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Pitt AD Pederson big fan of playoff

| Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 8:14 p.m.

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said he likes the new college football playoff system for the most basic of reasons:

“Whoever performs best is going to play in these games,” Pederson said a day after a committee of university presidents approved a 12-year plan for a four-team playoff, beginning in 2014. “That's all we wanted, for our (conference) champion to have a great place to go. This system will do that.”

The playoff eliminates automatic bowl berths for conference champions. Instead, a committee — similar to the group that picks the field for the NCAA basketball tournament — will choose four semifinalists to play two games within the current major-bowl structure. The winners will meet a week later in a national championship game.

Pederson said “the fifth school” could protest its exclusion from the field, but it will be no different than when “on-the-bubble” basketball teams fail to earn tournament bids.

The committee will base its decisions on win-loss records, strength of schedule and head-to-head results. Conference championship status will get consideration, but it's not a requirement.

“The ACC is going to have its place right in the heart of this with the other four power conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12),” Pederson said.

Pitt will join the ACC no later than 2014, but the university has filed suit against the Big East to leave after the upcoming academic year.

Pederson said there is “nothing new” to report on the status of the lawsuit.

“We are moving through the process,” he said, noting that he doesn't know when it will be resolved, but an out-of-court settlement could be among the possible outcomes.

January enrollment

Defensive tackle Tyrique Jarrett, who graduated from Allderdice High School this year, plans to enroll at Pitt in January after spending the fall at Milford (N.Y.) Academy.

Jarrett signed a letter of intent this year with Pitt, but he will attend Milford to improve his grades, Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said. Several Pitt players have taken the same route, including running back LeSean McCoy, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, and current Panthers K.K. Mosley-Smith and Todd Thomas.

Jarrett, 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, played in the Big 33 game last week and performed well, according to Haslett.

“The two (offensive linemen) who doubled him the whole time are going to Ohio State, and he was beating them up,” Haslett said. “He's strong as an ox and he can run.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7997.

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