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(CBS) The Big Ten is finally listening.
Conference commissioner Jim Delany has long been pegged as the highest-profile figurehead in opposition to a college football playoff, but it appears the Big Ten is changing its tune.
The Chicago Tribune reports the Big Ten is kicking around the idea of a four-team playoff in college football, but one that would include semifinal games being played on the campus of the higher seed. Such a plan would minimize the concerns of teams and fans possibly having to travel to back-to-back neutral sites if they win the semifinal game. It would also decrease the concerns the Big Ten has had about the regular season losing its meaning, as teams would not only be playing to get into the playoffs, but also securing home-field advantage in the semifinals.
“We have to listen to the fans; we cannot be tone-deaf,” Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips told the Tribune. “The Big Ten is open and curious.”
LISTEN: Jim Phillips on The Mully and Hanley Show
After the Tribune’s report, Phillips joined The Mully and Hanley Show to discuss the possibility of a playoff. One aspect of Phillips’ argument is that the National Championship game is simply played too late in the season.
“There’s no question (the game is play too late,)” Phillips said. “You think about a school like Northwestern, and Ohio State is on the quarter system as well. The last two years, we started school on January 2, that’s all quarter schools in the country. The semester schools start the second week of January. So, we can’t turn a blind eye to when the academic calendar starts again. I think we have lost that a little bit in the current set up. It’s something we have to address.”
If the Big Ten truly is open to the idea of a playoff, it’s a big development. Fair or not, Delany has been viewed as one of the biggest hurdles standing in the way of a playoff and if that changes, we could see a proposal approved by the fall with implementation in 2014.
Delany would not talk specifics about a playoff with the Tribune, but he did hint that he wants to see the end of bowl season moved up and he once again stressed the importance of the regular season as a concern for a playoff.