“Every week has been a playoff mentality for us, because if you lose you’re probably out.”

It appears that Kirby Smart and I are on the same page about playoff expansion and its effect on the regular season.

“You do devalue that as you increase the number of teams in the playoff,” Smart said. “You do value the end of the season. You think about the last, probably, three weeks of the season, last two weeks of the season, the amount of attention and the amount of big games. (The committee) probably got it more right this year than ever with a lot of the championship games as de facto play-in games. I think that’s the right way to go about it.”

And Dabo Swinney.

“If you know you’re in the playoffs, certain games become very irrelevant,” Swinney said. “All of a sudden, you don’t play certain players because you know you’re in and you don’t want to get a guy hurt. There are a lot of unintended consequences that would creep in, just like you see in all the other sports. I love the NBA, but I don’t ever watch it until the playoffs, because it just doesn’t matter. In our sport, it still matters. I mean, it matters. It matters what you do in September, October and November.”

And Nick Saban.

“We sort of started the two-team deal. Now it’s a four-team deal. Now all the focus and emphasis is on the playoffs,” Saban said.

There’s a certain contrast between the coaches whose teams are in this year’s playoff field and at least one whose team isn’t that has to be mentioned.


Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh came to the Wolverines after a four-year stint with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, and he’s all for an expanded field.

“I would just analyze it in terms of every other sport, whether it’s gymnastics, basketball, pro football, FCS football — pick a sport and they have a playoff to get to a champion,” Harbaugh said this past week in a news conference for the Outback Bowl. “None of them start with the last four. You have a great model with the NFL, with their 12 teams, and a great model in the FCS, which had 16 teams and now has 24.

“Eight teams would be better than four and 12 would be better than eight. I think 16 is kind of the sweet spot.”

Counter point:

Riley pointed out that if the playoff field expanded, there would still be folks upset over a certain team being left out.

“There’s never going to be a magic number,” Riley said. “If we have eight (teams), nine and 10 are going to be upset. If we have 16 (teams), 17 and 18 are going to be upset.”

Said Saban: “I don’t care if we have 68 teams in it, we’ll still have a two-hour show on who shouldn’t have got in it just like they do in basketball.”

Self-preservation is part of basic human nature.  If you’re a coach who’s concerned with job security, Jim Boeheim’s long-standing position that the more the playoffs expand, the better for coaches’ resumes and survival, regardless of what that means for the nature of the game itself, will always carry the day.  Add to that the egos of conference commissioners and school presidents upset that their teams aren’t playing for all the marbles and the resulting momentum to make the playoffs bigger and better will not be checked in the short and medium terms.

The genie is out of the bottle and the cork won’t be going back in until it’s too late.  They’ll excuse themselves by telling us they did it for the fans, though.  No doubt I’ll find that incredibly comforting as I’m filling out my CFP brackets.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

44 responses to ““Every week has been a playoff mentality for us, because if you lose you’re probably out.”

  1. gastr1

    It’s funny how coaches who are currently in think it works just fine and coaches who aren’t quite in would like things expanded. What’s Corch think about this whole deal? Let me guess.

    I don’t recommend quoting coaches to validate this particular argument. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JasonC

    I don’t know if you saw Action Cookbook’s Galaxy Brain proposal for playoffs, but some of it was pretty fun and some would be pretty interesting. And as unrealistic as it would be, part of me wished this year the CFP committee would have said, “we really can’t make a decision between Bama and Ohio St, so this year, we’re trying something a bit different, that we’re borrowing from NCAA hoops and MLB- a one-game decided. If the Tide and Buckeyes would like to compete for the National Championship, you’ll need to agree to a game on December 16th in [random site picked by big sponsorship money]. Winner is the #4 team in the CFP. If you don’t show, the other team is in.”

    Because as much as people might try to bring USC or another team into the argument, I think the consensus was it was either Bama or OSU. So make them earn it and you don’t have to expand to 6 or 8 or whatever, just to please 1 somewhat legitimately upset team.


    • Gaskilldawg

      NCAA rules limit postseason play to a conference championship game, a bowl game and a CFP championship game. The only way to do a play in is if Alsba.a and OSU both played just 11 regular season games and could cou t it as their 12th regular season game.


      • Go Dawgs!

        Right, but that NCAA rule will change the second that the university presidents if the FBS vote to expand the playoff. The NCAA is beholden to the leaders of the schools.


        • Gaskilldawg

          Sure, the NCAA through the university presidents could vote to permit play in games, but, 1) a vote could not thakecplace between 12/3/17 and 12/16/17, and,
          2) the university presidents are not going to vote for such a significant move without a monetary payoff to the conferences and schools at large. What financial windfall would that one play in game provide?


  3. Chopdawg

    Dabo says, “you don’t play certain players because … you don’t want to get a guy hurt.”

    He must be talking about next year’s opener against the mighty Furman Paladins.

    Also, can we just leave off the NFL/NCAA basketball comparisons? Major-college football is not the same sport. Football will never have 68 teams in a playoff; but what would be so terrible about an 8-team playoff? Sure, teams 9 and 10 will be upset, but in a playoff system where Power-5 conference champs are automatically in, the conference championships would mean more than they do now, if that’s possible.

    And Dabo’s never going to know for sure if he’s included, until he wins that final, conference-championship game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also, can we just leave off the NFL/NCAA basketball comparisons? Major-college football is not the same sport. Football will never have 68 teams in a playoff…

      I enjoy sweeping proclamations like this from folks. FCS is up to a 24-team field now; obviously the NCAA didn’t get your memo.

      Playoffs grow. That’s what they have done in every major organized sport in this country. The stopping point isn’t dictated by common sense, but by the dollars.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ASEF

      If you look at rankings the past 3 years, spots 7 and 8 would have come down to an average of 9 possible teams per season. 11 in 2015. The lines are so blurry at that point that everyone can make an argument. You don’t have 2 teams bitching. You have 10.

      That’s the pressure that builds exponentially.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ben

    One thing that seems to be missing from this conversation is the wear and tear on a player’s body. NFL and NBA guys are paid big bucks, and basketball and other sports don’t have high-speed collisions every 60-90 seconds.

    With a 12 game season, a potential championship game, and then three weeks of playoff games, that’s a lot of football for these kids. And i know lower divisions do it, too, so looking at the wear and tear on them would be an interesting thing to note.

    And would coaches give up two tune-up games a year to save the health of a player? How would schools who benefit from those games fare?

    And do you really think Gus is going to save Kerryon for a late season push? No, he’s going to give him 25-30 carries a game until his arms fall off after 12 games because coaches only want their checks and don’t really care about a player’s long-term viability in the League.


    • AthensHomerDawg

      “And do you really think Gus is going to save Kerryon for a late season push? No, he’s going to give him 25-30 carries a game until his arms fall off after 12 games because coaches only want their checks and don’t really care about a player’s long-term viability in the League.”
      Reminded me of The OBC and Lattimore.


      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Wear and tear on bodies??? It should be patently obvious nobody above the level of individual universities gives a left-threaded damn about what the extended season does physically to college football players.

        I did not see how the current scholarship limits in D1 could stand with the dramatic increase in games. But it did stand and still stands, because the NCAA does not care about the impact of those limits, vis a vis the extended season, on individual college football players.

        I have watched the SEC Championship replay…what? nine times? ten? I get goosebumps every time. But I am saddened by the sight of a great running back reduced to a nearly inanimate object, and by the look on Kirby’s face when Lamont Gaillard went down.

        Roster management has meanings it never had before. The national championship may very well be decided by the training staffs.

        Is it not time to demand revisiting scholarship limits?

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Bright Idea

    I’d just hate to see a 9-4 or 8-5 team in just because they won their conference championship while a 10-2 team was excluded. With 8 teams including automatic spots for conference champions it could happen.


    • Former Fan

      A 9-4 team from one conference may be better than a 10-2 team from another conference. Should we have taken Central Florida this year since they were the only undefeated team in the country?

      How can a team claim to be the national champion if they can’t win their own conference?


  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    So Don Quixote Blutarsky, how’s it going this morning?


  7. Erk's Forehead

    I wasn’t really a fan of any playoff. Admittedly, I would’ve appreciated one in 2002 since we very likely would have won another NC. That being said, why would anyone want to listen to advice from a B1G coach? He said the NFL has a great model. Yes, for the NFL. CFB is unique. Every week matters. Play your rivals once a year. (For the most part). An expanded playoff guts everything I love about CFB. Maybe that’s just me.


  8. AusDawg85

    FBS is either unique, or just another sport. One version does not need a “Champion” decided on the field beyond the conferences plus interesting Bowl games. The other version would no longer be unique nor very interesting.


  9. I’m not a fan of expansion to 8 for a number of reasons, but 3 jump out big time. First, those who would have been in the final 8 would have played this weekend right before/during final exams (UGA exams started on Friday). If we’re going to call them students, we should give them every opportunity to excel in the classroom. Second, I love that the Army-Navy game was the only game this weekend. The men who play in that game deserve to be the center of attention for one Saturday per year. A playoff first round takes that away from them. Third, we wouldn’t have had bowl selections until yesterday. That would have squeezed fans’ plans to attend further because the 4 losers from this weekend would deserve a bowl game just like all of the 6-6 teams get.

    Of course, none of that will matter when the checks get large enough. Sad!


  10. Mark

    4 is better than 2. The BCS had its issues. College sports are so regional that it can be very difficult to compare teams. For instance, how hard is it to figure out how the UGA vs OU game is going to go? There just aren’t any common opponents to compare. The playoff helps fix that big (IMO very big) hole.

    I hate to see the playoffs expand much more than where they are today. However, I could see going to 6 teams with 2 teams getting byes. That would allow for all 5 conference champions and 1 wild card coming from everyone else such as Notre Dame, the other conferences, and maybe even another team from the P5 group. Anything more than that will definitely water down the regular season. The committee would only need to decide which team got the wild card spot. The other spots would be filled by winning your conference. Making the focus on winning the conference title makes the regular season very, very important though it would likely devalue cross conference games a great deal.


  11. An expanded playoff only contributes to the hard/soft, butts-in-the-seats attendance problem even the best programs are not immune from. I think you also risk hurting the economies of all the true college towns out there–and while that is not something mission central to the NCAA as a whole, it’s absolutely important when the stakeholders with shared concerns are pared down to the conference levels.

    I don’t want an Athens that looks like your mid-2000s G-Day game for the cupcake opponents and looks like your current cupcake gameday for the SEC games. It’s not unfathomable that would happen as fans save their time, money and energy for the “games that matter.” Couple that with 2 working parent households in the younger generations (i.e. your future fans) and you’re beginning to ask to much of your fans.

    Think of how lucky the CFP and Rose Bowl are that Georgia is in the game and the finale is in Atlanta. If that final is in Lucas Oil stadium, you would slice UGA Rose Bowl attendance by 1/3+. Expand the playoff even more and where does that leave the DawgNation Invasion to South Bend ? Non-existent ? Certainly not as Red as it was.


  12. CB

    6 is the sweet spot for me, and I could deal with 8, but I’ll gladly take a 64 team football playoff over the BCS picking 2 or newspapers declaring champions, and that’s not even close for me, I can’t think of a more stupid way to crown a champion than having computers pick them. Yes, it devalues the regular season to a certain extent, but if there were 6 teams with the top two getting a bye you’re not going to see any of the top seeds sitting their players at the end of the year and risk losing a bye week. Plus, if you’re worried about rivalry week losing it’s luster then just reschedule the games to earlier in the season ie FSU Miami. I’ve always found it troublesome to manage getting to the Tech game through Thanksgiving obligations anyway.


    • I agree with the concept of 6, but the same challenges I mentioned above exist with 8 except 2 fewer schools get impacted.


    • Biggus Rickus

      Unless the sweet spot is 24, it’s not going to land at anyone’s sweet spot. We’ll get 8 soon. Then we’ll get 16, and then we’ll go to 20 or 24. Unless football is banned before then.


    • Former Fan

      The 6 team playoff makes the most sense to me. Give the P5 conference champions automatic bids then let the committee pick a wild card from everyone else. If their were 6 power conferences, I would just go with the conference champions.


  13. Jared S.

    Dan Patrick sums it up for me:

    “I don’t want to watch a three-loss team compete for a National Championship.”

    To be specific…. I don’t want to see a 10-3 NON-CONFERENCE-CHAMPION Auburn in a playoff. Which is exactly what we’d have this year if it was an 8-team field.



    • Jared S.

      Also, with an 8-team field, previous years would’ve included:

      #8 Wisconsin (10-3) Big10 Conference Championship Game (CCG) LOSER

      #8 Notre Dame (10-2) Independent/No CCG

      #7 Mississippi State (10-2) Did not compete in SEC CCG
      #8 Michigan State (10-2) Did not compete in Big10 CCG


      • Otto

        You are assuming the selection committee did not jockey rankings to get match ups they want.


        • Jared S.

          I get your point. But….the AP polls for 2016, 2015, 2014 had the above referenced teams at the exact same spots. With the exception of 2014 MichSt/MissSt who were flip-flopped at #7/#8.


  14. Otto

    The BCS was put in place so that teams from across the country could get out of the standing bowl contracts and we could have dream match ups. It was successful in doing that but every few years there was a major debate on who the top 2 were and it rarely if ever went past 3 teams.

    We have 3 teams this year that deserve to be in a championship game. The 4th best team is a wide debate. If they expand the playoff to 8, the regular season is devalued. I have cut back on the games I watch as the SEC Champ likely controls their destiny. The Apple Cup, PAC championship game, Big10 championship game did not have an impact on the SEC Champ getting in. I turned the Big10 championship game off and went to bed around half time. My pickem standings have also reflected how I have backed off on watching games outside the SEC. If the field expands the ratings will decline and CFB does not have fantasy leagues to save it.

    A 6 team playoff with a 1st round bye may bring some of us back to watch more games as suddenly the 1st week bye is big. I might have been home to watch the Big12 championship game as it would have a bigger impact on UGA.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dante

    Kirby is right to an extent. The fewer teams play in the playoff, the fewer losses you can get away with. Mark Richt had the same 12-1 record and SEC title that Kirby has in their second seasons as a head coach. That 1 loss kept Richt from playing in the BCS title game that year. Now that there’s a 4 team playoff, Kirby’s Georgia team has a shot with a #3 end of season ranking. Personally, I don’t really care how we pick a “champion.” I just want to see good teams consistently playing good teams. We have such a hard time picking a champion because most years one team just isn’t equivocally better than every other team. Some teams get hot late in the season. Some are consistent all year. Some start hot and finish cold. The old newspaper polls strictly looked at how teams did throughout the season. The BCS put its pressure primarily on whole season consistency with a slight advantage to losing early vs losing late. The 4 team playoff still does that but shifts focus a little more on finishing strong. A 6 or 8 team playoff will just shift focus further that way. Any way we do it, it’s still more about money and pageantry than anything else. That being said, I’m happy the current system is directly benefiting Georgia.


    • gastr1

      I like this post. Only thing I’d disagree with–the newspaper polls always punished teams who lost late more than those who lost early. We still do that. And, you know what? I’m cool with that, because teams get better over the season and them who is best at the end might of been best at the start.

      Right on, Dante.


  16. dirk

    Fuck all the playoffs and BCS. Go back to awarding champions based on AP and Coaches voting. Don’t like the results for your team? Don’t lose.


    • gastr1

      But then how will the coaches be able to claim they were doing a great job? You know who really wants a participation trophy? College football coaches, that’s who.

      That’s why they think it’s ok to count games against FCS schools and go to bowls with 6-6 records.

      It’s also why they’ll continue to push for a larger playoff…then once they’re in, they’ll lament that they have to play so many games to get to the title.


    • Cosmic Dawg

      You know what else?

      We could just have a really fun bowl season and amp up the pageantry – maybe brand the bowl games or something, let some stuff happen organically. Get the guv’nor involved. Have Olmstead draw us up a park and get those little horses that dance like the Rockettes…give it a name that means something to that region of the country…

      And then winning that bowl game would come with some kind of special trophy or something and all the bowl teams would be playing in unique and interesting games – there might only be one or two games that would affect the national championship but they’d all have a “big game” atmosphere.

      Hmm..but that sounds awfully boring when compared to:

      “THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS” sponsored by The Home Depot.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jared S.

      ….yeah, unless you’re 2004 Auburn. Undefeated SEC Champ and still don’t get to play for the National Championship….



    • Here’s a guess at what this year’s bowls would look like under that system:

      ROSE – #5 Ohio St vs. #11 Washington
      ORANGE – #1 Clemson vs. #4 Alabama
      SUGAR – #3 Georgia vs. #8 USC
      FIESTA – #2 Oklahoma vs. #6 Wisconsin

      If Clemson, Georgia, and Oklahoma all win who is the national champion? Because you can be sure all three are going to claim it.


      • Whoops, forgot USC actually won the Pac 12 which sends them to the Rose Bowl. Regardless, the old system creates the possibility of multiple teams claiming national championships at the end of the season. At least the CFP gives you a definitive national champ at the end.


      • Otto

        Under the old system Bama would be a prime spot to take the National title with a single win while UGA would be at a disadvantage by taking the contracted bowl for the SEC Champ.

        Granted I would see Bama beating Clemson likely close. OU dismantling a nonSEC team and becoming national champ in at least 1 of the 2 major polls.

        It is completely unfair which is why the season was discussed for the entire next off season if not longer.


  17. Keep beating that drum.