“I think (eight teams is) where it’s going…”

Given the realities of life in the SEC West, it’s no real surprise that Gus Malzahn is an advocate for the CFP to expand the field to eight, but I have to admit he has a couple of conditions to go along with that which might make expansion a more palatable sale for some folks.

Malzahn believes that if the field were to expand from four to eight teams, it would require eliminating FCS teams from the schedule and require every conference play a nine-game schedule. The SEC currently plays an eight-game schedule, and Malzahn — and several SEC coaches — has previously been against expanding the conference slate to nine games, which was a topic of discussion at SEC spring meetings in 2013.

That he’s willing to compromise on something he’s been opposed to ought to indicate how appealing watering down postseason eligibility is for many coaches.  Let’s face it:  seasons when there are eight legitimate national title contenders are rare… or at least more rare than coaches who need “playoff appearance” on their resumes to justify long-term, multi-million dollar contract extensions.  Just sayin’.

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37 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

37 responses to ““I think (eight teams is) where it’s going…”

  1. gastr1

    You’re totally right.
    I have no doubt that some coaches are against the playoff expansion because for them a bowl appearance and 8-10 wins is good enough.

    After money, coaches’ job security is second on the priority list, IMO, and if the playoffs expand, more coaches will have even less job security.

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  2. barneydawg

    Next Gus is going to ask that All Barn(1) not play Alabama (2) the transfer to Sec East and UGA goes to SEC West (3) play all games at Jordan- Hare (4) automatic transfer to Auburn for any above-3 star player kicked out of another school.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bright Idea

    4 is enough BUT if they expand to 8 and drop FCS opponents and require another conference game then the conference champion should get an automatic bid leaving only 3 at-large teams for a committee to select. Would the coaches like this or demand all 8 slots be at-large? I don’t see a lot of politics or media influence with the committee picking 4 but if they get to pick all 8, look out.

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  4. Stoopnagle

    I can live with an 8 team playoff, but I think it needs to be paired with one less regular season game. As it is, that 12+1+3 for a team in the National Title Game. It’s too much, especially since we played on a Monday night after the third day of classes for the spring term. College football should be over on NYD.

    (I fully understand that the 12 game regular season schedule is going nowhere. I’m just stating my opinion, man.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Former Fan

    One of the things I miss about the old bowl system, was how all the games were tied together. 83/84 was a very fun bowl season. Miami moved from #4 to #1 after the bowl season played out. UGA beat #2 Texas 10-9 (one of my favorite bowl wins of all time). #3 Auburn beat UofM without scoring a TD 9-7. That lack of a TD likely cost them the national title that year. #4 Miami beat #1 Nebraska on a missed 2 point play. All those bowl games mattered in a different way than the playoffs matter. That was 3 different games that had an impact on the final AP and Coaches poll.

    Then the bowls went nuts and started trying to get schools earlier and earlier. I still remember when the Sugar Bowl invited an 8-1 Virginia team to play only to watch them lose their next 2 games. That was the beginning of the end for the bowl game system, IMO. It was a horrible decision to allow bowls to get teams before the end of the season.

    There was a time when 5 or 6 bowl games might matter. So you would watch them because of the impact they would have on teams rated higher than your team. It was possible, that 3 to 4 different games, like 1983/84 would have an impact on who would be the national champion. Those were fun times we won’t ever see again. The expansion that is coming might help with that, but if they go to far, it will kill some really good regular season “playoffs”. At some point, it would be nice to make winning a conference title mandantory to be in a playoff.

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    • PTC DAWG

      So this year, the UGA/AU SECCG really mattered, the OhioSt/Whiskey Big10 game really mattered..the Clemson/Miami game really mattered….then the Rose and the Sugar really mattered…then the game monday REALLY mattered…it doesn’t get much better than that. That was just at the end of the regular season…and the bowls…

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      • Former Fan

        This year was an excellent year! If the championship games hadn’t mattered, it would have been much more boring. Of course, Auburn’s win over Bama didn’t matter at all in the final scheme of things and that was a shame. But yea, this year was way better than some other ones.

        I would like to see a system that rewarded conference winners to make the regular season and conference championship games matter more for most years.

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  6. dubyadee

    So, would Georgia have played Auburn THREE times this season?

    And at what point do coaches of undefeated teams consider resting their starters for a late season game.

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  7. Greg

    There will always be complaints, no matter the number of teams….unless you invite all 120, or whatever the number is. If Coach Shithead were one of the 4 teams this year…he would have no complaints.

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  8. DawgByte

    In days gone by I was for expansion, but having seen what Georgia went through to get to the Championship game by wining the SEC title and then a playoff match against OU. Any more playoff games and I think it becomes too much for the players, coaches and traveling fans. A bit of controversy about who gets in and who doesn’t makes for drama.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TampaDawg

    I hope it never goes beyond four. Four works out well. Hell, if we’re going to expand we might as well go to 64 and call it December Madness.

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  10. NCDawg

    I agree with DawgByte. The intensity of the SEC CG, then the Play-off, then the NC was immense. At that level of play, risk of injury greatly increases and is emotionally draining for players and fans. Travel and fan cost increases exponentially also. We were just lucky the NC was in Atlanta where most fans could drive and no hotel. Imagine if it had been at the Fiesta in Phoenix this year!!
    Do we really believe there were 4 more teams on a level with the 4 they chose? On a stretch, maybe 1 or 2 but not 4.

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  11. NCDawg

    And don’t forget about making regular season games meaningful. The SEC championship and iron bowl would have had so significance in an 8 team play-off. The product on the field in those games wouldn’t have been nearly as intense. We lose something of the special nsture of college football. How many of us went to see the Rams in LA, only to see Gurley sit and the Rams lose a meaningless game. NFL, no fun league.

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  12. RobDawg

    Sounds like a desperate coach who has lost at least 4 games in each of the past four years…OF COURSE he will change his mind to whatever it takes to get his team into the playoffs.

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  13. Bigshot

    The system is flawed when a team that does not win it’s conference. Alabama essentially had a bye while the other 3 teams were playing for their conference championship. Whoever heard of a 4th place team getting a bye. Unfair!!!

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  14. Macallanlover

    Hate to admit I agree totally with the stated Malzahn, but I do. Going to 8 was always right to me, but dropping 1AA schools, and adding the ninth conference game for the SEC and ACC was already viable concepts without even bringing the playoff size into it.

    Other quick comments: 1) dropping the 12th game for all schools to allow four more teams an extra game is ridiculous, and will never happen for obvious reasons, 2) improving to 8 teams will only add one extra game for two (2) teams each year…hard to make that seem like a mountain, 3) the improvement to eight teams would not expand the time frame as 1st round can be played in mid-December at the home field of the 4 highest seeded teams allowinf a couple of weeks before the semis on NYD, and 4) finally getting to 8 would ENHANCE the resular season, not diminish it. All scare comments about “taking a game off” ignores decades of games where this has never happened, once. Do not confuse this with March Madness, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, etc., it isn’t anything like it those who fling this crap around say it is, and they know it. Total BS.

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    • … improving to 8 teams will only add one extra game for two (2) teams each year…hard to make that seem like a mountain…

      Easy for someone who’s not playing that game to say.

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      • Remind us of your vision. Haven’t you said you could live with 8 if the conference championships counted as the first round?

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      • Macallanlover

        Right. Pretty empty comment from you. I am sure you have a much better grasp on athletics Arena Boy. sz

        It’s one fricking game more for about 40 guys on two teams. For the top prize, for most fans, on the biggest stage. Yeah, they would walk away. Just like they did in HS, or they do in 1AA. Basketball players would boycott the expanded March Madness field, oh, wait. Learn to think like an athlete and not an attorney, or labor rights representative. Athletes live for the big moment, counselor.

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        • Then why stop at eight, Mac? At sixteen they can be in the big moment for two more games!

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          • Macallanlover

            I have explained that enough times (logistics, time frame, additional teams increase the subjectivity factor, unnecessary teams to satisfy representation needs, etc.) Eight does all that, and has no downside except for those who do not want any expansion whatsoever. And that is their right. Just state that, not required to invent some reason as a justification. Some like the old bowl system, some the BCS, others like the current. We don’t have to all feel the same way. I have never liked the way CFB has ended the year. Maybe I will live to see a system I like.

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            • Eight does all that, and has no downside except for those who do not want any expansion whatsoever. And that is their right. Just state that, not required to invent some reason as a justification.

              I’ll leave all the invention to you, Mac.

              Expansion is going to happen. I have little doubt of that. But it won’t be because of any of the justifications you cite. It’ll be because of money.

              And that’s why it won’t stop at eight.

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    • I think you leave things as-is but set aside 1 big weekend, maybe the week before Thanksgiving, as an inter-conference challenge weekend, almost like they do in basketball. It would not be as objective as a post-season playoff, but it would add a modicum of objectivity late in the season. Have set parameters for seeding and home-away to demonstrate good-on-good as well as keep the home game revenue fair over the long term. Rotate years in which conferences play each other.

      With an odd number of Power(5) conferences, force the G5 to schedule a contingent bye week that same week every year and then take the top G5/Notre Dame/Byu combinations to fill out a “shell conference” to matchup with whatever P5 is the odd man out that year. Try and have two 14 vs two 12 team conferences in the same year and just let the left out bottom feeders of the two 14 team conferences play each other to at least capture the revenue (Vandy and Rutgers will be a regular thing).

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    • NCDawg

      So you admit it affects March Madness, NFL,NBA,NHL, MLB but you say it won’t affect college?! Now who’s throwing around total BS.

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      • Macallanlover

        Do you even understand the point? Study the differences before grouping them, and go back and see the history.

        We are talking 6% of the teams, not 20, or 30%. Coaches, athletes and teams in CFB have had the chance to take games off for the past 25 years, and haven’t, ever, once. You must step in a lot of BS because you don’t even know it is. Stay up.

        You don’t like playoffs, or having them changed? Fine, but don’t make crap up to support your position.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      Point #4 is a prime example of the logical fallacy begging the question. You’re arguing that it will enhance the regular season because it just will. Sure, NFL teams will take games off once they’ve locked up a playoff spot. But college teams would never do that because Nick Saban is more committed to the fan experience of college football than he is to getting another ring. It is to laugh.

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      • Macallanlover

        Really? Perhaps you can point to one example in CFB, just one, where a CFB team sat players in a less meaningful game than one coming up for a title game. Maybe it was UGA against GT after the SEC East was won? Uh, no. Maybe in the FU/FSU series? Uh, no. Perhaps, Bama/AU? Again, no. Or SC/Clem, or ohio/Michigan, etc, etc. Doesn’t happen, never has. And it won’t, especially if we reward the top 4 seeds with a home game in the 1st round.

        Folks don’t understand the exclusivity that an 8 team playoff format out of 130 schools represents, Those other playoffs mentioned, do the math and you can see how too many teams impacts the end of the year. 8 is not that number. It improves things, in every way…including the regular season. Makes the conference championships more valuable than ever, only sure way to get in. No computers, no votes.

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          You’re assuming that a 4-game playoff will result in exactly the same behaviors that an 8-game playoff will. That’s a logical fallacy.

          Yes, 130 schools sounds like an impressive number. But are you really expecting us to buy that Middle Tennessee State is one of the candidates for a 4-team playoff, or even an 8-team playoff? Because that’s a tough sell. The fact is, there are probably 40 teams (at most) each season that can legitimately expect that, if everything breaks right, can get into the conversation for the playoff. And going from 10% of those teams getting in to 20% getting in is a significant increase.

          Also, it changes incentives. Alabama has their second national championship in a year in which they didn’t win their division, yet alone conference. But you think adding teams will suddenly make them care MORE about division and conference championships? Seriously?

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  15. PTC DAWG

    I assume that folks that want the Power 5 to drop FCS teams don’t care one whit if FCS football goes away. Which I think it would.

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  16. Its simple, 6 teams. The 5 power 5 Conference Champs and an extra (UCF). #1 & #2 Get first round byes (Clem & Okla). #6 (UCF) plays #4 (ALA) winner moves on to #1 Clemson. #3 (UGA) plays #5 (OH ST.) winner moves on to play #2 Oklahoma. Winners advance to the NC! Done!

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    • I do understand that given the above example, Alabama could have been left out. It would have come down to them and UCF for #6. I used the names to fill in. Just focus on the lay-out. 6 Teams.

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  17. Bulldog Joe

    Auburn needs the extra game to pay for Gus’ contract.

    But who compensates the players for risking their NFL careers for another game?

    Oops…I forgot. That’s not a problem for Auburn.

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  18. Gaskilldawg

    A little bit of a tangent, but Malzahn has coached at Auburn five seasons. His record is 45-22. That is an average of four losses a season and is a 67.2% wining percentage. Malzahn’s SEC record is 25-15. Remember that stat. He has to face one Hall of Fame caliber coach every season.

    Jim Donnan coached UGA for five seasons, too. He was 40-19, which is a 67.8% winning percentage, higher that Malzahn’s. Donnan’s SEC record was 25-15, identical to Gus’s record. Donnan had to face three Hall of Fame coaches each year in Fulmer (already inducted,) Holtz (already inducted,) and Spurrier (who will be inducted.)

    Gus is Jim Donnan with a $49 million contract.

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  19. Captain Obvious

    8 teams nearly guarantees 2 sec teams each year, if not 3 each year (this year as an example, UGA, Bama and AU would have made it). But Gus reminds me of Spurrier wanting to change the division rankings by eliminating cross conferences losses.

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