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B1G coaches on playoff: Four teams is plenty

Big Ten football coaches gathered Sunday and Monday at league headquarters for meetings that commissioner Jim Delany repeatedly described as "upbeat."

"There's no doubt we have momentum right now," Penn State coach James Franklin told ESPN.com. "You want to keep the momentum going. That’s what a lot of these discussions were formed around: What can we do to keep this thing going and have success?"

Ohio State's national championship following the inaugural College Football Playoff contributed most to the good vibes. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer chaired the Big Ten coaches' group this year and moderated the meetings. He provided feedback on the playoff experience.

The gist: Ohio State had a blast, and the playoff is just fine staying at four teams.

"Urban's point was we all should realize there should be no more football games," Delany told ESPN.com. "The experience itself was spectacular. He was very positive about Dallas, about New Orleans, but 15 games is enough."

Even before the playoff began there was talk of expanding the field beyond four teams, especially after Big 12 candidates Baylor and TCU both fell short of selection despite being ranked ahead of Ohio State for most of the season. Ohio State's national championship justified the final rankings, but the push to increase the playoff isn't going away anytime soon.

Big Ten coaches made student-athlete welfare a priority in all of the topics they discussed this week, including the length of the season.

"We have a really good thing going right now, but it's part of our society that we always want more," Franklin said. "There’s this tremendous appetite for college football. You’ve got Ohio State who just went through it and the amount of stress and the wear and tear that season put on those guys. To think about you could possibly play another game after that, it’s a lot.

"From the Big Ten perspective, that’s what the discussion was: 'Look, this is enough. It was a great season. It went probably better than anybody expected it to go, but let’s not have this typical American mentality where more is better in everything.'"

Delany stressed to the coaches that while the stakes are high and seemingly getting higher around college football, the game's place in an educational context and its positive elements must be emphasized whenever possible.

"The most important thing is the word college and that this is seen as a balanced experience between education and athletics," Delany said. "The balance has to be there. They can articulate about what the game does for young people. ... These aren’t professional players. They’re not full-grown adults. There’s a general recognition of what we need to do is focus on the college part of athletics to restate it."