -- would be to go to a playoff where all the game sites were up for bidding.
Brendan from Chicago writes: I believe the BCS should make all four of the major bowls the round of eight (With the current bowl placing formula retained unless the Big XII or Big East collapses), add two games the following week at the home stadiums of the highest BCS ranked of the four remaining teams, and then hold the national championship the week after that at rotating locales (Lucas Oil Stadium, anyone?).If anything, this would increase the importance of the Rose Bowl in the eyes of B1G fans. It would raise the stakes because a win in the Rose Bowl could mean an extra home game with a shot of going to a national title, and it would place the B1G champion in the Rose Bowl every year. Go Hoosiers
Adam Rittenberg: Interesting plan, Brendan, especially the part about campus sites being used as semifinals. The problem with it, at least according to the university presidents and league commissioners, is that the season would stretch into mid-January. There's a belief that the current setup, with a national title game typically held Jan. 7-11, is already too late. They want to have the season wrap up as close to Jan. 1 as possible. They also don't want to compete directly with the NFL playoffs for several weeks. Your plan also might be a hard sell to folks like Delany, in that the Rose Bowl would merely be a "quarterfinal," despite the intensity the game likely would bring.
Jarrod from Gardner, Kan., writes: Adam, I think I'm like many (not all) Big Ten fans in that I believe the Rose Bowl is too special and hallowed to be included in a playoff. I honestly believe that being named as a semi-final would cheapen the event. The Rose Bowl is a final destination, not a stepping stone to a bigger game. I'm not in favor of any playoff because I like the Bowls to be that final destination of the season. I like that the New Orleans Bowl was just as important to Ohio University as the Sugar Bowl was to Ohio State. But I also understand that I'm in the minority on this subject. If a playoff is inevitable, I would never want to pass up a chance at a national championship in order to play in the Rose Bowl. But at the same time, the teams that are granted the privilege of playing in the Rose Bowl should see that as glorious finale for their season. That game is too historic, too special, too loved to be looked past for something greater the next week.
Adam Rittenberg: Jarrod, thanks for your perspective. You're certainly not alone, although the other side is more vocal in wanting change. There's a school of thought that we should keep the bowls, get rid of the national championship game and then either select two teams after the bowls for the title game -- a true plus-one -- or just vote on the national champion and have debate go on throughout the offseason (the old way). I don't think a Rose Bowl championship will ever be scoffed at, and any team that walks off the field Jan. 1 with a victory should hold its head high. As you eloquently state, it's a privilege, and the game has so much history and prestige. That said, the playoff movement is surging, and leagues are judged by national titles, not Rose Bowl wins (although the Big Ten would struggle in that category, too, at least recently).
Cody from Morgan Hill, Calif., writes: Purdue alum, thus Big Ten fan.Want to see a football playoff. Bummer for the Rose Bowl, but their desires are out-weighed by the greater good of the nation. Having a computer decide which teams face each other for the National Championship is basically "anti-college sports !" How many times have we seen the under-dog win a college game? The BCS and it's computers are basically taking away one of the things we like most about college sports!
Adam Rittenberg: Cody, I totally agree with you about the BCS computer component. A selection committee should be formed to select the top four or top eight or top two, just like it does for the NCAA tournament. Sure, there would be some unhappy folks with the decisions, but at least we all could know they were made by humans, and not some highly questionable computer metrics. Folks used to hate when humans would decide the national champion after the bowls, but I'd rather have debate about a committee's decision on the top four teams than a computer's decision on the top two.
Jake from Los Angeles writes: Big Badger fan here...I have been to the last two Rose Bowls to see Bucky in action. I love the Rose Bowl. Always have. That said, if given the choice of a national semi final or a Rose Bowl pairing versus a Pac-12 counterpart, I would choose the national semi-final every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Better solution...If a BIG or Pac-12 team finds itself (or themselves) in the Top 4, then they should go to the national semi-final and the 2nd place team should backfill and slide into the Rose Bowl....just as teams have done when USC and OSU have been in the national title mix. Delany can then have his cake and eat it too...Rose Bowl BIG/Pac-12 match up and also the possibility of a National title victory. In a good year, he could have both. Nothing wrong with that picture...
Adam Rittenberg: Jake, I completely agree. We've seen second-place teams or co-champions in the Rose Bowl for years. That Ohio State has been there only once in the BCS era speaks to this. While I do think the Rose Bowl would be devalued a bit with a playoff in which it doesn't participate, the game still has way more prestige than the other bowls. It's still a major event, and the teams that take the field in Pasadena and the fans in the stands will be fired up to be there. In many years, you'd still see at least one league champion in the game. In some years, you would see two.
Robin from Williams, Ariz., writes: In response to your question about the Rose Bowl being integral to a college Playoff. I am a Cornhusker fan. I don't think it should be. I think the best scenario I've seen is the 4 team top 2 seeds host. I'm torn on the location of the national championship. I would LOVE to see the semifinals played before Christmas w/ the final on New Years Day. I realize that is a pipe dream since ESPN/ABC have no apparent desire to once again have all the major bowls on Jan. 1st. A question I would have under this scenario is what happens to the losers? Do they sacrifice their participation in a bowl if they are in the top 4? What about playing the semifinals the weekend before Christmas and one of the BCS bowls being set aside each season for the losers of the semifinals? This way you guarantee what should be a great matchup in at least 1 bowl since you would be getting 2 of the top 4 ranked teams in the country. Wow. I begin to see how complex an issue this is.
Adam Rittenberg: Robin from Williams? Nice! What kind of man gives cigarettes to trees? ... To your note, I think we could conceivably see a semifinal played around Christmas and the championship played on Jan. 1 or as close to it as possible. I don't know if it's realistic for the semifinal losers to still end up at bowl games, as there are so many logistics involved. It's also hard to know how well or poorly fans of losing teams would travel to those games. It goes back to whether fans could afford to make two trips in a short time span at a very expensive time of year to be traveling. As you mention, it's a very complex issue with no solution that will make everyone happy.
Joel from Washington D.C. writes: I love the Rose Bowl. Admittedly, I'm a Michigan fan; but before you dismiss my opinion as too biased, let me acknowledge that the Rose Bowl hasn't been very kind to the Block M in recent years. But I still love it. It's just about the most beautiful event in sports, as weird as that might sound. I grew up with my grandparents telling me the Rose Bowl is the granddaddy of em all. They're still right, and Lloyd Carr saying there isn't a better bowl around. They're still right.
Adam Rittenberg: Joel, some good points here. As I mentioned in Thursday's post, if you put me in Arroyo Seco on the afternoon of Jan. 1 for the next 50 years, I'd be a very happy man. It's a tremendous setting and a wonderful event. That said, I'd like to see some type of playoff that isn't compromised by the Big Ten or Pac-12.
Jeff from Fort Wayne, Ind., writes: Adam - I am a traditionalist and would like to see the BCS and about 1/2 the bowl games scrapped. I think College football was so much more intriguing when the arguments and discussion continued throughout the offseason as to who the National Champion was. A four-team playoff is a joke. If FBS is going to go to a playoff, then go to a playoff a scrap the entire bowl season. Take the conference champions, which means the sunbelt, mac, CUSA, MWC, and the WAC get in. Add five at large teams for a 16 team playoff. Everyone else stays home. If they don't like it too bad, that's what everybody wants.
Adam Rittenberg: Jeff, I think there's something to be said about having the debate and discussion about the national champion continue through the offseason. I don't agree, though, that we need a 16-team playoff featuring all the conference champions. There's a huge difference between winning the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12, and winning the WAC or the Sun Belt. If the WAC champion is worthy -- as Boise State has been in recent years -- include that team in the playoff. But I don't need to see Alabama or Oklahoma crush an overmatched league champion and possibly suffer injuries that would hurt it in the real showdown games against other teams from major conferences or Boise State or some other non-AQ power. I want a four- or eight-team playoff that features the best teams, ideally league champs from major conferences, or those selected by an impartial committee.