Commissioner of Big Ten wants division winners only in playoff

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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 Louisiana State University 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.

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.

BIG EAST FUTURE: The conference’s interim commissioner said Wednesday it is working to dispel any perception that it is unraveling following the ouster of John Marinatto.

Joseph Bailey III, a former chief executive with the Miami Dolphins, held his first conference call with reporters Wednesday, two days after Marinatto resigned amid pressure from Big East presidents. Bailey said he does not want the job permanently.

In the meantime, he said he’s seen no split between football and basketball schools, and said the conference is focused on making sure the public doesn’t think it is falling apart.

Marinatto left after less than three years on the job and a wave of departures by high-profile schools, such as Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia.

ACC, ESPN EXTEND DEAL

For the Atlantic Coast Conference, more teams and more games means a lot more TV money.

The ACC and ESPN have extended their television deal through the 2026-27 season. A person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it’s worth $3.6 billion over the 15 years.

The deal comes ahead of the planned additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East and would represent a 33-percent increase in TV money for each league school from the previous deal unveiled nearly two years ago.

The deal gives ESPN title sponsorship rights beyond football to the ACC’s other championships, including men’s and women’s basketball. Those sponsorship deals are subject to the ACC’s approval.

The extension offers a significant increase in TV money for each ACC school from the previous deal announced in July 2010 for the 12-team league. The extension ups that amount to an average of about $17.1 million for each of the 14 schools annually.

The agreement also gives ESPN the right to televise three Friday night football games per season.

– Associated Press


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