ESPN conducted a survey in the offseason of the 65 P5 head coaches on a variety of questions about the CFP. (All but three, Saban, Orgeron and Kelly, responded.) Some of the results were more surprising than others, but all in all, it’s interesting.
While a majority of coaches are in favor of expansion to eight teams, it should be noted that selfish interests — surprise! — are being served. Check out these two notes as evidence:
- With nine of its 14 coaches in favor of expansion, the Big Ten had the most overwhelming support, possibly reflective of the fact that its conference champion has been left out of the top four in each of the past three seasons.
- It should come as no surprise that the most opposition to expansion came from the SEC, where nine coaches continued to praise the system in which their league has been included in every season of its existence. “I think it works,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “It’s better than it was during the BCS. Being at four, it allows us to get to a real champion.”
Funny how that works sometimes. The comment about expansion that resonated with me is this one:
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: No. I don’t know what we’ve gained by expanding it other than the obvious, financial [reasons]. It’s almost become an industry, this whole playoff deal. I don’t know how the game of football is any better right now. I’m not sure we’ve gotten a truer champion. What I don’t like about the playoff system is that there’s kind of a pull that if you’re not in that final four, what you’re doing really doesn’t matter that much. It takes away from a lot of really good experiences that are going on in college football. I think we’re creating a mentality that, to me, takes away from what the game is all about.
As much as some want to insist that when college football expands its postseason, it’s part of some noble effort to produce a better, more competitive result. It’s not. It’s about the money, pure and simple, just like every thing else in college football today. (Just like professional sports, for that matter.) When college football finishes playoff expansion some day down the road, the only people who are truly going to be satisfied with the results are the ones getting paid for it.
Speaking of money, Gary Patterson has the best cynical comment in the piece.
This question was based on the current system, in which the value of a conference championship has been called into question after both Alabama and Ohio State have landed in the top four without winning their leagues. “The only league that really matters if they have a championship game is the SEC, and it’s because of money,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Everybody else it doesn’t make any difference.”
If that wasn’t made apparent after Patterson’s own conference made the absurd decision to tack on a championship game to a round robin schedule, I don’t know what is.
Speaking of apparent, here’s why we can’t have nice things, SEC fans.
The company line, from Jeremy Pruitt:
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee: I worry a little bit about getting rid of the old rivalries. It’s already now in the SEC, you’re not guaranteed as a student-athlete, if you come to Tennessee you’re not guaranteed to play at Texas A&M in a four-year period. By not being able to do that, it possibly eliminates some of the experience, or somebody coming to play at Neyland Stadium. But I do think from a conference standpoint, I think we have a great system in what we use to determine a champion, and I think it’s fair.
He doesn’t sound that worried. Sigh.
And the bullshit award goes to…
Love. That would explain why DJ Durkin is still coaching at Maryland.