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Posted on Wed, May 16, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

Michigan football players, Dave Brandon back 4-team playoff that includes bowl system

By Kyle Meinke

CHICAGO -- The Big Ten is sure to encounter pushback from fans, media and other conferences over its preference to include the bowls -- specifically, the Rose Bowl -- in any football playoff.

But there's at least one prominent group who favors it: The guys who will play the games.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon spoke extensively with reporters Wednesday after the Big Ten concluded its three-day spring meetings in Chicago, and, like his colleagues, said he supports a four-team playoff that includes the Rose Bowl.


Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

Melanie Maxwell |

Brandon had been a noted dissenter of implementing a college football playoff. He and Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman were some of the last holdouts against scrapping the BCS, according to recent comments by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

Brandon, though, said his opposition has been mischaracterized. He said he's always favored a "plus-one" model, and opposed eight- and 16-team fields.

He said he backs including the bowls -- rather than hosting semifinals on campus, which could benefit the Big Ten against teams from the South because of the cold weather -- after conducting an informal survey of Michigan players.

Brandon said there was a consensus that favored including the existing postseason system, largely because of the bowl venues and their warm locales. He hopes to formally poll the players as the process unfolds.

B1G SPRING MEETING sports reporter Kyle Meinke is in Chicago to cover the Big Ten Conference’s spring meeting. His reports:

Michigan players, Dave Brandon back 4-team playoff that includes bowl system

Michigan to spend $250 million to upgrade facilities for non-revenue sports

As Big Ten’s playoff model takes shape, conversation shifts from ‘what’ to ‘how’

Jim Delany favors raising bowl threshold to 7 wins, reworking ticket distribution

Athletic directors favor 4-team football playoff that includes bowls; selection committee popular

Michigan-Michigan State after dark? No trepidation from MSU AD Mark Hollis

"There’s a strong bias of student-athletes to go to nice, warm locations to play in bowl games that are hosted by bowl committees," Brandon said. "They are treated great, and they get to play a competitor they don’t normally play. I mean, that is a huge benefit to our student-athletes, and we’re trying to be respectful of that."

It is somewhat surprising players back that model. The Big Ten previously discussed a system in which schools would host semifinals, a model that seemingly would favor the league.

Ostensibly, the Big Ten is better conditioned to play in cold-weather games than Southern teams. And, they've been disadvantaged in the current system, in which they're often playing in the South, against Southern teams.

"Frankly, it’s about our student-athletes," Brandon said. "They love going to these warm climates."

Aside from the players' sentiment, Brandon said he wouldn't favor on-campus semifinals anyway because it wouldn't be a "fair fight" for Southern teams, and they likely wouldn't agree to such a model.

"I’m a big advocate for playing as many games as possible on campus, but I’m also a realist to know when you get to the point where you got those kinds of national games, with teams coming to various regions of the country, playing outdoors in the Midwest in January probably is not going to be a salable option," Brandon said.

Brandon said he knows travel could become expensive if bowls are included in a playoff, and would be a "big advocate" for providing families with financial assistance. That's already done in the men's basketball tournament.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

typical shrill DB cares nothing about the fan know, the people who keep this whole "brand" going forward year to year.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:20 a.m.

who cares where the games are played as long as they are played anything that can be done to get closer to a playoff and letting teams decide it on the field is an improvement


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:38 a.m.

We might not get there if Delany has anything more to do with the process. I have a bad feeling he is going to demand that conference champioins get in automatically. That would be a big mistake and be a case for even more controversy than what we already have. it should be the top four teams and the higher seed hosts the other in its traditional bowl. Get rid of the conference championships and you can expand it to 8 teams


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

"I'm a big advocate for playing as many games as possible on campus"...except when I can move a game to Dallas and net $4.7M...


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 11:51 p.m.

Who cares what Dave says. Do we really think that anyone cares what Dave Brandon has to say about how 'big college football business' is run and managed? I personally take exception and consider his comments to be an insult about players in states affected by cold seasons and those affected by warmer seasons.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

"Aside from the players' sentiment, Brandon said he wouldn't favor on-campus semifinals anyway because it wouldn't be a "fair fight" for Southern teams, and they likely wouldn't agree to such a model." Huh? But it IS a fair fight for a colder climate team, who lets say is a #1 or #2 seed and *should* get home advantage, to play in 80-90 degree heat in a southern team's back yard? Yeah, that sounds real fair for the higher seed. Where's the logic in that, Mr. Brandon? Way to give in to the south and give the SEC what they want. Unreal...


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

He's our guy. We should support him, no matter how illogical his comments and thoughts are.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

Disappointed by the B1G. Giving up the idea of home playoff games in favor of the bowls?!?!? For once, the Southern and West Coast teams may have to actually play a game below 50 degrees. FYI, the reason why the Southern teams won't vote for the idea is because the system is currently tilted in their favor. Their fans get to stay in their region. They never have to leave their comfort zone. Why does the B1G care SO much about the Rose Bowl? If a B1G team is not in the playoff, they won't even play in the bowl. Even if one B1G team is in the playoffs, they still might not play in the Rose. Sad to see the B1G give up on the only advantage we have (weather) for something that does not even benefit the conference.

Calvert T. Hoskins I

Wed, May 16, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Lol! Now that would be something!