Jim Delany and Nick Saban turn into college football’s Biggie and Tupac


If you’ve been paying close attention to college football’s push toward a playoff (and believe me, I haven’t), you’ll know that Big Ten commissioner is the proverbial thorn in the side of the rest of the conference commissioners.

Originally, Delany called for a playoff to consist of only conference champions; and yeah, nobody liked that. Then he called for a system where fifth or sixth place finishers could leapfrog teams ahead of them, if the lower ranked teams won their conference and the teams in front of them didn’t. That didn’t go over too well either.

Still, undeterred, Delany is back at it again, this time with another grand plan: In his quest to take all the fun out of any conceivable college football playoff, Delany now wants to ensure any team that doesn’t win its own division (in their conference) makes his beloved four-team playoff.

Speaking to the AP yesterday, Delany said the following:

“I don’t have a lot of regard for that team,” Delany told The Associated Press. “I certainly wouldn’t have as much regard for that team as I would for someone who played nine conference games in a tough conference and played a couple out-of-conference games on the road against really good opponents. If a poll doesn’t honor those teams and they’re conference champions, I do.”

While it’s impossible to say who Delany might be referencing when he says “that team” it seems like for all intents and purposes he is talking about the Alabama Crimson Tide, who- as you may remember- did not win the SEC West last year. Still, they finished 11-1 and the BCS determined them to be a worthy participant to face LSU in the BCS title game. And as you may also remember, the Crimson Tide stomped out the Tigers pretty good in New Orleans.

Regardless, this is all pretty thinly-veiled by Delany, to limit the power of the SEC.

As a matter of fact, if you’ll allow me to, I’d like to quote the great Bomani Jones, and say “Jim Delany, you sir, are a ‘meat peeper.'” And honestly, it’s not a good look my man.

Look, it doesn’t take a man with Mike Leach’s IQ to see what Delany is doing here. Simply put, he’s afraid any system that simply chooses the four “best” teams will not only include an SEC champion, but also in many seasons, a second SEC team as well. And frankly, why wouldn’t it? Right now, the best football is being played in the southeastern part of the country, and if there are two worthy teams out of four, why shouldn’t they have the right to play for a title? If this whole four team playoff is an attempt to truly determine who college football’s “best” team is, why would you do anything to compromise getting those four best teams together?

It seems silly, and there is apparently one man who seems to see right through Jim Delany. That man? Mr. Nick Saban, who he called Tim Brando’s radio show today, and pulled out the heavy artillery himself.

He told Brando:

“The big complaint about the system is the fact that there are only two teams who get into the championship game the way we’ve been doing it, and when there’s a good third team or fourth team, they don’t have a chance to get into the game.” Saban said. “So if we had a four-team, plus one type deal, we’d always be able to get it right.”

“Well now, alright, for I guess self-preservation purposes in terms of what some of these people in these leagues are coming up with, you gotta be a conference champion to do it. So we’re gonna get the No. 1 team, the No. 6 team, the No. 7 team and the No. 12 team that happen to be the conference champions playing in the championship. So do we accomplish what we want to accomplish?”

And the best part? Before Brando could answer Saban’s question, Saban responded to himself, with a “hell no!”

Hmm, while I wouldn’t quite call the two Biggie and Tupac, I do think we have college football’s next great rivalry.

As for all of Delany’s goofy plans, well, we’ll find out if they come to fruition when the conference commissioners get together to further discuss the playoff on June 20.

But before we wrap up, I would like to discuss one irony however, which I have yet to hear anyone else mention.

That irony? Well, as you may remember, the Big Ten received two BCS bowl bids last year, when Wisconsin won the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game, and then later, Michigan back-doored their way into the Sugar Bowl.

And for those who were wondering, no Michigan did win not their division, finishing one game behind Michigan State in the Legends. Granted, I know that the Wolverines weren’t playing for a potential championship at the time but still. I didn’t see Delany turn down Michigan’s Sugar Bowl check either.

Jim Delany, you sir, are a hypocrite.

For all his insight, analysis and opinion on college football, be sure to follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.