While the Big Ten provided strong opposition to a playoff the last time it was considered by the BCS in 2008, a change in the college football landscape – and perhaps the SEC’s dominance – has changed the Big Ten’s mind.
“I am pleased to hear there is renewed interest in the plus-one format, the same format we introduced for consideration in 2008,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement to the Associated Press. “There are many details that need to be considered and it is premature to be campaigning for any particular plus-one model.”
ESPN reported that the Big Ten would consider a four-team playoff that would take place outside the BCS bowl system. While the idea of stepping outside the BCS bowls has been discussed by columnists, the idea is beginning to gain steam with the Big Ten, which is believed to be the first conference that favors the idea over the standard four-team BCS bowl plus-one idea that would play through games such as the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.
The Big Ten’s plus-one scenario would give the highest seeded team in first round games home field advantage, as the game would be played at that team’s home stadium to save on travel costs for student-athletes, their families and fans. The championship game would then be bid out to another city, similar to how the NFL bids out the Super Bowl.
One of the biggest reasons the Big Ten favors their model is because it would still protect the popularity and meaningfulness of the regular season while not jeopardizing the Rose Bowl’s prestige.
Also, the plus-one model would allow two extra teams a direct chance at a national championship. Since the SEC has produced the past six champions, including both teams in the 2011 championship, the plus-one model would allow other BCS automatic-qualifying leagues and at-large schools a chance to win a championship.
The Big Ten’s model will be good for Nebraska, just like it’s good for the Big Ten, because it essentially guarantees that a team finishing in the top four would participate in the playoff. A one-loss season concluding with a Big Ten Championship would likely be enough to garner a top four ranking. While before, most one-loss teams would be left out of the championship game, this system allows a few one-loss teams to still win a championship.
The BCS will continue to discuss the matter at the end of February, and will likely reach a decision by June or July.
By Chris Peters
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