Coaches address Big Ten title game

Big Ten coaches addressed the prospect of a conference championship game at Wednesday's Big Ten Kickoff press conference.

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With the ACC expanding to 11 teams and applying for a conference championship game. Many coaches were asked their feelings about a possible Big Ten title game. Here are some of their comments:



"We went to that in the Mid American Conference during my time there. So we started out in the more traditional way and evolved to a playoff game. I'll tell you what it does. It keeps more teams in the hunt longer. When you split up in two divisions, you have two champions. You have more teams in the race, perhaps, longer and I think that builds the excitement. And of course we all know the revenue and the kind of things that it can generate when you have a final playoff game and of course a Big Ten playoff game would be a huge event.


The downside is now you start running that game into your finals and the end of the quarter or semester. It puts an extra burden on the players because it adds another game to their season, which is already being added to all the time as we go through college football. So now instead of playing 10 games like I played back in 1972 now they are playing 13 or 14 games."


Randy Walker, Northwestern


"As far as a playoff goes, I'm not really for it right now. If we went that way, it would be fine. I think we are playing 11 games, 12 games the last two years. I don't really see a need to have a playoff in the Big Ten. I think the Big Ten is the top conference in the country right now and clearly there is not a whole lot of reason for change right now."


—Ron Turner, Illinois


"I'm not really in favor of expanding the season, but I don't think the coaches have anything to say about it. It is certainly exciting for fans and unlike the Bowl game, the stadium is split by two teams. It is a different atmosphere. You can't duplicate that without (having a championship game).


"A championship game is certainly a unique experience for both the schools and the players. It has to start with the players and what is best for them, with an expanded season players run a larger chance of getting hurt and it's just not worth the risk. So I think a championship game although it might be fun and it would be quality entertainment—I think the players get hurt."


—Gerry DiNardo, Indiana


"We discussed this in our last set of meetings. I don't think anyone is in favor, but I'll let the other coaches speak for themselves. I wouldn't be in favor of a playoff game with eleven teams, either as a head coach or as an athletic director."


"I think talking to some of the other coaches in leagues that have playoff, I don't think any of them are very excited about playoffs. I think it takes away from the Bowl game—sure it is a big payoff for one game. I think it diminishes some of the season and I think it can be a letdown for a team that has a great season and puts their season on the line for a playoff game. And it seems that the reason, and the only reason, is for a paycheck. I just think there are too many negatives. It tacks on another game for the players and you are diminishing your returns."


—Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin

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