Skip to main content

Big Ten Commissioner On What Could Spark Playoff Expansion

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany at the conference championship with Ohio State.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 01: Former Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany presents the Big Ten Championship trophy to the Ohio State Buckeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Over the last few months, we've heard more about College Football Playoff potentially expanding beyond four teams from the powers that be than in the first four years of the system. Even Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has been pretty outspoken.

The Big Ten hasn't been a huge winner of the playoff format thus far. Ohio State won the first title, but the conference has been shut out since, and have missed the field completely the last two seasons.

The Buckeyes are back in it this year, and have a good shot of winning the whole thing. Still, Delany says damage has been done in recent years when the Big Ten has been left out.

The outgoing commissioner opened up about his issues with the College Football Playoff with ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. He thinks the chances of it expanding soon are slim, but could improve if the ACC or SEC was to miss the field.

Delany noted that the 2004 Auburn team, which won the SEC and went 12-0 during the regular season but did not make the BCS Championship Game, helped spur the push for a playoff from the SEC.

"The thing that would probably trip it is if the committee left out a champion from the ACC or SEC," Delany said. "That would be an immediate catapult forward, as it was when Auburn was left out."

Delany called it "painful and damaging" for a league to be left out of the playoff, echoing the recent comments from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. He reiterated that adjusting the current model will be difficult during the remaining six years of the cycle -- "It's no better than 50-50 that things would change," he said -- but thinks changes should continue to be discussed.

Delany is definitely thinking of the Big Ten before anything else, but he might be in the majority here. While there are definitely those who believe it should stay at four teams, many fans and other seem to support a bump up to six or eight.

Whether it will take the ACC or SEC, the two major conferences that have never missed the College Football Playoff, doing so is yet to be seen.