Blog Entry

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:58 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 6:05 pm

Maybe it’s the declining interest in college football for the first time in years.

Although a BCS official said it wasn’t.

Maybe it’s the unrest regarding the BCS system.

Although the system has been defended vigorously – by the BCS.

Or maybe it’s just time.

The Big Ten – the Leaders and Legends themselves – have taken a significant step in adjusting the sport’s postseason beginning in 2014. The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that the Big Ten is “kicking around” the idea of a four-team playoff with the semifinals played on campus sites. 

While the idea of a Plus One is nothing new – it has been mentioned prominently as a replacement for the BCS – the Big Ten’s apparent increased interest is intriguing.

The Tribune quoted Northwestern AD Jim Phillips as saying, “The Big Ten is open and curious.”

Since spring 2008, various administrators from four of the six BCS leagues (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12) have supported a Plus One. Most recently, ADs from the Big Ten and Pac-12 supported a Plus One in a straw poll in August.

The BCS pays out $180 million to participants per year. One powerful BCS AD indicated that a Plus One would be worth significantly more than double that amount. The 11 FBS commissioners next meet to discuss the issue later this month in Dallas. No final decision is expected. Significant progress is expected to be made in late April during the annual BCS meeting, this year in South Florida.

“I think sports fans are conditioned to playoffs,” Delany told the Tribune. “I don’t begrudge them that. They’re looking for more games, but we’re trying to do the right thing.”

The Big Ten Plan – what else you going to call it? – involves having the semis played on the campus of the higher-seeded team. This past season that would have meant Stanford playing at LSU and Oklahoma State playing at Alabama. The problem, as you may have noticed, is that in 2011 a Plus One would have included Stanford from the Pac-12 but not the Pac-12 champion, Oregon.

Right now, that may be a mere detail. The Big Ten is seemingly onboard in light of recent lower attendance numbers and TV ratings.  Regular-season attendance declined, if only slightly, for the second time in three years. Average bowl attendance hit a 33-year low this season. Overall BCS bowl ratings were down 10 percent from the 2011 bowls and  down 21 percent from when Fox last had the contract in 2009.

The 13.8 rating from the LSU-Alabama game was down 14 percent from last year's Auburn-Oregon game and down 24 percent from the Alabama-Texas game two years ago. BCS executive director Bill Hancock cautioned last month to reacting too early to attendance and TV ratings.

But perhaps a convergence of all those factors is now forcing change. If a Plus One is adopted expect more games grouped around the traditional Jan. 1 date. ADs and presidents are not only concerned about ratings and attendance but about second-semester football. The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee is particularly concerned about the BCS bowls being played further and further away from Jan. 1. There have been several times when teams had to get back from those games just in time for the second semester or the second semester had already begun after a BCS bowl.

“We had two experiences where we had to fly back the night of the game,” Ohio State AD Gene Smith said of two recent national championship games. “We played Florida [2007 in Glendale, Ariz.] and flew back right after the game. I remember stopping at the In-N-Out Burger. Our kids had to go to school the next day.

“We can’t do that, we can’t.”

The chairman of that BCS oversight group, Tulane president Scott Cowen, said the sport must proceed carefully.

“Two-thousand eleven was not a great year for intercollegiate athletics in America,” Cowen told “I think all university presidents want to find more ways that we can cooperate and repair intercollegiate athletics.”

At least 50 different postseason plans were exchanged among the FBS commissioners Jan. 10 in New Orleans. There was no consensus but it is clear powerful people are getting used to the idea of a four-team playoff. NCAA president Mark Emmert has said on multiple occasions that there would be some interest in what he termed a football “Final Four”. SEC commissioner Mike Slive as well as Delany have been quoted as warming up to the idea.

If semis are played on campus sites then that could mean the championship game could be bid on. With the Cotton Bowl played in Cowboys Stadium, waiting on the doorstep to join the BCS that could be a huge step. One touchy issue for current BCS bowls is the preference to stay in the current four-year rotation for the championship game because of concerns about retaining sponsorships.

The Big Ten would have to consider the impact on the Rose Bowl. If one or more of the bowl's partners – Big Ten and Pac-12 – were in the playoff, how would that affect the Rose? The conferences and Rose Bowl are already uncomfortable with losing teams to the BCS championship game.  

The current deal with ESPN expires after the 2013 regular season/2014 BCS bowls. BCS commissioners are expected to have a new model for consideration by presidents by summer. 


Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: April 23, 2012 6:17 am

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One


-16 team playoff played at various traditional bowls
-Conference champs from all 11 FBS conferences qualify
-5 Wild Card non-conference winners
-The remaining .500 teams go to the lower tier bowls (but disqualified from tourney)
-The champion makes it thru the bracket


Since: Aug 9, 2011
Posted on: April 23, 2012 3:50 am

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

I think people are starting to get tired of the SEC bias in the media determining the National Championship participants. 
Absolutely!  I know I'm tired of it and have been since 2006 when Michigan and Florida were tied for # 2 in the less-biased computers--at the time it was right to put Florida ahead as they won their conference, but then this past year they went the oppostite was and Okie State actually was #2 in more computers and yet Bama got the nod even though they didn't win their conference.   Texas in 08 was really shafted as they were unanimously #2 in all computers and still Florida went because they won the SEC.  A little consistency would have gone a long way, if not let's settle it on the field if LSU and Bama made it through a field of 8-teams and went to the NCG, then I'd have been just fine with it.  And might even begin to believe the hype about how much better the SEC is--winning the championships that media put you in, especially when the odds favor the #2 team doesn't impress me.

Since: Aug 9, 2011
Posted on: April 23, 2012 3:44 am

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

It is really rather simple.  6 BCS conference champions and 2 wild cards.  It would give the Alabamas and the Stanfords
I agree completely with this idea and it's the only way that I see a non-conference champ should be allowed.  If they only use 4 teams, then it must be conference champs only because if you can't even win your conference, you're not the best of that conference.  If they had gone by that rule even with the old single mythical championship game then it would have been wrong to include Bama last year as it was right not to include Texas in 08, Georgia in 07, and Michigan in 06. 


Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:22 am

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

Isn't this the same idea (that the Big 10 rejected) that the SEC presented a few years back? Seems to me, it is. I have been a proponent of a legitimate playoff for some time now. However, all conferences are not equal, therefore the selection process becomes tricky. I can't support the earlier claim of SEC bias either; they are the best conference today and have proven it time and again. The Big 10, PAC 10, Big 12 all have had shots over the last few years to "win it on the field"; every time ending with exactly the same result. Michigan can take the first step in kicking off next season by whipping Alabama at Jerry's place. Coach Hoke appears to have the Blue and Maze headed in the right direction. Weren't they really in the same boat as others last year with perceived bias when they received the BCS bid? I personally had no issue with the selection, but my guess is Boise did. Does anyone believe the Mountain West or the Big east is better than the Big 10? I do not. For that matter look at what the Big East did to the ACC champ. If this thing is going to be fixed, the conference tie ins have to be eliminated. The best teams should be selected by a committee similar to how basketball does it. Anything less than 8 teams just isnt good enough, too much scheduling ambiguity.

Since: Jan 23, 2008
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:25 am

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

It is really rather simple.  6 BCS conference champions and 2 wild cards.  It would give the Alabamas and the Stanfords the chance to be in the game.  Which they should legitimately have been in the top 4.  8 team tournament only adds 4 more games total.

Since: Nov 16, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:15 pm

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

I think people are starting to get tired of the SEC bias in the media determining the National Championship participants.  How is a one loss SEC team always going to get the nod over a one loss team from any other conference?  Settle it on the field, with not all games being played down south.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:00 pm

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

Nitro Buck says:

Under your plan, #1 LSU would have had to play #2 Alabama in early December for the right to go on to a bowl game?  Meanwhile, if #120 Akron "upset" #119 Florida Atlantic (both went 1-11), Akron would be eligible for a bowl game but either Bama or LSU would not?  Sheesh!?!  I expect my fellow Buckeyes to be a little more on the ball.

You missed the point. After the 12th game, where #1 hosts #2, #3 hosts #4, #5 hosts #6, etc., there will be another FINAL RANKING of the BCS. Naturally, half of the schools/teams playing will win and lose. #1 LSU would have played #2 Alabama. If we would have seen Alabama win, as they did in the NC Game, then most likely, Alabama would have surged to the #1 position, and LSU may have dropped 1 or 2 or 3 places in the Final BCS Rankings, and maybe far enough to not be in a BCS Bowl, or maybe could still be eligible for a BCS Bowl. We just don't know until the FINAL BCS RANKINGS are voted upon by the Coaches, and Harris Pollsters, as well as the Computer averages.

And even if #120 Akron beat #119 Florida Atlantic, neither would be able to play in a bowl, as there would be schools/teams with higher winning percentages and the minimum 6 wins required to go to a Bowl Game. [That is also why I mentioned that we could have 70 schools/teams participate, as that is how many Bowl berths are available.

Speaking of the Computer averages, we will now have seen many games where the schools/teams would have played a school/team of perceived equal value based on previous polls. This would surely give us the games that we would have not had the foresightedness to have scheduled. Cool This would, in essence, pit Titan against Titan. We would see schools/teams play similar ranked schools/teams, and this could disfuse the arguement of "well who did they play?" Surprised 

Overall, this scenario would be able to make these 20 claims that NO OTHER PLAYOFF can make!

and the top 20 reasons to use my scenario . . .

1.Provides the next progressive step in determining who should play in the BCS Bowls.
2.Justify subjective rankings with more meaningful games.
3.A system where EVERYBODY WINS! Teams, Conferences, Schools, Fan[atic]s, Broadcasting Companies, Congress/Senate, etc.
4.Provides a process of elimination before Bowl berths are filled.
5.Allows all 11 Conferences and Independents to EARN their just positions in BCS Bowls.
6.Reduces human subjective factor out of ratings.
7.Lets Titan battle Titan on the field of play, by letting the teams play the game!
8.Pits top ranked teams to play opponents of perceived equal strength.
9.Leaves no room on regular season schedule to play that "cream puff" team.
10.Gives us games we could have never had the foresightedness to have scheduled.
11.Reduces the opinions of Coaches and Harris Pollsters with reality results.
12.Provides tie-breakers with immediate results.
13.Keeps the Bowl System in tact.
14.Keeps amount of games being played the same.
15.Meets Government passed regulations by providing one round of playoffs.
16.Insures Fair Play for all 120 teams to earn BCS Bowl berth.
17.Provides additional profit centers for participating teams.
18. Provides funds for team travel to unscheduled games.
19.Cost effective.
20.Results effective

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:04 am

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

My idea is not a playoff, but a QUALIFYING ROUND. We can have all the schools/teams play by their ranking schools/teams of perceived equal ranking. #1 hosts #2, #3 hosts #4, #5 hostes #6, and all the way down to #69 hosting #70. We could also go to #119 hosting #120, but maybe the cutoff should be limited to as many bowl berths that are available.

Let me get this straight...

Under your plan, #1 LSU would have had to play #2 Alabama in early December for the right to go on to a bowl game?  Meanwhile, if #120 Akron "upset" #119 Florida Atlantic (both went 1-11), Akron would be eligible for a bowl game but either Bama or LSU would not?  Sheesh!?!  I expect my fellow Buckeyes to be a little more on the ball.

Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:51 am

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

For those that hate the BCS, how is adding an additional game going to dispel the sense that the system is subjective.  How do you objectively arrive at the "Final Four"?  It seems to me that you still have to rely upon the same or similar metric that many of us can't stand -- a ranking system throughout the regular system to winnow down to the four top-ranked schools.  For those that question how School A can leapfrog over School B when both won over the weekend, well, I doubt that this system will fix that.  At least at the professional level they use objective criteria in determining which teams make the post-season and where they are seeded.  With a system like a plus-1, this year's Giants and last year's Packers wouldn't have even come close to consideration.  Is there anyone out there that even feels that either of those 2 teams are illegitimate as champions because they weren't ranked in the top two in their conference at the end of the regular season?  I recognize that the pool of two 16 team conferences is smaller than the FBS universe and that it's easier to create a system using rational tie-breakers to determine post-season seedings in the NFL, but surely there is something the powers that be in the FBS can come up with that is more objective.

Since: Feb 8, 2012
Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:47 pm

Big 10 "kicking around" idea of Plus One

This is in regards to the TV ratings - I am not taking up for the SEC, but starting in 2011 ESPN televised the games. It does not matter who's playing in the game, without network TV the ratings will continue to side  

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