Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 16, 2012

We are talking playoffs today. That?s correct, Jim Mora ? playoffs. An honest-to-goodness playoff. Feel free to rub your eyes and shake your head.

Big Ten athletic directors met in Chicago yesterday to discuss ideas for a college football playoff that would begin in 2014. The consensus? To have a four-team playoff, using the bowls for the two semifinal games.

This from Nebraska A.D. Tom Osborne:

?The bowls have been good to us. If you took them out of the playoff, it would pretty much destroy the bowl system."

Here is a video interview Adam Rittenberg conducted with Osborne in Chicago:

Michigan State A.D. Mark Hollis concurs:

?From kids? perspective, the bowl experience is the one thing they want to keep. Semifinals at bowl sites provide that - it?s where fans can gather. With campus sites, it becomes (more) like a regular-season game.?

I still think the semifinal games should be played on the campus of the higher-seeded team. It?s a way of rewarding a strong regular season. If the games aren?t played on the home field of the higher seeded team, then why even seed teams?

The higher-seeded team gains NO advantage for being a higher seed. How many times in the pros do we hear coaches and players talk about wanting to play at home in the playoffs. Why? Because it gives them an edge. But, it likely won?t happen in a college playoff.

Too bad.

ABOUT THE ROSE BOWL: Also during the meetings, Big Ten A.D.s hammered home their desire to have the Rose Bowl (cue angelic music) be part of a playoff.

Follow along with me: If the Big Ten was the No. 1 seed, and the Big 12 was the No. 2, the bowls traditionally tied to each of those conferences-the Rose and Orange-would play host to semifinal games. In years when the Rose wasn?t a host site, it would have its tradition Big Ten-Pac-12 matchup.

That makes Big Ten commish Jim Delany smile.

HOW DO WE PICK 'EM? Speaking of Delany, when it comes to picking the four playoff teams, he favors a ?hybrid? system that would have the three highest ranked conference champs qualify along with a wild card from any league-or an independent. (Hello, Notre Dame!)

Delany thinks a playoff format may be in place ?in the next 60 days,? as conference commissioners will meet in Chicago on June 20 to discuss ideas. But the process could linger deeper into the summer.

Stay tuned.

TEN-YEAR DEAL: One more note on all of this playoff talk: Nebraska A.D. Tom Osborne says he hopes ?at least? a 10-year playoff deal can be worked out to stem talk of the postseason evolving into an eight- or 16-team format. Why? Big Ten A.D.s think a postseason beyond four teams would marginalize the regular season-like what the NCAA tourney does to the basketball regular season.

Quick question: Do the NFL playoffs diminish the regular season in that sport?

PENN STATE TO-DO LIST: It?s not all college football playoff talk on this wonderful Wednesday. And I?m looking at you, Penn State fans, when I type this. Here are 10 things the Nittany Lions need to work on over the summer.

ILLINI TO CHICAGO: And Illinois fans in Chicago, this is your lucky day. Illini A.D. Mike Thomas says plans could be cemented this summer to schedule a grid game in Chicago as soon as 2013, with games in the Windy City in odd-numbered years.

Let?s all meet here and chant: ILL!! INI!! senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.