At age 81, Joe Paterno doesn't have too many crusades left to win.

But he's persisting with one he began in 1970.

A Division I football playoff.

Even the legendary Penn State coach knows he's heavily outvoted on that subject, so he used humor yesterday to draw attention to the topic.

Paterno said he doubts a playoff system will be enacted soon, particularly after a May 5 meeting of the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conference commissioners and Notre Dame's athletic director ended with a decision to reject a four-team playoff.

"I don't think so right now, and I don't know why," Paterno said, in a speech in Pittsburgh. "I'm only going to be a head coach another 10 or 15 years, and I don't think it will happen by then."

Paterno, whose contract runs through the coming season - his 43d - but has not been extended, laughed at his own joke.

Those opposing the playoff cited the sanctity of the regular season and the fact that players would be forced to miss too much class time. It also could extend the season into a second semester. Paterno rejected those rationales, noting the highly profitable Division I men's basketball tournament is more disruptive to its players.

"To be frank with you, I don't know what the reasons are not to have a playoff," the Associated Press quoted him as saying. "You can talk about missing class and all that kind of stuff, [yet] you see basketball go on forever. You have a lot of bogus excuses, but obviously the majority of people who have the say don't want it."

Paterno also is unhappy with the rules of the coaches' poll, a key element in selecting which teams play in the BCS title game. Coaches are required to vote for the winner of the BCS title game in the final voting, a condition Paterno sees as working against the principle of a voting process.

Paterno has not voted in the coaches' poll since 2004, when he wanted to vote for undefeated Auburn but was forced to vote for Southern California after it won the BCS title game.

"They said, 'Well, you've got to vote or else you can't participate.' So I will not participate in the voting," Paterno said. "Not that I'm against what other people want to do; it's just that philosophically I think you ought to win it on the field. If I have to vote for somebody only because people have said these are the two teams that ought to be in the BCS championship game and I think they left somebody out that probably ought to be in it, that's when I'll feel a playoff ought to be appropriate. I've always been for a playoff."

This article contains information from the Associated Press.
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