Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Harvey Perlman talked to ESPN.com Thursday about the changes under consideration for college football's postseason. Perlman has long been outspoken in favor of the current BCS system, and he was quick to throw water on a lot of the speculation about where things are going:
"We've had some informal meetings, the Big Ten presidents and the Pac-12 presidents, and I think we're largely aligned in thinking a plus-one with a different ranking after the bowl games to select No. 1 and 2 would be acceptable. Our second choice would probably be a four-team playoff inside the bowls. Our highest priority is to preserve the status of the Rose Bowl and our connection to it."
"I don't think we would be very enthusiastic about any of the other options."
And then there was this lulu:
"I can't figure out a good reason to have a playoff to start with."
It's easy to read too much into Perlman's statements. He is, after all, a leader in the BCS....but Perlman wasn't speaking as a BCS leader. He mentioned the Big Ten and Pac-12 presidents specifically. He doesn't mention what the Big XII leaders think, nor what the leaders of SEC and ACC schools think.And that's the rub. Every few days, we get another twist and turn. Last week, it looked like we were headed to a four-team playoff inside the bowls. Then earlier this week, it sounded like the on-campus playoff model was still a very real possibility. Now Perlman says that the people he talks to only want a Plus-One model. Maybe.
Let's look at Perlman's track record. Three years ago, he testified in front of Congress to defend the bowl system. Two years ago, he denied that there was any interest from the Big Ten in Nebraska a month before Nebraska formally joined. And five years ago, he gave Steve Pederson a contract extension ... only to realize that he needed to fire Pederson less than three months later.
Fans may not like what Perlman is saying today, but if you look at history, Perlman has a history of saying one thing and doing another thing once the situation has changed. Perlman just isn't ready to admit that he was wrong about the BCS. It may be a negotiating point, it may be trying to simply dampen the speculation, or it may be some real hesitation on behalf of a subset of university presidents.
In any event, it still seems that Jim Delaney is on board with the idea of a college football playoff, and frankly, that seems to count for much more than what Harvey Perlman says publicly at this time.