ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, who has floated ideas for how a four-team college football playoff should be set up, said Wednesday that any new format shouldn't include a team that doesn't win its division.
"I don't have a lot of regard for that team," Delany said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I certainly wouldn't have as much regard for that team as I would for someone who played nine conference games in a tough conference and played a couple out-of-conference games on the road against really good opponents. If a poll doesn't honor those teams and they're conference champions, I do."
Alabama finished behind LSU in the SEC West last season, but the Crimson Tide got a spot in the Bowl Championship Series title game and beat the Tigers.
Delany insisted he isn't pushing for a particular format to be implemented for the 2014 season. He said a proposal that would put four conference champions, ranked among the top six, into the four-team playoff was simply an idea he discussed with reporters last week in Chicago.
"Some people think it should just be the top four teams; some people think it should just be the four highest rated champions," Delany said. "I was just floating some ideas of how you might have a hybrid where champions were respected and there was still room for at-large.
"The polls don't always measure strength of schedule. Some conferences are playing nine games, some are playing eight. The Pac 12 is playing nine and then to go out and play a round-robin game against us, that's 10 and some of them are going to play Notre Dame -- that's 11 difficult games. If they're ranked fifth in the country and they won a conference championship, I think that's quite an accomplishment. Some teams don't even win their own division. They started off highly in the rankings, lose early, don't play a championship game and they might end up at four."
BCS executive director Bill Hancock has said 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame's athletic director will present a "small number" of options -- two to seven configurations -- for a four-team playoff to their leagues at conference meetings.
The group of decision-makers will gather again in June, attempting to agree on a final version for university presidents to potentially approve by July 4.