Big Ten prefers current bowl system

Updated: June 6, 2012, 5:41 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

The Big Ten on Monday outlined its preferences for college football's future postseason model, which include a selection committee with guidelines to help select four playoff participants.

After meeting Sunday at Big Ten headquarters, the league's presidents and chancellors didn't emerge with an official position on a playoff, but three preferred options.

The first, according to Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman, is to keep the current BCS model. The second is a plus-one model where two teams would be selected to play for a national title after all the bowl games are played. The third is a true four-team playoff with semifinals taking place at existing bowl sites and a championship game bid out to sites around the country. In the four-team model, the Big Ten strongly advocates using a selection committee.

A four team model "should be the best four teams," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said, echoing the position held by both the SEC and the Big 12. However, he and the Big Ten's presidents don't believe the current BCS ratings system, which includes polls and computer systems, is sufficient to select the top four.

"Everybody recognizes the present poll system is not a good proxy," Delany said.

Perlman said if the Big Ten's presidents were to vote, they'd want to keep the current structure, but he added, "We're also realistic."

Delany said the plus-one remains on the table, although a true four-team playoff has the most support nationally. The Big Ten reiterated its desire to preserve the prestige of the regular season and the Rose Bowl as much as possible.

"We are trying to be open to conversations," said Perlman, a member of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee. "We've tried not to put a stake in the ground [and say], 'Over our dead bodies.' "

The Big Ten advocates a selection committee for determining playoff participants that would value factors such as conference championships and schedule strength. In the past, the league has supported a model that would include the top three conference champions and one wild-card team, but it isn't completely wedded to the concept.

"We do feel strongly that champions ought to be honored," Perlman said. "There was little disagreement that the polls and the computers aren't sufficiently transparent. ... We would feel comfortable with a selection committee, but even if you move to a selection committee, there are issues about what instructions they're under."

Three important meetings to shape the playoff model take place this month: the BCS meeting June 13 in Chicago; the NCAA Division I Conference Commissioners Association on June 19-20 in Chicago; and the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee June 26 in Washington.

Everybody recognizes the present poll system is not a good proxy.

-- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany
on wanting a selection committee

Delany said it's possible to agree on a basic playoff model by June 26, although he added that the discussion could continue into July or August before television negotiations begin in the fall.

Although SEC officials said last week they would not compromise on a "best four teams" model for a playoff, Delany said the different conferences are "taking the high road" during negotiations.

"What I read is not always what I hear at the meetings," Delany said. "At the meetings, we're making progress. I tend not to be pessimistic or overly optimistic. Our feeling is we're moving in a good direction on the model. Some of these issues are more mature than others. ... Not everybody is trying to get their cake and eat it, too. Not everybody is making demands."

The Big Ten also Monday announced it will distribute a record $284 million in revenue to its members this year. Nebraska, which joined the league in 2011, reportedly will receive a smaller share of the revenue until the 2016-17 academic year.

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