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Purdue University

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Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter talks with Dan Sell at Fort Wayne Country Club on Tuesday. Sell, a Purdue graduate, met Painter during the Purdue Coaches Caravan.

Playoff issue boiling

Purdue football coach, athletic director have questions

Photos by Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Purdue football coach Danny Hope, right, signs autographs for Chet Bartol, left, with grandson Alex Bartol at Fort Wayne Country Club on Tuesday. Both Chet and Alex are Purdue graduates.

Change is coming to college football.

There will be a new way of determining a national champion in the not-to-distant future.

Eleven major-conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are scheduled to meet today in Chicago to continue to work on the details.

“I’m excited about the potential of adding a game, a championship game,” Purdue football coach Danny Hope said Tuesday. “The $60,000 question is how do you come up with the final four?”

Hope was in Fort Wayne as part of the Purdue Coaches Caravan. Men’s basketball coach Matt Painter, women’s basketball coach Sharon Versyp, volleyball coach Dave Shondell and athletic director Morgan Burke joined Hope at Fort Wayne Country Club. They signed autographs, posed for pictures and spoke at the event.

Hope and Burke also discussed what’s ahead for college football. Most reports have centered on a four-team playoff as the format.

“I’m happy the way it is, but I understand the marketplace is ready for a change,” Burke said. “My concern, I don’t want to devalue the regular season. I want to honor strength of schedule and I want to honor conference championships.”

Hope would also like to see conference champions play a role.

“I think it’s really important because right now if you start the season off and you’re not a top-25 football team, it’s really hard to play your way into the top four teams in the country,” Hope said. “In my mind, if you don’t include some conference championships in consideration, then you’re going to eliminate about 100 Division I football teams from the national championship hunt before the first ball is ever kicked off. I don’t think that’s in the spirit of the game.

“I like the idea of staying within the bowl system, I like the idea of adding a championship game, I like the idea of using all the polls, the information, the committees. But I certainly think conference champions should get some strong consideration.”

There are no such issues in college basketball, where a tournament is already in place.

Painter has guided Purdue to the NCAA tournament for six consecutive seasons.

The Boilermakers will get a little more time to gel before this season with a trip to Italy scheduled for August. Purdue will play games during the 10-day tour.

“As a coach you don’t want to go into it with a lot of predetermined thoughts,” Painter said when asked about goals for the trip. “You want to do some things that are going to help build up toward your season. We’re a much different team than were last year. We have a lot of good pieces, we have a lot of size. We have a couple of young big guys coming into the fold and Donnie Hale coming back.

“I thought Terone Johnson and D.J. Byrd really played well for us, especially at the end of the year did some real good things for us. With some opportunities, Anthony Johnson, Jacob Lawson, Travis Carroll, Sandi Marcius, some guys who have played some to sparingly, now are going to have an increased role and should have the upper hand on some of those freshmen because of their experience.

“With that being said, we have some pretty talented freshmen. The competition is up for grabs.”