NEW YORK — Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday that he would support the elimination of automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series as long as the teams from his league play in the Rose Bowl. But he is against a plus-one system, which is essentially a four-team playoff.
The BCS's contract with ESPN expires after the January 2014 games, and talk of changes has begun. Included is the BCS setting only the title game with the bowls making deals with schools and conferences such as the Big Ten and Pac-12's with the Rose Bowl.
"As long as I can go to the Rose Bowl, I'm okay without automatic bids," Delany said at the Intercollegiate Athletics Forum.
In 2008, the ACC and SEC proposed the plus-one. But it was rejected by the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 (then the Pac-10).
But Monday, the Big 12 athletic directors voted to support it. Wednesday at the forum, Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby said it was "inevitable" while Washington AD Scott Woodward said he believed it would "eventually" happen.
But Delany says he fears four teams would begin a slippery slope of putting more teams in.
"That's what happened in I-AA (football). It's what happened in the basketball tournament," he said. "I don't think the slippery slope is theoretical. I think the slippery slope is practical."
Georgia coach recalls landing Plant stars
TAMPA — With athletic department officials in tow, Georgia coach Mark Richt returned to the site of one of his most glorious recruiting conquests.
Exactly 4.3 miles from where he sat signing commemorative Outback Bowl footballs, quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles flourished for Plant High's 2008 state title team.
"To get two guys from out of state from the same high school that have had the kind of impact that these guys have had on our program, it just doesn't happen very often," Richt said. "I'm still trying to figure out how we got them out of here, but we're thankful we got them."
Richt, who joined Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio at the contract signing party, addressed speculation that the Jan. 2 game will be Charles' last as a Bulldog.
The third-year junior is widely projected as a high-round pick.
"Our main goal really and truly is just educate them, give them as much exposure to the right kind of information (about the draft), and most of that information is going to come from the NFL," Richt said.
"Right now, there are 100 guys who have been projected to be a first-round draft pick by the media. Well, there are only 32 teams. So … some of these guys are going to be fourth-round draft picks."
Player dies: Oregon State defensive tackle Fred Thompson collapsed Wednesday night while playing basketball on campus and died. The freshman, four days shy of turning 20, did not play this season. Campus police said Thompson was stricken so suddenly that even if emergency personnel had been on the scene, they likely could not have saved him. An autopsy is set for today.
Gruden endorses Leavitt: Former USF coach Jim Leavitt and Arizona State would be a good fit, ESPN analyst and former Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "I think it'd be an unbelievable coup for Arizona State," Gruden told Arizona Sports 620-AM on Wednesday night. "I witnessed (Leavitt) do a phenomenal job for a long time." Leavitt, 55, fired by USF in 2010 after 13 seasons, is in his first year as linebackers coach of the 49ers. The Sun Devils fired Dennis Erickson.
FSU: The Seminoles returned to practice in preparation for the Champs Sports Bowl against Notre Dame on Jan. 2. "It feels good to get our bodies healed up. It's an important game," sophomore cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. "We're playing against good players." FSU will practice through the weekend, then is expected take a short break.
Memphis: TCU co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente was named coach. He replaces the fired Larry Porter.
North Carolina: Interim coach Everett Withers will lead the team at the Independence Bowl. The school is set to announce the hiring of Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora today.
SMU: Coach June Jones said he's happy where he is, even though he was set to leave for Arizona State before it pulled the offer. "It was something that happened very fast," he said. "One of the prices of winning is you get contacted a lot of times for different opportunities. I had an opportunity that appealed, so I listened." Jones added he was honest with SMU officials, players and recruits during the process.
UCF: Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof was hired for the same job. He was with Knights coach George O'Leary when O'Leary led Georgia Tech from 1995-2001. Auburn coach Gene Chizik will also be defensive coordinator for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Big East: Cincinnati had the offensive (running back Isaiah Pead), co-defensive (tackle Derek Wolfe) and coach (Butch Jones) of the year. Wolfe shared the award with Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene. West Virginia's Tavon Austin was named special teams player of the year and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater rookie of the year. No USF players made the first team, but six made the second: kicker Maikon Bonani, defensive lineman Ryne Giddens, running back Darrell Scott, guard Jeremiah Warren, cornerback Jayvon Webster and safety Jerrell Young.
USF: Senior center Chaz Hine was named a second-team Academic All-American.
Times staff writers Greg Auman and Joey Knight contributed to this report, which used information from the Orlando Sentinel.