Big Ten Picks Its Poison In Playoff Format

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(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

2005-0308-dt-wojnowski126 K) Bob Wojnowski
Bob "Wojo" Wojnowski has covered sports in Detroit since before the...
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By: Bob Wojnowski

It’s on the way, like it or not. College football will have a four-team playoff system, and now the raging debate is who should host the games.

The Big Ten has waffled on the issue (big surprise), and there’s no doubt its affection for the Rose Bowl is a factor. Some people want the semifinal games hosted by the higher-seeded teams in on-campus stadiums. Some want the current bowls incorporated into the system.

The Big Ten now favors using the current bowls, which is a mild surprise. Many assumed it would opt for the host-site format, so it finally, finally could force a Southern team to play in the winter cold.

Sure, the Big Ten’s love of the Rose Bowl is a factor. Here’s a factor many might be missing: Maybe the Big Ten is thinking (not out loud, of course), it wouldn’t get to host many of those semifinal games, based on its track record and the SEC’s track record.

So rather than hope for the oft-chance it could bring Alabama up to Columbus or Ann Arbor or East Lansing, it prefers a guaranteed “neutral” site. That means the Big Ten could avoid the more-likely possibility of playing a road playoff against Alabama or LSU or Florida. Yikes, right?

Is the Big Ten running scared or being smart? As usual, a bit of both.

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