North Carolina coach Mack Brown said Thursday that during a team discussion about the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, his players were against the format and preferred six to eight teams.
During a wide-ranging Zoom with reporters, Brown mentioned that ACC commissioner Jim Phillips had asked all coaches to get feedback from players about playoff expansion. Last month, the CFP board of managers authorized commissioners to move forward with expanding from four to 12 teams, with an implementation date to be determined.
North Carolina linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel told ESPN that nobody on the team raised their hand in favor of a 12-team playoff. He said a few players preferred to stay at four, while the majority was split between six and eight teams.
“I feel like 12 teams is too many games in a season for players who want to play long-term football,” Gemmel said in a phone interview. “Sixteen, 17 games in a season is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially for guys who don’t come out when they’re playing.”
… The possibility of two teams playing 17 games must be disconcerting for a game that has battled significant medical issues over the last two decades. More than 30 players have died in that timeframe, mostly from heat exertion during practice.
One CFP source said as many as half the 12-team field could play no additional games (assuming six teams do not play in a conference championship game and lose in the first round).
For a team to play the maximum of 17 games, it would have to participate in its league championship game, a first-round playoff game and reach the national championship.
“That’s such an unlikely occurrence,” one Power Five AD said. “We could go a decade with that not happening.”
With more games and more revenue comes increased responsibility. At $1 billion per season in an expanded playoff, an extra $12 million would pour into the coffers of Power Five athletic departments (assuming 78% of the revenue continues to be distributed to teams in those conferences).
Will that lead to enhanced medical coverage from institutions or conferences for athletes, some of whom will put their bodies on the line nearly as often as professionals? Perhaps it results in additional funds going into the pockets of athletes in the CFP beyond what is now possible through name, image and likeness rights?
“Can [CFP participants], if they graduate, walk away with an additional $20,000 or $30,000?” another Power Five AD suggested. “I know the CFP committee is talking about those kinds of things. … At the end of their careers, they get a check for whatever. Those kinds of things are the type of things we’re going to have to consider.”
They’ll consider it. And then they’ll go with the unlikely occurrence approach, with a dash of doing it for the kids sanctimony. It’s worked before.