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OU athletic director Joe Castiglione talks college football playoff, says regular season must be protected

A college football playoff is coming to a season near you, provided the sport's power-brokers do something they haven't always done. Compromise. So says OU athletic director Joe Castiglione, one of those decision-makers.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 16, 2012

Speaking of which, part of OU's eventual pitch will include a strength of schedule component, “true and understandable,” Joe C. said. A separate strength of schedule component was part of the BCS through the 2003 season but was discarded, and the sport has seen fewer and fewer worthwhile nonconference games since.

Other issues Castiglione addressed concerning the expanded playoff:

* There is no movement to totally scrap the bowl system. Whether that means the entire three-game playoff is within the bowl system or only partially or even not at all, who knows?

“I'm a traditionalist,” Castiglione said. “There's something very special about college football. And the bowl system has served the best interests of college football for 80, 90 years.”

Joe C. even said the major bowls could end up better off, even if the national title game is played outside their auspice. The major bowls could be enhanced if they are freed from regulated matchups — avoiding games like Oklahoma-Connecticut in the Fiesta, Georgia-Hawaii in the Sugar or Wake Forest-Louisville in the Orange.

* Access to the four-team field will include the minor conferences like the Mountain West and Conference USA.

“There has to be some understanding there's access for everyone, as there is now,” Castiglione said.

But that doesn't mean the minor conferences will have ready access to the major bowls, as they do now.

* Using selection criteria that includes preseason rankings must be addressed. A “key flaw,” Castiglione called it.

* Conference and school officials have at least talked about a model that does not include the Pac-12 or the Big Ten, should those leagues decide they prefer to stay with their traditional Rose Bowl alignment rather than venture into a four-team playoff.

“Inside the room, we understand they want to protect something unique,” Castiglione said.

* Campus sites aren't totally out of the equation. While Castiglione said that previous reports are true — campus sites for the semifinals create all kinds of logistical problems — it's also true that semifinals played on neutral fields, be they bowls or not, could create ticket-buying problems. A team in a league with a championship game could be asking its fans to travel to three out-of-state games in a four- or five-week span.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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