Brandon: Home Playoff Games "Not Salable"
Dave Brandon
Posted May 21, 2012

Dave Brandon took part in the Mott takeover Friday evening on Sports talk 1050 WTKA. In part two of GoBlueWolverine’s recap of his commentary, the man in charge of the Michigan athletic department shared his thoughts on why a playoff model consisting of home venues in the semifinals wasn't feasible, the strain the likely playoff model would place on fans, and more. **with Video**

***Those that missed part one, click here.***

On a playoff model that use home venues in the semifinal round…

Dave Brandon: “We just came back from our Big Ten Meetings in Chicago where the (athletic directors) were together and spent a lot of time with Jim Delaney.  My sense is that it was really determined pretty early on that just wasn’t salable… that you were going have all kinds of arguments about if you are really trying to find who the champion is and you start to create a home field advantage, that’s an issue. I also believe that we came to the conclusion that if we were to take these games… these three games and push them outside the bowl season or the bowl system... we could very easily start to diminish the prestige and the value of the bowls. There isn’t anybody I’ve talked that understands the bowl system and how important it is to the student athletes, how important it is to the coaches, and the role that it plays that believes that diminishing the importance of the bowls is a good idea.”

On why the Big Ten doesn’t look at home field in the playoffs as an opportunity to level a postseason playing field that has always been more favorable to warm weather programs…

Dave Brandon: “What everybody needs to understand is to get any change enacted you’ve got to get consensus.  And if you think you’re going to get those southern conferences to believe that it would be really fair and fun to come play outdoors in January in the north, you’re kidding yourself.”

On why the Big Ten wouldn’t push for neutral indoor sites in the north like Ford Field in Detroit or Lucas Oil Feld in Indianapolis…

Dave Brandon: “The one thing that kind of gets left out of this discussion that maybe ought to get some weight are the kids… the players.  I know a lot of people don’t really care about that part, but I do.  And if you polled our players and said, ‘if you play a really tough, successful, long regular season, the reward that you’re going to get is to travel to Ford Field or Lucas Oil Stadium’, they would look at you and say, ‘huh?’ They love going to warm weather.  They love going to some of these locations that they in many cases have never visited.  They love experiencing something new…. having a host committee greet them that’s going to take them places and give them an experience that will last a lifetime.  That’s part of what this bowl system is about. I understand the average fan doesn’t see that, and maybe doesn’t care about it, but I care about it a lot.”

On the massive strain placed on fans by a system that would demand they travel for two post season games…

Dave Brandon: “I think it’s a problem.  I think it’s a problem and it’s one of the ways when you shift from the status quo and you go to this 15th game… for those two teams you’re creating the punishment of the 15th game.  Ask Brady how many kids would not have been able to play in another game after the Sugar Bowl.  So you’re going to take the physical punishment of the kids, you’re going extend the season and put pressure on their academics, and you’re going to put tremendous pressure on their families and their fans as it relates to travel.  Everybody wants this extra game, everybody wants this championship game… there are unintended consequences of any changes and you’ve just outlined them.”

On how to prevent teams that schedule tough in the non-conference from being unduly disadvantaged in the playoff system…

Dave Brandon: “I’ve tried to be a loud voice on the notion that strength of schedule should be weighed more heavily in how we ever end up with who these top four teams are.  If you’ve got a lot of programs that start scheduling high schools in September, thinking that people will forget who they played in September by the time they get to the end of the poll season… and you punish teams who schedule tough opponents in that non-conference season, I think that’s just wrong.  So I really think there should be a strength of schedule component that’s more significant than it is today to make sure that we don’t devalue the competition during the regular season.  Here at Michigan I’m involved with scheduling.  Brady and I are talking about it all of the time.  If you think our world, we’re at eight conference games and we’ve got the Notre Dame game plugged in every year – that takes us to nine. We’re in the midst now to transitioning to this collaboration with the Pac 12, and that’s going to take it to ten.  So really we’ve got two games to fill as it stands today.  What we want to do is have this wonderful mix of brand names, programs that are going to excite our fans, make them want to come to Michigan stadium, (and) get our team fired up to get ready to play another great football game.  Although there are a lot of people that would like us to play a top ten team every week, we’ve got to balance a very competitive schedule.  The Big Ten schedule and the division we play in is tough enough, the our cross-rival every year is that team in Ohio… that’s tough enough,   Notre Dame as a national rivalry is pretty tough, and I guarantee you that when start playing in this Pac 12 collaboration we’re going to be playing teams in the upper half of that conference as well.  So we’re going to do our best to make sure that we give our fans a great mix of opponents, a great mix of football to see at Michigan Stadium, and when they buy that ticket book they’re going to be really excited about going to those games.”

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