Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, June 4, 2012

Playoff talk dominates the headlines on this Monday, as we move closer to a June 20 meeting when all the leagues will convene to hammer out details of a likely four-team playoff to begin in 2014.

The Big Ten-SEC rivalry on the field is intense. And it seems to be getting even fiercer off the field, as bold statements-particularly by the SEC–have been flying in the press during the debate on details of how to form a playoff.

ONE SOLUTION: Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune offers his solution on the key nitty-gritty details of which: 1. teams to pick, 2. how to pick them, 3. where games should be played.

The Big Ten? We heard from conference honchos today after Big Ten presidents and chancellors met on Sunday at Big Ten HQ in Park Ridge, Ill. A few things became apparent:

1. Commish Jim Delany is in favor of having the four best teams in a playoff.
2. Big Ten presidents prefer a selection committee-not polls or computers-be used to select teams.
3. Big Ten wants bowls to be part of the process. In fact, the Big Ten likes the current postseason format best.
4. A plus-one model is still on the table and is preferred over a playoff

Bottom line: In the end, I expect a model that includes three conference champs (ranked in the top six) and a wild-card team (ranked in top six); a selection committee; bowl games used for national semifinal games; neutral site/bid-out title game site.

Now, how will all of the loot be split up?

All of this playoff talk doesn?t make Nebraska coach Bo Pelini happy. You see, he opposes a playoff in any shape or form.

Pelini thinks college football should go back to the old system used before the BCS was hatched in 1998. If not that, Pelini is OK with the current system. Really.

Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal thinks coaches don?t want a playoff because they will face increased pressure to make the postseason - or else. And that could lead to greater job turnover. Sipple may be on to something.

While Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is resisting change, some people and cities are enthusiastic about the prospect of a playoff and ensuing title game even though myriad details still need to be ironed out. One city dreaming big is Detroit, where area business man and auto racing magnet Roger Penske is willing to be part of any effort to bring college football?s crown jewel event to the Motor City.

Why not? It has played host to two Super Bowls. So, while it would be cold outside in January, it wouldn?t be cold inside climate controlled Ford Field.

Phoenix? Los Angeles? Dallas? New Orleans? Miami? Detroit? Why not?

Pack your long johns, Nick Saban!!!

IOWA RUNNING GAME: Which freshman running back will emerge for Iowa? This is a key question for a team with a gnawing need at the position after Marcus Coker (Stony Brook) and Mika?il McCall (Southern Illinois) transferred. If that wasn?t bad enough, Jordan Canzeri suffered a knee injury in the spring.

So, all eyes will be on incoming freshmen backs Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill. But they may not be ready for the opener, so Damon Bullock (10 career carries) figures to be lined up behind James Vandenberg for the first game vs. Northern Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago. De?Andre Johnson (18 career carries) is the only other viable veteran option.
This could be interesting, as no Big Ten has an iffy situation at running back.

ALL FOR THE ROSES: Brady Hoke wanted his Wolverines to see the Rose Bowl. He wanted them to smell the Rose Bowl. He wanted them to feel the Rose Bowl. It was a brilliant motivational ploy by Hoke, who on a recent trip to SoCal took 22 seniors on a leadership junket to visit the NAVY Seals to visit the tangible goal it strives for.

If you can believe this: Michigan hasn?t been to the Rose Bowl since the 2006 season. Since the Big Ten started to allow more than one school to go to a bowl in the mid-1970s, Michigan never has gone six seasons between Rose Bowl trips.


My take: Interesting stuff on the salaries of Big Ten assistant coaches.

My take: I never grow weary of reading about Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr.?s valiant return to the field after battling cancer. This is the stuff of movies.

My take: I agree.

My take: Bravado? From a receiver? What a shock! TIC. Still, I think a freshman should be a bit more reserved. 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.

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