MERRILLVILLE - Danny Hope got what he wanted on Tuesday – sort of.
The Purdue football coach wanted to see a post-season arrangement for college football teams that would enable more teams to have an actual opportunity to play for a national championship.
He got that much.
Hope also wanted a “plus one” model of a tournament and preference given to conference champions.
He kind of got the plus-one format, but there will be no guarantee that a league title will mean a team is invited to the party.
A committee of university presidents approved a plan for a four-team playoff put forward by commissioners of the top football conferences on Tuesday. The plan will be enacted following the 2014 season and calls for a committee to select four teams to play on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1, followed by a national championship game on a later date. The four teams will be seeded and the fourth seed will face the top seed, while the second and third seeds will play.
The initial championship game is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2015.
“I liked the idea of having some type of plus-one playoff,” Hope said recently. “I think it'll be exciting and only adds one game to the season.”
Hope's biggest concern was that the significance of being a conference champion would not be taken into account to the degree that it should. The coach indicated that teams often start off ranked lower in the polls, which could make a climb into the national title picture arduous regardless of their success.
“The conference champions should get some consideration,” Hope said. “The reason that I feel that way is if you start the season and you're not ranked in the top 25 then odds are that you can't move up high enough in the polls to be considered for the playoff. I'd hate to think that before the season even kicked off, maybe 100 teams are already out of the national championship hunt.”
After enduring three losing seasons in the past four autumns, in all likelihood, reaching the new playoff isn't in the Boilermakers' future anytime soon. However, Purdue fans can dream of somehow reaching the new Big Ten Championship Game and Hope “loves” the implementation of that proposal.
“I was really excited about when they came up with the (Big Ten) divisions and the conference championship,” Hope said. “It creates one more opportunity for every football team to be a champion. You can be a national champion or you can be a Rose Bowl champion or you can be a Big Ten Champion. You can go to a bowl game and be a bowl champion. It's one more opportunity for every Big Ten team to be a champion.”